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An Afternoon with Disney TV

A new question for the Peter and the Wolf team was how they came about designing and animating the animals. The main goal of the design was to not make them caricatures. Hugh said the duck was the toughest and the look they chose was based on how goofy the breed looked, which would help create instant sympathy for the doomed character.

Disney TV artists learn more about how the nominated films were made. © 2008 AWN Inc.

Disney TV artists learn more about how the nominated films were made. © 2008 AWN Inc.

After a nice long break where some filmmakers, like Madame Tutli-Putli directors Maciek Szczerbowski and Chris Lavis, Peter and the Wolf director Suzie Templeton, and Even Pigeons Go To Heaven director Samuel Tourneux and Pigeons producer Simon Vanesse, had to run off to do interviews, the ones who were able to stay chatted with the inquisitive artists at Disney TV Animation. Many of the questions were similar to questions asked before, but new insights did emerge.

Because no one from Pigeons was there to answer the question on what was the inspiration behind the films, Peter and the Wolf producer Hugh Welchman answered the question on behalf of Sam and Simon, saying that Sam had created the characters and sets for a story he did not like and then had to form a new story around what he had already created. He also added that Sam had said in another Q&A that he wanted the film to “reek of France.” But Peter producer Alan Dewhurst said it was more like “smell of France.” As for Alexander Petrov’s My Love, Madame Tutli-Putli producer Marcy Page, who worked with Petrov on The Old Man in the Sea, said that it’s amazing to watch the filmmaker move paint around on glass with his fingers creating a Rembrandt with each frame. When asked how long the films took to make, Ron Diamond, the organizer of the Oscar Showcase tour, joked six weeks for the 20+ minute My Love.

A new question for the Peter and the Wolf team was how they came about designing and animating the animals. The main goal of the design was to not make them caricatures. Hugh said the duck was the toughest and the look they chose was based on how goofy the breed looked, which would help create instant sympathy for the doomed character. As for the crow, Hugh was reluctant to choose the iconic bird for all the negative connotations that it brings. However, a smaller bird would have been too difficult to create using puppets, so they decided to use the hooded crow, because it was a good balance between tone and practical production demands. As for the spoiled feline, Hugh said Suzie always envisioned it as a fat cat. When it came to the wolf, Hugh felt right from the start that Suzie would be able to make the forest hunter scary. She wanted it to look wild with its matted fur and intense blue eyes. She also insisted it be female, even including pups in one of the 17 versions of the script. Each puppet was created in silicone instead of latex, which will help preserve them over time, and the clothing was made out of silk and other common clothing materials. For the animation, she was specific with the animators about the movements, creating very details animatics for them to work off of.

At the Disney TV receptions, Alan Bodner (center left) poses with the I Met the Walrus filmmakers (l to r) James, Josh and producer/subject Jerry Levitan. © 2008 AWN Inc.

At the Disney TV receptions, Alan Bodner (center left) poses with the I Met the Walrus filmmakers (l to r) James, Josh and producer/subject Jerry Levitan. © 2008 AWN Inc.

Following the Q&A, Disney TV hosted a reception for the filmmakers, where the studio artists had more opportunities to chat with the nominees. Alan Bodner, art director on The Iron Giant, took a break from working on Kim Possible to meet with the animators. I Met the Walrus director Josh Raskin and illustrator James Braithwaite were very pleased to meet artists who still work on paper. Dan Povenmire, the creator of Disney’s new series Phineas and Ferb, dropped by to visit as well, saying that earlier in the day he was impressed with the ping-pong playing skills of Hugh. As the studio heavyweight, Dan said it was nice to have a tough challenger, exchanging phone numbers with Hugh so they can play again.

The day finished up with the AWN/Acme Filmworks Oscar party where the filmmakers enjoyed good food, good company and good fun. Check back soon to see the pics from the event.

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