Sunday, December 19, 2004


ONE FROGGY EVENING is quite possibly the best film EVER made. This five-minute cartoon, Directed by Chuck Jones in 1957, is the reason I want to work in animation/film someday. It's storytelling in its most purest form--striped bare, streamlined. An aspiring artist/filmmaker/actor/animator could learn a lifetime of lessons in this simple story.

First, the narrative is simple but strangely familiar. There is no real subtext, no complex character arc. This down and out construction worker finds a box containing a singing frog and he naturally assumes his financial troubles are over. Over, that is, as long as he can get the frog to cooperate--which it never does (hence the humor). This is storytelling down to the barest of bones.

The characterization is also amazing in this film. The emotion and expression in one take to the camera pretty much says it all. I remember as a young actor in college how directors used to tell me to simplify simplify simplify... Acting isn't hard. It's actually very simple. Find out what the character wants, why he wants it and what he needs to do to get it. Of course, what's simple in theory isn't always simple in practice. I am known for making things more complicated than they need to be.

Pixar, to me, represents a real apex in animation and artistry in filmmaking. They take these time-honored lessons very much to heart. As much as people try and re-invent the wheel these days with all the digital doo dads, it's still storytelling that's going to pull the wagon ultimately. I remember seeing MONSTERS INC. and thinking that, in one scene, they had payed homage to another Chuck Jones cartoon FEED THE KITTY. Stick with what works man.


Jared Chapman said...

Chuck Jones is one of my heros too. Any of his stuff is reason enough to want to do animation.
Love your work by the way. It's very inspirational. POST MORE!!

hyacinth said...

Will & I saw "One Froggy Evening" at the Fox Theater before "Shrek 2" this summer -- I vaguely remembered seeing it as a kid (maybe Saturday morning cartoons?) It made Will laugh.

Ms Elle said...

Just scrolling through your previous posts and I must say (I'm not STALKING), I LOVE THIS CARTOON. It's one of my faves. "Hello my baby, hello my honey..." Perfect. I wish you all the best as you pursue your animation dream.