Saturday, May 31, 2008

Excuse me, Princess! - The Legend of Zelda cartoon

Don't ask, I just decided to combine Link's infamous catchphrase from the 1989 Zelda American cartoon (NOT anime) into one clip. Although I was surprised how often he says it and there's only 13 episodes in total! Warning: Extremely annoying.

Quick FAQ people brought up:

Why is Link's hair brown? - The cartoon was aired in 1989, and in the original Legend of Zelda games for the NES and artwork it showed Link with brown hair. So the artists weren't THAT far off.



Friday, May 30, 2008

Gotchi Dootchi - Nunchucks

Pretty funny


Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Lion King in 5 Seconds



Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Betty Boop - Rolling

Rolling. Music by Soul Coughing.

Cartoon Network made these music videos to feature their older animations.

Classic Betty Boop.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Racism in Animation 13 - Bugs Bunny: War Bond Drive

Notice how Bugs looked a little different and Elmer looked very different.

Bugs does a Sammy Davis Jr. impression.


Bugs Bunny goes to a military base where he meets up with a mischievous gremlin who gets the better of him. Animation by Rod Scribner, music by Carl W. Stalling. Produced in 1943.

Bugs Bunny: Falling Hare


Sunday, May 25, 2008

Ppollita Bailando y Cantando

Unless you know Spanish, just enjoy the animation!

Espectacular animacion de pollito bailando y cantando RBD.
Estas animaciones fueron desarrolladas por Zerofractal Animation Studios para factor xs 2007


Saturday, May 24, 2008

Question: Does a movie need to make 2.5x its budget in order to break even?

Question for the Emperor: Does a movie need to make 2.5x its budget in order to break even?

So marketing isn’t always all that big and doesn’t always scale. I mean, the average movie is probably paying 25 million in marketing, with the bigger going up to 40 million. The smaller movies may only pay 10 million or so. The blockbusters might hit around $100 million in marketing costs (or $150 for the mega blockbusters).

The real costs go to theaters and distribution (40-45% of gross).

2.5 times the production costs sounds about right, but the production costs and marketing costs are variable, and the distribution/theater costs are almost directly related to the gross. Some smaller movies might be closer to 2.1 times, while some extreme examples probably get even higher. Let’s look at an extreme example…

Sony’s Spider-Man 3 (effects by Sony Imageworks)

Production Budget: $258 million

Marketing Costs: about $150 million

Gross Worldwide Income: $890,871,626

Theater/Distribution Costs (based on 45%): $400,892,231

Total costs (Budget, Marketing, and Theater/Distribution): $808,892,231

2.5 x it’s Production Budget: $645 million

Total Box Office Profit (guesstimation): $82 million

So Spider-Man 3 actually had total costs that were about 3.1 times the original production budget.

So why do they make these films then?

- Promotions
- Toys
- Merchandise
- DVDs

Sometimes movies are expected to lose at the box office and gain all their profit from DVD sales. For example, Harold and Kumar was pitched as a movie that would break even in the box office and then make strong profits on DVD (that system worked so well that the sequel just came out; they wanted to do it again). Austin Powers made $67 million in the box office, and then after a strong DVD performance, the sequel made $312 million in the box office (with a low $33 million production budget).

- The Emperor

Friday, May 23, 2008

Hellfire - The Lion King (Scar)

I think if The Lion King was an adult movie, thus Scar wasn't just an ambitious 'bad guy' for no reason, I bet some of his beef with Mufasa would be that he's in love with (or lusting after, your choice) Sarabi.



Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Sony Imageworks

Sony Imageworks:

Sony Imageworks started out as an effects studio (similar to Lucas’ ILM, like their work on Contact, Stuart Little series, Men in Black series, Matrix series, Spider-man series, Speed Racer, Hancock, and the coming Watchmen), but they also started doing animated movies:

The Chubbchubbs! (2002) (Sony) (Note: An Academy Award winning short that played before Men In Black 2)
The Polar Express (2004) (WB)
Monster House (2006) (Sony)
Open Season (2006) (Sony)
Surf's Up (2007) (Sony)
Beowulf (2007) (WB/Par)
G-Force (2009) (Sony) (Note: A coming guinea pig movie starring Nick Cage)

So it’s interesting. If it wasn’t for Robert Zemeckis, I don’t think Sony Imageworks would have been able to ramp up into pumping out these animations as quickly as they did.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Food Fight

An abridged history of American-centric warfare, from WWII to present day, told through the foods of the countries in conflict.

For a breakdown of the actual battles portrayed in the film and the official cheat sheet (breakdown of the foodstuffs), visit:

Now, to answer some FAQs...
- The food in this film was consumed either by myself or my dog after shooting. None of the cast went to waste.
- The software used was photoshop and after effects.
- The film took me 3 months to do.
- Although it seems like stop motion, most of it was stop motion created within After effects, using keyframe animation. I am basically moving the food around within the the program, frame by frame, which is the same as traditional stop motion, only it's digital.

Great stop motion and Photoshop/After Effects madness! Superbly crafted.


Sunday, May 18, 2008

happy (vancouver film school)

The classic student-made 3D animation, Happy.


Saturday, May 17, 2008

Robert Zemeckis and his motion-capture animation

So a good question is… Is Disney funding Robert Zemeckis’ disturbing and risky passion of realistic, motion-capture, 3D-animated films?

First, let’s take a look at some of Robert’s directing history…

Romancing the Stone (1984)
Back to the Future (1985)
Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)
Back to the Future Part II (1989)
Back to the Future Part III (1990) (first time two sequels were filmed at the same time)
Death Becomes Her (1992)
Forrest Gump (1994)
"Tales from the Crypt" (3 episodes, 1989-1995)
Contact (1997)
What Lies Beneath (2000)
Cast Away (2000)
The Polar Express (2004)
Beowulf (2007)
A Christmas Carol (2009) (filming)

Robert’s love of the horror genre as a producer…

"Tales from the Crypt" (executive producer) (83 episodes, 1989-1996) (Note: Series creator along with Richard Donner, Walter Hill, and Joel Silver)
Death Becomes Her (1992) (producer)
Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight (1995) (executive producer)
The Frighteners (1996) (executive producer) (Note: Directed by Peter Jackson before LOTR fame)
Bordello of Blood (1996) (executive producer)
House on Haunted Hill (1999) (producer)
What Lies Beneath (2000) (producer)
Ritual (2001/I) (producer)
Thir13en Ghosts (2001) (producer)
Ghost Ship (2002) (producer)
Gothika (2003) (producer)
House of Wax (2005) (producer)
Monster House (2006) (executive producer)
The Reaping (2007) (producer)

And here are Robert’s freaky motion-capture films…

Polar Express (Director/Writer/Producer – 2004)
Monster House (Producer – 2006)
Beowulf (Director/Producer – 2007)
A Christmas Carol (Director/Writer/Producer – 2009)

How well they did…

Polar Express
Worldwide: $303,200,434
Production Budget: $165 million

Monster House (Producer – 2006)
Worldwide: $140,175,006
Production Budget: $75 million

Beowulf (Director/Producer – 2007)
Worldwide: $196,149,949
Production Budget: $150 million

Next, let’s take a look at who’s making Robert’s freaky films…


Polar Express – Warner Bros. Pictures (Note: Tom Hanks was also a producer; Playtone)
Monster House – Columbia Pictures/Sony (Note: Spielberg was also a producer; Amblin Entertainment)
Beowulf – No big studios (ImageMovers & Shangri-La), but distributed by Paramount Pictures & Warner Bros. Pictures (Note: ImageMovers is his company)
A Christmas Carol – Walt Disney Pictures


Polar Express – Gentle Giant Studios (motion capture), Sony Pictures Imageworks (animation)
Monster House – Gentle Giant Studios (motion capture), Sony Pictures Imageworks (animation) Beowulf – Gentle Giant Studios (motion capture), Sony Pictures Imageworks (animation)
A Christmas Carol – Gentle Giant Studios (motion capture), Animation Studio is not confirmed


Robert’s love of horror is appropriate when Brad Bird thinks his 3D animations are of the walking dead. =^)

I don’t think Disney is funding Robert’s crazy motion-capture animated films. I think Disney is taking a chance on one of his films, probably the one with the greatest potential of success (star + family market + story). Plus Jim Carrey has a track record of a Christmas hit (Grinch) and so does Zemeckis (Polar Express). So it’s not a big risk (or not more than Disney’s other risks).

Robert should have learned that his expensive animation style isn’t paying off. It definitely doesn’t sell to the adult market (for example, Beowulf didn’t make a big profit, but Polar Express did), and it needs to be driven by a huge story and cast to make it sell well (for example, Monster House didn’t make a big profit, but Polar Express did).

So while Robert’s animations are incredibly risky (the cost is way too high), this particular project is not so risky for Disney.

It does seem strange that Sony would be animating a Disney film, so maybe that’s why Sony Pictures Imageworks isn’t confirmed as the animation studio. Is Disney animating it themselves? Is this a Lasseter sanctioned film? If Disney is controlling it more, then this one might not be as freaky and weird as the others.


Friday, May 16, 2008

Star Wars - Revenge of the Sith - Alternate Ending

Hilarious and mostly animation.



Thursday, May 15, 2008

Cookie Monster vs Elmo

"Nobody is safe during rating sweeps. Nobody."

Classic puppetry parody.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

What Brad Bird (Pixar) thinks of motion-capture in animated films


What do you think of the motion-capture films, like Beowulf?

Brad Bird: I think that Mo-Cap is a wonderful tool. Just look at how Peter Jackson used it, to see how affective it can be. I think the dirty little secret of Mo-Cap is that the little things that you really like have been massaged by animators.

With Gollum, Andy Serkis did a wonderful job of physicalizing that character. I think that is brilliant. I also know that those scenes were massaged a lot, to look the way they do, by animators. Several of the most emotional moments with Gollum were key-framed. The animators looked at Andy, but they didn't use the Mo-Cap. They key-framed it. The scene that impressed me the most, where Frodo calls him Smigel, and Gollum goes, "What did you call me?" "Your real name." And Gollum thinks, "My name? My name?" And he starts to remember this part of himself that he has forgotten. You can see it in his eyes. And it's magnificent. I found out that it was entirely animated. It was not Mo-Cap.

That's what people *don't* talk about. And I think it does a tremendous disservice to animators. There is nothing wrong with animation. Animators are not technicians. They are artists. They think about performance. I would implore actors to consider animators as brethren. We use different techniques, but we are just as much about the way someone stands, what they are thinking, are they hiding their thoughts? Is that depicted in their eyes?

So, I feel like, if you don't muck with Mo-Cap, you don't get the performance from the actors, and you don't get the characteristics of anime. The best Mo-Cap I have seen has all been mucked with by animators. Much the same way the best roto-scope in Disney's time was mucked with. I'm not against Mo-Cap. But I think it has limitations if you don't mess with it.


Brad's won two Academy Awards for his last two Pixar films (The Incredibles and Ratatouille). So you should listen to someone like that.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Racism in Animation 12 - Popeye: Seein' Red, White 'n' Blue (1943)

"Popeye's banned toon, since 1943, with an anti-japanese message, because of the Pearl Harbor´s attack in 1941.
Hitler gets beat down too."


Monday, May 12, 2008

Kiss Kiss - The Little Mermaid (Ursula)



Sunday, May 11, 2008

Legend of Zelda: Link's Rupee

An animated Legend of Zelda

Link tries to get a rupee.



Saturday, May 10, 2008

Big Buck Bunny

Big Buck Bunny

A Blender open source film.

Big Buck Bunny - Official Trailer



Friday, May 09, 2008

The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh- Episode 1 & 2

The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh- Episode 1

Part 1 of Pooh Oughta Be In Films.

Christopher Robin decides to put on a spooky play. :)

The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh- Episode 1 Part 2

The second part of Pooh Oughta Be in Films.

The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh- Episode 2 Part 1

Part1,episode 2- Donkey For a Day.

More cuteness :)

The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh- Episode 2 Part 2

A Friend, In Deed.

Part 2 of Episode 2 in The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.



Thursday, May 08, 2008

YouTube Marketing Tips 13: More tips on how to become a Partner

We keep getting questions on how to become a partner, so here you go...

How to become a YouTube Partner


You need at least a few hundred subscribers and all your vids having "thousands of views." You also need to convince them that you're all about the YouTube community somehow. That was super easy for us, because all our vids are interactive in the comments (or with response videos), we've been featured on YouTube's front page twice, and we've entered (and won) YouTube contests. You also need to show them that you upload vids regularly (at least twice a month).

In addition, you have to own all your vids 100%. This is crucial. After looking at most channels, I don't think most people own all of their videos. So if you want a channel to get partnered, make sure it's all original content like vlogs, your own interviews, your own skits, your own animations, etc.

To sign up, go to

Copyright material

You may want to have two channels. The Kung Fu video doesn't look like it's yours. If it's yours, you should make that clear in the description by talking about how you filmed it and listed the credits of who was in it.

I'd take the "how to download" video down if this is the channel you want to do well with YouTube. Obiously, they don't want people to download YouTube videos. It makes piracy more painful for them to control.

What to do? Study the successful channels. There are three aspects of YouTube success and getting subscribers: (1) Social. (2) Entertainment. (3) Frequency.

So, be social (do a lot of commenting, friending, subscribing, etc. You need to entertain people (animations, music videos, and sketches of popular movies/people/etc. do well). You can also entertain people with crazy vlogs (just talking to the camera). And, finally, post these often. So all that is a ton of work, and, in some ways, the people on top definitely earned it and put themselves there.

Only people from certain countries can become partners

They only accept people from countries like USA, Canada, UK, and Japan.


Legal reasons and money reasons. =^(

Even hough it's not the most desirable Partnership feature to the users, the whole point of the partner channel to YouTube is the revenue sharing aspect. They are offering the partner channels tousers who get a lot of views in order to put ads on them and make more money. Well, the problem there is that there are no legal and legistic issues that need to be sorted out with each country's laws. So they're slowly doing that and sorting it out with the country's laws, starting with the countries that have the most YouTube users and going down the list.


Monday, May 05, 2008

Did Jan Pinkava get kicked off of Ratatouille?

Yes. Yes he did.

The original story for Ratatouille was written by Jan Pinkava. When Lasseter saw the story headed downhill, he brought on Brad Bird, who just hit a home run with Incredibles...

Jan had the original story, created the set, and the key characters. Brad wrote the final story, all the details, and basically what made the movie "alive" and "emotional." He also directed all the animation. It is accurate that Jan was the co-director and the writer of the original story. That's all.

It's true that Lasseter pulled Jan off the project (at least he was taken off as the head director). To say that it was done to put a name as the director (since Brad Bird had a stronger name at the time) is completely untrue. Pixar doesn't care about names, and it always takes chances on promising directors. Bird wasn't a name when he did Incredibles (all Bird did was the flop, Iron Giant). Jan was more of a name than Bird was, because Jan got an Academy Award for Geri's Game.

None of that matters to Lasseter and Steve Jobs. The story's king, and Jan wasn't tugging the heart strings with his story. So they pulled him. If Lasseter ever pulls you off of something, you should humble yourself, say, "okay," and then see how you can help. Jan couldn't do that. He left the project, tried helping with other projects at Pixar, and then he had to leave; he couldn't stand see someone else take over his story (can you blame him?).

Lasseter does this a lot. He recently went to the Lilo & Stitch director (Chris Sanders) who was doing Bolt. He laid down a lot of changes (I believe about 80% of the story had to be cut), and the director bolted... to DreamWorks.

UPDATE: Chris' next project was far better than Lilo & Stitch or Bolt... How to Train a Dragon (my favorite DreamWorks film since Shrek 1 and Shrek 2). It certainly seems that Chris learned a ton when starting over at DreamWorks. We'll see how that translates to his next film, The Croods (about cavemen).
Story is king in Pixar's world (and now in Disney's world since Iger, Lasseter, and Jobs took over). If directors can't see that, then they will be replaced with directors who can get with the story (as evidence). That said, Chris turned out to be an amazing director (with Dragons), so you never know what each director is capable of.

Brad Bird's fourth movie is going to be called "1906." UPDATE: 1906 languished, so Brad directed and released MI4 first.


Sunday, May 04, 2008

Empire Logo Banner - By WillemWorks

The Animation Empire has a new banner up on our YouTube channel! This is our first banner, because we recently became partners.


Anybody else want to make us a banner?
The video banner is 360 x 55 pixels.
The channel banner is 850 x 75 pixels.

Thanks to WillemWorks for the channel banner!


Saturday, May 03, 2008

Eisner and Lasseter

Eisner was a man of action and business. He did great at ABC and Paramount. He came to Disney and did amazing things.

I agree that the man deserves credit for being a man of action and business. He motivated people and brought everything together.

However, he was not a man of relationships and entertainment. He did not value creativity and show the value to the creative individuals. Eisner drove away the head of animation, Katzenberg (who left after Lion King, not a coincidence that Lion King was the peak of the Disney animations), he drove away a few other key directors, he drove away Roy Disney (not a last name you want to mess with), and he almost succeeded in driving away Pixar. Eisner did a few great things, but he concentrated more on the business rather than the relationships and the creativity/entertainment. He was great when surrounded by creative geniuses. Without them, well, read about Roy’s Save Disney campaign to see how everything went downhill.

A great CEO doesn’t have to be creative; he just has to value and reward creativity. That’s what happened with Robert Iger. Iger was Lasseter’s second in command (so many people were worried), but he quickly showed that he knew what he was doing. Not only was he great at relationships (he remained friends with Roy Disney and Michael Eisner at the same time), but he quickly showed that he knew how to reward talent: he immediately bought Pixar, brought on Steve Jobs, made Lasseter CCO and head of Imagineering, brought Roy back onto the board, and, to top it off, he fulfilled his promise to Diane by bringing Oswald back home:

From Wikipedia...

Walt Disney’s daughter, Diane Disney Miller, issued the following statement after the deal was announced:
“When Bob [Iger] was named CEO, he told me he wanted to bring Oswald back to Disney, and I appreciate that he is a man of his word. Having Oswald around again is going to be a lot of fun.”

Because Iger made Lasseter the CCO of Disney (animation and parks), this is what has happened:

• Introducing all the Pixar characters into the parks
• Plans to revitalize Disney California Adventure
• Reworking current Disney animations in production (Meet the Robinsons and Bolt)
• Bringing back the directors of Aladdin to do another 2D animated film (Princess and the Frog)
• Redoing the planned Tinker Bell series to be in 3D and to be faithful to the original film (the current film was not)
• Revitalizing Disney film shorts, starting with a Goofy short

So overall, yes, Eisner deserves credit. But because he wasn’t good with relationships and rewarding creativity, the elixir that saved Disney became its poison after 10 years of value (such is life; not every Disney savior can be flawless).

After taking off to start Dreamworks animation, Katzenberg has had 10 animated films make over $200 million, worldwide:

- The Prince of Egypt

- Chicken Run

- Shrek

- Shrek 2

- Shark Tale

- Madagascar

- Over the Hedge

- Flushed Away

- Shrek the Third

- Bee Movie

After he left, Katzenberg has had 5 animated films make less than $200 million, worldwide:

- Antz

- The Road to El Dorado

- Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron

- Sinbad: Legend of the 7 Seas

- Wallace & Grommit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit (winner of the Academy Award for best Animated Film)

After Katzenberg left, Eisner had 9 (non-Pixar) movies make over $200 million worldwide:

- Pocahontas

- Hunchback of Notre Dame

- Hercules

- Mulan

- Tarzan

- Dinosaur

- Lilo & Stitch

- Brother Bear

- Chicken Little

After Katzenberg left, Eisner had 9 non-Pixar movies make less than $200 million worldwide:

- James & the Giant Peach

- Fantasia 2000

- The Emperor’s New Groove

- Atlantis: The Lost Empire

- Treasure Planet

- Home on the Range

- Valiant

- The Wild

- Meet the Robinsons

(Plus 9 ToonDisney films which weren’t hoping to make much money)

Bottom line: If Eisner had kept his relationships with Katzenberg and Pixar and let the creative people make the creative decisions, Disney would be a powerhouse with no strong competitors (maybe the Ice Age team would be a tiny threat).


Friday, May 02, 2008

Innoventions and ASIMO

Highlights of the ASIMO show and a cutting-edge video game.


Question: What do you do about light and background noise?

Question for the Emperor: What do you do about light and background noise?

Here's an example of a video made where the lighting didn't match...


There are some editing programs that will up lighting for you. Or just crank it up always just to make sure; for example we carry around a hand-light and extension chord used by mechanics.

We had to use an editing program to crank up the lighting in Following Directions 2:

As far as background noise goes, usually better to go silent and then just tape some excess background noise and loop it onto both ends. Or play the same music under both to disguise it.

We had a unique problem in Mike Tyson Will Eat Your Children where we were using Mike Tyson's actual audio with background noise and had to come up with new background noise to blend it a little:

- The Emperor

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