Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Sony for Sale: Bad News for Me

Does anybody have any extra cash laying around???
LOS ANGELES, Oct. 30 — Sony Pictures Entertainment is considering selling half of its fledgling animation studio, maker of the films “Surf’s Up” and “Open Season,” and even more of its thriving 15-year-old digital visual-effects company, which pioneered computer-generated imaging techniques in films like “Stuart Little,” “The Polar Express” and the “Spider-Man” movies.

Sony Pictures, a unit of the Sony Corporation, has hired the investment bank Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin to assess the value of the two divisions. An outright sale of both, which is possible, could bring around $500 million, according to people involved in the discussions.

All told, Sony has invested more than $400 million in the animation and effects businesses over the years.

One person involved in the talks, who spoke anonymously because the matter is still at an early stage, said the company intended to sell no more than a 50 percent stake in the five-year-old Sony Pictures Animation, which had modest success with “Open Season” last year.

The studio does not have an animated feature scheduled until “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” in March 2009 and “Hotel Transylvania” six months later.

A sale of the animation business would resemble a slate financing deal, in which a studio sells a stake in a fixed number of movies, except it would be open-ended, the person said.

The person said Sony planned to retain at least some interest in its special-effects company, Sony Pictures Imageworks. Though Imageworks is a lower-margin business, it makes the animation studio far more cost-effective.

Imageworks — which handles special effects for Sony live-action films and films from rival movie studios — generates work for hundreds of Sony animation workers between feature films, times when they would otherwise have to be laid off. Saving money on downsizing and ramping up between animated films means those films can be made at two-thirds the cost of films by rivals like Pixar and DreamWorks Animation, the company says.

Potential buyers of Imageworks, people involved in the talks said, include investors who believe the company could expand by getting into the production of computer games and television advertisements, which rely heavily on the kinds of effects the company has become known for. But Sony is likely to seek one transaction with an investor in both Imageworks and the animation side, given the degree to which the two businesses are intertwined.

Not included in the sale discussions is Sony Online Entertainment, the maker of multiplayer interactive computer games like Everquest.

In a statement, a Sony Pictures spokesman, Jim Kennedy, said the company was “open to exploring equity partnerships, and it’s no surprise that there is market interest in our visual effects and animation businesses,” but stressed that “we continue to maintain a strong commitment to making animated movies going forward.”

Imageworks, which now rivals George Lucas’s Industrial Light and Magic and Peter Jackson’s Weta Digital as one of the biggest effects houses, has been expanding lately. It bought 50 percent of what now is Imageworks India, where it employs about 85 workers, and is to open a new plant in Albuquerque next year.

What became Imageworks began at Sony Pictures in 1992 with five people using computers to help plan complicated live-action scenes — a practice that has since become known as previsualization. It quickly became an in-house special-effects shop with credits on Sony movies like “In the Line of Fire” (1993) and other studios’ films like 20th Century Fox’s “Speed” (1994).

In April, Sony Pictures signed a three-year deal with Aardman Animations, a British studio known for the “Wallace & Gromit” films. That deal would not be affected by a sale.

David M. Halbfinger reported from Los Angeles and Andrew Ross Sorkin from New York.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Let Marty Speak the Truth!


I am not Tom, nor am I Patty. Which is a great relief to Tom, ya betcha sure! I am Dok. But I could not post immediately as such, due to some problem with internet tubes and trucks no doubt.

The image above may only mean something to Mr. Ellis. I wonder if he can remember the name of the three characters featured? "Asylum" was a cabinet type video game that we both worked on about 167 years ago. Back when pixels were as big as your thumb and only came in 8 colors.

But all that means nothing. Dust in the winds my friends. "The Earth is Hard and the Heavens Far", as they say in Central Asia. Here in my head they say, "Eh" instead.

Instead... ah. Yes. Instead.. I'd like to give forum to Marty's idea about a TAG table at the next Con. I like that idea tons.


Sloppy Style

A timeless look.

Friday, October 26, 2007

From My W.I.P. Comic

So Ellis, each of these two pictures is exactly 6x9 now. If I have Lulu print them, do I need to center the images differently such that the inner borders are a bit thicker to account for some image being cut off by the binding? Or does that depend on if you are getting perfect binding vs. just staples down the center? And what about bleed around the other edges? Do they want that included in the picture as well? I just don't know the rules for this post-computer-printing revolution stuff.

Table Read Sketches

Did these whilst being entertained by the table readers.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


So a very brief ad has aired during the playoffs (and I think during the first Series game) that appears to be linked to 1-18-08/Cloverfield/Slusho thing. It is a human face that sort of morphs into some kind of machine face and then it shows the all important date. I think there was some sort of tag line as well, but I don't recall what it is. What does it mean? I dunno...

Has anyone else seen this ad?

Go Sox!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Monday, October 22, 2007

Cintiq Sketch Pad

The title is a link to this news coming from Wacom. Just the past weekend I'm joking if they come down 1500 bucks I'll want a cintiq. This might make that price. Speculation is this might sell for 750 to 1500.

I could budget that.

Found another page with a price extimate. About 1600 bucks they think. And a little time to save for it since it releases in November in England, not the States.


on another note

Anyone interested in a mini cintiq? You can turn a DS lite into a little thumbnail sketch pad. Total cost about two hundred bucks. Echoform (Yongwoo) at work is using his to do some cool stuff.

Go to my blog and from there to his Blog to see some of his "floaties" he did with the DS lite.

Here's the link he supplied me for getting everything one needs...

DS Lite Sketch Pad

Well, I just looked at that page. This is for the card you need to make it a sketchpad. I'll make sure I'm clear on what you need on that page by Tuesday.

Space Wolf

You guys okay down there?

How's everyone doing down there? Does anyone need a place to hang their hat while waiting out the fires?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Gore Hole, Now Available

Click the Title to take you to the preview / order page.

70 pages. Almost no text. The photos on back just have dates. You can read what little descriptive text there is in the DESCRIPTION. I thought the text here in the last page, shown in this post, would be enough. Now someone has to do a Gore Hole post to the Blog that describes TAG and gives copius details about the group.

I've already ordered two. Unlike my book, it has no profit. So it's 5 bucks and change. But they get you on shipping.

Check it out. It will be 6 by 9. I liked the format so much when I saw mine I felt it would be perfect for sharpening up our little Jams.


I thought I'd add, the above is not the back cover. It's the last page. The back cover has the picture from '91 of all of us at the Con. Then the picture across the street from the Con in 2006. Then the pictuure at Tom Moon's spaghetti dinner in 2007

Friday, October 19, 2007

LuLu Rocks

Just got my Sketchbook from Lulu. I was very prepared to be disappointed. Man, it came out slick. Maybe it's the cream color paper stock. It's just no longer a bunch of kinko bound laser printed sheets. It's a honest to gosh book. I'm very pleased.

My enthusiasm will take me far this weekend into completing a lot of work on the Tag Jam book.

We'll need a full color back cover. Any favorites come to mind. Go Tell The Homo Vikings? Destroy All Monsters? Nightmare on Sesame Street? GOSH? UltraDog vs CornDog? Please Lord, Let Me Die a Woman? The Day Dave's Head Caught Fire!?

Lots of good stuff.

The second image is a painting/drawing I whipped up in my OTIS concept art class. Using the cintiq. I might buy one of those when they come down in price about 1500 bucks.

I got rid of the art rage painting. I discovered while looking for tag photos that I had posted it before.

Read comments for Tag sketchbook updates

Wedding Bells

So...Rick suggested I should break the big news here on this board and I concur with his suggestion. I will soon be married to my girlfriend of four years, Hiromi Saitoh. I met her when I was in San Diego working on EQ and she was in Irvine attending an English as a Second Language school. We met through an internet pen pals website. We exchanged emails for a week or two and then I drove to Irvine one Saturday to meet her in person. Our first date consisted of lunch at Claim Jumper and then "Finding Nemo" at the Irvine Spectrum. I knew I had someone special when I looked next to me and saw her totally captivated by those animated fish - she had the world's biggest smile. The following summer, I found myself visiting her homeland, Japan. I'll never forget walking in the rain to the Studio Ghibli museum, having Mongolian barbecue on the rooftop in Ginza and seeing the Japanese countryside with Romi and her friends. I celebrated my 34th birthday holding her hand watching the sun rise on the summit of Mt. Fuji. She was able to show me a world I would have never been able to enter any other way and has enriched my existence completely. She is my best friend and continually surprises me with her upbeat attitude and sweetly innocent perspective on life. So, after Thanksgiving, I will be flying down to L.A. to pick her up so we can start our new life together.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


I just wanted to give you guys a heads up that Jeff Jonas' wife, Barbara Jonas, passed away yesterday after a long fight with cancer. I don't have any contact info for Jeff right now as he has gone to Barbara's home town for the services. I will let you know more when I have more info to give.

Barbara was a bright soul and she will be missed. Please keep Barbara and Jeff in your thoughts and prayers.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Steam Trek

Kinda longish... but great production values!

Vader Blues

Sunday, October 14, 2007

GoreHole in Color

Here's my color pass for the cover of Gore Hole. Blogger didn't seem to care for the TIF file, so it's a JPG.
Take it away Ellis!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

S.o.S - Son of Sasquatch

Who knew Bigfoot had such a superheroic paternal streak? I never saw this when I was a kid. I'm sure I would have loved it though.

Friday, October 12, 2007

More tablety goodness

I finished this a few days ago but I wanted Tom and Ellis to bask in their achievements for a while before taking the top spot on the blog.

I'm kinda happy with the way this turned out... it has a level of polish that I'm usually too impatient to achieve.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Song I Co-wrote is #1 on the IAC Dance Chart ... ;-)

Bill Me Later is now the #1 Dance song on the IAC Internet music hub, (which also makes it #26 on the overall station chart).

I developed the lyric for the song and coordinated having Thomas Bromhead, a fabulous voice over artist, record it so it sounds like George W. Bush is delivering it. After, the music was written and recorded by Maya Topolovac and Stefan Kolevski. Based in London, England, Maya and Stefan are outstanding trance composers. You can hear Bill Me Later by clicking on the Myspace page for "I Survived The Bush Administration..." The song is the lead track that plays when you click on the link. And if you want, you can stay to listen to the other completed tracks as well ...

I know this isn't visual art, but as Victor Hugo said, "Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and cannot remain silent."

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Color This Rick

Rick. Do this in photoshop with a color overlay. Then Publish the color overlay seperate on the Blog and I'll take it, make it 300 dpi (since it's just a color overlay , you can blog it at a low dpi ) place it over the high rez tif and that will be the cover. Also post on the Blog the flat jpeg version with the line work to show everybody a preview.

We have 58! of these JAMS! so that's a good head start on the book. To fill it out to 100, I'll cull a ton of our TAG Bllog posts and add those as content.

It'll be dandy.

8th Man (U.S. and Japan versions) Another Blast from the past.

Ralph Bakshi did the US version

IDLE HANDS self (LULU) Published sketchbook now Available

My book of random sketches produced in those not so busy times while hard at work. Now available from the genius company, publisher LULU.

Thanks for all the encouragement echoform.

The next one will be more impressive. More storytelling, better sketches.

Click link to preview the first few pages.

( )

LuLu. First self publishing effort now available

LuLu Book can now be previewed.

Click on the title to go to the LuLu website and preview the first couple of pages.

They make it very easy.

First of many to come.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Jeff Bridges on Corolla Show

Selling SURF's UP.
Unfortunately Tom Arnold is also on the show and chimes in at will.
Click on title to find the stream.
Corolla is funny by the way

Monday, October 08, 2007

Surlybird on the move!

After his triumphant stay at the Schultz compound, Surlybird and his best friend in the world meet up with the Rickart family at a Northern California Cartoonist society BBQ in the North Bay area. We had a great visit with our splendid host, Michael Jantze ( ), his lovely wife and kids, and all of his other guests. After that we returned to our more modest dwelling on the peninsula where Surly and Co. spent the night.

Thanks for the visit! It was great fun… lets do it again real soon… perhaps up in Seattle!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Red Zombie

done with free Art Rage

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Art Rage 2

So I have picked up Art Rage 2 and this is the first thing I've done with it... It's pretty fun! I've been wanting to do some painting and this lets me do it without all that mess! It seems to be way more intuitive than Painter and its really cheap... only $25 bucks!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Got my other Blog to see something Really Cool

Found an old comic book that as I say has haunted me for years.
The title is a link to the entry

The phone number on the doodle put me in touch with Steve LeClare of Comics Ink that put all the puzzle pieces together

go here to see the entire comic...I hope I don't win the Ebay auction now.

Hip Hip Hooray for Scott Shaw. A guy that I bet could answer your question Tom

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

First Tom C Flash 8 Animation ... (Warning: Liberal Content)

Many of you know I wrote about eight liberal songs as part of a musical variety revue called "I Survived The Bush Administration ..." Well, the songs are doing very, very well on the IAC Internet music network (a #6, a #7, two other Top 20s, etc.) and also great on MySpace .... This prompted me to try out YouTube (never had done anything with it before) and Revver (never even heard of that one ... I'm not putting the actual video on the blog, but I've attached a link to the video on Revver ... Let me know what you think. I learned a lot about lip syncing in Flash 8. Hadn't done that since using Magpie to sync up the vocals for the characters in Goosbumps: Return of the Mutant" at BlueSky Software in the mid-90s.

So, have fun. In case the link doesn't work, here it is here in the body of the post:

I Am Complete-The Monster of Dread End


Back story. I was on a rare outing on my Dad's out of state "route" that took him from Oklahoma City to Wichita Falls Texas. I was about Nine and the only reason we were there is Westinghouse Elevators underwrote putting me, Mom, and baby brother Russell in a Motel while my Dad crunched on final installation and adjustment of an Elevator job.

That dusty, isolated Texas Motel was the center of the Universe for about a week. I did a lot of swimming in the dinky pool. And I also bought comic books. I'm sure I bought more than one, but I only remember this one. Because it was the creepiest, weirdest, scariest thing I had ever read. It has haunted me ever since. I don't think it even made the trip back home. My only memory of reading it was at the motel.

My additional impression was the comic was an odd never before seen publisher. And up until the past weekend I have never reconstructed who the publisher was or the title of the comic. It turns out I just wasn't man of the world enough at nine to know about Dell comics. Later I was sure it couldn't have been one of those friendly Dell comics I regularly saw on the stands.

So it was a lost, unreconstructible bit of trivia. Not enough data to track it down. Until I asked the fellow at Comics Ink if he knew of such a story. I described it as a "tentacle" that comes out of a manhole...He stops me right there. Saying that happens to be the owner of the stores favorite story. Call him later in the week. Today I learned the title, Ghost Stories Issue #1, THE MONSTER OF DREAD END published by Dell, written by John Stanley, famous for ....LITTLE LULU stories! .... and before an hour had passed, I had a nice bid for a copy on EBAY.

Then I find the story nicely detailed in the link above on Comic Book Resources by Scott Shaw, who also pronounces it, the scariest comic he has ever read. Great justification for my personal haunting.

How about that. I am now complete in a strange and hideously nerdy way. Even if I lose the Ebay bidding. (20 bucks max)


I now own TWO copies of the issue. Got for under 9 bucks.

Monday, October 01, 2007

I got it!

So I finally got my new computer! It's a Gateway "convertible" tablet and I did this drawing on it. It's pretty darn cool and fun to use. It's like a laptop with a cintiq build into it... all for the cost of a cintiq alone!

Sasquatch Attack

From "Shriek of the Mutilated"

More Strangeness from Japan

I remember seeing this album at one of the music shops while I was in Japan. Glad I didn't buy it. This is too weird .......even for a hardcore like me.

James Gurney Blog

James Gurney of Dinotopia fame has a blog!!

Gurney Journey

Gallery for NSS Space Settlement 2008 Art Contest

The Gallery

For Jeff

two photos composited. Both photos taken with a flash as my head is shaking back and forth.

By renowned sick and twisted animator greg ecklund