Where ‘Igor’ Went Wrong

© 2008 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

OK, this is my first attempt at a movie review.

Now it won’t be like other movie reviews because:

  1. I’m not going to give you a summary of the plot. I’m too lazy. And you can find that anywhere. Check your local paper.
  2. I’m also too lazy to look up all the names and stuff of the people who worked on it. And honestly…do you really care?
  3. I won’t be getting all animator-snobbish about the whole thing. (Or I’ll try not to.)
  4. I won’t be using words like ‘protagonist’. Ugh.
  5. I’m mostly going to focus on the story. And the problems therein.

And just for kicks I’m going to address the movie as a person. So when I say “Igor” I mean ‘Igor-The Movie’, not the character. It’ll be fun. Really.

OK? Let’s roll.

Alright Igor. I love to give the little guy a chance.

I don’t think Pixar is God. I love ’em but I give props where props are due. I really liked Dreamworks’ Kung Fu Panda.


So frankly, I don’t care who made you. Just tell me a good story. It’s nice if you look really good while you do it, but I understand you may not have ‘the BIG budget’ of the other guys. That’s OK. You can still entertain me.

And my 9 year-old companion.

I’ll give you the good news first. You looked pretty good. You had some great character designs (even though Tim Burton may have grounds to sue). I had some genuine laughs. Overall you did a pretty damn fine job in the artistic and chuckles department.

But here’s where you went wrong.

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Which Animation Student Are You?

Well, it has become evident to me that writing posts about storyboard labeling does not incite much dialogue in the comment department.

See? Told you it was boring stuff.

Good thing that’s over with.

So I shall move on to what I do best, though not often enough: sarcasm.

During my stint as an animation student and as an instructor, I came across many interesting characters. And some I came across more than once. Call it a ‘type’. Call it a fluke. Whatever.

This is not a complete list, but here’s a summary of some of the various types of colorful animation students I have seen over the years. If you are in animation school now, see if you recognize any of them.

See if you *are* one of them.

And if you’re a former student of mine and think I’m talking about you…don’t flatter yourself. Guaranteed there was more than one of you over the years.

But…yeah, I might be talking about you.  So enjoy the limelight!


Much like ‘the keener’ below, they are super excited to be there because they love animation so damn much. They know all the shows, movies and games and are always asking you if you’ve “seen this one…” (uh, no I haven’t). They paste up tons of posters and have the biggest toy collection of anyone else in class.

And they probably can’t draw.

They don’t quite know the difference between being a fan and doing the job. They soon find out that the job isn’t quite as fun as being a fan. They may quit the program. Or they stick it out and never do anything with their education.

And end up working in a comic book shop.


These people probably have a lot of talent. With the ego to match.

And are irritating as all hell.

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Back to School Wisdom and A Few Labeling Tips

Before I get to the meat of this post I just want to point you to two great posts from Christine Kane.

No, she’s not an animator or anything. She’s a blogger and a musician and all around creative person and pretty cool woman.

I don’t know her or anything, but I read her blog. She’s a great inspiration for the creative type who wants to follow their passion. Sound like you?

Since a lot of you may be going back to school or just starting college, I thought these two posts would be a good read. They totally fit in with pursuing an animation or film making career, being an artist and more.

Give them a read (after you read me of course).

Creating College: 5 Things I Wish I Knew as an Undergrad (part 1)

Creating College: 5 Things I Wish I Knew as an Undergrad (part 2)


Well, this is the fourth and final post from the series What’s Wrong With Your Storyboards. The fourth point I mentioned is bad labeling. I wrote:

If you numbered the scenes wrong. Wrote ineffective action notes. Have lots of spelling mistakes. Put the wrong name on some dialogue. All that kind of stuff.

Now labeling would be quite a long and detailed read if I covered everything. So I’m not going to cover everything. Because as a post subject, it’ll probably bore you to tears.

But I am working on putting together a nice guide about the whole labeling thing. So if you want that information, you’ll be able to get it.

Then I won’t be boring you to tears against your will.

So I’ll just touch on a few things here to help you out. And I’ll try to be entertaining.


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Are Your Cuts Making the Cut?

This is the third point I made in the post ‘What’s Wrong with Your Storyboards.’ That point being bad cutting.

But ‘bad’ is such a strong word, so we’ll say ‘poor choice’ of cutting.

The reason I don’t want to use ‘bad’ is because the samples I’m going to show are from one of the cool people who took me up on my free story consulting offer of a few weeks ago. And I don’t want to call anyone whose work I critique, “bad”. Because it wasn’t.

This brave soul is Fred Chung. He sent me some storyboard samples of his original stories. We then had a great webinar meeting and dug into his work. He came away with some solid feedback and (hopefully) some helpful advice to make his storyboards stronger.

So what better way to give a lesson than to use real world examples? Because let’s face it. Fred is not the only person making these kinds of cutting choices.

Trust me.

In the ‘What’s Wrong with Your Storyboards.’post I wrote:

This can be a gray area. Is a bad cut, a wrong cut? Yes, sometimes it is.

I’d say the closer in similarity two shots (cutting to each other) are, the more chance you have of it being a bad cut that must be changed. If it creates a ‘not for dramatic effect’ jump cut, it’s wrong.

Say you have a wide shot of three people and you cut to the next shot of the same three people and that shot is just a little closer, you probably have a jump cut on your hands. Change it.

Now I’m only going to get so far in this post. There can be so many variations of improper cutting in the world (I don’t mean just you Fred!), that I could write a book. So I’m going to show you two examples of one kind today. This subject can continue in the future when I see a good example pop up, OK?

Makes for easy material when I’m feeling like a lazy ass too.

Let’s get to it!

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