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Amid Amidi talks about his book Cartoon Modern – Page 3

Amid Amidi talks about the general future of animation, and the launch of CartoonBrewFilms.com...

READERSVOICE.COM: How important is the Internet for the future of animation?

AMID AMIDI: The Internet is vital to the future of animation.

Its ability to serve as a distribution channel is very promising to filmmakers everywhere.

Thanks to the Internet, audiences are finally able to pick and choose the animation that they want to see instead of passively accepting the junk that mainstream networks and movie studios have been forcefeeding audiences for decades.

RV: How did you meet up with John Kricfalusi?

AA: I first met John at the San Diego Comic-Con sometime in the mid-90s.

He was just starting up Spumco’s Comic Book.

There really wasn’t anybody else at the time who was so vocal about keeping classic cartooning principles alive.

As somebody who really dug classic Looney Tunes and other Hollywood shorts, it was refreshing to find an artist like John who’s passionate and uncompromising about cartoons and who treats them as art.

RV: How did you meet Jerry Beck and how did the idea for the animation industry blog Cartoon Brew come about?

AA: I’d known Jerry for a number of years prior to hooking up on Cartoon Brew in spring 2004.

We both enjoyed each other’s sites — his was Cartoon Research and mine was Animation Blast — and of course, I had a lot of respect for his innumerable contributions to the field of animation history.

I guess the thinking was that it’d be more interesting for our readers and also for ourselves if we combined the news and commentary sections of our sites.

Of course, we never expected that Cartoon Brew would take on a life of its own and turn into the most widely read animation blog online.

It’s been a rewarding experience, not necessarily financially, but just in terms of helping to connect the global animation community and promoting quality animation that otherwise might not get as much attention.

There’s also a lot of changes coming up for the Brew.

We’re doing a complete redesign of the blog which we plan to launch soon.

More ambitiously, we’re also preparing to launch an offshoot called CartoonBrewFilms.com, which will be a showcase for some of the world’s finest contemporary and classic short animation.

That should be going live in the next month or two.

See www.cartoonbrew.com

RV: You’re involved in a number of projects and I was wondering what events or screenings or other things you’ve been doing in the last month?

AA: Most of my screenings and talks over the coming year will be related in one form or another to the Cartoon Modern book.

There’s a regularly updated list of events at cartoonmodern.blogsome.com so folks can see if I’ll be speaking in their neighborhoods anytime soon.

RV: What are the “camps” in animation in Los Angeles, whether along political lines, or along mass-production versus individual artist lines,and what camp or attitude do you regard as the best one to take for an animator just starting out?

AA: Every artist has to choose their own path based on what they want to do.

There is no particular “best” path that I or anybody could recommend for an artist starting out.

The most important thing is to first understand what you personally want to achieve within the animation world, and then figure out the best way of achieving that goal.

RV: What’s your view of animation today, and what principles of 1950s animation are most worth learning?

AA: Personally, I can’t think of a more exciting time to be involved in animation.

There’s a more diverse body of animation being produced today than at any other time in history.

Granted, there’s also a lot of junk coming out, but if you filter that out, you’ll find tons of terrific animation coming out from every corner of the world.

As to what lessons can be learned from the 1950s, perhaps the most important lesson to take is that at the end of the day, style is just style.

If you’re not using the style to make a statement or to say something worth people’s time, then you may as well not be making cartoons.

The bottom line has always been, What are you saying with your art?
Cartoon Modern: Style and Design in Fifties Animation, by Amid Amidi, is published by Chronicle Books.

See www.chroniclebooks.com