Production Blog

MARCH 19, 2010


Well, it’s been much too long since our last Blog and production update. Production issues on the film and growing Tripod Entertainment have taken up all of our time and attention. But we’re BACK! And from now on we are going to post a new Blog at least once a month, and ideally, every 2 weeks. So keep your eyes peeled. They WILL be coming in fast and furious.

Co-Producer, Leon Tan and I. "Men in Black".

First, some big news. We are shifting our planned release for “War of the Worlds: Goliath” from early this year to a fall release. There are a lot of reasons for this, but the paramount reason is that we felt that we needed more time to ensure the quality of our production.

Also, and this is good news, we’ve expanded the length of our film from 85 to a full 95 minutes. This was not done lightly, but we felt that the big story of “War of the Worlds: Goliath” really needed the extra time on the screen to fully play itself out, especially the big finale, which would have been truncated if we went for a shorter cut.

So, thanks for all of your patience and I promise you that it will be worth the wait.

In the meantime, we will soon begin to post new clips of the film as we progress into spring. And this July we are planning to host “War of the Worlds: Goliath” panels at both the Paris Comic Con and the SDCC. Both panels will feature at least 15 minutes of finished footage, possibly more.

If you’ve watched the credits of any recent animated feature, whether it’s “Up” or “Avatar” (and let’s face it, at least 70% of Avatar IS an animated feature), you’re well aware of the hundreds and hundreds of highly trained human beings that it takes to make an animated movie.

“War of the Worlds: Goliath” is no exception to this rule. We are employing over 200 top artists and production personnel from more than 5 countries to bring this movie to the screen. Over the next 6 months of blogs we will take you on a step by step guide showing you how a production like this gets made and a detailed look some of the super talented individuals who do it.

We’ll start with the early concept and design that was done at Epoch Ink back in Santa Monica in the late 90’s and move on through the early production development and key design stage, and then through the final script, voice recording, storyboarding, mecha design, mecha build, layout, animation, ink and paint and composite processes.

Along the way, we’ll interview cast and crew and take you on a daily Blog during my upcoming overseas Production Trip in June. We hope this will give you a bit of an insight into the sheer level of blood sweat and tears (and smiles) generated in making a production of this size.

“Motivating” the troops…

Before we start at the Beginning, I want to share a terrific experience I had a few weeks back at the Animation Nation’s monthly “AN Night” this last March 30th.

For those of you that are not familiar with Animation Nation and its outstanding website, please allow me to introduce you to “the Nation”. Animation Nation is an idea, a dream, an informal Band of Brothers and an amazing on-line community centered in Burbank, California, in the heart of the L.A. animation industry.

The Nation’s Founder, Charles Zembillas, is the local industry’s own “Henry Rollins” and a Southern California animation legend. Animator, designer, creator, producer, entrepreneur, industry booster, gadfly and mentor—Charles has worn all these hats and more. More importantly for me, he has been my collegue, teacher, personal inspiration and brother for the last twenty-five years.

Charles formed the Animation Academy in the early 1980’s. The Academy is outstanding school, dedicated to teaching all aspects of the animation artform with a solid emphasis on the practical fundamentals of drawing and design. With a core team of talented teachers and friends, Charles and the Academy have trained and inspired several generations of the best talent in the industry.

In 1999, Charles created the Animation Nation website and community as a natural outgrowth of the Academy. Over the years Charles and the Nation have hosted a series of events and gatherings for industry professionals and students alike.

There has been a long list of Animation’s best, presenting at the Animation Night events. Top talents like Paul Felix and Don Hahn have been past presenters and giant’s like Don Bluth are presenting later this year, so I was honored and delighted to be asked to come and do a visual presentation on “War of the Worlds: Goliath”.

Here’s a picture of Charles introducing me to the crowd.

The evening was fantastic. The audience of students and animators was very receptive and enthusiastic in their response to the presentation on “War of the Worlds: Goliath”. Like the crowds at the Comic Con last year, they “got it”.

They liked the retro history, steampunk aspect of the movie and really liked the combination of CG mecha and 2D character that we’re using.

They liked the fact that we’re doing it in an anime-influenced style, but with American story and direction.

They liked the fact that we’re doing an R-rated release.

About the only thing they didn’t like was the fact that we are primarily going for a direct to video release of “War of the Worlds: Goliath” in this country and were pretty disappointed that they weren’t going to be able to see the movie on the big screen.

One happy surprise for me was the discovery that a lot of the audience are current and former students of Charles from an animation class that he teaches at my old alma mater, California State University at Northridge (CSUN). Go “Matadors”!

At the end of the presentation there was a lot of give and take, with the audience asking some very incisive and educated questions and my attempting to field them. One question in particular was very timely for this blog site. An animator asked me about when, and how, we came up with the concept of “War of the Worlds: Goliath”. You’ll all be able to read my response, complete with a lot of the early development artwork on the project, in my next blog in two weeks.

Fielding some questions.

All in all it was a great evening, and I got as much out of it as the audience. ‘Maybe more. Their enthusiasm and interest was catchy and it really invigorated me to just be able to interact with them, so I left the event feeling pretty pumped on what we’re doing. So thank you Charles and the Animation Nation crew. You made my month!

You can hook into this great site and terrific group of artists and dreamers at —
And please tell ‘em that Joe sent you.

In two weeks we’ll take you back to the very “beginning” of development on “War of the Worlds: Goliath”, back in the misty days of 1998…

A set of new images from our ongoing production.

Production Blog