All works by David March shown here are shared for portfolio / demonstration purposes, and are fully protected by U.S. statutory and common law copyright. None may be reproduced without express permission. Additional images provided are the property of their respective copyright owners, and are shown to provide context for work produced by David March in fulfillment of assignments during his employment.



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"I own THREE 3-piece SUITS!
That's the Equivalent of a NINE-PIECE fer-Pete's-Sake SUIT!

This, for an ANIMATOR, leads with glacial inevitability to certain logical consequences.

You just CAN'T get much more Business-like than that!"


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For a calling that crafts moments of frenzied lunacy from months of systematic and methodical concentration, that quote seems to distill some essential context for what you are about to see...


Welcome to the Online Portfolio
of David March, Animator & Fiddler!






                           
      Primal Rage Atari Arcade Game               Bob The Weatherman               "California Speed" Williams/Atari
       Characters by Jason Leong!                     dribbles his head like a                Amazing what can be done
              Amazing Artist!                                          basketball...                          with a 320x240 pixel screen.
                                                                      from "The Magic of Television"

                       
  I spent eight days on this VOLCANO!          "RugRats Mystery Adventures"       The Learning Company CDs
    The flowing lava was done with a                                                                            Mission T.H.I.N.K. and
        process called color cycling.                                                                         Himalayan Math Adventure


 I still can't believe I get PAID for doing all this silliness!

(New Material added, broken links fixed and most videos have been newly rendered as of October 2015.)


For four decades and more, I've delivered animation for broadcast commercials, entertainment, interactive games, and industrial & educational programs. Working at Startoons in Chicago, I animated sequences for episodes of Tiny Toons, AniManiacs, & Taz-Mania; for Atari arcade games "Primal Rage" and "California Speed" and for a number of children's interactive CD products, including titles for Reader Rabbit, Cluefinders, Arthur, Clifford the Big Red Dog, RugRats, and CatDog. I've worked on staff at a number of production companies; done a lot of freelance work, and operated a little studio with my brother Don March for seven years. Together we produced dozens of PSAs and commercials for Stihl Chainsaw, local grocery, auto dealerships and clothing stores, US Army, Virginia and Federal agencies, and two commissioned educational films - one still in international distribution 30 years later. All that has let me work with dozens of combinations of proprietary systems, equipment and software to create successful programs that got client's messages to target audiences on time and on budget.



As a freelance illustrator and cartoonist
, I've been commissioned to create hundreds of textbook and magazine illustrations and multi-color offset print designs. About a quarter of my 4-decade career has found me working in studios which produce live action, where I've been involved in scores of live productions. Cranking out hundreds of storyboards, then shifting to help tape down cables, design and build props and sets, then sitting with DPs, line producers, and Directors to sketch as they tell me what they need my drawings to address - i.e., their concerns for the production - has given me a solid understanding of how to craft storyboards for live action as functional as those I do for 2D and 3D animation. The variety has given me an unusual sense of the business context which the creative processes must engage for both to be successful.

This is where my perspective can be helpful.


What I have to share is a very thoroughly tested understanding of a rational step-wise design process that breaks the craft of narrative storytelling into a series of manageable tasks, so that the constantly mutating tools and inventions and fads diminish to governable proportions. This is vital to students to maintain perspective as they navigate the thickets of decisions. It is even more vital to the business of commercial production, to ensure that the producer and the client maintain unimpeded exchange of information and review of a developing program.



Belinda, a still from animation
done using NewTek's Aura™ software by David March 
for RugRats Mystery Adventures educational CD
Know Ware production for Nickelodeon

Teaching full time, mostly animation courses at the Art Institute of Virginia Beach, I get to spend my days with some amazingly enthusiastic and motivated students. The Art Institute offers fully-accredited B.A. programs ranging from Graphic Design, Fashion Design, Media Arts (and ANIMATION!), to the professional management of upper-echelon hotels & restaurants through the Culinary Institute.

Steampunk Clockworks, Lightwave™ 3D                
  model & animation by David March 2007                

             

      Running Blob - This is an exercise to get students comfortable
                   with sketching rather than obsessive detail.                                                                                                                                   


Courses I've developed and conducted
at five universities and colleges include 3D animation (Lightwave) Basic computer literacy with desktop publishing, the Adobe Suite, Drawing for Animation, Story boarding, Audio for Games and Animation, and a series of courses in animation design, from tightly-framed introductory exercises to projects which give advanced students opportunity to take their own original idea from concept to finish. Animation classes use the most current 2D and 3D commercial production software, and we instructors strive to show the students how they can take full advantage of classic design principles, organization, and procedures to make their stories and characters as vivid as possible. Since many of the instructors have extensive industry experience, we're able to give the students a sense of how the exercises and tasks would play out in real life situations.



         Examples of cinematic narrative shown as story boarding treatments, David March 2015


Previously for three years as full time faculty in Regent University's School of Communication and the Arts gave me the opportunity to teach a range of animation courses as an "artist-in-residence." I developed and taught various courses - fundamentals of 2D animation, computer graphics, computer-based 2D animation, storyboarding, perspective, comparative anatomy for artists, use of music in animation, the business of animation, and several other classes in the animation degree program for the School of Communication and the Arts.



Boxes on a Conveyor - a four-drawing endless loop

While I was working at Atari Games (the coin-operated arcade games division in Milpitas, CA) in the 90s my sister sent me a newspaper article about Peggy Southerland and her computer-animation company in Virginia Beach. I sent her a note, and we began a correspondence. When I moved back to Virginia, we met and found ways to work together. In the fullness of time, she was instrumental in connecting me to teach animation at Regent, after I had spent a few years teaching Lightwave 3D classes part time at Tidewater Community College's Visual Art Center in Portsmouth.




In addition to teaching, I was tasked with participating in various jobs such as helping to develop the curriculum, evaluate new software and technologies, assess broadcast production script concepts submitted for possible commission, evaluate submissions for various student film festivals, and contribute to production story boarding toward the development of Operation Blessing programs to eradicate parasites endemic in third world communities.



Aerial street view as a rendering example for story boarding treatments, David March 2012



Here's an exercise I began inflicting on animation students starting many years ago, introducing variations from time to time to account for sweeping changes in technologies or differences in academic terms - quarter versus semester, for instance. It has evolved. Many students prefer to create their own backgrounds, but the exercise can be useful just for the animation challenge when the schedule has to be abbreviated. By now I have created six or seven backgrounds that can be provided if time is short. Additionally, the critters can be simplified by drawing directly with a gradient if it's available to the brush in the application. This 3-critter problem incorporates and clarifies the use of techniques for controlling paths and timing introduced in earlier projects. In this case, the exercise can underscore the value of those tools for coordinating the timing of two creatures that have to arrive at the same point simultaneously. It's also a good exercise for reminding students that the viewer assumes the continuing existence of characters even when they're momentarily hidden from view, meaning they can suggest movement without ALWAYS having to actually do the work of showing the character in every frame.

         

"Slither, Swoop, and Splash" image and animation © 2015 by David March -- my own latest treatment of this demented but useful drill. Background was created originally in Photoshop, imported into Toonboom, screengrabbed later and re-cast in Photoshop to add clouds and grass, then imported into my home version of FLASH. Can you say "Re-Cycle?"

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The association with Regent was very rewarding, both for the chance to help students develop their potential, and for the many new acquaintances and friends in Hampton Roads' lively community of inspired and talented folks in theater, video, SFX, computer graphics, audio and animation. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools found my decades of experience, with my documented contribution to scores of professional works, many of which continue in international distribution, and years of previous university teaching experience, sufficient to endorse my qualifications for teaching university level courses.

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Miniature image of a 4' background for the opening of "Plant a Tree", 30-second PSA produced for US Department of Agriculture circa 1979 by March Brothers Animation Studio. This weirdly-distorted perspective starts with the art oriented with the extreme left rotated 90 degrees, and as the shot proceeds, the camera rotates so that the far right portion is now oriented to a normal view, and a couple enters carrying a sapling with the roots wrapped in burlap. Acrylic by Karen Kluge Waller, based on pencil drawings by Don & David March.

A few more goodies from the March Brothers Archives...


              "Stihl Chainsaw Safety program intro" circa 1979             "Grand Canyon Interpretive Program" 1978 for National Parks Service   

                         

    "Sears Monday Marathon" Seamark Advertising, Norfolk, Va 1978                    
"Papa Wolf /School Bus Safety" ca 1978

                          
         
                        "Watch for Motorcycles" 1976          
                Addy Winner Burford & Robinson Agency
                                                                                                                                                                     Highway Safety Division of Virginia                                                    "Giant Open Air Markets Institutional"  ca 1978

                                      

Doug Burford contacted us with this concept. The project took great advantage
of the voice talents of Will Jordan, a talented mimic who had been a featured guest
so often on the Ed Sullivan show that he actually portrayed him in a biopic about
the BEATLES. Will provided voices for ALL the characters - John Wayne, Archie
Bunker, and Andy Devine for the motorcycle - in two TV spots and  six Radio spots
in a marathon weekend series of recording sessions in the studios of Dunn
Productions in Virginia Beach
where I was a partner from 1975 to 1977. My big
brother DON piped up at an early meeting with the clients and suggested out of
the blue "John Wayne's truck character should have little puffs of smoke and
the sound of Air Brakes!" 
Too bad we couldn't trademark that stuff.


In 1981 after we had delivered a first film for Learning Corporation of America ("The Case Against Thunder and Lightning" with original music) they commissioned a second film - "Microcomputers, or - The computer and the Crook."

This was just as the new Apple computers were creating a happy furor. It was a more innocent time. The premise was that two cousins enjoying a visit, had to figure out how to defeat and capture a bank robber who'd decided to use the farm as a hideout after a robbery... using the microcomputer that controlled all the systems out in the barn - lights, heat, doorlocks, and fire extinguishers. Quaint and fun, but the GUN the robber carried - just guessing here, mind - may have made the film fall into disuse. In the context of the times, "pc" meant a personal computer.  The earlier film about thunder and lightning continues in international rental distribution through Simon & Schuster.

     

                       

Brother Don March and Karen Kluge Waller did some beautiful backgrounds and a fair amount of animation for this fun film. Don also played guitar on the sound track for original music for both films.

Evidently LCA was at the time the largest single source of commissions for educational films in the country. As budgets from the Federal gummint shrank, they put most of their efforts into broadcast television content. At the same time, our little 16mm-based studio was finding fierce competition from the new crop of "electronic boutiques" that could reliably crank out a selection of spinning, sparkling, glowing 8-bit graphic manipulations of high-contrast logos and marry them to stock footage provided by the client in less than 72 hours, frequently in an afternoon. Our hand-animation for a custom 30-second spot might take five or six weeks with 15 artists working in a frenzy.

It's still fairly labor intensive, even with the computer applications as force multipliers. My career best output for any project was animating the pencil drawings for a four-minute program
in four weeks - GE Neovision Blue Tube promo for Lawler Ballard Little. That worked only because (1) it used the "squiggly line treatment made popular by illustrator R.O. Blechman; (2) all my drawings were traced and colored by agency staff artists, after which (3) the artwork was "captured" and composited in an afternoon at Today Video in NY, using Quantel Paintbox feeding to a multiformat video suite. For that project, Mason Adams (the editor on the Lou Grant Show) narrated. I'll post a link to an excerpt pretty soon.

Facsimile frame from the Lawler Ballard Little-commissioned
"GE Neovision BlueTube" 4-minute Industry Premier Intro




This squiggly line treatment had been made known around the world by famed illustrator R.O. Blechman.

When I started as the junior Paintbox artist/animator at Cincinnati's Instant Replay Video a few years later, I learned it was a quarter-million dollar piece of hardware! That's even before you consider a digital disk recorder, Grass Valley mixing board, and a bank of 1-inch digital video tape machines, and - oh, yeah - people who know how to use'em. My bitty little studio used a 20-year-old Bolex with a J&K Camera single-frame motor and control with a custom built stand by a local welding shop. Clearly, I had to re-tool myself.



I felt like the Little Wolf - Dismayed

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Music has been another passion. Besides performing with a lot of orchestras and a few disreputable rock bands, I've played music for folks in ICU's, waiting rooms, oncology infusion and radiation clinics. Performance has given me a strong sense of timing, anticipation, phrasing, and pacing for animation. It's also lead to my recording and composing for some of my own and for other producers' programs.



Apart from being a thoroughly satisfying craft and profession, animation is a potent means of expressing and focusing your beliefs and convictions in your own works, or those of your clients in a commercial job. Its potential for gentle or zany humor gives the advantage of engaging viewers who otherwise might not be immediately interested in arcane subjects. Make'em laugh, and they'll be more receptive.

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