The Oscars: Getting Personal with Let's Pollute
GB: For me, I would just go back and forth between writing and drawing and then working on the story reels. I kept the storyboards pretty minimal and loose because I knew it was more for me, so I actually didn't put a whole lot of polish in my story reel. And then I did layout and most of my working, coming from a hand-drawn background, all the line work is like a black lithographic crayon on paper. And then I would scan that into the computer and do the coloring in Photoshop and then I would take that and put it into After Affects to do the final tweaking. But along the way, for some of the backgrounds, the line work was all paper and pencil. But I did create a lot of physical textures, like with India ink on sheets of plastic, which created gritty textures. Then I would take those textures from the physical world, scan those in and do any kind of tinting or coloring in the computer. And I also scanned in some cloth. There's this one history section, which goes back to olden days, so I wanted to create an Americana, folk with quilt kind of patterns that keep it a little more pristine and then when we go into the modern day, it gets more gritty and textural.
BD: What were your stylistic influences?
GB: My style is reminiscent of some of the higher-end films of that era: the UPA films and early Hubley, even something like Toot Whistle Plunk and Boom. So I pulled from a lot of those influences.
GB: He's a radio, news, voice over guy. And I'd have to say he was a real find. He hit that classic era narration and it really helped sell the tone. A really nice, positive, enthusiastic outlook while everything in the film has a dismal undercurrent. To me the film was all about contrasts: I wanted to make the characters cute and appeal but at the same time have these gritty textures, trying to play that up.
BD: And how did you come across the music of Roger Roger?
GB: Another thing that spurred me along the way was Roger Roger, the French composer. I would listen to his music on CD when I was writing and storyboarding, and there was this contrast, like with the narrator, dealing with the subject and then hearing that music, which was a great lift for the entertainment value of it. And then I ended up using almost all of his music in the film. I was able to track down the original recordings and that was a little tricky, trying to work with pre-recorded music and trying not to edit the music too much, but at the same time making it work for the film. It was an interesting mix.
BD: What are you proudest of?
GB: I'm not sure. To me, I'm pretty happy with the way it's all come about and the biggest, most positive thing about getting the Oscar nomination is that now the film will actually get seen. I had no distribution or studio funding to push it out into the world, so it took me a year of sending it out to film festivals and barely moving along. So it was a long process and this is my first independent venture and it's been quite a process. But now, the Oscar nomination has opened up doors suddenly and this is all terrific. It feels like finally the message is getting out.
Bill Desowitz is senior editor of AWN & VFXWorld.