Top Animators Talk the Business of Animation

With awards season in full swing, The Hollywood Reporter rounds up five top animators from this year’s contenders -- Chris Buck, Dan Scanlon, Chris Wedge, Kristine Belson and Chris Meledandri -- for a roundtable discussion on the business of animation.

With awards season in full swing, The Hollywood Reporter has rounded up five top animators from this year’s contenders  -- Frozen co-director Chris Buck, Monsters University director Dan Scanlon, Epic director Chris Wedge, The Croods producer Kristine Belson and Illumination Entertainment’s Chris Meledandri -- for a roundtable discussion on the business of animation.

Conversation ranges from the development and production process to how animated features are perceived by the movie-going public.

Check out some gems, below, and head over to THR for the full interview:

We're carrying -- all of us -- a legacy that needs to be protected. I think all of us know that when faced with trying to do too much of any one thing, there can be a degradation or a dilution of that quality. It is important for the overall health of the industry that going to an animated film continues to be something special, and I think all of us need to be cautious about how much production we put out there. The flip side of that is that the optimist in me says, if I look at any one of the films represented here today, I can say, "Wow." I see innovation and creativity, and so to me, as long as we continue as an industry to raise the bar, then the issue of the number of films becomes less important. -- Chris Meledandri 

Animation can be more than the thing that the audience today…expects it to be. Some of this may come about by taking more risks, and some of it will come about by bringing production costs down and being able to make lower-budget movies, more genre movies, knowing you're making a movie for a smaller audience. -- Chris Wedge

What always amazes me is when a reviewer will comment, "Clearly they took that from another film." I always think: "You just don't know the process. We don't move fast enough to steal." -- Chris Buck

I made a newbie mistake on The Croods: I didn't think about which scenes we put through first in terms of marketing. You want to be smart about what comes out of the other end of that pipeline sooner. We put through all these incredibly dark nighttime scenes, which are great in the movie, but they are worthless in terms of marketing the film. -- Kristine Belson

We usually start with the character on the page first -- we don't really have an actor in mind. We really try to develop who that character is and then maybe even start designing the look of the character, all before we find an actor. -- Dan Scanlon

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