UPA and Writing
On Monday’s class we started off taking about the importance of knowing how to write a decent paper, one that clearly states a person’s thoughts and presents valid useful information is a readable way.
Doug recommended Stephen’s King’s book “On Writing” and the associated press guide as helpful resources to use when writing narrative or more formal style papers.
Then as a shift towards animation we listened to Jules Engel on webofstories.com talk about his role in the creation of the UPA and his role as an animator in it.
Also we briefly discussed the Disney strike and what being pissed off at Disney did for animations after the animators left Disney. Fuel by what they hated at Disney and the knowledge they gained from working for Disney allowed animators like Jules Engel and other UPA animators to create amazing works of animation on their own terms. UPA was in short the antithesis to Disney, and lead the way for more independent animation work to get known.
UPA started up right along side the time when Television was introduced into society. T.V. changed the game for animation and pretty much birth the technique of limited animation into the medium. Whenever there is a new technology introduced into animation it creates a new wave of experimentation and technique in the craft, which changes the strict roles that until then completely controlled animation.
Take for example what computers and the Internet have done to animation distribution. Back when animators had no other choice but to go through a distributor they would have to hold their work up to the standards and expectations of the person paying to show their work. With the introduction of the internet there is no 100% strict way to control all methods of distribution so it allows for animators to create works of art that otherwise may never have had the money or chance to get seen by others. There is no more complete control; it’s more of a democracy setting that allows for equality in distribution.
After this discussion we started to watch some UPA shorts (that sadly were viewed at a rather low quality youtube level) and then talked about the formal elements used within the films. The UPA animators were deconstructionists and used this to really make a graphic style in their work.
The Tell-Tale Heart short is a example of how the aesthetics of a piece can establish tone and mood. The backgrounds often several perspectives at once tie in reference to modern art at the time.
In Gerald Mcboing Boing, the characters are held to no real model sheet, their design changes to help enforce their emotion and the minimal background which had not really been seen before animation in the 50s allows the viewer to really interact with the animation by visualizing what’s not there.