Can Disney Veterans' Steampunk 'Hullabaloo' Film Save 2D Animation?

September 4, 2014
Source: The Independent


While computer animation continues to flourish with Pixar Animation films like Toy Story and Finding Nemo and The House of Mouse's own Walt Disney Animation with Wreck-It Ralph and Frozen, the old school hand drawn, 2D animation is starting to fall to the wayside. But some Disney veterans are getting together to create a new steampunk-themed adventure called Hullabaloo, which will be a short hand drawn animation film which they hope to turn into a web series, TV show or even better, a feature-length film. And what's even more exciting, is the two heroes are a pair of brilliant, female engineers. Look below!

Here's the pitch from the Hullabaloo Indiegogo campaign, which you can still contribute to right now:

Here's the official synopsis of the film itself (via The Independent):

'Hullabaloo' is the story of Veronica Daring, a brilliant young scientist who returns home from an elite finishing school to find her father–the eccentric inventor Jonathan Daring–missing without a trace! The only clue left behind points Veronica toward Daring Adventures, an abandoned amusement park used by her father to test his fantastical steam-powered inventions. There she discovers a strange girl named Jules, a fellow inventor who agrees to help Veronica in locating her missing father and discovering the secrets of his work.

James Lopez (The Lion King, Pocahontas, Paperman), Rick Farmiloe (The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin) and other Disney animators are all behind the project, and as of right now they've hit just over $108,000, which is over their initial $80,000 goal. But they still need all the help they can get to make this the project they all want it to be. After all, saving hand-drawn animation is going to be quite a difficult endeavor. As someone who has never really understood the appeal of steampunk, I have to say this actually looks pretty damn cool. And it would be nice to see animation like this get traction again. We all remember how great The Iron Giant was, so let's see what Hullbaloo can do!

Find more posts: Animation, Kickstart This, Short Film, To Watch




Xerxexx on Sep 4, 2014


This looks amazing. I really hope they can revive this industry. But I will hold my breath. It is just too damn expensive. Even the mighty Studio Ghibli had to switch to a hybrid system.

DAVIDPD on Sep 4, 2014


No, it cant. Sadly, its like print material, it will go the way of the dodo.

Brian Sleider on Sep 4, 2014


No, it won't. Just the opinion of a 2D animator, mind you.

Scopedog on Sep 5, 2014


I am sure there will still be people out there creating art this way. But it will become(IMO remain) niche. Technology has rendered the art obsolete commercially. I am not saying people will stop making it, I am saying that it will not be as profitable as CG animation, as such productions company's will steer away from it.

Brian Sleider on Sep 5, 2014


Then why does 2D still thrive on TV?

Brandon V. Fletcher on Sep 5, 2014


Technology is being used to create 2D animation. It won't go away because of technology

Doug ProPla on Sep 8, 2014


Hey Scopedog, have you got a reel online? Would love to see it mister, or even the type of animations you've worked on. 🙂

Carpola on Sep 8, 2014


2D animation surely is having a boom at the moment? I keep hearing about artists and illustrators moving to LA to work on Adventure Time which is a creator driven animation system as opposed to the film by committee system we see so much, making more and more boring animations. Folk could be making a 2d feature in their house, they don't need a studio. people need to stop thinking that working for Disney is making it. France and Japan developed a good 3D/2D integration a really long time ago with movies like the Belleville Rendezvous and Tekkonkinkreet and also as David mentioned Studio Ghibli too. I suppose Beauty and the Beast was a film that attempted it too. Maybe for a Big Studio 2d animation doesn't make sense financially and it would be way easier to re-render a scene after a test screening said that the audience didn't like something, but that is the problem. I watched Akira again the other night and it's still incredible, just seems the world is sold on the lifeless 3d puppets more . I'm sure the guy will do well with Hullabaloo, it reminds me a little of Treasure Planet from 2002 which was pretty decent too.

Carpola on Sep 4, 2014


"Folk could be making a 2d feature in their house, they don't need a studio." Not true. You need a reasonably sized crew working full time to get a 90min animated film done in 2 years at the least. I'd agree that Disney is not the only goal for 2D animation artists who want to work on feature films, but an independent alternative would be setting up your own studio and employing animators. Which requires not just lots of effort but money and time. For perspective, Don Hertzfeldt, an animator who is the sole artist of his minimal (though brillant) animations needed about 6 years to get a 62min semi-feature done, by putting three 15min+ short films together, which he self-distributes. So no, for "folk" this is not a viable option.

Terry Craig on Sep 10, 2014


I'm with you on the time thing Terry, I think it would take an incredible amount of effort and time to make a feature, but it is possible. Don Hertzfeldt's work is pretty funny, I remember the rejected film, but his work is still on paper so I can imagine it being super intense. With people being able to have a workflow from Flash to After Effects the process can be sped up. Even a process like the film below by a Gobelins student could work. It's worth having a look through their Vimeo page the quality of work they produce is amazing.

Carpola on Sep 10, 2014


Can't say if this will help keep the 2D industry alive or not, but I'm sold on the project itself. Reminds me of Treasure Planet and Atlantis. Looks great!

Stacey McDonald on Sep 4, 2014


plot sounds a lot like the Pippie Long Stalking Movie or a classic Disney story ... better become a full length or show ... ahhhhhhhhh MAY-zing!

shane willett on Sep 5, 2014


Realize that Iron Giant used quite a bit of CGI, and that most 2-D cartoons are produced and edited on computer (ever since Little Mermaid). I love the style (and, yes, many 2-D animators have the same style), and hope it works! Good animation is good animation, no matter how it is done. Hmm... imagine if 30 years ago, Indiegogo existed for a Disney animator wanting to animate "The Brave Little Toaster" using the new technology of computer animation...

Torsten Adair on Sep 10, 2014

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