Wednesday, September 18, 2013

'Lumin' into another festival!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Interview in the Spring.

Talked with the website Animation Career Review about CCAD and the animation industry. You can read the whole article here.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Recent Paper Mâché Projects

I haven't posted much this summer. It's been busy. I did manage to work on these two guys over the summer here and there. A 2/3 scale R2D2 and a life sized minion. Happy with how they turned out. I've LOVED paper mâché since I was a kid. Almost always had some project I was working on. Made a lot of paper mâché Millenium Falcons throughout the years. Might have to do another one of those sometime.

My sabbatical is starting soon. Have a large scale animation project I will be working on and also getting back to Capt. Cheeseball, Vol III. Excited for the fall!!!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Article in Animation Career Review about CCAD’s-tom-richner-talks-animation-teaching-and-working-industry

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Award of Excellence from the L.A. Movie Awards

'Lumin' was just recognized by the L.A. Movie Awards with an Award of Excellence.  Though it didn't make it into the screening due to the large amount of entries, we're excited that the film was still honored.  Still good news.  Congrats again to everyone/ all the students involved in the film! 

You can watch the film in its entirety here.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Italian Superman???

His Kryptonite would be Chef Boyardee.  He needs homemade pasta and sauce for his powers to be at full strength. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

One Month Until Man of Steel...

Getting excited for the new Superman movie.  Did a few quick sketches tonight.  Would love to animate some of these and have fun with the character.  Would love to see a quirky looking superman cartoon. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

CCAD Article on Family Guy Talk

Click on the image above to read an article written by CCAD about our recent Family Guy talk at school!!!  The story can also be found below as well (in case the article/ link ever goes away).

     Dominic Bianchi and Mark Hentemann visited CCAD on April 29 and gave students a rare peek behind the curtain, showing what goes into creating a weekly, half-hour, prime-time network television program. The fact that they were hilarious while doing it shouldn’t be a surprise; they are, respectively, the supervising director and head writer/executive producer for Family Guy.

     Like any good comedic act, the duo knew how to warm up their audience, opening with a montage of clips from the popular series. They then went on to detail the creative efforts that go into producing each episode—a process that  takes approximately 13 months, which means that multiple episodes are in varying stages of development at any given time.
Hentemann shows the writers' room, photo by Katlin McNally
Hentemann shows the writers’ room,  photo by Katlin McNally

     It all starts in the writers’ room, where Hentemann and his team collaborate on a script that must be ready for the first table read at the end of the week.

     “That’s when the first version of the script is finalized and all the actors come in,” said Hentemann.  “We get about 60 people in a room at the table read, and we hear a script on its feet. (We call it hearing it on its feet—it’s performed.) We hear how it sounds, get a good sense of what’s working and what’s not.”

     From there the writers will go back and rewrite jokes (aka gags) that didn’t quite work. Hentemann went on to share a few gags that were proposed in the writers’ room but didn’t make the final script—they may not have made it into the show, but they still got laughs from the CCAD audience.
Bianchi talks about the storyboarding process at "Family Guy," photo by Katlin McNally
Bianchi talks about the storyboarding process at “Family Guy,” photo by Katlin McNally

     “Family Guy is storyboard-based show,” Bianchi said as he began to explain the process for dealing with the artwork on the show, which begins as soon as the audio track of the script is recorded.

     “A director and assistant director will have two to three storyboard artists per episode,” said Bianchi. “They’ll take the audio file and listen to it, and go over the script and break it down into different scenes.” The team uses Cintiqs with Toom Boom Storyboard Pro software to begin creating thumbnails of shots for the show, which are then pitched to the supervising director, who makes edits. Bianchi and Hentemann used the episode “Back to the Pilot” (S10, Ep 5) to illustrate this process.

     After more editing and rewriting, the team moves to animatics, which (at their most basic) are animated drafts that include sound. There are more rounds of editing and rewrites. At some point color is introduced, and even after that there are rewrites. During this process they also have to work with standards and practices, the network entity responsible for ensuring that a program’s content doesn’t cross legal, ethical, or moral lines that might result in anything from FCC fines to lawsuits or lost sponsors.
Bianchi shared examples of animatics from "Back to the Pilot" (S10, Ep5), photo by Katlin McNally
Bianchi shared examples of animatics from “Back to the Pilot” (S10, Ep5), photo by Katlin McNally

     Anyone who has watched Family Guy can imagine the conversations between the show’a producers and the network. Hentemann read some particularly funny notes they received from standards, including one that involved the word “kleeman”—a word the writers made up to see if the standards office would tag it. They did. However, when producers noted that the word was not in any dictionary and did not actually exist, the standards office had to concede. Unfortunately, after the episode aired “kleeman” became a popular Google search term. When the writers tried to use it again four months later, they were denied, because several online dictionaries had come up with a definition.

     The last stage of the production process includes final animation, which is done in Korea and can take as long as four months.

     Bianchi and Hentemann ended their presentation with a Q & A that naturally generated questions about how to get a job in their industry. Both men noted that everyone has a different story for how they landed their careers, but Bianchi still offered some advice:

     “No matter where you go, what job you are targeting, if you are at a job that you think will lead to that storyboard job (or whatever it is that you want), if you are PA [production assistant] somewhere, be the best PA, have a good attitude, ask questions, be indispensable at that job.”

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Outstanding Senior Cinematic Arts Student CCAD

Congratulations to another standout senior, Patrick Kain.  Patrick was a CA major, but did a LOT of animation while he was in schools (close to twenty minutes of animation! pretty impressive).  Good luck to Patrick!  Click on the image above for an interview with him.  

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Family Guy Visit to CCAD April 29, 2013

Breakfast in the cafeteria at CCAD.  

On Monday, April 29th, CCAD was pleased to host two members of the creative team behind the hit animated TV series 'Family Guy' on campus.  Mark Hentemann, the executive producer of the show, and Dominic Bianchi, a supervising director, both spent the day on campus talking about their work on the show and interacting with students.  

The day started off at breakfast with the leaders of the Animation Student Collective as well as with the dean of the school of design, Tom Gattis. The ASC is a student formed group which meets once a week to discuss topics in animation, to mentor one another and to listen to guest speakers.  The students had a lot of questions regarding the production of the show, which we learned takes about thirteen months per episode to complete.  They also learned that many of their favorite episodes were either written or directed by Mark and Dominic which lead to some good conversation.  Breakfast lasted for about and hour and a half and the students were really able to have a great talk with them.

At around 11am, we had a presentation in Canzani Auditorium which was open to the public. After a five minute highlight reel of some standout scenes from the show, Mark and Dom walked us through the production process in depth.  They showed pictures from their writing room, talked about how storyboards were produced for the show and discussed the process of writing gags. When the writers get stuck on a cut away gag, they usually send a group off to another room to brainstorm five or six options for that gag.  After a while, the writers come back to pitch their ideas to the room.  Mark read off a list of jokes that didn't quite make it into the show, but still left the auditorium in stitches.  Mark also discussed Standards and Practices, the process by which the network gives shows notes on gags that need to be revised or taken out of the show.  Some of the examples were quite funny.  In one instance, the writers actually made up a word that sounded vulgar ('clemin'), but had no meaning whatsoever.  Standards actually called for that gag to be removed.  After explaining that the word was fake, they allowed the joke to air.  However, on a later episode they decided to bring the word back.   By this time, someone had actually came up with a definition for this fake word on the online Urban Dictionay website and the joke was flagged again.  

Talk in Canzani Auditorium.  
In the afternoon, Mark and Dom visited an animation class.  Dom drew some of the characters and talked about the importance of meeting deadlines and drawing clear but not necessarily clean, something that we talk about as well in our animation classes.  As an artist, you don't want to spend a lot of time on a drawing that most likely will get revised.  Define the shapes and make the expressions clear, but don't spend too much time on it.  Knowing when a drawing is finished is something that takes time to learn as well.  We screened our student film 'Lumin' for them and they were very impressed with the quality that the students were able to achieve in this film especially given that they started and finished it in one semester.  'Lumin' has currently screened in about five festivals around the world and has also won a Telly Award.  

Mark and Dominic spent a lot of time talking with the students throughout the day and were very approachable during their entire visit to campus.  Everyone at CCAD was extremely happy to have them there for the day.   They were both very complimentary of our students' work and the resources available to them here at school.  The fact that they both took the time out of their busy schedules to come visit Columbus and spend the day with us at school really demonstrated the quality of their character.  They passed along a lot of very valuable information to our students.  These types of visits are things that students remember for a long time after they graduate. We work hard at CCAD to bring as many professionals to campus as we can.  Mark and Dom also commented numerous times throughout the day that they remember quite vividly being in the same shoes as our students not to long ago.  This was a big part of why they wanted to come to campus and interact with our students, remembering back to when they were in school and professionals came to talk to them.

Once again, a HUGE special thanks to Mark Hentemann and Dominic Bianchi for being so giving of their time and for sharing their experiences with us at CCAD! 

Outstanding Senior Animation Student CCAD

Congratulations to Tyler Crowley on his nomination for Outstanding Senior Animation student at CCAD this year.  Click on the image above for the whole story.  

Friday, April 26, 2013

CCAD Announces Partnership with Toonboom

Today, Toonboom honored CCAD as the first college that it has partnered with in North America.  Click on the image below for the complete article.  

Saturday, April 20, 2013

'Lumin' Screening at the Wexner Center Tonight!!!

Congrats again to the students in my Advanced Time Based Projects class last semester!  The film they created, 'Lumin' is screening tonight at the Wexner Center in Columbus, Ohio.  This is the first screening of the film in the U.S.!!!  Can't wait to see it with a large audience!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Animation Career Review Interview

I recently talked with Bonnie Boglioli from the Animation Career Review website about our animation program at CCAD.  As is usually the case when articles get published, things are paraphrased and edited.  I talked a lot more about our faculty at CCAD (including Charlotte Belland, Tracy Robbins, Andy Friz, Patrick Kenney and Mark Fitzpatrick) You can read the entire article here.  

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


CCAD posted a nice article on 'Lumin' this week.  You can read the article here.  Congrats again to my fantastic class!  To date, the film has been accepted into two overseas film festivals, one in Leeds, England and the Chilemonos International Animation Festival.  

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Recent Interview

Friday, February 22, 2013

Almost March 2013!!!

Wow.  Time is flying by.  I stepped in as the acting chair of the Animation Department at CCAD this spring and it is a busy time right now at school.  However, its also an exciting time to be here at CCAD.  Enjoying the semester so far.  We have a LOT of talented seniors this year.  Its been a pleasure to work with them over the past few years.  We will miss them as they graduate this May.  I know that many of them will be working in the industry soon after graduation.  

We're ESPECIALLY excited about some films that the students have collectively been working on this year at CCAD.  The first is called 'Lumin', which we are currently releasing to film festivals.  This is a nearly five minute traditionally animated film about a boy who is chased by monsters that are trying to steal... his light.  The film was completed in the space of one semester and employed the talents of about 18 artists/ students.  We're also excited about a second student film that is being produced this semester entitled 'Aria'.  This film, also primarily a 2D production, is story about a mystical harp that holds the power to alter the natural order of nature and the consequences that come along to the man that controls this power.  Both of these films were produced within the Advanced Time Based Projects class.  We're looking forward to continuing this practice over the coming years and producing higher and higher quality films with each attempt.  The students who worked on these films this year have set the bar pretty high!  Congrats to everyone who participated in the production of both of these films and we look forward to seeing them do well on the festival circuits! 


Sunday, January 6, 2013

First Post of 2013!

Wow!!! 2013 sounds like the future.  Thought we'd have flying cars and be able to beam up to our spaceships by now.  No manned flights to Jupiter yet.  Guess science is still a little behind Hollywood in many areas.  But, we'll get there.  

Just got back from a week in Arizona.  Saw Sedona, the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley (see image) and a lot of other sites.  Really inspirational to see such amazing views.  

Lots of plans for 2013.  Another volume of Captain Cheeseball will get underway soon (as soon as I finish remodeling our TV room), a final reworking of the story for my animated film (new storyboard will be done by this summer so I can begin production) and a possible larger scale animated film project for Cap City Studios early this year.  Plus, stepping in as acting chair for the animation department at CCAD this semester as Charlotte Belland takes a well deserved sabbatical.  Looking forward to my own sabbatical this coming fall.  

2013 should be a wonderful year!  Feeling very energized creatively over the past year.  Excited to dive back into my art in 2013!!!