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Top Animation News: Universal, Bob’s Burgers movie, ONI and more!

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Top Animation News is a weekly column that rounds up the biggest, best and breaking stories from the animation industry. This edition covers November 15 to 22, 2019.

1. Universal Animation Writers Program applications open
Universal launched the first-ever animation writing program that covers both film and television content. It will last a year, identifying and developing an inclusive group of talent to help the studio honour its commitment to telling unique, diverse stories. You can apply for the Universal Animation Writers Program at www.UniversalTalentDevelopment.com until December 16, 2019, with the program kicking off in June 2020.

See what’s been written about the Universal Animation Writers Program on Animation World Network.

2. Disney had fans flipping out over the Bob’s Burgers movie
Fox television series Bob’s Burgers is being adapted into an animated feature, though for a minute it appeared as though the film was off new parent company Disney’s release schedule. Fortunately, the House of Mouse confirmed that the flick would still be coming to cinemas on July 17, 2020, though it has pushed back fellow toon titles Ron’s Gone Wrong and Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona. Bob’s Burgers is planned in Toon Boom Storyboard Pro and animated using Toon Boom Harmony.

Find the sizzling Bob’s Burgers movie release date details on Cartoon Brew.

3. Netflix continues kids content diversity push with ONI
Streaming giant Netflix has ordered Japanese folklore-based series ONI from creator and showrunner Daisuke "Dice" Tsutsumi and Tonko House (Oscar-nominated animated short The Dam Keeper). The kids toon will be set in a world populated by unusual Nippon gods and mythological monsters. "Having spent my entire career in the American animation industry, part of me always wondered if there would ever be a place in the stories I tell for the other half of my identity, as a Japanese native," said Tsutsumi. 

Worship all the Netflix ONI details on Collider.


4.Unwrap the famous faces voicing characters in
Klaus
Netflix’s first original animated feature Klaus has barely been out a week and it’s already become the talk of the internet, with largely positive reviews — particularly for its animation. Still haven’t streamed it yet? Or want to know who voiced your favourite Klaus character?

The Hollywood Reporter has put together this list of voice actors from the film. Plus, read our full interview with Klaus director Sergio Pablos on the Toon Boom blog.

marty-walker-ghost-kid

5. Marty Walker tells us how he makes those Ghost Kid GIFs
Atlanta-based animator Marty Walker works at Bento Box Entertainment during the day, though he does have a hauntingly good side-project: Ghost Kid. The webcomics/GIFs follow the spirit of a young lad doing normal teenage things like playing sports, music and laying in bed — to hilarious results. Curious how long they took him? “Each Ghost Kid GIF took 16 to 20 hours from start to finish. I would chip away at them a couple hours a week over the course of a month,” Walker tells us.

Read about how Marty Walker brought Ghost Kid to (after)life on the Toon Boom blog.


6. Matthew A. Cherry untangles the story behind
Hair Love
Hair Love, the Kickstarter turned animated short by Matthew A. Cherry, follows a young African-American dad as he attempts to style his daughter’s unruly hair on his own. “One of the main reasons I wanted to do the short was because there were so few animated projects featuring people of colour,” says Cherry about his inspiration. “The Proud Family was the first time I saw a black family interact in an animated TV show. Animation is such a broad medium, so entire families can enjoy a story about a black family, and young girls can see themselves on the big screen.”

Comb through the full Hair Love backstory on Animation Magazine.

7. Do voice actors deserve an Oscar category?
From Jason Schwartzman’s turn as Jesper in Klaus to Billy Eichner’s Timon in The Lion King remake, voice actors in animated films are getting more kudos than ever though they never get recognized at the Academy Awards. While these throaty thespians can be nominated in other acting categories, they never do — begging the question, should they get one of their own? Klaus director Sergio Pablos says, “I used to be an animator, and I always believed that animation was a joint effort of the voice actor and animator. I don’t think you could reward one without the other. I think both contribute equally.”

Want to raise your voice on this issue? First, read more about it on Variety


8. Crowdfunding campaign for
Hand Drawn documentary in final days
Upcoming feature-length documentary Hand Drawn will explore the past, present and future of 2D traditional animation — as discussed by the indie and mainstream artists who create it including James Baxter (Klaus, Beauty and the Beast), Tina Nawrocki (Cuphead) Floyd Norman (Sleeping Beauty) and more. It is currently being crowdfunded on Indiegogo, with the campaign set to close on December 7. Hand Drawn’s team is looking to raise another $25,000 to conduct final interviews Japan and the US.

Watch the Hand Drawn Finishing Fund promo above or read more about it on Animation Magazine.

9. WGA West celebrates Rugrats writer David N. Weiss with Animation Award
David N. Weiss, the writer behind Rugrats, Shrek 2, Smurfs and many others is being honoured with WGA West’s 2019 Animation Writers Caucus Animation Writing Award. The prize is recognition for his career and contributions to cartoons. “David N. Weiss has had a stellar writing career in animation that runs the gamut from episodic daytime episodes to prime time series to feature films, and which has included nominations for Emmys and Oscars for the quality of his writing,” Animation Writers Caucus chair Craig Miller said. 

Crawl over to Deadline for more David N. Weiss details.


10. Steve Harvey Stories
animates the star’s life challenges
Media personality Steve Harvey has launched his own animated web series, Steve Harvey Stories, about triumphs and adventures from various times in his life. The toons were brought from Steve to screen by creative duo Joshua Roberts and Chaz Bottoms, who recently worked on the Kickstarter-funded short Battu. Speaking about animating Steve Harvey Stories, Bottoms shares, “You'd always like more time, but thanks to Toon Boom Harmony, we are able to really hone into Josh's great design sensibilities and use his layouts to have a visually compelling show. As we produce more of these, we're learning each other's workflow and we're turning them out pretty quickly now.”

Catch the first episode of Steve Harvey Stories above and read more on Animation World Network.

What Top Animation News were you most excited about this week? Was there something we forgot to mention? Let us know in the comments below!

 

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