Post Magazine: An Animated Hero Cattle Baron raises awareness about Cancer Society Fundraiser.
They draw lines at the cutting edge
"You get in that, you're following in the footsteps of John Lasseter (Toy Story), Beavis and Butt-head (created by Mike Judge) and Nick Park (Wallace & Gromit, Chicken Run)," said Orlando animation director Mark Simon.
In Timmy's Lessons in Nature, a banjo twangs and a chubby little redheaded boy who doesn't fit into his scout uniform experiences the wonders of the wild in some not-so-fun ways.
He whacks a snake, which promptly pounces on him and tries to swallow him whole.
"Lesson One: Avoid Snakes."
Timmy gallops across a darkened pasture to tip a cow. He misses and winds up giving Bossy a rectal exam.
"Lesson Two: Aim When Cow Tipping."
He greets a rabid fox by smacking it with a lollipop, with fur-flying results.
"Lesson Three: Avoid Rabid Animals."
"We created this book of rules for Timmy when we started the films," said Jeanne Simon, Mark's wife and a writer on the series. "He can't be mean, but he never learns."
"We started showing the first Timmy at festivals; it started winning prizes [at Houston, Cal State Northridge and ASFIA, a French animation society] and then we heard from Spike," Simon said.
Craig Decker of La Jolla, CA., the 'Spike' of Spike & Mike's animation festivals, has been foisting odd 'toons on art cinema audiences since 1977. He laughed at the first "Timmy."
"I said, 'If the rest of them are as funny as this, I'll take as many of these as you guys can make by June,'" he said. "I liked the look of the nerd. It's corny and it's direct, and that, to me, is funny. That snake bludgeoning has face with multiple strikes, that is such a surprise that it makes me laugh every time I see it."
"We all love Timmy; he's our baby," Simon said. "I'd love to see
him get a series. And what I'd really love to do is what the Aardman
people [the Wallace & Gromit team] did. They made short
animated films to get attention, won some festivals, got on Spike
& Mike, got more work and money to do bigger pieces, and then
they made a feature film (Chicken Run)."
Motion Capture Users
Motion capture has come a long way from its origins as a technology
designed to help other orthopedic surgeions pinpoint irregularities
in the human gait. Today motion capture aids producers and animators
of videogames, corporate tapes, educational and informational materials,
films, TV and online programming in crafting animations prized for
their subleties and realism.
Good Morning Orlando
Interview with Mark Simon about the Timmy series.
Melissa Ross, of Good Morning Orlando, hosted a 3 and a half minute on-air interview with Mark about his series Timmy's Lessons In Nature. Mark was able to announce on-air that the shorts had just won at another children's festival in Chicago the night before.
The interview also covered the theatrical release of the first 3 shorts of the series in the new Spike & Mike Sick & Twisted Festival of Animation. The touring film will hit 50 cities in North America during 2001 and 2002. Other topics covered were the development of the series and future plans for Timmy.
"I first saw the character in a proposed children's book called "Can I Keep It" that one of my animators created." says Simon. "I saw a number of possibilities for the character so I sat down with my wife, a producer for Nickelodeon, and the creator and we designed the series around this moronic kid who never learns."
The station ran portions of two of the Timmy shorts. They ran portions of Lesson 1, where Timmy is repeatedly struck in the face by a snake, three times. Those portions ran both full screen and as an insert next to another reporter, co-anchor Michael Brooks, after Mark's interview.
Brooks called out to the control room, "Yeah, I'd like to see some more of that Timmy. Can we re-rack that and show us the snake bite again?" The segment began to run. "We should run this and I'll just watch it like everyone at home." At that point the snake viciously bites Timmy in the face and the entire stage crew can be heard laughing in the background. Brooks continued, "I can't compete with that, you know?! Timmy's got me beat."
Local Production Companies
The one-minute stories, written by A&S' Jeanne Pappas Simon, start with a brother and sister arguing about a situation they are in. One of the kids then uses a Bible story to support their argument.
The animated shorts were done using two distinctive styles, Simon notes. The kids are drawn in a classic animation fashion, and the biblical stories are done in a crayon-colored, paper-cutout style, almost as if the kids did the animation themselves.
"The wonderful thing about the two distinctly different
styles is that we didn't resort to a wavy or fuzzy picture to show
when we're transitioning into a biblical story, like we've seen a
hundred times," says Jeanne Simon.
Orlando Business Journal
December 07, 2001
An Animated Affair:
Motion system animates local video project
a motion-capture system is nothing new to Hollywood, which has had
great success with it in films such as Final Fantasy and The
The Wayne Brady Show
Mark appears with Wayne on his hit ABC show.
On the third episode of Wayne Brady's new hit variety show, Mark hams it up with Wayne in front of millions of viewers. At the top of the show, Wayne asked who came the farthest to see the show. Mark's tiny voice (those of you who know Mark know we're joking) yelled out "Orlando".
Wayne responded, "Orlando! Dude, I'm from Orlando. C'mon down here." Wayne ran into the audience and Mark joined him on the floor. Wayne then introduced Mark to the world as his twin brother.
Life doesn't get much better than this.
What does this have to do with Mark's storyboarding and animation? Nothing, we just think it's really cool.
Look who's stalking
March 30, 2001
by Cindy Barth
Animator Mark Simon's feature short, Timmy's getting national play-and plenty of praise.
Simon's Timmy takes trip to toontown
A series of one-minute animated shorts featured in the Spike & Mike Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation nationwide, Timmy's Lessons are the brainchild of Mark Simon, president of Orlando-based Animatics & Storyboards, Inc. and A&S Animation, Inc..
"It's a big deal for us," says Simon of Timmy's featured appearance
in the Spike & Mike traveling film festival. "A very big
Indeed, it is.
The Spike & Mike Classic Festival of Animation and its
companion film festival, the Sick and Twisted Festival, have
showcased some of the world's best animators, including Tim Burton
(Batman), John Lasseter (director of Toy Story), and,
of course, the artist behind the now-infamous Beavis and Butthead.
Spike & Mike, in fact, produced the first two Beavis &
Butthead shorts long before the series' debut on MTV.
"They look for the best shorts they can find, so to get chosen is
a huge honor for us," Simon says. "Even if the festival's humor is
a little, well, unusual."
ASIFA (International Animation Society) Newsletter
Choosing an Animation Style Based on What's Right, Not on What's PossibleExcerpts:
Once a decision has been made to animate a project the choice between cel, computer graphics (CG), claymation or a combination of different techniques needs to be determined. This may sound like a dubious dilemma, but it's very important when dealing with clients. Because of the proliferation and publicity of computer graphics in animation, many clients think that all animation is computer generated and that it's cheaper. They are wrong on both counts.
Cel animation is ideal for cartoons and character animation; while, computer animation is best suited for logos, realistic objects, product shots, special effects, and certain types of characters. CG and cel animation are also generally equivalent in budgets. This statement is echoed by Pixar's John Lasseter in the January 5, 1998 issue of The Hollywood Reporter.
There are certain types of projects that are best animated by hand
and others that are suited to computer animation. Artistic problems
crop up when a project is animated without regard to artistic style
and subjective issues, or just because it's possible, not because
it's right for the project.
Press Release May 18, 2001A&S Animation, Inc. releases new animation series in film, video and FLASH simultaneously Excerpts:
Orlando, Fl - Orlando animation house, A&S Animation, Inc. has launched a new short-form animation series, Lessons In Nature, in film, broadcast video and FLASH animation for the web. "Since we are capable of multi-purposing our animation assets, it only makes sense to design our re-use to gain the greatest exposure possible." says Mark Simon, producer and co-director of the series. While other animations have been created for broadcast and have been re-purposed for the web, and vise-versa, Lessons In Nature is the first to be launched in all three arenas simultaneously.
The big screen premiere of Timmy's Lessons In Nature will happen in the summer of 2001 in the touring Spike & Mike Festival of Animation. The festival will tour 50 cities in North America. Timmy will star in 3 shorts in this years festival.
Lessons In Nature is a series of one minute long sight gags
where the moron star of the show, Timmy unwittingly demonstrates,
with one disaster after another, basic wild life survival rules, such
as: Avoid Snakes, Don't Feed the Animals and more. Every episode is
filled with laughs for everyone in the family. The show is dialogue-free
for international appeal.
Nick Empties Toy Chest
June 1, 2001
by Nancy Imperiale Wellons
The kids TV network auctions off a ton of items as bidders mourn the end of an era at the Orlando studio.
It was the usual crowd for a funeral. Some serious mourners. Some curious onlookers. And more than a few opportunists with eyes full of dollar signs.
But the sweaty crowd gathered in a dusty warehouse Tuesday afternoon wasn't marking the passing of a person.
"It's sad. It definitely means the end of an era," said Mark Simon, 37, a former Nick art director who now runs his own Orlando animation company, Animatics & Storyboards.
Simon was one of several former Nick employees high-fiving each other and sharing old stories at the auction. They talked of fellow former coworkers who already had moved to New York or California, looking for production work.
Mingled with the Nick refugees were men in baseball caps and T-shirts, with tape measures hanging form their belt loops.
The whir of industrial fans struggling to make a dent in the musty air joined the echoing drone of auctioneers from Karlin Daniel & Associates calling "Heyhamana hamana who'll give me fifty hamana hebbada sixty, do I have seventy hamana..."
Four hours later, Nickelodeon coffers were richer. How rich? Nick couldn't say as of Thursday, but tens of thousand of dollars richer, undoubtedly. Maybe more.
Meanwhile, people such as Mark Simon had preserved a memory.
"My wife'll kill me, but I had to have it," the former Nick employee said of a lopsided, yellow crushed-velvet chair he once designed for Welcome, Freshmen. He paid $120, plus tax and 10 percent auctioneer's fee, for the chair.
"I had to get it back," Simon said as he struggled to roll the chair
out the door.
Orlando- Mark Simon, owner of Animatics & Storyboards, Inc. has
released the second edition of his book, Storyboards: Motion In
Art. Published by Focal Press,
Simon's latest book adds 45 new chapters and over 500 new samples
beyond his previous edition.
Storyboards (boards) act as a blueprint for film and tv production,
much as a set of plans helps a contractor to build a house. A finished
set of boards for a project may be many hundreds or thousands of drawings
that loosely resemble a comic book. A production crew uses these boards
to produce the project the way the director envisions it.
Simon and his company have designed and boarded on over 1,000 projects
during his more than 13 years in the industry. His clients include
NBC, HBO, Nickelodeon, seaQuest DSV, The Waterboy, FOX,
NFL, major theme parks and many others. The knowledge he gained from
those projects and numerous different directors is gathered together
into his new text.
Animatics: Getting off on the right frame
by: Brigitte Marie HoarauExcerpts:
Before the days of videotape, storyboards visualized key aspects of a production before shooting began. While storyboards are still instrumental to visualization, animatics have take the concept one step further by producing those previsualized images on videotape. Though the quality of an animatic can be high enough for a limited-animation final product, animatics are largely used for presentation purposes such as market testing, approvals and preproduction.
Mark Simon, president of Orlando's Animatics & Storyboards, Inc., says using animatics for previsualization often saves a great deal of money in the long run because the productions run more quickly and smoothly, and the client is able to get exactly what he or she wants. Simon's animatics and storyboards have been used by HBO, MTM and Nickelodeon, as well as Amblin Entertainment's seaQuest DSV .
presentations also work well in selling concepts to the client, since
"a lot of people can't see in their heads what you're talking about
with just still drawings," Simon explains. Working with Soundelux,
Animatics & Storyboards recently designed the video wall content
for NASA's new expansion of the East Visitor's Wing, winning Soundelux
the opportunity to create the finished product. "What you see in there
now is very close to what I had envisioned with the animatic," Simon
What Simon Says
Makes Producers Listen
Quick on the Draw?
Storyboarders Get Plenty of Action
on the Sea
Nov. 28 - Dec 4, 1997
By: Jennifer Bisbee, Bisbee & Co. P.R.
Orlando-based Animatics & Storyboards inc won the Silver Award in the television and video production/ animated category at the fifth annual WorldFest-Charleston International Film Festival.
The second-place award was for its The Winkles: Material Girl (new title) entry, a six-minute animation short that teaches preschoolers about "life's little wobbles."
The same animated short also captured a finalist spot at the 30th annual WorldFest-Houston Film Festival earlier this year.
The Winkles: Material Girl was created and written by Jeanne Pappas Simon, directed and animated by Mark Simon, and produced by the team's company, Animatics & Storyboards, inc.
The company's clients include many of the nation's leading entertainment companies, including Amblin Entertainment, Universal Pictures, The Walt Disney Co., Nickelodeon and HBO...
marksimonbooks (at) yahoo.com