My Own Personal Toy Story

As a child, I was not a ‘Barbie girl’.

Clothes and high heels? Eeesh.

And baby dolls?

Ack. Gag. What the hell was I supposed to do with one of those? Blech.

Interestingly enough, I currently don’t own a dress and don’t have kids. Hmmm.

I mainly played with stuffed animals, plastic creatures (I loved rubber snakes and dinosaurs) and male action figures (anyone remember ‘Big Jim’ and ‘Big Josh’?).

Yeah. I was a real little princess, I was.

Now, any self-respecting animation artist knows that if you don’t have some kind of toy collection, you are not that serious about animation.

It’s some kind of unwritten law or something.

So I thought it might be fun to share a few of mine. Some are actually from my childhood. But a lot of my collection accumulated while in animation school and beyond. Most of which you can see above.

Let’s take a look shall we? (My apologies for the crappy photos.)


This one is from my childhood. I loved Happy Days and had a crush on Henry Winkler. I had the Fonzie Happy Days album for goodness sakes (and really wish I still did).

This toy is friggin’ pristine (except for the dust). It looks like it came right out of the box. I didn’t play with it so much as just admired it. The thumbs are pose-able and there’s a lever in the back to make his hands go up and down.

I challenge you to do this and not say, “Ayyyyyyyyy!”

I love him. And he lives on the top of my toy shelf.

Because he’s cool.

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Facing Off With ‘Bolt’

All images © 2008 Walt Disney Pictures (Well, except Faraday)

Before I begin, is it just me or…?

If you’ve seen ‘Bolt’ and watch ‘Lost’, you might find that uncanny like I do.


Back to analyzing some Bolt sequences. You can find the first Bolt post here.

I’m just going to pick apart one sequence this week.

Like with the first post, I’m sticking to the opening of the movie when it’s really the ‘Bolt’ TV show we’re watching.

Because it’s full of action movie cliches and fun to watch.

Which bring us to:

The Face Off

Or ‘stand off’. Or ‘playing chicken’.

Either one, it’s when two parties are at either end of what usually turns out to be an alley.

Because there is no escape from an alley, hence the heightened drama.

So it starts.

The dark, black car pulls into the alley blocking off the only exit Penny and Bolt have. (They are at the other end.)

The camera is low, making the car more menacing.

Cut inside. The creepy bad guy gives our driver-thug his orders. “Just the girl.”

Because creepy bad guys never do their own dirty work. They call ‘Thugs-R-Us’ or something.

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Getting Some Action with ‘Bolt’

All images © 2008 Walt Disney Pictures

Wee! Back to writing about cartoons.

This is not a movie review.

But in case you were wondering: I liked Bolt. No complaints really.

Well, except that I was forced to wear glasses on top of my glasses so I could watch it in craptastic ‘Real 3D’.

The 3D thing was totally useless for this movie. Useless, I say! There was no reason for it but to gauge me an extra $3 for a ticket.

And the fact Disney gave away all the funny hamster bits in the trailers leading up to the movie release. (Yeah, thanks guys.)

But I digress.

I thought it would be a good movie to learn some lessons in action sequences.

Ahh, the action sequence.

Some board artists love ’em. Some hate ’em.

In a script they sit as cute little paragraphs. Seemingly harmless.

Then you start to thumbnail them out. And that cute little three-line paragraph suddenly morphs into a beast of pages upon pages of storyboarding hell.

I am not all that fond of them. I’m more of an ‘acting and dialogue’ kind of gal.

But they can be fun sometimes.

The opening sequences of Bolt have some really great ones. Because they are kind of spoofing action movies, there is a lot of cliched fun going on.

So let’s take a look at a few.

The Quick-Cut Mini Montage

I actually really like doing these. They are dynamic, fast and cut to the chase.

And are awesome ‘cheats’ to tell a lot of information without worrying too much about hook-ups.

Penny and Bolt are about to be chased by the bad guys. So Penny needs to get out her super-scooter thing.

How exciting would it be to storyboard this on a wide shot?


So with a series of quick little cuts from different angles, we get all the information we need.

Up shot on Penny lifting the scooter into shot.

Zing! The wheel comes to camera.

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