Jerry Beck is an animation historian and cartoon producer. His twelve books on the subject include The Animated Movie Guide, Looney Tunes: The Ultimate Visual Guide and The 50 Greatest Cartoons.
In 1989, Beck partnered with producer Carl Macek to form STREAMLINE PICTURES. Streamline was the first company devoted to importing Japanese animation and distributing anime to North American theatres, television and home video. Among Streamline’s many titles were AKIRA, FIST OF THE NORTH STAR, VAMPIRE HUNTER D, NADIA, WICKED CITY, ROBOTECH, and ROBOT CARNIVAL.
Beck also co-produced the English language version of MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO (Fox Video) and compiled SPEED RACER THE MOVIE for Family Home Entertainment.
He is a former studio exec with Nickelodeon Movies and Disney, and is an animation consultant to Warner Home Video and Shout Factory. Beck has programmed animation retrospectives for the Annecy and Ottawa Animation Festivals, The Museum of Modern Art and The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He has taught animation history at NYU, SVA, the AFI and at UCLA. He is the host/producer of the annual Worst Cartoons Ever screening at the San Diego Comic Con.
Beck started his career in film distribution, working at MGM/UA, Orion Classics, Cannon Films and Expanded Entertainment (Tournee of Animation), before starting his own company, Streamline Pictures in 1989, the first U.S. company to import anime features such as Otomo’s Akira and Miyazaki’s Castle In The Sky.
Beck was instrumental in launching Animation Magazine, and is has written for Kidscreen, The Hollywood Reporter and Variety, and was co-founder of the website Cartoon Brew. He has also created, written and produced animated films for various studios.
For 9 years, Jerry and Amid Amidi ran the blog Cartoon Brew. He now has a new blog, CARTOON RESEARCH
He currently teaches Animation History at Woodbury University in Burbank, CA and is penning a coffee table art book on Spongebob Squarepants for Nickelodeon.
Alex McDowell is one of the most innovative and influential production designers working in narrative media. With the impact of his ideas extending far beyond his background in cinema, he advocates an immersive design process that acknowledges the key role of world building in storytelling.
In his 30+ years as a narrative designer, McDowell has worked with directors Terry Gilliam, Tim Burton, David Fincher, Zack Snyder and Steven Spielberg, amongst many others.
From 1999-2001 Alex McDowell worked with Steven Spielberg to design and develop a world for the film Minority Report, prior to a completed script. The process that evolved changed the nature of film design from analogue to digital, and profoundly affected the nature of production, with a radical shift towards a non-linear workflow. Since this film, McDowell’s work has built on the dynamic relationship between creativity and emergent technologies.
McDowell is associate professor in Interactive Media, Production and Media Arts and Practice (iMAP) at the School of Cinematic Arts, USC, where he is director of the World Building Media Lab and the 5D Institute.
As visiting artist at MIT’s Media Lab from 2006-2011 he designed the robot opera Death and the Powers for composer Tod Machover. He is a Getty Research Institute scholar, and a member of the AMPAS SciTech Council. In 2006, he was awarded Royal Designer for Industry by the UK’s Royal Society of Arts.
Alex McDowell is co-founder and creative director at 5D | Organization, a cellular and interdisciplinary transmedia design practice. “When you design in a pre-visualization space or an immersive design space, you are no longer working in a linear film production process. It’s no longer pre-production, production and post-production. Those are really anachronistic terms now. We’re working in a non-linear workflow where we’re equally working on post-production as we’re working on production and shooting. At the same time, when we build a set now, when I design a set, I build it in 3D space. I’m sculpting space with software and you’re immersed in 3D space. It allows for an immersive collaboration.”
McDowell recommends that universities rethink the way film or set design is taught. “I don’t think you can teach film design as it is traditionally taught without fundamentally understanding how animation works, how gaming works, how environmental design works. ”
Check out the upcoming 5D event this April at USC: http://5dinstitute.org/events/science-of-fiction
I’me excited to have Peter Chung present this week in seminar. He is a newly hired adjunct faculty currently teaching a master class. This will be a good chance to get to know him and hear about his work!
Korean-born Peter Chung studied animation at the California Institute of the Arts and has worked in the U.S. animation industry since 1981. He is best known as the creator of the MTV adult animated series Aeon Flux which aired from 1991 through 1995. His other directing credits include Rugrats, The Animatrix omnibus feature, and commercials for Levi’s, Nike, Pepsi, Jaguar, Honda and Rally’s.
His distinctive style of visual storytelling can be seen in The Animatrix, The Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury and Tomb Raider Revisioned. In 2010, he directed Cartoon Network’s first original CG feature Firebreather, for which he won the Emmy award for individual achievement in character design.
1981 Bakshi Productions – Fire and Ice – Layout and animation
1981 – 1984 Walt Disney Pictures – Einstein, Eshlen, Friendly Invasion- Concept art and story development for feature films
1984 – 1986 Marvel Productions – Transformers T.V; Transformers The Movie – Storyboards
1987 Murakami-Wolf-Swenson Films – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Art direction
1988 DIC Productions- C.O.P.S. — Character design, Opening title direction, Overseas animation supervision; Ring Raiders – Character design
1989 – 1990 Klasky-Csupo – Sesame Street – Direction, Animation; Rugrats – Direction; Character Design
1990 – 1992 Colossal Pictures – Mtv’s Liquid Television/Aeon Flux – Script, Design, Direction, Animation; Secret Agent X-9 – Story and Visual Development
1993 Hearst Entertainment – Phantom 2040 – Character design
1994 – 1995 Colossal Pictures – Mtv’s Aeon Flux series – Script, Design, Director
1996 Kadokawa/Madhouse – Reign: The Conqueror (AKA: Alexander) – Character and Concept Design
1997 J-Com – Mangchi — Pilot Film Direction; Feature Storyboards, Klasky-Csupo, Inc. – The Rugrats Movie – Storyboards
2002 Warner Home Video – Animatrix: Matriculated – Script, Design, Director
2003 Universal Home Video – Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury – Design, Director
2004 MTV Home Video – Aeon Flux DTV – Script Development
2005 Luvula Films – Luvula – Script and Visual Development
2006 C2 Pictures – Termination – Story, Design
Cartoon Network – Class of 3000 – Character Design
2007 Gametap/Acme Filmworks – Tomb Raider Revisioned – Script, Design, Director, Imagi Entertainment – Astroboy – Feature Storyboards and Design
2008 Paramount / Blur Entertainment – Heavy Metal 3D – Script, Concept Art Comic Book Movies – Cyborg 009 – Story, Character Design Hammerhead – Wicked City – Concept Art, Replay Studios – Velvet Assassin Graphic Novel – Story & Art
2009 -2011 Cartoon Network Studios – Firebreather – Supervising Producer, Design, Storyboards, Director2011 Blizzard Entertainment / Titmouse Inc. – Diablo- Wrath – Design, Director
2012 Yu&Co – Project Development – Story, Design, Director