September 7: Michael Patterson + Candace Reckinger, DADA

Mike Patterson is an experimental film artist and a commercial film director specializing in TV spots and music videos. After graduate studies with Jules Engel at CalArts, Mike was brought to the attention of record executives with his Student Academy Award winning animated short ‘Commuter‘. Employing his unmistakable drawing style, he began his career in music videos in 1985 by animating the epic MTV hit ‘Take On Me’ for A-Ha. He teamed up with his wife Candace Reckinger to direct a string of MTV hits that include, Suzanne Vega’s ‘Luka‘, Sting’s ‘Be Still My Beating Heart‘, Donald Fagen’s ‘Tomorrow’s Girls‘, and Paula Abdul’s ‘Opposites Attract‘, which won the Grammy Award for Best Music Video in 1990, plus videos for seminal Los Angeles punk band, X. Their videos have received MTV, Billboard, MVPA, and American Music Awards, and continue to appear on classic top 100 music video lists.

After nearly a decade in music, Mike shifted his focus to commercials, combining his animation expertise with live action storytelling. From 1993-2002 he directed at Rhythm and Hues Studios working extensively with 2D compositing and 3D animation. As part of a hands-on style, he works as his own storyboard artist, designer, and on-set effects supervisor. He’s directed award-winning spots for Nestle, NBC, FOX, General Mills, and Yoplait, as well as receiving Clios for Intel and Reebok.

In the fall of 2006, Mike’s film ‘Commuter‘ was added into MoMA’s permanent collection along with a number of Patterson/Reckinger music videos. Mike received his BFA from University of Illinois Champaign/Urbana in 1980, and attended the MFA program in experimental animation at CalArts in 1981/84. He remains active as a commercial director and is currently working on an animated short film.

A film artist and director, Candace Reckinger has worked in both the commercial and independent realms blending live action with experimental techniques to produce short films, music videos and commercials. She received her MFA from UCLA and was mentored by pioneer independent director Shirley Clarke. While there, Candace documented legendary punk musician Patti Smith and LA bands “X”, the Screamers, and the Go-Go’s. She has a BFA in painting and animation from the School of Art & Design at University of Illinois Chicago and a second major in anthropology.

Candace won acclaim for her experimental narratives ‘Occupied Territory’ and ‘Clues to Her Whereabouts’ which screened at festivals and showcases throughout Europe and the USA including Cannes’ Directors Fortnight, Melbourne, Lille, Epernay, The Kitchen, the Art Institute of Chicago, Film In the Cities, the Walker Art Center and CalArts. Working with Michael Patterson as a directing & animation team for over 10 years, she directed music videos and commercials combining animation and graphics with live action. Their work netted seven number one clips on MTV as well as top accolades by Rolling Stone, Billboard, MVPA, and the American Music Awards. Her awards include a Grammy for Best Music Video for Paula Abdul’s ‘Opposites Attract’, an MTV ‘Moon Man’ for best Female Video for Susanne Vega’s ‘Luka’, and Women in Film’s Lillian Gish Award for Sting’s ‘Be Still My Beating Heart’. At O Pictures and Rhythm and Hues Studios, Candace co-directed commercials winning a Clio award and a Silver Hugo/Chicago Film Festival. In 2008, the Museum of Modern Art (NY) added six Patterson & Reckinger music videos to their permanent collection.

Candace has taught animation and film production at several universities and currently teaches in the graduate animation program at USC. She is working on an extended project ‘(in search of) Paradise’ and is filming in the Eastern Sierras and Mojave Desert.

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35 comments on “September 7: Michael Patterson + Candace Reckinger, DADA

  1. Ruthie Williams says:

    My favorite part of Mike Patterson and Candace Reckinger’s presentation last night was getting to see the arc of their work combining film and music over the last 25 years. Look at how much has opened up in terms of what is feasible! Somehow music really brings another layer to animation, and vice versa. Collaboration among the arts is always really exciting, I think due to the audience’s fascination with the idea that there can be yet another layer of coordination and relationships, and also that more of our senses are being simultaneously stimulated in a graceful or intended way. While screening “Pictures at an Exhibition,” it was amazing to think that over a hundred years ago, Modest Mussorgsky was standing in a gallery, so inspired by his friend’s paintings and the experience of that final exhibition that he created a beautiful relationship between his music and Viktor Hartmann’s paintings. Then here we are in 2011 and that aesthetic bond has been picked up again and further expanded to include animation, architecture, and components of film and theater. I really wish I had been able to view this as a live presentation. It was also really interesting to hear about the process of directing the project and get a behind-the-scenes look at how ideas were hashed out and how the collaboration worked. It was really inspiring to hear about the obstacles that Candace, Mike, and the whole team of animators had to be overcome for this project to come together.

  2. Ryan Gillis says:

    The feeling that kept washing over me during Candace and Mike’s presentation was a 50/50 blend of hopefulness and hopelessness.
    So far every presentation, every new artist I’m exposed to, I feel like they light this fire behind me. I leave these kinds of presentations with a very real grasp of just the amount of work I need to produce in order to become a worthwhile animator. Not just the amount of work, but the quality. Candace and Mike were making films that were helping define the medium when they were still in school.
    The students that got chosen to help with the Mussorgsky symphony were chosen based on the work they produced in the classes I’ll be taking in a few months. Personally, I need shocks like this from time to time, to wake me back up to the fact that my professional career is starting now.

    Candace and Mike’s presentation was exciting because of the variety of animation they showed as well as the variety of jobs they’d worked. It seems they’ve occupied jobs in the entire breadth of the industry- from fine art to highly commercial.

    It’s the massive potential of this medium that leaves me so optimistic and so overwhelmed.

  3. Amy Ketchum says:

    We are so privileged to have Mike and Candace as our professors. They have both been such pioneers and helped pave the media culture we are familiar with. I really enjoy when people share their personal histories starting from their school days through their professional career because we get to see the varied paths people take to carving their futures. I am very interested in the way they talk about working with the short form which allows for bursts of dynamism and succinct messages.

    I was also really inspired by the symphony project. The success of the student and alumni animations are likely influenced by these two awesome teacher mentors. I hope to learn more from them before I graduate!

    • To second Amy’s comment, I too am interested in the career history behind professional artists. As in Michael and Candace’s presentation, Michael Patterson’s career started when his animated short ‘Commuter‘ won a Student Academy Award. The film was animated in charcoal, using rotoscope to bend in and out of realistic and highly stylistic segments.

      The win granted his student film industry exposure leading him to work with Steve Barron on the music video “Take on Me”. The video exhibited animated segments in a style and method similar to Mike’s student film. The combination of live action and animation played heavily within the story, as it illustrated two different worlds. The video’s success, winning 6 awards at the 1986 MTV Video Music Awards, brought the style that originated from Mike’s student film to an international audience.

  4. Lisa Chung says:

    Seminar this week was so much fun. First, Mike and Candace kicked off the class by playing a handful of their catchy-award winning music videos such as Take on Me by A-Ha, Opposites Attract by Paula Abdul, Luka by Susanne Vega and Be Still my Beating Heart by Sting. It was amazing to see the wide range of music genre they worked on. But what’s more impressive is their art direction. Not only are they innovative, they understand how to enhance the artist style and music. A perfect example is Susanne Vega. Candace was brought on to her project because of her background as an artist. They knew she would be able to give a unique spin to Susanne’s plain physical appearance but soulful music, a task that many directors prior failed at. The two worked closely together to create a character that best represented her music and personal style. As a result, Luka won Best Female Video that year.

    We continue to see Mike and Candace’s form and function method in their collaborative work with New World Symphony Orchestra and famous conductor Michael Tilson Thomas. The variety of animations and the sophistication of each one were impressive. It was great to hear Mike and Candace talk about the process (the compromises and when they put their foot down) and how much they pushed their students to revise and polish. It’s great to know that we have such caring faculty who is interested in helping their students create their best work.

    Thanks Mike and Candace for speaking about your experience and sharing your work: old and new.

  5. Yang Liu says:

    There is no doubt that Mike and Candace are the most talented visual artists I have ever met. They both have very strong sense of design, and their artistic approaches are always both effective and abstract. Mike was my professor two years ago in visual music class and he was not just very knowledgable, but also very thoughtful and careful about what he said. He takes the responsibility very seriously when teaching his students and he often tried his best to communicate his thought to everyone and understand the students’ ideas. I enjoyed very much working with Mike and Candace in the visual music class, as I had never ever done anything with abstract animation.
    I also appreciate the effort they had put in the symphony project. It was such a huge opportunity for the school and for the students to work with an orchestra. I hope they would continue seeking more projects for the students and I am so sure that each of us will have the full passion to accomplish those.

  6. Tristan Dyer says:

    You know a presentation is going to be good when the warm up is multiple videos that each won multiple MTV awards. Mike and Candace were so eager to get to the grand finale that they didn’t even show all of these landmark videos in their entirety. Instead they presented their complete 35 minute, collaborative project “Pictures at an Exhibition.” This piece was done in conjunction with a symphony orchestra, Michael Tilson Thomas (big time conductor), and a handful of recent graduates and students. Mind-bending work.
    Really, what Mike and Candace did on this project was what I ultimately aspire to do. They had oversight and control of the total aesthetic of something that was projected onto multiple screens that covered some ridiculous amount of square footage (like 6000). They worked with truly skilled artists and guided them, allowing them the freedom to work in mediums that highlighted their talent and made it all gel together into something that was meaningful beyond just the visuals.
    Great presentation, sucks for you if you missed it.

  7. There is a secret Mike and Candice have discovered, yet did not share with us during their presentation. A secret of great importance. A source of bewilderment and admiration. A secret of happiness.

    I have known many husband/wife teams that go to business together in tango. (A realm in which I am becoming increasingly aware I use as my platform to understand this world) Partnerships as such have a categorically distinct division of labour; namely, follower and leader. While listening to Professor Patterson & Reckinger dispel their evolutionary story last week, I found what’s most interesting and inspiring is the dynamics of collaboration as two directors. Two artists, affluent in their own right, working hand in hand to produce unique artistic ventures on a grand scale. For me, what is even more beautiful than the actual work they have produce, is the way in which they work with each other to realize their visions. Their presentation, a dialectic tango: leader-to-leader, was a beautiful exposé of feeding off one another’s flow in a myriad of design elements interwoven to make movement come to life. And to that end, make movement come to life via music. Which for me, is the pinnacle of which all animation should aspire.

  8. Linda Jules says:

    This week was one of my favorite seminar classes. I remember being totally and completely blown away by the Take on Me video when I was younger. I thought that it was a magic trick! Not only was it a treat to find out that our wonderful faculty members were behind the video, but also to hear the details that went into the making of this brilliant piece.

    The presentation only got better as Candace and Mike went into further detail about the career that they built interdependently as artists, and collaboratively as a creative superpower. Those principals that they try to beat into our heads during class were truly visible in the beautiful work that they create. As my previous classmate mentioned, it was also great to see the results of such a dynamic team working together over such a long time period. It was truly a unique an inspirational seminar class.

  9. Jay Kim says:

    The dynamic duo of Mike and Candace collectively possess a very deep knowledge of cinematic language which has led them to create memorable pieces of visual art. Because they both understand the core fundamentals of what looks good and why, together they are able to input as artists, directors, editors, and overall creators. Their latest achievement at the New World Symphony was truly a grand task to undertake but with their experience and collective team effort they were able to come out of it with a remarkable accomplishment.

    Aside from Mike and Candace’s professional expertise, I respect them as people/mentors/friends because they are very kind and eager to mentor students’ work no matter what level or medium of animation a work may be. Their ability to switch gears without hesitation is what makes them, in my opinion, great examples of professionals in the industry.

  10. A.W. Gammill says:

    The “Take on Me” video is my favorite music video of all time. I still get tingles when I see it. It is one of the reasons why I wanted to be an animator. I get a little goofy thinking that the pair responsible for the video are faculty here at the school where I study. It’s one of my favorite things about Hench DADA.

    To top off getting to watch my fav video on the big screen in the seminar room, I finally got to watch all the pieces from the Symphony project. I was so impressed with my classmates while they working on it–how they balanced school, internships, and the symphony project with such skill. It was such a thrill to finally get to see their hard work. I think it is a wonderful thing that Hench was involved in this impressive and ambitious project.

    This was a really nice seminar. Thanks all!

  11. Chen Huang says:

    The work of Professor Michael Patterson and Candace Reckinger is so impressed. It showed me the 80s’ stuff in America which I barely knew before. I have never thought that Music video could be done like that. It also enlightened me the new genre media they keep doing. I was really moved that they insisted to do their work as animators and directors. And the MTV style is very unique, I think that is the way everyone should learn about as a ChuangZuoRen(a person who uses his/her creativity to work, like animator, writer, filmaker, painter…)

  12. Cecilia De Jesus says:

    It was a real treat to see an overall view of the work of Mike Patterson and Candace Reckinger. It was great to see their evolution of work throughout the years. Their music videos were really cutting edge and impressive in their innovation and artistic vision. I love how they work together and with other artists to create the best work possible.

    It was also amazing to see how their symphony project turned out. I had seen many clips and heard a lot about the project and I really wanted to see the entire piece. I was so impressed by all the student work. It looked so professional and it worked incredibly well with the music. I would love to actual experience the projection of it in Miami.

    Our department is very lucky to have such talented people!

  13. This week’s seminar was so much fun. It was very exciting to see the work of Mike and Candice and how much they have accomplished within the entertainment industry while maintaining their artistic roots. The presentation was very smooth, lots of exciting clips and great photos and it really felt that time ran out too fast given how much they have to share.

    The Mussorgsky project was awesome to behold and while the scale of it is nothing short of mind-bending, what impressed me the most is how they were able to bring together animators and allow them to work on their independent projects as well as give them such a grand venue for their exhibition. I would love to see such a project done with purely hand made textures and materials to contrast this one – I for one would love to see some rough hand drawn animation blown up to that amazing screen.

  14. Dan Wilson says:

    I’m glad Mike and Candace got to present their work to us. First and most importantly, Mike’s A-ha video made me forget, for at least a little while, about the awful commercial where a dog plays that song on a piano and a bird sings it. The best thing about their careers is that they’ve been able to work in a very personal way. After a short time of not liking how the industry works, Mike and Candace seem to have had very successful and satisfying careers together. A lot of what we’ve heard about the industry in school has been disparaging — surviving outside the industry seems too rare to be a safe goal.

    Short-form animation and film is great, and for me TV is even more exciting. It would be great to somehow produce animation for TV while insulated from the depressing parts of the industry. Right now, I’m used to working independently as a sort-of auteur of my work – owning it from start to finish – as Mike and Candace mastered a couple decades ago.

  15. Eric Tortora Patp says:

    The thing that really impresses me the most about Mike and Candace isn’t something as complex as their multidisciplinary approach or as obvious as the long and successful life of their partnership. Rather, it is their commitment to the short form. This detail is one which you have to look at globally, I think, to fully appreciate how difficult it is to do. Personally, I subscribe to the idea that, on a project to project basis, it is slightly harder to make long form projects well than short form, but only because the time, interest, and follow through commitment is greater for longer projects. This is not to say the forms are otherwise identical, mind you; they’re not. People often compare the difference as similar to that between prose and poetry, but, as a prose writer and a sometimes makeshift poet, I believe the comparison to the difference between a novel and a short story is more accurate. You gain and
    Lose different things with the amount of space you allot yourself, and for the most part, they even out the greater freedom of form and experimentation of the short being countered by the greater foundation and wider space of the long, etc. However this is only on a project to project basis. As a whole, true commitmet to the short form is harder, by far, for three reasons: more personal work due to the demands of smaller scale production, less recognition due to nature of market, and most of all, similar to beig in motion graphics or advertising, a far greater creative drain. It always seems to me that you have to be not just constantly generating new ideas, but using them as well, the demand to not repeat oneself (while still maintaining direction and vision) if anything exaggerated by the higher rate of production. To me, at least, it seems like a position that takes a lot of tenacity to take, and I salute them for it.

  16. Robert Calcagno says:

    The beginning of the lecture made me think of the phrase “when it rains, it pours”. The reason being is that at the time “Take On Me” came out, Spielberg and Don Bluth released An American Tail, Disney was beginning work on The Little Mermaid, and Roger Rabbit was soon to follow. Music videos as a whole were still going through a little revolution of their own and it’s fascinating to see how these two mediums merged at a critical moment in animation’s history.

    There’s not enough I can say to has much of a cultural and artistic influence those videos were; it’s even more interesting in that MTV was actually a hub for edgy animation be it Liquid Television, Aeon Flux, Beavis & Butthead, and others. Would MTV have been as accepting of animation if it weren’t for “Take On Me” and/or “Opposites Attract”? Perhaps not, perhaps so; I’m certain it was a major influence.

    The New World Symphony Orchesta collaboration though was utterly aspiring, not only in the unique but awesome multi-faceted ultrawidescreen format (that was a mouthful) and the different styles in the animation, but just the possibility of being able to participate in that kind of events here at this program is a phenomenal motivation. I’ve actually discussed with Mike about any upcoming collaborations like this one or the Rhythms one back in May. There’s the beautiful kindredship between music and animation and in particular with classical music; like an orchestra, there’s multiple elements that can sync up in such a way as to make both arts transcendent of itself.

  17. jordan hansen says:

    What can I say about Mike and Candace? I feel like I know them pretty well at this point, so it is weird to discuss their career. In this case it might be easiest just to talk about the presentation specifically. This particular accounting of their career path was quite good. They injected a bit of humor into their story. They also were really clear about what they wanted to say. Their presentation really illustrated the points they made in their lecture, and who doesn’t love to see that A-ha video? As far as the new world symphony work goes, what can i really say? The work is truly impressive. It is some if the best work to come out of our program, in my opinion anyway. Overall, I think Mike and Candace did an excelent job introducing themselves and their careers to the new students that may not yet know them that well as well as showing them what students in our program are capable of.

  18. Larry Lai says:

    Music and animation are body and soul. One is for emotion and the other is for expression. Though I’ve seen many music videos made by different techniques and mediums, Mike’s works still impress me a lot! They are combination of live action and drawing-animation, which is a creative and catchy method to deliver the rhythm of music. What interests me a lot is the story line told by both the lyrics (composer) and the images (animator). For Mike’s works such as “Take On Me” and “Opposites Attract,” it seems that the live performer and the cartoon figure are at first living in different worlds, but they are brought together as the music goes on. And the power of the videos lies here! The images echo the emotion of the music so that we the audiences can react to the story through viewing the images.
    As to The New World Symphony Orchestra project, I was so touched by the whole work! When the animation follows the tempo or beat of the music, I totally got involved in what it tries to tell me, also thanks to the emotion brought by the melody. One suggestion is that maybe there can be a story line that links all the animations together or else the animation will jump to the end. But overall, it’s still awesome. I really enjoy it and hope one day I can be part of the project.

  19. Louis Morton says:

    I already felt very fortunate to have Mike and Candace as professors, but seeing their presentation last Wednesday raised it to a whole new level. The care that went into the design of all their projects is amazing. Seeing the spread of still images that accompanied each video made it very apparent that a great amount of design and art direction went into all these films. This is an area I would like to focus on this current school year, and seeing how careful design choices can sculpt a film was very inspiring.

    Another huge thing that stuck with me was seeing the thread throughout Mike and Candace’s work of snatching animation out of it’s own 2D world and throwing it into the human world. The A-Ha and Paula Abdul videos did this by combining animated and live action characters. The symphony project did it by expanding the films beyond one screen into a fully surround experience. And the Visions and Voices event at USC this past spring did a similar thing by bringing animations to life as building projections. To me this is one of the most exciting areas in the future animation. Thanks for the inspiring presentation and I can’t wait to see what projects will happen next!

  20. Andrew Malek says:

    I had really excellent time watching Mike and Candace’s presentation and left feeling very inspired by their body of work. One of the foremost aspects I appreciated was the wide range of styles that Mike and Candace have taken on and mastered. Mike and Candace’s capability to direct a variety of projects made them uniquely suited for tackling the visual projection for Modest Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition.” The diversity of animation styles were incredibly unique and at the same time the music allowed for the individual pieces to work as a cohesive whole. The piece passed with flying colors and I would hope see more endeavors of a similar nature in the future.

    Additionally I was really impressed with how well classical music from 1874 and animation from 2011 go together. Perhaps the reason for this is the animation provides stimulation for those who are not used to the long format of classical music, and at the same time the very expressive quality of Mussorgsky’s music provided a lot of life and depth for the animations. Another upshot of this pairing is the audio visual synesthesia that occurs, similar to that of Fantasia, where you can see music and vice versa.

    For me the most striking aspect of “Pictures at an Exhibition” was the composition in five screens. I have been very enthralled and excited by the possibility of working in a multi-screen format ever since learning about Napoleon (1927) and its triple screen projections (polyvision) in the finale. Such a projection format allows for a wider range of expression and a more immersive cinematic experience.

    Overall I can see how Mike and Candace’s experience of directing “Pictures at an Exhibition” must have been incredibly stressful, but at the same time hugely rewarding because they were able to do something no one else has done before, which is not easy to do. In addition they were able to mix “high-brow” classical music with “low-brow” animation making the music more accessible and elevating the status of animation in the audience’s eyes

  21. Mike and Candace gave an awesome presentation this week. I had a great time seeing the work they did and the range of influence they had over popular culture. The rise of MTV makes a lot more sense with the perspective they’ve given on the situation. It also gives a lot explation as to why the network eventually dropped the priority of music videos to nothing. Short form film, in particular animation and music videos were a major innovator in the mainstream through MTV and Mike and Candace played pivitol roles in that. Knowing this also suggests that finding other unnoticed creative wells could be a very profitable discovery.

    Watching the process for “Pictures at an Exhibition” was quite enlightening. I had seen and heard bits and pieces about what went on for this project all throughout last year, but to finally understand what it was and how it was excecuted was fascinating to say the least. I was very impressed with how the team worked through all of the creative and technical hurdles and managed to pull off such an immense projection. Congratulations to everyone involved.
    -Gregory Jones

  22. Joseph Yeh says:

    Time is one of mankind’s greatest enemies. It is so hard to keep up with the times as tastes, ideas, and perspectives change. However, Mike and Candace’s work succeeds in staying modern by continually innovating and gathering wide perspectives. Their work captures the essence of music through fearless animation accompanied by new techniques and contemporary artistic styles. Over my first few weeks at Dada I’ve discovered the importance of sound and communication. Music videos such as the A-ha piece and Sting’s “Be Still My Beating Heart” not only acknowledge animation in music, but creates a separate narrative experience and develops a stronger style that accompanies the music. The performance of “live visual music” also gave me a heart-warming experience. Originally I felt that creating a piece to accompany existing music could limit your work, but, in this case, they synergized extending the potential for greater works of art.

    In addition, I also want to thank Mike and Candace for their wise words on directing. Even though animation is an art, the practicality lies in much of the process. The points on working within a budget and getting the most out of your team has me wondering more about the business and commercial world of film and animation. Even though I feel that the struggle to find the truth and to conquer the world with animation are essential, it is important to consider money and limits.

  23. Mike Patterson and Candace Reckinger have developed such an unique artistic vision, that It has greatly influenced the music video culture and the widespread idea of animation to our days.

    Their body of work is a lesson on how persistence and integrity of ideas can change the artistic field. This, or course, until the relentless ways of the market absorbs this new ideas and makes them mainstream again. I cannot tell how many times I’ve been asked to do animation jobs where people wants me to “take reference” from the style of the video “Take on me”, for soap and car advertisements (I haven’t by the way).

    However, that is what impresses me the most of Mike and Candace’s journey. Their success doesn’t seem to come from a particular style, but from a commitment to being in constant motion as artists. Of never conforming to one hit, but always challenging the public and themselves with their work. They seem to be faithful to an artistic vision but flexible and inventive enough to find different “canvases” to convey their ideas on.

    From a television set in a time when MTV used to show music videos, to a giant theater with an orchestra playing live, today. It’s difficult to imagine what, when and where will they be creating their next piece on.

    I just hope it’s within the next three years so I will be able to see it. :P

  24. Meng Chia Chung says:

    I love the project that Mike and Candace did together with other USC students. That project absolutely blew my mind, especially when the symphony actually works really well with the animation. It is pity that we cannot watch it in real size. I also like how they insert a part when a group of people look around the gallery. Plus, every beginning of the animation is a piece of painting. This arrangement simply connects each scene together and yet each individual part is still unique and special by itself. The overall project is well-integrated. I believe the music with the real size format would be even more amazing.

  25. Miguel Jiron says:

    It was great to be properly introduced to Mike and Candace’s great work and look at the amazing work they and our peers did for the symphony project. I had been curious and hopeful to get a chance to see the symphony project officially presented in some fashion so it was a real treat to end seminar with a full screening of it. Mike and Candace’s work was very inspirational; their enthusiasm and energy towards finding new forms and ways for animation is infectious. It’s very cool to see how open-minded and hungry they still are after such an established career (7 films in Moma!!!). Their attitude and constant innovation is inspiring. This was definitely my favorite “in-house” seminar.

  26. Lanzhu JIan says:

    I love this week’s seminar! Mike and Candace are the innovators in the music video world combine with experimantel animation and fine art. when the first work Michael and Candace showed us I totally loved it! the romantic advanture crossing comic and the real world create this magic phenomenon. Also I love the part when the charactors have to escape from the bad guys with hammer, that reminds me soem scence in a great novel called . It is perfectly demonstrate the horror and the bad guys simply, powerfully represent that evil power in , and even in a philosophy level, I think it prefectly pictured two different opposite emotions love and hatred.

    For the Huge new media project them made, I think it is an fatastic team work along the students in a team, and they coordinate with the music and consuctor in a good way so that the live performance interactive with lighting, audiences, and animation. that is a big chanlenge compare to the traditional ways to do animation. it opens a door with totally new, unknown surprises for me, I would love to work with them next time. If i have this honour.

    the seminar is really mind inspirational and when I login into youtube and see there are 11,123,911, views on , I just wanna scream :” hey, I know who made them!!”

  27. Simo Liu says:

    I really love this week’s seminar! Mike and Candace had showed me a lot. What impressed me most was the part of the New World Symphony Orchestra collaboration. I was shocked by the perfect combination of classical music and animation. Before this, I had watched the Disney’s film “Fantasia”. I really love that film. And the music and sound from there were really matched very well. Now I think this symphony project is the same good. It was not only the inheritance and development of “Fantasia”, but also included in its self-characteristic – It could be divided into several parts which would be independent and have different stories and artistic forms to coordinate the music. These parts looked like independent but really harmonious and coherent in the whole film. I was wondering how animators did to realize it and make it work. Actually, I have the idea to try to use sounds and music to coordinate animation. This week’s seminar gave me great inspiration and help! Thanks for Mike and Candace who gave us a great presentation!

  28. Chaoqi Zhang says:

    I enjoyed Michael’s ‘Take On Me’ for A-Ha very much for its charming art form, which mix the hand-drawing cartoon world with the real world together. And the group work Mike and Candace did together with the USC students for a Symphony Concert is a great work. It is a Fantasia of animations of various digital arts, which helps me to see the different ways of expression with different art style.

    I like the way they combine the images with the music in their art works.

  29. Di Gu says:

    Last week’s seminar is amazing. I had a inspiring feeling when saw Mike and Candace’s presentation. First we saw some MV using life- action collaborated in traditional animation. I thought the person described in animation used the copy way. But the big difference with this style I saw before is that the line on the screen full of energy and vivid. As my experience, I just thought when a character began to move, the line’s most function was just let the audience easily find the shape of character. But after Candace’s show, the line could do more things. Also I like the cat, original character for the music animation. That is great combination! The only problem is I just focus on my whole attention on the animation character but ignore the other things, like star.

    The second part “Pictures at an Exhibition” shocked me, totally. It was composition with five screens. I think more wide acting area and five screen collaborating give more opportunity to represent our idea and stimulate the audiences’ attention. How to expand five screens video using? That’s my wondering after the show except for boundless admiring.

  30. LaMar Ford says:

    I enjoyed Candice and Mike’s presentation of their works last Wednesday. Before the seminar, I met them at the Adobe Education Reception last year, and I was blown away by their body of work.

    I was surprised to meet the directors of ah-Ha’s “Take on Me” and Paula Abdul’s “Opposites Attract” music videos. Looking at the videos you couldn’t tell they were done by the same people, but after watching Candice and Mike’s early works, it makes sense. Their willingness to experiment with mix media interests me. Overlaying multiple images, rotoscoping, and combining animated characters with live actors are some of the techniques used in “Commuter”, Susan Vega’s “Luka”, and Sting’s “Be Still My Beating Heart”.

    The video for Mussorgsky ‘s “Pictures at Exhibition” was inspiring. It’s great to see what the students and faculty can create for a big project. All the different designs, formats, and animation techniques were on display throughout the piece, and it was beautiful how it transitioned to the different segments of the piece.
    This is one of the reasons I want to study animation. There are unique ways to combine the different techniques and styles, and it keeps me open to new ideas and possibilities to use animation to create great videos.

  31. Laura Cechanowicz says:

    It was truly a pleasure to see Candace and Mike’s presentation. I’ve seen some of their work before, but it was nice to view it in sequence with a focus on their music videos. It is always inspiring to see how their work developed through time, as well as how they are able to function as a unit while directing. Having them as teachers, I can also see how they balance each other – this is special to see and understand, as it helps provide a model for how to work as a successful director.

    Aside from the beauty of seeing their music video work in progression, the thing that stood out for me in seminar was the presentation of the symphony project. I was particularly interested in Candace and Mike’s ideas regarding the possibilities for developing future work for exhibition in the theater. I know that project was an enormous undertaking, and I found the whole thing generally powerful and cohesive. It was enlightening to hear a breakdown of the whole process.

    I know they are in Norway now, but I wanted to thank both Candace and Mike for their smart and interesting presentation!

  32. Brandon Lake says:

    Being a child of the early 90’s music videos were a major part of my tv viewing when I was growing up. Reruns on mtv of videos like Take on me, always mesmerized me and the imagery was as addictive as that terribly catchy song. Music has also always been a major source of inspiration for me and watching the symphony project actually makes me wish I had come a year earlier so I could have had the chance to participate. Anyway, Mike and Candice’s body of work and their ability to break out of any specific medium is very inspiring and I hope to be able to do the same for myself one day.

  33. Javier B says:

    The union of music animation music and art is a grate fusion that Mike and Candice have accomplished. Their understanding of many different forms of art is a grate access that USC has. I enjoyed the way they introduced there work with the introduction of their music video work and progressively going into commercial work and the introduction of technology and the too there last grand project the symphony project. I can wait what they do next.

  34. Rachel Jaffe says:

    Whether showing seconds-long fragments plucked from their earliest works as collaborators or — toward the very end of their presentation — the entirety of their latest (and arguably most ambitious) project to date, Mike and Candace’s shared presentation featured not only a number of their famed music videos, but also that indescribable quality that has informed the bulk of their films: an uncompromising set of aesthetics whose terrifying boldness is rivaled only by its inimitable distinctness. Even though I’ve taken courses from both Mike and Candace, I still couldn’t help but be seized by the occasional tremor of artistic awe-turned-envy — and listening to a two-hour-long overview of their career was incredibly inspirational and thoroughly engaging. Having the opportunity to watch the New World Symphony from start to finish was something for which I’m definitely very grateful — thanks, Mike and Candace, for screening it in seminar last Wednesday!

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