What ‘I Kissed a Girl’ Can Teach You About Cartoons

Probably nothing…on the surface.

But let’s dig a little deeper.

I may go so far into left field with this post you might have to send out a search party. Here it goes anyway, so bear with me.

For my trip to Montreal, I flew Westjet. I dig Westjet because you get your own personal satellite TV that’s embedded in the seat backs. Even better, I got to watch an episode of my guilty pleasure “So You Think You Can Dance” (don’t judge me…yet).

On that show there was a live performance of a singer I’d never heard of, Katy Perry. (Remember, I’m old and don’t get out much.)

I heard this song ‘I Kissed a Girl’ for the first time. The subject matter made my eyes roll. She was all ‘girly-girly’ and that made my eyes roll (I’m so not girly-girly). I like rock songs, not this kind of fluff.

But I had to admit…it was catchy (OK, you can judge me now). Fine. On with my dance show already.

Then during my trip, a strange thing happened.

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The ‘South Park Live’ Scoop And A Few Tidbits

Well, I’m back. Did ya miss me?

Montreal was great. A little family, a little friends, a little poutine (note to self: eat more veggies).

Here are the tidbits:

While I was gone, the good folks at the VFS Blog posted an interview about me and the storyboard blog. Check it out and poke around the site if you’re thinking about attending film school.

Or to reminisce if you already attended film school. Ahh, those long all-nighters…then sleeping under your desk the next day while I was trying to TEACH, dammit!

*throws imaginary boot*

This could get ranty.

On to tidbit number two.

While in Montreal, I had the opportunity to visit some other lovely folks at Toon Boom. I got a first-hand demonstration of Toon Boom Storyboard Pro which was very cool. I’m not going to write a full review until I actually fiddle around with it myself. Which I plan on doing soon.

But I will say that I was impressed. It looks like a real storyboard artist-friendly piece of software. And it could very well increase your productivity, so you could actually have a life while storyboarding. What a concept.

So stay tuned for that one.

Done with the tidbits, on to the review:

I mentioned in my last post that I would be attending the ‘South Park Live‘ show at the ‘Just for Laughs’ festival. There were only two shows on the Wednesday night, a 7pm and a 9:30pm (I went to the 7pm). I was quite stoked for it and I paid about $55 per ticket.

So was it worth it?

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“The Beat”: When Silence is Golden

I’m attempting to show two things with this post. And let it be known there are many images ahead.

The first thing is to show how I would have broken down a scene from a TV show (that I didn’t work on). I talked about this at the end of my last post on dealing with dialogue. This is something you can do to practice breaking up dialogue and acting it out.

Why South Park?

Well, I love South Park. It brings out the 20 year old frat boy in me, what can I say? I’ve been a fan since it first aired while I was in animation school. I also have all the DVDs and watch them while I work. Keeps me in a good mood.

Also, it demonstrates that even the ‘simple’ shows can be acted out. South Park is a very ‘wordy’ show too. A lot of the jokes are very dialogue based (as well as visually based). So when I broke this down it got quite long because of all the dialogue, even though it’s only a portion of the actual scene.

It goes to show how much work a TV animation storyboard artist should be doing to pull off the dialogue well.

I would have loved to show the video clip first to go with this. But alas, I have yet to figure out how to easily get that from my DVD onto this blog. Anyone with some advice please offer it in the comments (or email me) and I’ll give you kudos and lots ‘o Karma.

Keep in mind the South Park guys may not have broken down the posing this much. They may have left much more to their animators because they work right there with them. Very different than sending it somewhere else to be animated.

Also keep in mind what I’ve done here is not formatted like a professional storyboard. I’ve just slapped the dialogue under the images, OK?

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Dealing With Dialogue: When the Words Don’t Matter

Now this is not to infuriate the writers out there.

The words *do* matter in many ways. How else would we know what the story was about or what the characters were thinking? And for those very dialogue-based shows (when the gag is verbal, not visual), the words do indeed matter.

But sometimes they don’t.

Please keep in mind I am mainly talking about cartoons here, not live-action. But hopefully the live-action folks can still get something out of this.

I mentioned in a previous post about a show I worked on called ‘The Amazing Adrenalini Brothers!’.

They don’t speak English.

They speak Rendoosian.

Yes, it’s a made-up language. We didn’t get translations to what they were saying in the script either. But it was usually pretty obvious when you read the context of what was going on.

The brothers didn’t talk much and it usually involved their cheer, “Yahzaa!”, so it wasn’t too difficult.

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