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Disney Veterans Gather to Save 2D Animation from Extinction with ‘Hullabaloo’

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Hullabaloo: A 2D-animated steampunk movie that might help keep hand-drawn animation alive.

When I read about this project, I was giddy with excitement. As it turns out, James Lopez (The Lion King, Pocahontas, Paperman), Rick Farmiloe (The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin) and other Disney animation veterans have gathered to face a challenge that has been in need of attention for a long time now–keeping hand-drawn animation alive.

We all know that the sheer amount of outstanding CGI movies is overwhelming. Pixar, Dreamworks, Disney–they all went with the flow of time and worked like madmen to create even more complex and more capable techniques to animate in 3D, to make characters even more … alive. The results are surely breathtaking. How To Train Your Dragon, Frozen, Up–those are just a few big names that have already achieved the status of classics in animation history.

But slowly, not only I have come to realize many studios and companies seem to be forgetting something–the thing that started it all – hand-drawing frame by frame to create a flowing movement.

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Every animation fan will agree with me that the traditionally animated movies have nostalgia, a certain feeling that no other media can imitate. And though we are already on our way to combine both the heart and warmth of 2D with the stunning visuals and the depth of 3D (for example with Meander, the program invented by Disney and first used on the short Paperman), it still feels like the huge impact 2D features once had is gradually fading away.

And that’s where Hullabaloo strikes.

The formerly mentioned animators and filmmakers, led by James Lopez, who have already been featured on top-notch Disney productions, have started an Indiegogo campaign to raise money, so they can make their idea a reality. Not only could this be the kickstart for a huge 2D animation renaissance, the movie also promotes a lot of things that are still missing from the big (animation) screens, such as:

  • Steampunk: a fashion/art/architecture movement where the Victorian Age meets futuristic technologies. To put it shortly, it not only looks totally awesome, but also deserves much more attention.
  • Female protagonists: Two of them, actually. And they both seem to be talented mechanics/engineers. Girls who beat their opponents with wit and intelligence rather that head-on violence–sounds perfect to me.

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Check out Lopez explaining Hullabaloo in this video below, where you can also see sketches, designs and animation for the film:

Here’s a quick summary of the plot:

Hullabaloo is the story of Veronica Daring, a brilliant young scientist who returns home from an elite finishing school to find her father–the eccentric inventor Jonathan Daring–missing without a trace! The only clue left behind points Veronica toward Daring Adventures, an abandoned amusement park used by her father to test his fantastical steam-powered inventions. There she discovers a strange girl named Jules, a fellow inventor who agrees to help Veronica in locating her missing father and discovering the secrets of his work.” (…)

Through indiegogo.com, the team is aiming to get as many people as possible to donate money, so the project can be put into action. The whole campaign started August 27th and ends October 1st 2014. Donating will give you many exclusive perks, like web content, e-books, an art book, concept art material from the movie, actual animation cells and so on, depending on the sum you donate. They are nearly halfway to their goal of $80,000, so just $1 can make a difference, so I beg all of you to spread the word like wildfire, put it on every social network in existence and simply share, share, share.

Or even better: donate, and keep supporting the project in any way you can.

If the team reaches their $80,000 goal, they have stretch goals that will include producing a second and third short and full orchestra recordings for the soundtrack. According the the creators, if the shorts take off, they could turn the project into a web series, TV series or even feature-length animated film. How cool would that be? To see 2D animation brought back directly by its devoted fans.

A little money can go a long way, and if James Lopez and company should succeed, we will get an amazing 2D animated movie which features clever female protagonists, a Steampunk inspired world and most importantly–we will help hand-drawn animation rise from the ashes and keep the nostalgia alive.

To stay up to date on the latest happenings of Hullabaloo, check out the project’s Indiegogo page, website and Facebook page.

What are your thoughts about ‘Hullabaloo’? Will you donate?

Editor’s note: This is a user-submitted post from one of our readers, Lisa-Marie Hillardt. Here at the Rotoscopers, we do not believe that traditional animation is dead. If you look around, it’s still found everywhere in shorts, TV shows, independent and foreign films. However, you can’t deny that in mainstream feature-length American animated films, they are not as prominent as it used to be. Any reference in this article to “saving” 2D animation is meant to refer only to it in that context. 

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