August 12, 2008
We love our Lego around here, and when it's moving around, all the better. So we're happy to pass on this bit of news about the upcoming Nicktoons Network Animation Festival, which is happening this October in Los Angeles. Nickelodeon is specifically looking for stop-mo shorts using Lego bricks and minifigs, no more than two minutes long.

The contest is open to just about anyone who isn't living in a country on the U.S.'s "ain't no friend of mine" list, so Cuban animators will have to look elsewhere. Peep the rules and regulations, and find out how you can win $25,000 to create a new Lego short for Nick. Don't forget to read all the fine print so you don't have any surprises when it comes to rights. The final due date is September 15, so get to it, blockheads!

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August 1, 2007
Flickr user [Soren] is frighteningly talented. Check out his awesome photostream featuring his Lego creations, many of which are shockingly faithful recreations of existing anime mecha (check out his many Gundam mecha like the Zaku II F2 pictured at left, or his Fuchikoma from Ghost in the Shell) or anime-inspired pieces (like these li'l cuties). If you're lucky, the one you're drooling over will be one of the several in which he includes instructions—so now the hard part is getting all the pieces.

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January 23, 2007
First the Lego catbus; now we reach back to one of Miyazaki's first features. An enterprising fan has created an Ohmu from Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind out of Lego, complete with feelers. As you can see in this image, the Ohmu is healing an injured Nausicaä. Far too cool.

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April 30, 2006
Need I say more?

Didn't think so.

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November 25, 2005
The Montreal stop for RESfest begins today and continues through Sunday. Get the schedule here. If you love short films, you'll want to be there. It includes films of all types, including a healthy serving of animation. Tonight: a special presentation with director Michel Gondry, and screens the world premiere of his version of Kanye West's new video, Heard 'Em Say, which was pulled by MTV. See Bill Plympton's version of the video. Gondry is no slouch when it comes to animation. He directed the fantastic stop-mo Lego music video, Fell in Love With a Girl, for the White Stripes and Walkie Talkie Man for Steriogram.

Here's the complete program for RESfest's last stop.

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November 10, 2005
The PDF magazine Brickjournal is a must-read for Lego freaks (like, er, me) but the recently released second issue has got a special treat for animation fans. Nearly a quarter of the magazine is devoted to building mecha out of our favourite plastic bricks. I was particularly interested in Adam Silcott's article explaining the importance of proper joint construction, especially as it appears to be the first in the series.

Budding stop-motion animators can use these articles as a great starting point in building their own armatures using relatively inexpensive materials. Beginning CG animators can also learn some lessons on realistic skeleton construction. And everyone can see the benefits of strong poses and silhouettes.

Time for me to get the bricks out.


April 12, 2005
You may have guessed that I'm the kind of person who endlessly nitpicks when people say that something is a first. You'd be quite right; people often claim firsts either through ignorance or deliberate omission, and these things get passed on as fact for years after. Since I believe in giving credit where credit is due, I see it almost as a duty.

It especially galls me when marketing copy (usually in the form of a press release) claims that something is a first when I know otherwise. It means that the people involved in the process aren't up on the history of their field or that they want to rewrite that history for their immediate or long-term benefit. The first is more likely than the second, but both are reprehensible.

The latest is an article from The Movie, describing a Star Wars mini-movie due to air on Cartoon Network shortly before the release of Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Titled Revenge of the Brick, it's a short Star Wars movie with CGI Lego bricks. (I assume this information came from a press release, but there's no such release on the websites for Cartoon Network, Lucasfilm, or Lego).

Here's the phrase that bugs me: "The LEGO Company and Lucasfilm are teaming up to celebrate Episode III with this one-of-a-kind computer-animated special that combines all the action of Star Wars with the imagination and fun of LEGO bricks."

I emphasized "one-of-a-kind" because, er, it's not. Last year, the short Batman: New Times (spotlighted recently in our weekly newsletter) did exactly the same thing. It's also not the first time Star Wars figures have been animated with Lego. If you check the Screening Room link on the Lego Star Wars homepage, you'll find plenty of animated Star Wars Lego—though, unfortunately, not the short they used to promote the release of the Dark Forces line five years ago, in which they recreated the battle on Hoth shot by shot.

So this new special is certainly not a first. And it's an insult to the hard work of earlier creators to say that it is.


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