Monday, November 1, 2010

All Animators, Go See “Howl!”

Courtesy: Oscilloscope Pictures
Sometimes, as professional marketers, animators, journalists or whatever we do for day-jobs, we forget the passion that drove us into learning the skills that got us into the careers we have.

So, if you’re reading this blog, if you are a member of MAPA, you owe it to yourself to take the time and go see a film that will remind you why we all love animation as a medium to begin with.
Courtesy: Oscilloscope Pictures
“Howl” is a film solely dedicated to deconstructing Allen Ginsberg’s groundbreaking, trancelike poem.  Passages are read to us several times each in different ways.  One setting is a 1955 poetry reading in San Francisco by Ginsberg himself, played by James Franco.  Another is lawyers and literary experts discussing the work during the obscenity trial of “Howl’s” publisher.
Courtesy: Oscilloscope Pictures
But the most wide-eyed, wonderful segments of the film are the animated sequences.
At 7 or 8 points through the film, we’re treated to several minutes of Franco just reading parts of “Howl,” emulating Ginsberg beautifully, illustrated by cerebral, breathtaking animation.

The animation director for “Howl” is John Hays, who works on the trippy Nick Jr. show, “Yo Gabba Gabba!” which would undoubtedly be Allen Ginsberg’s favorite television show were he alive today.
Courtesy: Oscilloscope Pictures

The entire film is a revelation.
Courtesy: Oscilloscope Pictures

And, as a writer, “Howl” is one of those films that just made me want to grab my notebook and start scribbling down whatever popped into my brain.

You are all artists and you owe it to yourself to see “Howl.”

It’s a love letter to art and those of us who create and live for it.

I know on this blog, we normally talk about technique and software and networking and all the things that are necessary to get our work done.
But there’s a reason we chose this work.
Courtesy: Oscilloscope Pictures

So take a break from all the daily, technical work we all have to deal with and go see a movie that, I promise you, will remind you why you fell in love with animation to begin with.


  1. I agree -- seeing this movie made me want to start composing stunning works of art right there in the theater! I didn't know much about Allen Ginsburg until seeing "Howl," and it really helped me realize how far we've come since the court trials determining "obscenity vs. literary value" in the 50s.

  2. I know what you mean exactly. There was a part of me that was antsy because I wanted to go out and create.
    Aside from the animated sequences, the scenes where Ginsberg just talked about what writing poetry meant as a human being was unbelievably inspiring.
    For me, the free speech message was a secondary element in the film that complimented just the importance for art to the soul.


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