Wargoon Flishe Watch

including the Pome of the Day Project

Tuesday, February 28, 2006


This is Dr. Hubert Zork, jazz clarinetist and piercing music critic. I am reporting here on the animation exploits of my fictional adventure hero, J. Akre. Mr. Akre is working on a feature length animated film, and I am here to report his daily diary of victories and issues.

This last day of February marks the end of his second month of animation production on this project. It is true that the writing and thinking portion of the process date back to 2005, even 2002, if you want to be exact. At milestones like this, there is both a certain sense of accomplishment and doubts that rise to the stormy sea surface.

Akre has already created more than 30 minutes of animation. He is more than a third of the way thru the story he is telling. Certainly that is an accomplishment. But there are also doubts. Is the story he is animating worth all the work that he is putting into this project? Will he even finish it? The production period is a long one for him. He likes to do things quickly and get them over with, and his mind is already wandering into projects that he would like to do upon the completion of this one, if there is a completion. Will his drive to finish it leave it shoddy, or less than what it could be? That is almost a certainty if I, the cynical Dr. Zork, have to call it at this point.

But there is more animation to be done, and tho yesterday was a dry day for animation, he plans to do much work this evening, after his day of paid work duties has ended.

And now it is time to erase this haze of doubt and move on to the Pome of the Day project. Here is today's pome:

the polar bears are in the seas
the ice beneath them melts
our global scale domestic whacks
are showing numerous welts

how fast can animals evolve
not fast enough to talk
we could lend ear to read their souls
but that's too far to walk

the forests will not save our skins
if we think trees are dumb
the hardest thing of all to say
is what makes us so numb

Written in sincerity and with fingers,
Dr. Hubert Zork

Monday, February 27, 2006


Yes, this is Dr. Zork. And no, I am not about to set down some more of my sizzling jazz criticism, but I am about to relay to you some more information about the fictional animator Akre.

Once upon a time there was a pre-ten small boy, an impressario of puppet shows, a drawer of crayon books. On his tenth birthday he was given a wind up 8mm camera by a neighbor. The camera was old, and the neighbor was not using it, so boy John got a roll of film at the drug store and filled up the camera with it.

His first animation experiments animated his brother and sisters. He could make them appear, disappear and transform simply by turning the camera on and off. Soon he moved inside the house, and discovered the importance of lighting. His first animation project, moving some shapes around on an easel, were nothing to see. There was not enough light and so they were underexposed. He was surprised when the film was all black, and a little angry, so he raised a pen and tried to write on some of the film. First he felt like he had ruined the movie by writing on it, but when he played back the blue lines, he liked what he saw.

He visited the small library in downtown Powell, Wyoming and read the books in the film section, a single shelf. He was most intrigued by the books about animation, and read a book about young animators and how they did their work. He saw the work of young animators on a television program called Zoom, and he was soon making his own cartoons, with lighting courtesy of a desk lamp.

There is more to this story, but there will be a future, and I will make good use of it. Now I will leave you with the Pome of the Day Project pome. Here it is.

it's a good day if
the sun don't stop
a good day if
the moon don't plop
a good day if
the seas don't boil
a good day when
we run out of oil

it's a good day if
the birdies stay
a good day if
we don't blow away
a good day if
we don't burn to ash
a good day when
the cars all crash

it's a good day if
there's still a sky
a good day if
all the animals don't die
a good day if
the trees aren't sad
a good day when
we're not so bad

Written in sincerity and with fingers,
Dr. Hubert Zork

Sunday, February 26, 2006


Dr. Zork here, detailing in some insignificance the continuing animation exploits of the fictional animator Akre. On this Sunday afternoon he has just turned to page 23 of his 67 page script. On Friday night he was on page 21. Thru much work and stress with pen and computer he has worked hard and moved like a glacier in animation progress over this weekend of two days.

Lately he has discovered the joy of combining the animations he makes with pen and lightbox and Photoshop with the animations he makes with the After Effects program. He is able to combine smooth animation with jerky animation and he likes the visual symphony of it. Speaking of symphonies, yesterday he created what he calls the "Scratching Symphony" of his character Botulism. Botulism is a character that finds comfort in the practice of the itch.

The fictional Mr. Akre has just sent several After Effects compositions to render. It will be some hours before this render is finished. In some of that time he will make new drawings. In other of that time he will read a book that he began reading on Friday about the making of the Bullwinkle and Rocky cartoon series by Jay Ward and Bill Scott. He finds this all very interesting, and he is as excited as a schoolboy about it all.

Of course such juvenile enthusiasm simply sickens me, the wonderously jazztacular Dr. Zork, so I will try to find the deep meanings in Django Reinhardts's guitar string reverberations. I will also leave you with the Pome of the Day Project day pome entry for today.

if only
there was
to say

just opening
your mouth
would be
a moment

just thinking
a picture
of your body
would be profound

Written in sincerity and with fingers,
Dr. Hubert Zork

Saturday, February 25, 2006

frame frame frame framed

Dr. Zork here. And in this apology I will attempt to further enlighten the dim with the animation exploits of the fictional Mr. Akre, who is doing his best or worst at an attempt to make a solo animated feature film.

Last night he animated a chorus and a frame. What a chorus and a frame is I cannot go into now, but I certainly will at an above point in this series. He used his third animation technique for these segments. I think I may have referred to this earlier, or below, as his Photoshop technique.

This animation technique involves actual frame by frame drawing on notecards with a black Sharpie marker pen. He makes his drawings on a light box so he can see the previous frame beneath the one he is currently drawing. He will draw a whole series of cards that show some kind of movement and/or idea and then he will place the cards face down on his computer scanner and scan the images into his computer. He will then use the Photoshop computer program to change them.

By making certain parts of each frame transparent he can line up one frame with the next. He does this with a property of Photoshop called layers which allows you to put one thing atop another, just like this message is on top of the others written before it and future messages will rest atop this one, perhaps even going so far as to smother it with their profound weightiness, which this posting certainly lacks so far, yawn.

Anyway, layers on top of layers gives him a video layer cake. He can make a frame out of the composition with certain layers on and certain layers off. He also adds color at this point. Anyway, I am sure you would understand what he is doing a lot better if you could just watch him, but you have not yet installed that spy camera, have you?

I believe it is now high time for the pome of the day project. Here is the so-named pome of the day for the pome of the day project, brought to you by the pome of the day association, a division of day pomes international.

The other animals
and all the plants
they have the sun
it tells them when
and tells them what
they know it is boss

we think we can
say to hell with the sun
sleep past its alarm
we think we caged it
inside glass
we think we know this
in stories and sight
but what about the
centuries of sun,
our actual fingers -
boy, are we screwed

Written in sincerity and with (fingers),
Dr. Hubert Zork

Friday, February 24, 2006

after after more

In this hit and missive, I will continue to expound upon the animation Akre's fictional attempts to use the After Effects program for his animation process. I began this train in the previous report, which is actually the one beneath this one. This convention of blogs I find most bothersome. The arc is not from the beginning to the end, but instead the end rests upon the beginning, and so your eyes must fall from the ending and down into a beginning direction if you desire knowledge of the precedent.

He creates a composition in the program with his paper doll Photoshop file with layers and then uses keyframes to move a layer or two. This composition is then nested into another composition, composition into composition as if it were jazz music. Tweedee on the clarinet. But it is not jazz, instead it is color and shape.

Last night he created mouth movement in his characters. One character, Barleyparsons, has a circle shape for a mouth. He adjusted the shape with keyframes to match the waveform of her talking. He tried reading the script with his own mouth and felt if his mouth went flat or vertical, and tried to match this on the circle of Baleyparson's mouth, and sometimes he went against the real for cartoon effect. The other talking character, Wargoon, has a mouth that is a hinge. It is either closed or open, like a door, or sometimes in between. That is how two boxes talk. Into the larger scene he will place these talking puppets.

He creates a great composition far larger than screen size and then bites out DV aspect ration chunks of that larger composition. Within this larger canvas this he can do virtual camera moves, zooms and tilts and pans. It is all about nesting. It sounds like it is all for the birds.

It sounds as nonsense as these blog layers upon layers. I can almost feel the weight of the future upon the past that today will turn into. The future is above me. The past is below me. I must be buried. I must be already dead, even tho I am only a fictional character invented to report on another fictional character who may have been the inventor of me.

I must stop before I begin, even tho the beginning is really somewhere invisible up above me. It is high time, methinks, for the Pome of the Day Project. Here it is.

is movement
that stillness
is movement
there is a shiver
in that statue
watch the blue sky

there is stillness
in motion
watch that runner
in midflight
see the jet plane
as period
watch my jawbone
squeeze out silence

Written in sincerity and with fingers,
Dr. Huber Zork

Thursday, February 23, 2006

tween fiction

Dr. Zork here. I have visions of a new jazz article that I must write, but first I must record some of the practices of my fictional character, the animator Akre. He is hard at work at his animated feature film Wargoon Flishe, which he has written, recorded voice over for, and is now animating as a solo task. Only a fictional character would have such an ego.

In an earlier missive I mentioned that he is essentially using three animation techniques to manufacture his opus. In this report I shall give some details on the second of these techniques. He has told me to tell you these things, and I understand them very little, but I will do my best to relay them to you in some haste.

The second technique that he uses I referred to earlier as the After Effects method. He uses the popular computer program. He first makes a large computer image file, part collage, part of lines, and this image serves as a background. This background can serve for several large sections of the story, so it is made a bit like a labyrinth with various rooms and angles. Or like a video game that he moves his characters thru.

Next he has made his characters, or actors. These are also computer image files, and have their various parts left as various Photoshop layers so the individual parts can be manipulated later. He combines these elements, characters and backgrounds and additonal props made into pictures, in After Effects, and then makes changes upon them using keyframes.

Altho this computer program has keyframe assistants that try to make the actions smooth, he has dispensed with the use of these to keep all actions seeming robotic. He basically sets up beginning and end points of an action and lets the program do the tweening, or in betweening. Last night he made his characters talk and sit. It was a scene where they were trying to come up with advertising slogans, but fall in love instead.

Enough of that nonsense. Now is time for the pome of the day project. This is another pome that could the lyric of a beautiful piece of jazz music. I hope you find it satisfactory.

fact or fict
which is my sweetheart
which treats me nicely
and which does me wrong

fact or fict
which is my honey
which one has substance
and which vanishes

fact or fict
which is my lover
am i in shit
or a world of dream

Written in sincerity and with fingers,
Dr. Hubert Zork

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

the story

In today's report I shall give some small details about the story that the fictional Mr. Akre is now animating. I am the fictional character that he created to create these reports. The story is called "Wargoon Flishe," and is an abreviated version of his novel "The Epic of Wargoon Flishe."

His story is based on the ancient legend. He feels the need to retell the ancient legend because it is an unknown legend. It is an unknown legend because nobody knows about it, but he knows about it, and thus he must tell it.

The novel on which the animated cartoon is to be based was written by Akre in late 2002 and early 2003, and then revised and amended at other times past that time. It was a 175 page novel when he confronted it for animation.

His first step was to cut it down. He figured a minute of animated film per page of text, so he cut it down to about 67 pages. But, after animating for slightly more than a month and a half he has created nearly 30 minutes of movie running time but is only on page 20 of the script, so more cutting will be in order to make the usual animated feature running time of somewhere around 70 to 80 minutes.

That is enough about him. Now about me, the exceptional Dr. Zork. Last night I attended a film called "Los Angeles Plays Itself," which was a film essay about the depiction of Los Angeles in films. The long documentary had an arc that took it from car crashes to the people of the city who are pedestrians and bus riders, the Los Angeles people you rarely see in movies, tho there have been some small seen pictures. To celebrate that arc, my bus connections home last night were spotless, and I was able to bus from Lake and Lyndale to my home in Northeast Minneapolis in 35 minutes, a nearly inhuman feat of strength.

Here is the pome of the day project, a jazz lyric that may be about that film last night.

is that the film
that brightens
beside the ocean
or the one with
walking truth
bus riding real

Written in sincerity and with fingers,
Dr. Hubert Zork

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


Dr. Zork here. Yesterday I continued my progress in my new method of playing the clarinet, but I must speak of that later for today I am charged by the fictional Akre to report on his animation project.

He is learning by making. He is reading books on animation to see what he is doing wrong as he is doing it. He has three animation techniques that he is using to create his omnivorous animation universe, and these are, the After Effects method, the Photoshop method, and the Locatiamator method.

Today I will expound briefly for him on the concept of Locatiamation.

Simply, if anything can ever be considered simple, Locatiamation is the science of animating on location. This allows the animator to breathe the fresh or polluted air and to see the sunshine now and then. Animation can be a lonely indoor process. Locatiamation can make it a lonely outdoor process too.

Locatiamation, as practiced by the fictional Mr. Akre, is very simple. He makes animated frames on post it notes and then places them on a piece of glass. The real world acts as a frame outside the post it note frame of animation. The animator is in effect animating his own box world of yellow and the real world as well in frame.

His animation style is all very simple. He is making cave paintings to go with his cave story. More on the story in coming entries.

Enough of technique. Now it is time for the pome of the day project. This time it is by me, the brilliant Dr. Zork. It could be a lyric for beautiful jazz music, it might be something that you have to read and I have to type. Do not spend too much time on it. Skip over it as if it were sixty frames per second.

it is not the movement
the action, the act, the wiggle
it is not the trip across the screen
in lead feet
or the cyclorama motion pose
it is not the movement
that tells the world in stride
so what happens
if we all stand still
the legs the time the landscape
while the frames still shuffle
all their cards

there is something
in the in between
if you hold that ocean
do you trip over your crazy shoes
is there a motion
in the brainwaves of this
or only a happy wave
and maybe a bounce.

Written with sincerity and with fingers,
Dr. Hubert Zork

Monday, February 20, 2006

The Project

I invented a new way to play the clarinet today, and completed my article on "The Use of the Letter Z in the name of Mezz Mezzrow."

In other news, my fictional creation John Akre continues to work on his animated feature film, "Wargoon Flishe." He began work at the first of January, and has about 25 minutes animated so far in his primitive animation style.

I have been watching him over his shoulder. He has made many documentary projects but not so many animation projects, and certainly not a feature length animation. In his documentary projects he thinks he tries to empathize with his subjects in some way, even tho that is completely impossible. To attempt to empathize with the fictional animated characters he is creating, he has charged me to make him into a fictional animated character. In this online document, I will try my best to bring some sort of sense of life to his flat two dimensional sketchness.

On Saturday evening, he impersonated a human drawing and saw some of the animation directly scratched on film that a friend of his composed. The friend's name is T. Adams. The fictional Mr. Akre wrote this poem about the experience and has asked me to post it in this report.

Echoes are sound
but their shaking is eyeball
echoes are people
whose blood runs our lines
echoes are words
that were spoken in childhood
that map all our snapshots
that spell out our light

hands cupped for listening
to hear all the pictures
to hear all the sunshine
that turned green in fading
face squeezed for windows
and soft walking into
the claims of dimension
that sometimes ignore me.

i have the lines
the electric of soul
the lightning of giving
the circle of path
i have the edges
the thick thin and middle
the trace and reversal
brain spastic of ink.

Written in sincerity and with fingers,
Dr. Hubert Zork