Rolling Our Own

Well, Roll Yer Own was a big hit last week. There were reportedly about 100 people there at The Red Chair in Midtown Thursday night, and I do have to say that I was quite impressed by the three huge screens in the restaurant area, where Roll Yer Own commensed. Thank you all for showing up. Lou was a happy man.

A very eclectic mix of work was shown, ranging from student work (pencil & 2D, computer, stop-motion), some independent stuff, and ended with recent work from local animation studios. Oh, and an episode from Harvey Birdman was shown as the big finale, courtesy of Birdcage Studios. (Hard to hear because of the low audio levels on that episdoe, but very very funny, nonetheless.)

I really don't mind watching student work. Even though I'm a big fan of nice, fluid Disney-style animation, and often enjoy the limited style of UPA and HB (when it's executed right), I can turn off that animator-purist alarm in my head and just sit back and watch newbie animators try their best at figuring out this artform. (Good luck guys, as the rest of us are still trying to figure that out.) To me, there's something endearing in watching young artists try their hand at character design, timing, pacing, storytelling and overall design and layout, as I was there at one point in my career. Sure, there were some faulty pieces shown during the student section of the evening, but I didn't mind. What I enjoyed was the intentions behind these pieces. The students worked hard on their shorts. Sometimes it paid off, sometimes it didn't. Hats off to the Atlanta College of Art and Savannah College of Art and Design students for willing to showcase their work to the animation community here in Atlanta. Best of luck to you all.

There was some great work shown by local animation studios, from the likes of Cartoon Network Domestic & Latin America, Dagnabit!, Turner Digital & Turner Productions, as well as Primal Screen, proving that the the animation scene here in Atlanta is definitely not dead. At least not yet.

And now a rant (you know it wouldn't be The Ward-O-Matic without one):

The evening was momentarily marred, in my opinion, by a series of horrendous shorts by some online animation studio. (Not from Atlanta, I might add.) Loud, humorless, and downright ugly to look at, I had the hardest time sitting through this mess. I'm not even going to say what the company's name was for that would give them far too much credit. I hate to be such a poo-pooer on the work done by this company, but geez - in my opinion, it was the most sophomoric, idiotic, insipid stuff shown that night. Really. Lou, I know that these guys might be nice and all, but for the sake of ASIFA-Atlanta's credibility, please hold off on showing any more of this company's work in future Roll Yer Owns. Nobody I talked to after the show liked their work. And it certainly didn't help their situation any further when one of the guys kept whoo-hoo!-ing drunkenly throughout the evening. Whatever. I am terribly sorry for those who were new to this screening and had to witness such dreck. End of rant.

Be that as it may, I don't feel that the evening was a complete loss. Oh no. I really and truly enjoyed the evening and it was great to see some kind faces, most of whom I've had the great privilege of working with in the past. And that is the great thing about working in the animation field here in Atlanta: that a big city can still feel like a small town, where everybody pretty much knows each other and that you're bound to be working with them at one point in time.


  1. I couldn't stay for the whole evening, and I took the opportunity to bail out during the section of shorts you mentioned. After seeing a couple of them, I knew it was something I wouldn't mind missing, so off I went. I'm sorry I couldn't stay to see much of the great stuff that must have followed (though at least I saw some of the Primal Screen stuff before I had to leave).

    And Powdered Toast Man served as a great warm-up act to the evening.

  2. redcrow--thanks for stopping by. Too bad we didn't hook up, that would've been cool to meet some of the new people that I've met via this blog. Hope you enjoyed the rest of it, though.

  3. I really found some of the student work to be inspiring actually. Some of the shorts were better than others obviously, but I still couldn't help but be impressed with the earnestness and commitment...

    As to the low point of the evening, I feel you... I woudn't have minded said shorts had they been a) funny b) well done c) brief. In spite of the fact that I laughed a couple of times, I do have to say that they represent what can be a real danger--not only in animation, but in cartooning as well, and that's when we confuse this kind of stuff with satire. It isn't. And why so much of it? I mean, it was like a half hour of the stuff!

  4. Yeah, I agree Ward. It's always nice to see all the Atlantans who get excited about animation all together in one place, showing their work. It's a hard discipline (and I don't even do cell), so it's good to get exposure, and you know the students must love showing their assignments. Although, I wish a few of them would preface their pencil tests with a visual title, so we'd know what they were attempting to do. I think one student did, and it made a big difference.

    As far as the "professional" studio shorts you mentioned, I'm right there with ya. I sure hope Lou doesn't continue to include them. I mean, I love a good Richard Simmons gag as much as the next guy, but some of their humor crosses the line from playfulness to downright hate. Believe me, I looooove non-p.c. humor, but did we really need to see Simmons splayed on his back begging Heston to penetrate him? That was done in such poor taste–––not to mention his head being blown off later. Yikes guys.

  5. Thanks for keeping us all updated on the show. Sorry to hear that some of the entries weren't all up to par... :(

  6. And proud of it, sister. If you saw the offending "work" done by this company, you would be singing the same tune. Trust me.

  7. Nice. Check out my stuff if you get a chance...................