Reflections on 2004
This past year brought the Flash TV animation world it’s first Annie nomination for best animated show (Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends). And if I was a betting man, I’d wager that 2005 brings a slew of milestones far more impressive than that.
My closing thought for this year centers on a quote from Foster’s Craig McCracken, who said the following in an August 2004 LA Times interview….
“I’ve given up a lot of drawing, but I brought more animation back to the cartoon,” McCracken says. “And now part of the humor of the show comes from how stuff is moving — which in a typical overseas production you would normally never even dream about. Just how a character walks can evoke so much personality, and nine times out of 10 in a hand-drawn overseas production you never know if they’re going to be walking the same way one show to the next.”
Craig summed it up almost perfectly. Flash, when used properly, somehow removes drawings while adding personality, humor, consistency and, as in the case of ‘Fosters’ – beauty.
Now, Craig, the ‘Powerpuff Girls’ creator, hastily puts the foreign studios out to pasture, but it’s hard to imagine the future of US Flash TV animation without overseas partners. Only the most endowed budgets will have the luxury of keeping the entirety of a show’s animation work stateside, but Craig’s point holds nonetheless. Flash is changing the TV animation landscape, and not according to script. Macromedia’s vector production suite was supposed to deliver new budgetary lows, but instead faster retakes, better acting and higher quality emerged as top-line benefits, thanks to Craig and his crew over at Cartoon Network.
And with that – mush! Onward to 2005!