googled06bb313055e587a.html Rock N Roll Rehab for the Control Of Rock and Roll Starring Greg Piper and The Tooners: Goodbye Lou

Goodbye Lou

From the L.A. Times obituaries:

Lou Scheimer dies at 84; founder of cartoon studio Filmation

With characters including Superman and Fat Albert, Lou Scheimer's Filmation grew to become a Saturday morning cartoon powerhouse. It held out against overseas production but was criticized for lacking artistry.

When the boss looks this unhappy it's time to look for another career.

 I worked at Filmation back during the He-man and the Masters of the Universe days of the 1980s. Filmation used a technique called "limited animation" which was standard for television animation until Disney TV got into the game in the late 80s. Hanna-Barbera were the kings of TV animation before Filmation but got away using the limited animation style mostly because the design of their characters and backgrounds was so "cartoony". It's a lot more fun to look at a funny drawing that's not moving than it is to watch a "realistic" drawn character that's standing still as a stone.

When I first worked at Filmation they had two shows, Zorro and Tarzan that featured realistic characters and movement, sometimes. They used what they called a stock system. They had filmed real actors in costume doing "stock" actions such as running, jumping, walking, swimming, etc. then rotoscoped the action meaning they traced the film, frame by frame, onto paper to create a very real looking action sequence. These finished scenes were to be used by the animators as often as possible, whenever the action for a scene was appropriate. This technique was also used by us on He-man which meant He-man would do all sort of realistic action but would then freeze for all his close ups and dialog scenes. This contrast probably hurt the overall effect more than helped it since the contrast was so extreme between movement and stillness.

I don't remember anyone at Filmation ever saying anything negative about the boss, Lou Scheimer although he didn't seem very hands on, sort of a ghostly presence in the third floor offices. The only interaction I ever had with him in the five years I worked there was the time I was walking into the building behind him one morning and he let the door slam on me. He quickly apologised, it was just an accident, but that was the only time he ever said a word to me and I think a lot of the other animators had even less interaction.

By the time Filmation was sold to a company that said nothing would change and then closed the place up for good I had been working from home so I wasn't around to see how everyone reacted to losing the only animation jobs in town at that time. A lot of the old timers decided it was time to retire and a lot of the younger people had to find work in other fields. I was lucky in that I already had work animating commercials and that held me over until the "Second Golden Age of Animation" started in the late 80s.

Now that hand drawn animation in this country is a thing of the past (the 20th Century), I kind of wish I had found work in another field back when I was young and starting over was relatively easy. Now it seems impossible.

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