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So you'd like to produce your own animated film?

Thought it would be interesting and informative to explore how a friend, Kent Butterworth set about to make his own animated film and to see not only how he did it but to share in all the fun he had on the way....

I feel like I've been on vacation but in reality I've been buried with a few projects.  Every time I thought I'd sit down and write something terribly witty and informative a client would pop up and distract me.  Don't get me wrong I like clients just fine, after all without them I'd have to get a job and work for a living and that wouldn't suit me.  The problem with clients is that they think that you should be at their beck and call, you know what I mean, they always want something.  "How do I do this?  Where do I find that?  Read this script.  How do I find someone to partner with?  Review this budget."  It just never stops and they seem to have no consideration for my personal time.....

I am kidding of course.  I love my clients and to steal a wonderful line from Anthony Quinn in Laurence of Arabia, "I am a river to my people!"  Well, a small stream at least.

But really I have been busy and I sort of ran out of steam on my lists so I thought I would write about some of the things I've been doing and then set the table for my next idea which is to analyze how someone (a lowly artist) that had an idea, produced his own film and actually found distribution without giving everything away or needing the service of Daniel Webster to represent him.

As far as what I've been doing I'm happy to say that the slate of films that Magic Lantern Studios has been involved in is setting up production with Andrew Lloyd Weber's company, Really Useful Group (RUG) and has scheduled their first venture which will be "Bombay Dreams" with A.R. Rahman overseeing the score.  This will be the first of several highly popular musical stage properties that will be produced by Marquee Pictures which is comprised of Magic Lantern Studios, Arclight, RUG and Azure Media Group.  This is exciting, at least for me, as I've been working with Magic Lantern Entertainment/ Studios for a number of years and to see all this come to fruition is both satisfying and fulfilling.  "Bombay Dreams" will rely heavily on visual effects and is slated to be shot in India early next year.  There are several other films in this package, some of which will be CG animation and although I am not able to talk about them yet, I look forward to working on them with great anticipation.

 In conjunction with the musical slate of films, there are several other packages that I've been working on including Heathcliff, Doctor Dolittle, Born Free and a number of titles in several DVD packages. 

 And then there is an ongoing project to rework a set of DVDs and convert them to a television series of 26 half hours working with Colorland Animation in Shenzhen with Freemantle Corp lined up for distribution. 

So much for me, now I want to tell you a little about a friend and associate that made his own feature length film titled, Attila the Ham.  What I believe will be of interest to you  is how he cobbled together the assets to produce the film, find distribution and somehow remained somewhat sane as he went through the process.

My friend's name is Kent Butterworth and if you've worked in the animation business in Los Angeles you may know of him.  Kent is an animation veteran who has worked in most of the major studios and has also acted as a freelance director and producer.  Most recently he directed the PBS and NBC series Zula Patrol and works comfortably in both 2-D and CGI animation.  He is a very competent and talented animator and director with a good deal of experience under his belt but in all honesty what makes him interesting is that he did something that literally hundreds of other talented artists have wanted to do, but have been unable - he made his own film.

In the next few weeks I'll post a series of blogs drawn from casual interviews with Ken where I've asked questions about how he went about making the film and what he would change if he were to do it again (yes, he plans on this film being the first of a trilogy) and what lessons were learned and how others might take the same path he did.

He will also respond to questions (if reasonable)  if posted as comments.

I will try to get the first segment out around the first of next week - I think you may find his story both useful and interesting.