Batman: Year One - From Comic to the Screen
RD: What was the most difficult part of this project?
SL: It was actually a little easier outside of the struggles of trying to get the animation that you want. And technical kind of things. Because we had such a strong source material and Bruce wanted it to be like the source material it was like following the manual in that way. But the fear for me was that people would say it was something they have seen a million times. How was this going to come together? That was the only pressure.
RD: Because there is less action to rely on, did you find it difficult to get the subtly in the acting that you needed?
SL: The way we are trained for TV animation — because we are not Disney and we don't have that budget and we know that we aren't going to get the subtleties — we try to hit a key emotion. It's more of a Clint Eastwood style of acting. It's subtle but you only hit the change of emotion. It's not like you go through the range of five separate thoughts and try to animate that. It's usually a one to two type of thing. Lauren is great because she was brought up on Disney so she has a natural tendency to animate. We were pretty smart about it and found out what the key things were and hit that.
RD: So you're on the Green Lantern series now, any other DC Direct features coming up for you?
SL: I'm finishing up the last few episodes of that right now. I've been working on the direct-to-videos for five years now and I want to go back to series work. Batman: Year One is the last one I'm going to direct for a while. The feature work is great because you have a longer time to explore story, but the down side is that you have one shot unlike series work where you develop the world and the characters and have time to work out who the characters are. With the direct-to-videos you design the world; you tell it the best you can. A lot of times you're not working off of original stories; it's stuff from the comics. So you're not being as creative. I'm following a template. There is a fanbase and they expect to see this and that. It's great and when I first got into direct-to-videos I thought it was a dream come true, but now I want to think outside the box.
Rick DeMott is the director of content for Animation World Network, VFXWorld and AWNtv. Additionally, he's the creator of the movie review site, Rick's Flicks Picks, which was recently named one of the 100 best movie blogs by The Daily Reviewer. He has written for TV series, such as Discovery Kids' Growing Up Creepie and Cartoon Network's Pet Alien, the animation history book Animation Art, and the humor, absurdist and surrealist website Unloosen. Previously, he held various production and management positions in the entertainment industry.