Mike Blum

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What is your name and your current occupation?
My name is Mike Blum and I am a director, producer, writer and owner of two boutique production companies, Pipsqueak Films and Blumayan Films. Pipsqueak Films works on animated content of all sorts and Blumayan Films produces live action features.


What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I waited tables while being a ski bum after college. I couldn’t ski more than 5 feet without falling at the start of the season but was cruising black diamonds by the end. Never did learn to wait tables all that well…And when I was in junior high and high school I worked at this crazy nut, candy, coffee store called The Head Nut. Come to think of it, slinging nuts and candy is a lot like turning the crank in production — head down and scoop away!


What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
My favorite projects are the ones I’ve had the biggest hand in seeing through creatively. So, even though I worked on nearly a dozen features with world class artists and technical people while at Disney Feature Animation, none gave me the same satisfaction as working on my first shorts, Oil & Vinegar and The Zit.  And while a lot of my colleagues gave me funny looks when I told them I was leaving Disney to direct a series about a pair of talking testicles, The Adventures of Baxter & McGuire (for Comedy Central), got me nominated for an Emmy and took me to great festivals like Sundance and Annecy. And I worked with the amazing showrunners Michael Weithorn and Nick Bakay.  But my favorite project so far is the one I just completed, Samurai! Daycare. It’s a 10 part, Flash animated web series I did for the new YouTube channel, Shut Up! Cartoons. It’s the first property I sold that made it all the way to series and it was great fun to showrun my own creation.


How did you become interested in animation?
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I’ll answer these 2 questions together…. I was a huge fan of Bugs Bunny growing up. I know, I know I have such unusual tastes. But I really never had any classic artistic skills and grew up so far removed from “the industry” in the Philadelphia ‘burbs, it never occurred to me in at least a conscious way that it could be a career. I did, however, Continue reading

Mark O’Hare

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What is your name and your current occupation?
Mark O’Hare, story artist, Illumination Entertainment.

What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
Served coffee, cleaned dorms rooms, bused tables, stocked shoes. No crazy here. All average.


What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
Citizen Dog comic strip, Rocko’s Modern Life, Spongebob, Dexter, Powerpuff Girls, Despicable Me, Lorax – I’ve enjoyed all of these.

How did you become interested in animation?
A classmate of mine at Purdue University gave me a Continue reading

List of Apple Product Event Highlights


Since so many artists use Apple hardware and software, I thought you might all like to see a list of the updates and new things Apple announced at their event yesterday. You can watch the entire thing via this link as well.

  • Apple Watch:
  • Adding Facebook Messenger.
  • iTranslate — speak into the mic and hear translations in over 90 languages.
  • Physician app AirStrip can monitor vitals.
  • New band options, two new finishes gold and rose gold.
  • Watch OS 2 comes out September 16.
  • iPad:
  • iPad Pro announced: Screen is 12.9 inches, 5.6m pixels, A9X chip, with 2x memory bandwidth, storage and graphics performance, 10-hour battery life, 8MP camera, 802.11ac with MIMO, 150Mbps LTE modem, TouchID, 6.9mm thick and 1.57 pounds.
  • Smart Keyboard connects magnetically.
  • The Apple Pencil stylus: “Highly responsive sensors built into the tip of Apple Pencil sensor pressure, tilt, and stroke.”
  • Corporate VP from MS Office, Kirk Koenigsbauer talks Microsoft Office for iPad.
  • New suite of Adobe apps.
  • Apple Pencil is $99 and Smart Keyboard is $169, all available in November.
  • New iPad mini 4 $399.
  • Apple TV:
  • New remote with glass touch surface. 10mm tall, A8 chip, Bluetooth 4.0. Built-in accelerometer and gyroscope, 3 months per charge, charges over lightning. 32GB for $149, 64GB for $199.
  • iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and Showtime are searchable.
  • New cleaner looking UI with Siri integration.
  • New OS: TV OS.
  • new games and game collections for the family, using your iPhone or iPod Touch as a controller.
  • MLB app, NHL Game Center live in 2016.
  • tvOS developer beta available today, available to consumers in late October.
  • iPhone:
  • iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, Silver, gold, space grey, and new Rose Gold. 4.7-inch 6S and 5.5-inch 6S+.
  • 3rd-generation A9 chip 70% faster CPU than A8, 90% faster GPU than A8.
  • New pressure-sensitive 3D Touch.
  • New Taptic Engine
  • New Siri feature allows you to speak to your iPhone whether you’re powered on or not.
  • New 12 megapixel iSight camera. 50% more pixels and 50% more focus pixels for faster autofocus.
  • 4K video
  • 5MP FaceTime HD Camera.
  • Retina Flash, display can light up 3X brighter than usual to be a flash for the front-facing camera.
  • Live Photos: Press with 3D Touch and pictures will move.
  • iPhone 6 $199-$399, iPhone 6 Plus $299-$499 all on two-year contracts.
  • New iPhone Upgrade Program for a new iPhone every year, choose your carrier, unlocked phones, 24-month installment plan starting at $32/month.
  • preorder Saturday, Sept 12. Available September 25th.
  • iOS 9 available September 16th.
  • New iCloud storage pricing: 50GB for 99 cents a month, 200GB for $2.99/mo, 1TB for $9.99/mo.

Apple releases the iPad Pro


Apple releases the iPad Pro

by Mike Milo

So Apple finally did it. They released an optional pen with their new iPad Pro which is odd considering that legendary Apple CEO Steve Jobs jokingly expressed his animosity towards styluses in general. “Yuck, who needs a stylus,” he claimed. Another thing he said was “If you need a stylus you’ve already failed.”

And yet with the success of the Surface Pro line from Microsoft it would seem Apple is eating it’s words. And I think they’ve failed to tell the truth.

Dubbed the “Apple Pencil”  it’s a rechargeable stylus exclusively for the 12.9” iPad tablet. Despite the name, it remains to be seen whether this is going to be a killer device for ‘pros’ since it’s running iOS9 and not OSX which was rumored.

I can tell you that the all-white stylus felt light in the hand when I used it to scribble in Notes and draw on a picture in Apple’s native Mail app. It also felt fast, unlike some styluses that suffer from latency issues. But again, I didn’t use it for an extended period of time. As with Microsoft’s Surface Pro stylus, you can use it with certain applications, but not all applications. Other developers that will fully support the Apple Pencil are Microsoft’s Office suite, as well as a few of Adobe’s iPad-tailored apps that will be exclusively available on the iPad Pro and will ship in November.

That quote above which is from The Verge says all I need to hear: you can use it with certain applications, but not all applications, which basically makes it a very expensive hobbyist toy as  you’ll never run a serious animation or 3d program off of it which is silly considering the price.

Another thing they did wrong in my opinion is that you need to charge the pen. That’s as lame as it gets as far as I’m concerned and in many ways a deal breaker. It’s one thing if it charged inside the tablet but it doesn’t. Instead, it has an embedded Lightning connector that allows you to directly connect it to the iPad Pro and charge it which tells me you can’t keep the iPad plugged in AND charge the pen at the same time. Why? You know as well as I do that that damn thing is always gonna be dead when you pick it up to doodle on a whim. I guess it’s better than creating some stupid proprietary Apple charging connector just for the Pencil so I’ll give them that.

The iPad Pro will ship in November and starts at $799 for a 32GB device. For one with 128GB of storage, you’re looking at $1,079. It will be available in silver, gold and space grey. The Apple Pencil will cost you $99




Apple iPad Pro with a stylus this Fall?


Apple Insider is reporting that Apple may finally be unveiling an iPad with a stylus.  Apparently the device will be called the iPad Pro and is currently being beta tested as we speak. This is not the first time we’ve heard this rumor but recently Apple filed for a new patent concerning a stylus and that seems to have renewed excitement for a stylus enabled Apple device.

From the site:

AppleInsider’s own sources have indicated that the company is working on a 12.9-inch tablet, known colloquially as an “iPad Pro,” that will feature a Bluetooth-connected stylus. Separately, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities has said that Apple plans to launch the larger iPad with a simple stylus this year, while more advanced features such as 3D handwriting, are unlikely to arrive until next year at the earliest, with a new and more advanced stylus.

All that said the article goes on to say:

This week’s patent application is far from the first filing by Apple revealing the company’s behind-the-scenes interest in developing a stylus. One concept detailed by AppleInsider last year included anextendable multitouch nib with onboard light and motion sensors, while another stylus patent published earlier this year described once again how a stylus can offer more precise input than a fingertip.

You can read the entire article here.

News: Apple’s Next Hit Will Be a Surface Pro 3 Clone?


Bloomberg is reporting that Apple’s next big product will be a tablet with a stylus something Mac artists have been salivating over for many years. They point to a number of factors, one being the success of Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 as well as Samsung’s stylus pen line such as the Note 2, Note 4 Note 10.1 as well as the Note Pro 12.

Samsung debuted its first, much maligned and hugely successful Galaxy Note — the first phone with a bigger-than-5-inch screen — in September, 2011. For two years afterwards, Apple was content to present incremental improvements to the iPhone. Compared with the iPhone 5, the iPhone 5s just added a fingerprint sensor and an improved camera (plus a few other features that most consumers didn’t care about).

Meanwhile Apple carefully observed the “phablet” market, watched other handset makers follow Samsung’s example and erode its market share, and experimented with ways to make a big phone easier to navigate one-handed. It struck just when Samsung started posting lower profits, because of the increased competitive pressure.

This time it isn’t a Samsung product Apple is watching, but Microsoft’s Surface Pro.

Another article from back in January over at Business Week states that Apple has filed for patents using a stylus in conjunction with a tablet. Interesting!


I think it would be in Apple’s best interest to create a product like this considering their biggest announcement this season was a higher resolution screen and some thinner iPads. Bleh. An Apple tablet with a stylus would blow the doors off of the Mac line and it’s likely set everyone into a fever pitch about styluses something us artists would love to see happen. What do you think? Would you like to see Apple finally come out with a Tablet?