The Return of Mr. Bean — The Animated Series

Rowan Atkinson’s pro­duc­tion com­pany, Tiger Aspect, is ramp­ing up pro­duc­tion on a new set of episodes of Mr. Bean — The Ani­mated Series. This new sea­son is to be pro­duced entirely in house in Lon­don. To see the press release, CLICK HERE.

And they are hir­ing! If you would like to learn more, CLICK HERE.

Rowan Atkin­son was closely involved in the pro­duc­tion of the ear­lier sea­sons, and I imag­ine he will be even more avail­able with the work going on in his own stu­dio. Mr. Bean is a great exam­ple of how a tele­vi­sion series can be pro­duced rely­ing on visual sto­ry­telling, rather than a dia­log filled script.

It’s fan­tas­tic to have an actor who owns his char­ac­ter tak­ing such good care of his prop­erty. Here is a sam­ple of Mr. Bean — The Ani­mated Series.

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Silent” another Moonbot short film featuring Morris Lessmore.

This is clearly influ­enced by Keaton’s film “Sher­lock Jr.”

And here is nice, short, mak­ing of video to go along with it.

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Get A Horse! animation test.

Check out this fun test made for the recent Mickey Mouse short film, Get A Horse.

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Where Homer Simpson got his “D’oh”


I have been read­ing Mixed Nuts by Lawrence J. Ept­stein. It’s about com­edy teams in Amer­ica. In a sec­tion on Lau­rel and Hardy, he has this lit­tle tidbit:

Most com­edy teams had an author­ity fig­ure to bal­ance a rebel­lious spirit– a straight man to rein in the comic. But not Lau­rel and Hardy. Ollie thought he was in charge and acted as though he were a par­ent or older sib­ling, but, of course, he clearly wasn’t.

Inno­vat­ing, Lau­rel and Hardy deployed some­one out­side the team to play the straight­man. Jimmy Fin­layson, pop­u­larly called fin, was the out­sider they most often used. Fin­layson inad­ver­tently made a con­tri­bu­tion to Amer­i­can cul­ture. Because of cen­sors, Fin­layson was not allowed to swear in the movies. He wanted, how­ever to express annoy­ance, and where he would ordi­nar­ily have used the word “damn,” he sub­sti­tuted a sound, ”D’ooooh” one famous scene in which he does this is in Way out West, when he is try­ing to pass off one woman for another to get a deed to a gold mine. He calls out the woman’s name, expect­ing the imposter to appear, but the real woman shows up. He is intensely frus­trated and lets out his “D’oooohh.” Years later, Dan Castel­lan­eta was hired to be the voice of the ani­mated char­ac­ter Homer Simp­son and was read­ing a script in which he was called upon to make an “annoyed grunt.” He asked Matt Groen­ing, the series cre­ator, what that meant and was told to make what­ever sound he wished. Castel­lan­eta imi­tated Fin­layson. Groen­ing told him to speed the sound up and “D’oh” was born.

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Motherlode of character ideas

If you are in the busi­ness of cre­at­ing char­ac­ters, it’s good to have a wide knowl­edge of char­ac­ters found in drama and lit­er­a­ture. I ran across this wikipedia “cat­e­gory” of stock char­ac­ters. It’s an alpha­bet­i­cal list of stock char­ac­ters, each linked to a page describ­ing them. This is in addi­tion to the stan­dard wikipedia page for stock char­ac­ters. It’s fun to peruse the list, and edu­ca­tional, if you visit the pages for char­ac­ters you’ve never heard of.

Stock char­ac­ters

From wikipedia:

A Stock char­ac­ter is a [fic­tional char­ac­ter] based on a com­mon lit­er­ary or social stereo­type. Stock char­ac­ters rely heav­ily on cul­tural types or names for their per­son­al­ity, man­ner of speech, and other char­ac­ter­is­tics. In their most gen­eral form, stock char­ac­ters are related to lit­er­ary arche­types, but they are often more nar­rowly defined. Stock char­ac­ters are a key com­po­nent of genre fic­tion, pro­vid­ing rela­tion­ships and inter­ac­tions that peo­ple famil­iar with the genre will rec­og­nize imme­di­ately. Stock char­ac­ters make easy tar­gets for par­ody, which will likely exag­ger­ate any stereo­types asso­ci­ated with these characters.

A stock char­ac­ter is not one you nec­es­sar­ily want to recre­ate, but it’s cer­tainly good to know some­thing about them.  They are often eas­ily rec­og­niz­able char­ac­ters who exist because they were, or are, suc­cess­ful in some way.  They rep­re­sent some aspect of human nature that many peo­ple can relate to.  You might find one that is nat­u­rally inter­est­ing to you, and use it as a start­ing point to expand, or cre­ate a new inter­pre­ta­tion of. In forms of the­ater that rely on stock char­ac­ters, the audi­ence becomes acutely aware of the qual­ity of the actor’s per­for­mance, and it is chal­leng­ing to keep them fresh and alive. 

I looked over the list to find unfa­mil­iar titles to widen my knowl­edge.  Here are some I found interesting:

An archim­ime is a chief buf­foon or jester. Among the ancient Romans, archim­imes were per­sons who imi­tated the man­ners, ges­tures, and speech both of the liv­ing and the deceased. At first, they were only employed in the the­atre, but were after­wards admit­ted to their feasts, and at last to funer­als. At funer­als, archim­imes walked behind the corpse, imi­tat­ing the ges­tures and behav­iors of the per­son being car­ried to the funeral pyre, as if they were still alive.

Manic Pixie Dream Girl (MPDG) is a stock char­ac­ter in films. Film critic Nathan Rabin, who coined the term after see­ing Kirsten Dunst in Eliz­a­beth­town, describes the MPDG as “that bub­bly, shal­low cin­e­matic crea­ture that exists solely in the fevered imag­i­na­tions of sen­si­tive writer-directors to teach brood­ingly soul­ful young men to embrace life and its infi­nite mys­ter­ies and adventures.” MPDGs are said to help their men with­out pur­su­ing their own hap­pi­ness, and such char­ac­ters never grow up, thus their men never grow up.

Malan­dragem (Brazil­ian Por­tuguese:) is a Brazil­ian Por­tuguese term for a lifestyle of idle­ness, fast liv­ing and petty crime — tra­di­tion­ally cel­e­brated in samba lyrics, espe­cially those of Noel Rosa. The expo­nent of this lifestyle, the malan­dro , or “bad boy” (rogue, huistler, ras­cal, scoundrel), has become sig­nif­i­cant to Brazil­ian national iden­tity as a folk hero, or, rather an anti-hero. It is com­mon in Brazil­ian lit­er­a­tureBrazil­ian cin­ema and Brazil­ian music.[1]

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