Animation Fish Head Progress

March 31, 2014

Posted on by Joe Murray



Discipline comes into all aspects of your life.What time you wake up. When you go to sleep. What you eat. When you work on your projects. A well disciplined life leads to health and happiness. But sometimes it can feel like neglect to the “in the moment” times. What do you turn down to keep on track with your art. Your creative outlet. How do you feel afterwards?

Animation is really tough on the discipline. It’s so long term. I used to ride those bicycle double century rides, where they are so long, sometimes you just need to concentrate on the road that is directly beneath your feet.

But the decision you make now. Are you still being a good parent? A good husband?  Are you being true to yourself. If you wake up earlier can you get more work done before the baby wakes up?

To me, it feels good to be with my wife and kids, but if I”m away from my work too long I get grumpy. It needs to be acknowledged. Given a comfortable place to sit.

Work is coming along well. My animation is improving.

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Animation Fish Head Progress

March 11, 2014

Posted on by Joe Murray
Animation still from film "Fish Head" and early development art from the same scene.

Animation still from film “Fish Head” and early development art from the same scene.

You can tell how many changes this film has undergone since it’s first development art and the current animation being done for it. You can see the difference in the model design for the fisherman. I also earlier had a dog in the story, but as things go, the dog seemed more and more irrelevant to the story. Also Annie, the wife character, developed some curl to her hair.

One of the really positive aspects of independent film, and “calling an audible” on the drawing table. Changing a play after you see how things are setting up. I lay out a scene, but once I start animating it, at times I know it’s not going to work. Or rather, it would work, but a change would make it work better.

Not sure what happened to winter here in southern California. Maybe other parts of the country can share the wealth.

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Animation Fish Head Progress

February 24, 2014

Posted on by Joe Murray


Conceptual art for the Laughter pub scene, followed by a still from the rough animation.

Animating Laughter

There’s a scene in Fish Head where the main character Blister brings his meager fish to the pub only to get ridiculed with laughter. One would think animating laughter would be over the top, but there are actually a lot of subtleties involved in it. Especially if you don’t want it to look cycled. Laughter is sometimes catching your breath, looking at what you are laughing at, and starting all over. It’s head action, shoulder action, stomach action.This is by no means Disney master animation.( My characters are not designed to move that way anyway.) I want good snap and punch, but most of all visual hilarity. Whatever style of animation achieves that is what I strive for. Don’t always get there, but I’m having a good time.

Sometimes I feel like Blister in this scene, and my film is the little fish. Some friends in the industry say “Whaaaatttt? Why are you working on this little film?”

I actually have lots of projects going on that I’m excited about. This is one of them. And I like it. It’s one of many things that bring me great satisfaction to work on.


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Animation Fish Head Progress

February 4, 2014

Posted on by Joe Murray


Doing Riverdance with a Peg Leg

I love the education opportunities that come with animating an independent film. Will it ever apply anywhere else? Doesn’t matter. I have a scene in Fish Head where there is a line up of toothless fishermen ( and a woman) riverdancing. So, find reference, study the moves. Each body shape has a different application to the dance. The weight. The leg length. Now throw in the fact that 3 of the fisherman have fake wooden legs.

Nothing comes up on you tube of riverdancing with a peg leg. Hmmmm,,,,

Try it. Throw it away. Try it again.  Does it bend at all?

Time for dinner…. Try it again… time for breakfast….

I think I got it. I’ll get some rest and look at it again and see if I like it.

Keep your fingers crossed.


Posted in Animation, Fish Head Progress | 4 Comments

Filmmaker Spotlight

January 22, 2014

Posted on by Joe Murray

Huffington Post did a feature on me today. If you would like to check it out, its here.

Posted in Filmmaker Spotlight | 2 Comments

Animation Life in Art

January 18, 2014

Posted on by Joe Murray
Portrait of me hanging on the "Wall of Creators" at Nickelodeon studios.

Portrait of me hanging on the “Wall of Creators” at Nickelodeon studios.

My former student Cole Rathacker was touring the Nickelodeon studios this week and took this pic of my portrait on the wall.

I think it must have been commissioned by one of the executives I didn’t get along with.


I don’t know.

Posted in Animation, Life in Art | 5 Comments

Animation Business as Unusual Classes Filmmaker Spotlight

January 12, 2014

Posted on by Joe Murray


A Proud Teacher

I’m proud to say that one of my students from my 2011 Master class ( That the lectures I have available right now here) had his show picked up by Nickelodeon and it’s making it’s debut on February 17th.

Gary Di Raffaele co-created the show “Breadwinners” that will be airing on Nickelodeon. It has some good buzz and I wish Gary all the best!

I’m a little boastful I suppose of the amount of creators stemming from my crews on both shows ( including J.G Quintel of the “Regular Show”) who went on to create and produce their own shows, but now I can start adding students of mine. I guess I’m just proud.


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Fish Head Progress Life is so Daily

January 9, 2014

Posted on by Joe Murray



Work Progresses

Or does it? Having a studio at home has it’s good qualities and bad. The bad news is that you can get distracted. The good news is that there are wonderful distractions to be had if you hit a snag. If I take a moment to pick up my baby son and get a big drooling slobbery kiss from him, that keeps me going. I can be called to dinner. I can walk to work in the morning.

I don’t like the daily life of errands and bill paying and what not. Don’t like it. Kills momentum. And that I’ve taken on more of the independent filmmaker role, it comes with it’s stress over money. Don’t like that. But it comes with the territory. Somehow, it always works out. Paying for my baby’s hospital stay last year is not helping matters. But I’d pay anything to have my baby’s health in good form.

It always works out.  The life of an artist.





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January 8, 2014

Posted on by Joe Murray


New Memberships for Animation Classes- Go At Your Own Pace

I’m really excited to offer up this new format of my very popular master classes. I’ve had requests for providing instruction in a more flexible and cost effective manner. I feel the hard work was worth it.

I’m offering 3 separate classes, “Crafting a Cartoon”“Pitching a Cartoon Series’, and “How to Survive and Prosper as an Artist”. Each class has over 6 hours of lectures plus downloads. Subscribe for one, or add two and three for major savings. The gold membership of all three classes comes with an autographed edition of my book “Creating Animated Cartoons with Character”. Check it out.

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December 24, 2013

Posted on by Joe Murray

santa-for-webMerry Christmas to you all!

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