Peter Chung Breathes Life into FireBreather
PC: My perspective on this is colored by my personal experience working in animation. The tone of the story is usually the thing that I respond to first when watching any film. For animated films, that tone seems to always fall within a very narrow range. Maybe it's because American animated films are targeted for very young viewers, but I always feel that the characters are trying too hard to please the audience, rather than to simply inhabit the world of their story. To show characters mugging or winking for the camera is the easiest way to trigger a response. It robs the character of any dignity and cheats the audience out of the chance to discover for themselves how they feel about what they are seeing.
RD: What was it like working with Cartoon Network?
PC: The primary concern at CN for FireBreather was to simply produce the best CG movie out of the source material. Rob Sorcher was very supportive and understanding of the difficulty in achieving an original movie on a short schedule, considering the scale and complexity of the story. It was an environment of trust and creative freedom. It helped that it was CN's first CG production. There was no template to follow, either in terms of visual style or production process. It allowed me to assemble a crew of artists that I thought would best suit the kind of movie I had in mind, which kept evolving during production. In the end, what you end up with is a product of the individuals who contribute to it, and no one can foresee exactly what that will be. As a filmmaker, that is the ideal type of process, as opposed to one in which there is some preconceived mold into which you must try to fit.
RD: What's are you working on next?
PC: Right now we're developing more FireBreather films.
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 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.