VIEWPOINT
My Lunch with Howard
From ASIFA-East president David Levy's blog, Animondays

It may not be as famous a title as "My Dinner with Andre," but it has a ring to it.
Howard Beckerman and I have been meeting for lunches since he was my thesis advisor at the School of Visual Arts 15 years ago, and boy, are our stomach's full!


Not only is he an incredibly nice man and terrific teacher, he has accomplished so many of the things I had hoped to achieve in my career. First off, he is a writer. He wrote articles published in various animation and film magazines, a text book "Animation: The Whole Story," and authored several terrific animated shorts including "Boop-Beep," "The Trip," and "Jack The Giant Killer." He is a teacher, a long-term executive board member of ASIFA-East, and has worked for legendary studios such as UPA and Paramount and headed his own successful independent animation studio (with his talented wife, Iris). CONTINUED

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I'm glad to note the highly revised edition of Howard Beckerman's "Animation: The Whole Story" (Allworth Press; $24.95) is an instant classic, a necessity for both fans and creators of cartoons, and nearly everyone in between. Beckerman, (a native New Yorker,) has drawn Mighty Mouse, Popeye, and Winky-Dink during his lengthy career, created animation for "Sesame Street," plus taught future generations of cartoonists at the School of Visual Arts for more than 30 years. His text is generously illustrated, beautifully written, and chockfull of history (e.g. the studios in wartime), instruction (e.g. the chapter on storyboarding reads like "Gone with the Wind"), plus lists of distributors, animation film festivals, and a first-rate bibliography.

So what doesn't this dream book address exactingly? Computer animation is only briefly touched upon. Explaining why, Beckerman notes, "With the speedy changes and upgrading in that sphere, everything written about it is obsolete before the ink dries. However, computer animators who lack an understanding of traditional methods are poorly prepared no matter how many software programs they have mastered." So there. Brandon Judel Indiewire.com

Multi-layered tribute to the art, technique, business and history of making animated movies, is a masterpiece itself. Authored by Beckerman, a vet for Terrytoons and Paramount Famous Studios, this one is a guaranteed animation class textbook-to-be. The Boox Review

"Your book truly is The Whole Story for would-be animators who want to know how it came about, what it's all about, and how to do it...I admire your thorough review of the origins of animation and cinematography in general. I think your book will be the most useful in giving readers a comprehensive, step by step understanding of the process...At age 80, I'm still trying to figure it all out, and your book is reminding me of the basics!"
Gene Deitch,animation director and author of "How To Succeed In Animation"

"I was fortunate enough to learn animation from Howard himself when I was starting out. For all those out there who weren't so lucky, here's his course, in book form. Insightful, useful, conversational and thorough. Animation: The Whole Story is a valuable learning tool. Howard is a skilled technician, but more importantly, a true artist, and his insights into the creative process will be a revelation even to those who know him well" Richard Gorey, animator and author of "The Great Rabbit Rip-off"

"For over thirty years, Howard Beckerman's students have benefited from his great knowledge and expertise. Now, with the release of this book, a far wider audience will be able to share his unique vision of this compelling art form." Reeves Lehmann, ANIMATION CHAIRMAN, School of Visual Arts

"Howard Beckerman has created a loving and detailed look at the history and mechanics of animation and has boiled it down to its essence." Peter de Seve, character designer and illustrator.


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