Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Too Afraid of Failure to Progress

I have come upon the exact same problem again. I research, take notes, procrastinate, become lazy... I do all of this to avoid the risky business of doing the work. To do the work, whether it be writing or drawing, is to make my statement and send it out into the cruel world, where it is vulnerable to criticism, discouragement, failure...

It comes with life. Why do I constantly have to go in a circle and suddenly re-realize this? No matter what I do, the answer is the same: do the damn work!

Put your art out there, reveal yourself, fail, get criticized, and then do better next time. I keep researching techniques and keep off working in order to gain "life experience." What I've been forgetting is that "experience" is not just (for lack of a better word) limited to life. In fact, for an artist of any sort, a crucial bit of experience needed is the experience of having created.

Here are a few rough sketches for two separate projects that I'll be putting more effort into each tomorrow. The procrastinating, though, must stop today...

This is a rough building sketch for an Avatar fan project I'm working on with another artist.

This is for a punk rock band manga project I'm working on with a friend at school.

Thank you, John Kricfalusi for inspiring this [recurring] epiphany. Your blog is much appreciated.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tara Strong's "Drawn Together" Interviews

Research is going slowly, but I at least want you to see where this whole obsession came from. Drawn Together is probably the worst show of this decade, a complete exercise in shock and repulsion. After watching these sickening interviews, you'll have second thoughts about Tara Strong's artistic and intellectual credibility. Now, for the most part, I'd say it's unfair to blame voice actors/actresses for their lack of artistic credibility. I mean, it does start with the writing, and most of these people just work with what's given to them. In Strong's case, though, its just pure ignorance and idiocy.

I'll save the actual writing for the essay, but these interviews will serve as source reference, so here they are for you to say:

Drawn Together: Voice Actor Interviews - Tara Strong (Princess Clara)

Drawn Together: Voice Actor Interviews - Tara Strong (Toot)

...how can she stand Toot's voice?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Tara Strong, My Sexy Sadie

"Sexy Sadie, she's the latest and the greatest of them all."

For a long, long time, I always thought I was an extremely jealous boy. And while, in fact, there was a time when that was exclusively true, my recent streams of jealousy have been concentrated to a specific category of people: those with wasted potential. This definitely explains my Avatar: the Last Airbender opposition (which still goes on), because that show could have been the greatest thing on television, but poor execution turned it sour.

And thus, here I am, hypercritical now of voice actress Tara Strong. I used to love her so much for her amazing ability to alter her voice. What child wouldn't? Now, I find her career to have been an almost completely shallow dry run.

On a side note I'll admit I was furious when I hit puberty and my vocal stretched, forever limiting my vocal range. I am not so sour now--in fact, I am even more grateful for the angelic voices of such greats as Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, even Bob Dylan. But with Strong, my anger burns because, unlike the previously listed names, she doesn't channel her amazing abilities into any worthwhile project.

Anyway, I'll save the full critique for the actual essay, but I'll say one last thing:

My respect for Tara Strong vanished after Drawn Together; this former idol of mine is the official "Sexy Sadie" on my life. I'm actually lucky, too, because, unlike John Lennon with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, I don't new Mrs. Strong personally.

"Sexy Sadie" - The Beatles

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Technical Definition of Art

I guess when you really, really look at it, art is essentially the unique presentation of one or more ideas by means of a particular medium (e.g. paintings).

And if that is so, then the creative process is the process in which the artist finds unique ways to present his/her ideas through the strengths and limitations of the chosen medium; the strongest ideas (in the artist's eyes) make it all the way to the final product. As a filmmaker/animator, what I badly need, as Michael Barrier stated was missing in the post-Fritz the Cat projects of Ralph Bakshi's career, is "the artistic discipline required to bring those ideas to the screen in coherent form."

Inevitably, in most cases, personality plays a large part in which ideas are chosen in the first place, let alone how they are presented. In my case, for my new project I'm working on with a friend, my own struggles between living out existentialism or nihilism greatly informs the bulk of the story, in which two characters have actually become perfect manifestations of the two opposing philosophies.

This definition largely derives from Richard Boleslavsky's analogy, in his book Acting: the First Six Lessons, of dramatic action as a tree:

"Look at that tree. It is the protagonist of all arts; it is an ideal structure of action. Upward movement and sideway resistance, balance and growth...

"...Look at the trunk straight, proportioned, harmonious with the rest of the tree, supporting every part of it. It is the leading strain; "Leitmotif" in music; a director's idea of action in a play; the architect's foundation; the poet's thought in a sonnet...

"...[A director expresses that action in a play] Through interpretation of the play, and through
ingenious combinations of smaller, secondary, or complementary
actions that will secure that interpretation...

"...[I would expect an actor] To comply with nature's law of action, the threefold law you can see expressed in that tree. First, the main trunk, the idea, the reason. On the stage it comes from the director. Second, the branches, elements of the idea, particles of reason. That comes from the actor. Third, the foliage, the result of the previous two, the brilliant presentation of idea, the bright conclusion of reasoning...

"...[The author] is the sap that flows and feeds the whole" (Boleslavsky 56-57).

I highly recommend anyone interested in any aspect of theatre, film, or animation read Boleslavsky's book. It's downloadable for free at achives.org.

Barrier, Michael. "Funnyworld Revisited: A Bakshi Glance." michaelbarrier.com. April 4, 2004, revised May 9, 2004.

Boleslavsky, Richard. Acting: the First Six Lessons. New York: Theatre Arts Books, 1993. Print.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Jean-Paul "Bluey" Maunick Interview

Jean-Paul "Bluey" Maunick founded and continues to lead the acid jazz band Incognito, one of the best bands of its kind and one of my personal favorite groups. The band, created in 1979, is probably best known for the tracks "Deep Waters," "Still a Friend of Mine," and "Always There," though I think my all-time favorites are "Positivity," "Yesterday's Dreams," "True to Myself," and "Chase the Clouds Away" among many, many others.

It pretty inspiring to me that Maunick composes the bulk of Incognito's music considering he plays only a small amount of the guitar featured (when there is guitar, anyway). He pretty much writes the songs as showcases for everyone else's talents, not in the least bits great singers like Maysa Leak and Imaani. His love for music always shines through in his groovy beats and smooth melodies.

But enough silly commercial talk. Grab an Incognito CD and listen for yourself.

Here are the parts to the interview:

Jean-Paul "Bluey" Maunick - Part One

Jean-Paul "Bluey" Maunick - Part Two

Jean-Paul "Bluey" Maunick - Part Three

Jean-Paul "Bluey" Maunick - Part Four

Jean-Paul "Bluey" Maunick - Part Five

Jean-Paul "Bluey" Maunick - Part Six

Jean-Paul "Bluey" Maunick - Part Seven

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Posts for the Future

This is kind of a cop-out post, but I suppose it's better than nothing. Basically, these are some entries I definitely plan to post in the future:

A Tribute to the Nostalgia Critic - Doug Walker as the Nostalgia Critic has become one of my new top comedy acts in recent times, and I'd like to formally review and thank him.

What's Wrong with Tara Strong? - An examination of Tara Strong, a voice actress I once idolized, and her career, which I believe has, artistically, gotten nowhere, reaching an all-time low with the horrid Drawn Together.

Pixar's Nihilism, or When Random Equals Entertainment - Really just a response to Prof. Thomas Hibbs' writing on nihilism and pop culture, and how it just may apply to Pixar's latest films, among other movies.

Artistic Progress as Demonstrated by the Beatles - There's no way around the fact that the Beatles were the greatest band in the world, and rightly so. Their career is the perfect role model for the development and experimentation of true artists.

Of course, I still intend to post at least once a day, and obviously I can't produce a solid, in-depth entry like any of those I proposed in just a day. The interim will be filled with hopefully useful or entertaining things. Here's looking to the future once again!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Back from School Retreat; Feeling Great

I just got back from one of the best experiences of my life. Our school retreat is something I can't talk about much here (it's between us brothers), but I can say that my mind has cleared and become enlightened. I certainly want to make new changes. For example, I have recognized my porn addiction and am taken the steps to control it. Also, I may have ADD, and will take special measures to assure that I don't lose track of everything as I did before. Now my grandmother, a professional nurse, is sure I do not have ADD, because she's dealt with much worse cases. Fair enough, and I trust her, and these special measures can aid my general forgetfulness anyway.

There's too much I need to write about, and I will never find time to write unless I'm writing constantly. That's fine by me.

As for life and everything else, it's all about getting closer to God and to others, whether it be through art or real life interaction. Let's hope it's more of the latter, and let's hope I find a better name for it.