Online Animations Part 1

Think of 13 year old Haleigh.

Nerdy, constantly online playing Neopets. I would look at their newspaper, called the “The Neopian Times” mind you, but I wouldn’t read any of the articles. I would look at the comics people would send in.

neopian_timesI wanted so badly to create a comic and submit it to their newspaper. I actually still have so many rough draft squirreled up in my room somewhere. All pencil drawings with fuzzy little animals on them. I don’t think I ever made the paper, but it still had a huge impact on me.

One of the biggest impacts was that someone submitted an actual animated cartoon. With voice acting and everything. I was astounded. Could someone seriously just make cartoons of their own and upload them?

Naturally, I searched out an answer. The answer is a little embarrassing. In fact, someone close to me teased me the other day about how nerdy it was.

Naruto Fan Flashes by Snowdragon. I’m cringing right now. They’re terrible to watch, especially if you’ve never seen the show. It pretty much sums up what 2007/2008 was like: random nerdy humor.

But over the years I did find out something interesting about those series of animations. There are a lot of people who have seen those animations. I mean a lot. I’m talking thousands. And those thousands of people had the same thought I did: “I want to make animations like this.”

On art websites I joined, animated cartoons would usually make the front page. They were highly popular, and usually a spoof on some video game. That was the norm. Everyone wanted to animate.

People left and right would download a program called Adobe Flash. It was a rather expensive program that would make parents weep when they searched up items on their child’s Christmas wish list. You know all those stickman fighting animations you would watch on youtube?

Now Snowdragon wasn’t the only one. Many people followed Edd Gould, the man who created the Eddsworld flashes online. They were insanely popular. So much so, close friends have continued his series even after his passing back in 2012, in memory of him.photo

Eddsworld cartoons impacted kids so much, he had copy cats of his style. I remember joining art websites and seeing look-a-likes with similar plot lines of kids and their own friends.

Just a simple search on google for “online cartoon” can bring thousands of results, with most of them being adobe flash animated cartoons. This was back in earlier 2004 to 2008 era. Online cartoon popularity grew more over the years, and it was all thanks to a particular website called Newgrounds.

Part 2 coming soon…

[Pictures from neopets.com and youtube.com]

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Maybe getting too theoretical…

I’m very much a visual person.

It’s how I learn. It’s how I push others to teach because I know that I’m not the only visual learner.

Some of my favorite things on the internet is when people use animation to explain an idea or a problem. Well done graphics can really make a point.

I love videos like this (I mostly like Red Letter Media and people poking fun at Adam Sandler’s blatantly terrible movies) because it visually allows me to understand a concept. However, can other things be just as animated as animation itself?

I don’t know if it would surprise anyone that I was in radio. I loved the storytelling aspect of it. However, it’s very much different than animation or anything you see with your eyes. That because it relies heavily on your ears and brain. Your imagination.

The first time I was really fascinated with audio-only storytelling was when a boyfriend gave me an MP3 of the first Harry Potter audiobook, read by Jim Dale. I never jumped on the bandwagon before when the books first came out. Yeah I watched the movies, but I wasn’t a huge fan. My usual response was, “meh”.

Then I started listening to Jim Dale in my car ride to school. Dale changed things for me. His take on different characters, the inflection in his voice, brought J.K. Rowling’s words to life for me. I wondered how Dale could, in a way, animate and bring the story to life in which the books and movies did not do for me. How can a voice do that?

Well for one thing it’s preference. I’m not much of a reader. Like I said, I’m a visual learner. But audio isn’t visual. How can this be? I believe it’s the talent that Rowling had in her writing that was made more apparent to me with Dale’s voice.

This was something that encountered when I was a theatre student. There was a certain talent that you worked on with voice. Projection and enunciation that would help others understand your story. But now here comes the shift. Theatre is much more about the ACT, thus acting. There was a lot of emphasis when I was in classes that you can’t just tell the audience what was happening. You had to show it. I feel like that’s extremely important. If you ever been to an improv show, you know how funny a scene can be when the actors are speaking complete nonsense but their actions are very exaggerated and telling. Or watching a silent film by with Charlie Chaplin.

If you look at an episode of, let’s say Family Guy, there’s not a lot of action happening in the majority of scenes. It’s usually the characters standing around occasionally lifting their hands and talking. The edgy jokes are what carry the show.

So why is it that I’m more entertained by an audio book compared to a movie, yet stimulated by an improv skit that hardly has any talking?

I believe a lot of it is practiced talent, but also knowing in context what the story needs. The Adam Sandler video above was already entertaining in the original Red Letter Media video alone, but the animation added more visuals to help me understand the ridiculousness of it all.

I believe that animation with good acting, audio wise and actual action, can make a fantastic story for anyone.

Top Five Impacting Characters

Story is usually what I emphasize when it comes to a great show. However, what’s a great story without great characters? Characters that have good development, whether it be positive or negative, are what help carry the story along. They also could BE the story, which is also important.

A wide variety of characters also allow a wide range of audiences members and fans. You want a character that not only can relate, but several characters that can relate to other different people as well.

So I wanted to do a Top Five Characters that have impacted me in a way: either I relate to them, they touch a feeling within me, or I find them funny and well written. They’re not in any specific order.

Pearl from Steven Universe
Overprotective of little Steven, she is considered the “mom” of the series. Pearl is part of the Crystal Gems. She stern and is always worrying about something. However, she is caring.


Pearl is a perfectionist at times. She wants things done in the right way. However, it’s all for Steven. If you listen to her song “Strong in the Real Way”, you’ll understand her stance.

Feelings is a key word here. She’s a very emotional character. Even though she tries to wrap it up to be more presentable and less vulnerable, but she is very emotive.

One of my favorite raw moments was in the episode “Cry for Help”. When another character, Garnet, found out Pearl was lying to because she liked magically fusing to become Sardonyx, we can see Pearl’s regret and fear as she clutches her chest. She’s normally a strong headed character, but her flaw was her trying to satisfy or build her self-esteem in ways that weren’t healthy.

That hit so close to home. I felt the way Pearl has before, and normally, an animated television character doesn’t do that for a whole lot of people.

Quasimodo from Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Disney’s Quasi is a sweet, and lovable character. Also, very underrated, in my opinion. Don’t want to go on a Disney Princess tirade again.

Quasimodo is meant to be a striking opposite of Claude Frollo, the antagonist. He’s a very pure, but relatable character in the sense that there’s something in all of us that is afraid to show our pure selves. Hiding away, an anxiety. Maybe we were shamed into thinking we were one thing. Maybe not good enough, maybe ugly, or fat.

But, what if those things are okay? What if it’s okay to not be pretty as society sees fit, maybe we aren’t the “ideal” weight. And sometimes, we aren’t good enough, but that doesn’t make us deposable or useless. Just because we don’t meet a certain standard, doesn’t mean we can’t meet another.

And that’s what Quasi means to me. His song, “Out There” hits me really close, as we all want to meet and relate to people. I try not to tear up every time I hear it.

Arnold from Hey Arnold!
I don’t know if I completely relate to an inner city kid, since I’ve also been out in the country some (thanks Tennessee). However, the problems I’ve faced before are somewhat relatable to Arnold’s.

Remember in one of my previous’s posts where I mentioned an episode where Arnold refused to rat out his friends for his own sake, but knew it would benefit themselves if they revealed themselves as the culprits. Arnold has always impacted me to do better. To better myself.

That doesn’t mean that Arnold was perfect. In fact, in one episode, he made fun of one of his new teachers. He followed along with the rest of his class bullying their teacher, to the point where he cried and stayed at home. But Arnold betters himself. In fact the whole class does after seeing (compared to a nasty substitute), that their old teacher was actually alright. They went back to him and apologized. They engaged him, and wanted to learn from him again. That’s what I like about Arnold. He acknowledges his wrong doing, and tries to do right, and better himself.

Peggy from King of the Hill
I honestly don’t know why I like this character so much. Actually all of the characters in this show are hilarious (Bobby actually was going to be on here), but there was something about Peggy.

For me, Peggy kinda represents the adult woman I want to be. She’s very upfront when she feels it’s appropriate. She also doesn’t feel like she’s held down by her marriage. Not that Hank would hold her from voicing her opinion. He’s very respectful of her. It’s that she’s not afraid to take the reigns every once in awhile. She’s not fearful, but within reason (sometimes within reason…there was that cult….).

But she cares. She deeply cares for her family to where she would take matters into her own hands.

Lilo from Lilo and Stitch
A strong character from my childhood. She’s a lonely one. She also seems too complicated by all the silly or “weird” things she loves to do, but I’d disagree.

Yeah sure she’s nerdy and loves Elvis, not a whole lot of kids can relate to listening to Elvis constantly. However, kids can relate to being isolated or feeling like they don’t belong.

Lilo is that character that touches the nerd or weird kid in all of us, but allows us a sense of belonging, much like Quasi. However Lilo is brave, and never hides who she is. Even if she’s told to tone it down a bit, she may get sad, but she doesn’t stop. She perseveres. After her parents dying, being constantly bullied, and the fact that she might be separated from her sister is a terrifying thought and would bring down most children. In fact it does for her in some circumstances, letting out her loneliness in prayer. But she doesn’t give up hope. She prays for a friend, hopes for a friend. She’s a persevering character.

[Pictures from fanpop.com, disney.wikia.com, huffingtonpost.com, and ign.com]