Archive for September 30, 2014

Movie Etiquette

People do not seem to know how to behave in movies. As a fan of the cinematic experience, I don’t want my time ruined by bad behavior. So here are my tips (requirements) for basic etiquette on the part of kids and adults alike (I’m not sure who is worse!)

  • First and foremost, keep your mouth closed (unless eating, if you must). We don’t want to hear what you think of the film.
  • Keep your hands off women. That would be your date unless you are a bit perverse, but try to hold off until you get home.
  • Keep your hands and feet off the seat in front of you. There is nothing more annoying and your shoes probably smell.
  • Do not kick the seat in front of you. I don’t care if you have super long legs.
  • Kids, don’t throw popcorn or candy in the air or at anyone. If you need to practice your aim by tossing some in your mouth, you better be agile or risk some dirty looks.
  • Shut off that darn mobile phone. You don’t have to show stills or videos of the movie as people can get them on line. You don’t have to text anything. Go outside if you are a stubborn mule.
  • It is best to go to the toilet before the movie. It is disruptive if you have to walk in front of people when leaving your seat. Think ahead! If you can’t control yourself, don’t buy a drink until after the show.
  • Self-control is good advice. Your behavior is a reflection of your maturity. Don’t let bad actions give you away.
  • Don’t talk about other people in the theater. Some guys can be mean and defend themselves or their viewing mate with anger and a few swift blows to the chin.
  • Gum chewing is just plain disgusting. Don’t smack your lips or leave your mouth gaping while you do it. Try to be courteous and quiet if you must indulge. Never crack the gum unless you want serious repercussions.
  • Try to get to the movie on time so as not to disturb others. Do not step on the feet of those who did make an effort to get to their seats before the start of the movie.
  • Do not spill food, put gum under the seat, or leave used tissues on the floor. Yes, there is a janitor to clean it up, but why not help out and toss these things in the trash as you leave. Be a good sport!
  • Do not take a small child to an adult film. They squirm when bored or worse yet will run around the theater in circles screaming for attention. Babies are just as bad unless you have drugged yours.
  • If you are at a kids’ movie, let the little ones visit the toilet beforehand so as not to miss a precious moment. They get hung up playing with things in the bathroom like fancy bidet toilets fitted in some movie theaters or shopping centers or talking to other children. This makes those tykes late as a result.

There are probably a few more things I could add, but you get the picture. Try these tips out and find how a better quality movie experience is a welcome relief for you and all those around you in the theater.

The Finest Fire Pokemon

The dragon-like Charizard evokes reverie in Pokemon fans like me. He is a fire-flying monster supreme. Of all the numerous Japanese anime characters, I go for him, the awesome final form of Charmander. For those not in the know, Charizard has evolved from this early creature at level 36 (with Chamelon along the way at level 16). Got it! Charmander appeared early on in Pokemon—I Choose You! Charizard is more powerful and is the mascot of the Red and Fire Red versions. Have a look at those colossal wings, tough claws, and mighty countenance. Fire spews from his tail. So cool.

Imagine warming your room with this being – turning him on and off like a portable pellet stove to keep the cold at bay. Of course he would be tamed. Kids fabricate all kinds of fantasies about these characters, making them come alive in their own private environments. They take care of emotional and psychological needs. I know one child who took a small heating stove and placed a large image of Charizard on top. How clever is that! (Don’t worry. It was fireproof and parent approved.)

Many Pokemon beings populate my mental world. I single this one out for his unique nature and appearance. Of course they are all very special and I have other favorites. You can see this orange animated phenomenon in Pokémon Ranger, Pokémon Stadium, and Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky boxarts. The tail and mouth flames are his hallmark and creates his identity as a fire entity. What else do I see? There are those fearsome blue eyes, that cream contrasting underbelly, and a super long neck. There are flaring nostrils and a rectangular head from which project two blunt horns (that kind of parallel the appendages that jut out from each teal wing). Some animator went to town on this one. The colors are magical and the flame attributes are magnificent.

I have been known to draw him from memory in varying positions of active attack. This is every little boy’s dream. In fact, they do see him in their sleep along with other assorted Pokemon images. Then when you grow up, they have all been indelibly etched in one’s brain. Don’t miss the fangs by the way. They are among the best features. Also, don’t let those skinny arms fool you or the thick stocky legs. Charizard can be a formidable foe. Don’t cross his path or raise his ire. (Let’s not even talk about Mega Charizard X! He is even more fit and fabulous.) This monster is always looking for a good fight, ready to blow fire and venom at the drop of a hat. He can melt a glacier if provoked or start a major forest fire.

So get on board with me as a fan of Charivard, the flame Pokemon character, and enjoy some great creative anime expression. Discover the wonders of this wonderful Japanese art form as many others have done. You will be glad you did!

Animation: The Best of Both Realism and Escape

Some years back, I began looking into animation.  I am a marketing manager for a number of online companies and needed an edge to get products in front of customers.  I had tried everything, it seemed, but I wasn’t getting the results I needed.  That is when I discovered the amazing world of animation.

Animation is captivating.  You need only to take a look at YouTube to see how you can get sucked right in to a good piece.  That is exactly what I was after so I began searching for great animations to find out what it took to make a great production.

That is when I discovered anime.  Of course, authentic anime, by definition, is produced in Japan.  But I am not a stickler on that.  If it’s good, it’s good.  So I watched hours of it and tried my hand at making it too.  Can’t say I’m the best at it but I’m not all that bad either.  When I check the stats of viewers, I am quite pleased so evidently the general public thinks I’m pretty decent at it too.

One thing that watching and even creating anime has done for me is to make me better at producing regular animated clips too.  Once I have drawn my audience in, I can reach them and tell them about the products or services I am advertising.

YouTube changes the game plan on a regular basis but at the moment, the object is to attract a viewer to the site and for them to watch not only the flick at hand, but another YouTube production as well.  That means that, as a marketing manager, I need to not only have one great piece, but another that the viewer will want to click on to.  That scores points on YouTube which ultimately means…I get further on my advertising.  So “good enough is not good enough”.  My productions have to be compelling.

In it all, I have found not only a great marketing tool, but a newfound hobby.  I love watching and making animation.  It brings me back to my childhood, in the days of watching cartoons.

I remember watching cartoons as a kid.  I would watch for a little while and then go make up my own, recruiting my neighborhood friends to act out my renditions.  My friends quickly bored of it and furthermore, it was frustrating that I could not make them fly and do all the crazy things done in the cartoons.  Animation gives me the edge I never had.  I can make my characters do anything and…they can’t quit on me.

I’m not a natural animation geek.  I have never been that technical.  I function more on the creative side of my brain, I must admit.  But out of necessity and desire, I have scratched the surface on learning and am pleased with my progress.

Animation is a powerful and creative tool.  I have been introduced to tons of great animation programs.  I for sure have my favorites.  There are some that are very time consuming and complicated but give me great range in characters and actions.  Then, there are easier ones that save me time and frustration.  I am not sure how I survived marketing without the use of animation.

Animation is a magnificent and marvelous world in which I can advance my marketing skills.  It also has become a way to release some personal creativity as well.  But sometimes, it’s also refreshing to just kick back and watch a good anime flick and escape reality for a while.

Defining Anime: Defining Me

Most kids outgrown cartoons when by the time they hit Middle School at least.  I never did.  In fact, it was about then that I discovered anime.  I was hooked.

Anime, to me, is perfect for us grown kids.  The graphics are awesome.  There’s something about the characters with their distinct sharp lines contrasted against exaggerated, dramatic eyes that sets the stage for the rest.  I love how the emotions come to life like literally sweating buckets in huge tear drops or a guy bursting into a nose bleed because he’s in love, or in lust as the case may be.

“Cardcaptor Sakura” was my first real encounter with anime.  It was originally a manga series that came to life as an animated television series, first in Japan but then we in the Western World were lucky enough to catch it later on.  I was intrigued by Sakura Kinomoto then and still am to this day.

I think the Japanese are geniuses for coming up with anime.  It’s so full of ancient Japanese culture.  I don’t limit myself by believing that anime is only authentic when created in Japan by a Japanese artist.  If it fits the bill and is worth watching, anime is anime to me.  But the fact of the matter is that Japanese are the best at anime and manga too.

The art of anime creation comes more natural to Japanese because they grew up with it like we have grown up with American cartoons.  Actually, even more so.  Cartoons and American animation are popular and there are even some adult shows like the Simpsons, South Park and American Dad but they are not mainstream huge hits like anime is in Japan.  Anime IS Japan so of course their artful expressions in anime are going to be in their blood.  They just have the upper edge on it.

“Hellsing” is the ultimate as far as I’m concerned.  I especially dig 1-4 when it was done in the Satelight studio, before Madhouse took over.  One thing that made it the best was the amount of characters but the plot was great too.

“Naruto Shippuden” is a cool one too.  I loved “Naturo” so you know I was elated when there was a continuation of it.  The show is a perfect mix of demons and magic and humor too.  If you haven’t seen it, it’s a good one to get you started.

Anime seems to have a sigma about it.  When I express being into it, people either think I am an overgrown kid or a pervert.  The majority of American’s just don’t understand my love affair with it because they don’t know much about it.  If I was to tell a Japanese person that I was into anime, they would most likely say, “Of course you are.  Who isn’t?”

I would love to learn the Japanese language.  In fact, I am working on that.  It’s a difficult feat because it is very complicated but anime is so much better in the native language.  The words just fit.  When translated, it just doesn’t flow as well like an American movie that is dubbed.  A lot is lost.  For now, when things don’t quite fit or something seems really out of place, I just keep that all in mind.

Anime defines the animation world of Japan.  I defines Japan.  And, in some weird and wonderful way…anime defines me too.