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Norm Ferguson: William Norman “Norm” Ferguson (September 2, 1902 – November 4, 1957) was an animator for Walt Disney Studios and a central contributor to the studio’s stylistic development in the 1930s. He is most frequently noted for his contribution to the creation of Pluto, one of the studio’s best-known and most enduring characters, and is the artist most closely associated with that character.

Ferguson, known at the studio as “Norm” or “Fergy”, was also the primary animator of the witch in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the first in a long line of great Disney feature villains. He was also a sequence director on the film. After starting at the studio in 1929 as a cameraman, Ferguson switched to the animation department and rose rapidly, despite a lack of formal art training. His early animation of the dog who would become Pluto drew strong response at the studio and on-screen for giving the character a personality and apparent inner life that was considered a great step forward for the young art form of animation. Animators Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston paid extensive tribute to Ferguson’s work in their 1981 book Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life, calling his famous “flypaper sequence” from the 1934 short Playful Pluto- in which the dog is stuck to a piece of flypaper- a “milestone in personality animation…through it all, his reaction to his predicament and his thoughts of what to try next are shared with the audience. It was the first time a character seemed to be thinking on the screen, and, though it lasted only 65 seconds, it opened the way for animation of real characters with real problems.” Continue Reading ›

Schoology at Walter Reed

Schoology has come to Walter Reed.

The LAUSD is in the process of adopting a Learning Management System (LMS) called Schoology at all middle schools and high schools starting this Fall. Students will be able to use schoology to view assignments, access resources and materials, and view grades and due dates. Open up the full post to see what you’ll need to do to start using Schoology.

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The Story of the Animated Drawing (1955)

Notes on The Story of the Animated Drawing (1955):

On Thursday (8/31/17) we will watch an episode of the 1950s television show, Disneyland. The ABC Television network was an early investor in the construction of the Anaheim amusement park; along with that funding ABC got Disney to produce and host a weekly show that highlighted different aspects of the park in addition to other subjects pertaining to the studio. This particular episode is a concise and well illustrated overview of the early history of animation.

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2017-2018 School Year Guide

Welcome back to another school year!

I hope you had a great summer. I spent my summer vacation doing seven (!) weeks of jury duty. :(

My classes this year have been assigned an interesting title on your program cards and on Schoology: CAREER AWARE A: TERM AF.

The actual course titles and periods are right here:

  • Period 1: Cartooning & Animation
  • Period 3: Architecture & Design
  • Period 4: Cartooning & Animation
  • Period 5: Cartooning & Animation
  • Period 6: Cartooning & Animation

I’ll be posting more first week materials and information on this post so check back later.

Film Study: Rear Window (1954)

Roger Ebert on Rear Window:

The hero of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rear Window” is trapped in a wheelchair, and we’re trapped, too–trapped inside his point of view, inside his lack of freedom and his limited options. When he passes his long days and nights by shamelessly maintaining a secret watch on his neighbors, we share his obsession. It’s wrong, we know, to spy on others, but after all, aren’t we always voyeurs when we go to the movies? Here’s a film about a man who does on the screen what we do in the audience–look through a lens at the private lives of strangers.

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Film Studies: Spirited Away (2001)

Christopher Runyon at Movie Mezzanine on Spirited Away:

The film is–what else?–a coming-of-age story centered on a young girl named Chihiro, who’s really bummed out about moving to a new city where she won’t be able to be with her old friends. Her mother and father, who mean well but still shrug off her depression, are ready to move into their new home when a wrong turn on the road leads them to a mysterious, abandoned theme park. Or so they think. It turns out that the family has stumbled upon a passage to the spirit world, with Chihiro’s parents transformed into livestock after unknowingly consuming the food of the spirits without permission. Frightened and utterly alone, the only way for Chihiro to survive in this strange new world is to toil and work herself raw in a bathhouse run by a wicked sorceress.

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