Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Some Links

If you have any interest in Fred Moore, you've got to visit Jenny Lerew's blog, where she is posting some great Moore drawings from the collection of James Walker.

Hans Perk continues to post amazing stuff. Recently he put up a drawing of Penny from The Rescuers by Ollie Johnston and the animator draft for The Brave Little Tailor.

Here's a press release about Disney making their films available for downloading. The L.A. Times (registration required) mentions Chicken Little as a forthcoming release in this format.

The Seward Street blog is going dark at the end of June. There's a Ken Harris interview there and lots about Milt Kahl. Get 'em while you can.

Emru Townsend announces a change in frequency and size for the webzine fps. You still have time to subscribe at the old rate.

Finally, John Cawley's Daily Bark for May 30 has some interesting thoughts on what's happening to the director's job in TV animation. When I was directing, I not only thumbnailed the storyboard, I timed the show. I'm aware that the job of director has been fragmented, so that board artists dictate the shot continuity and sheet timers take care of the timing with the director supervising them both. With the increased use of animatics for timing purposes, it seems that other people are now claiming director credit. I would be very interested if anyone currently directing (movies or TV) would leave a comment talking about how these tasks are handled on their productions.


Anonymous said...

You can't be a director-for-hire in animation anymore.
If you want to direct an animated project, independant animated short films is the way to go. DIY

Mark Mayerson said...

Thanks for that. I'd still like to know exactly what a director's duties are these days. Do they simply supervise those people doing boarding and timing or do they do it themselves.

Hans Perk said...

The directors in our tv-dept. do part of the boards themselves. Sometimes they do everything, sometimes they get boards from outside boarders. Then an assistant editor shoots the boards, and does some preliminary timing. The director finalizes the timing, dependent on the project either by himself in a proprietary storyboarding program we have written ourselves, or with an AVID-editor. Then the slugging of the boards is again done either by the director, an outside slugger or a combination. Thusfar, we have done 190 half-hour shows this way.

Mark Mayerson said...

Thanks, Hans. It's interesting that the story reel is now so widely used as a timing tool. In the old days, Jones or Freleng would time the entire cartoon blind and I don't think they would see anything until the pencil test.

Unless every key action is drawn for the storyboards, I think it can be dangerous to use the board as a timing tool. If the board artist or director doesn't thoroughly think through the action, when it comes to animation they may discover that the shot needs a timing change.

When I directed, I timed everything from scratch and only after timing it looked at the story reel that was shot from my timing. On my first timing pass, the show was never the right length. After viewing the reel, I altered the timing, adding or subtracting as needed based on the flow of the reel.

Is there anybody else out there with comments on how directors currently function?

Hans Perk said...

Mark, with the risk of you getting enough of me, I feel the need to answering you here. "If the board artist or director doesn't thoroughly think through the action" - that's just it: these days, you would get a different director. With the very low budgets of today, and the fierce competition, there is no room for experimentation. Everything has to be there in one try. And if it isn't, then too bad, that's how it will be on screen (unless really obvious). Not much gets corrected nowadays - it is a sad reality, and something that reflects badly on the product, but the people guarding the money cannot see the difference. They think you try to steal their money if you want to redo something. And that is no lie - been there, done that. I'm sure you have, too. I bet that this is the way for 99% of all TV productions nowadays. For they have evolved from mass media art-form to cheap commercials for merchandize.

Timing theatrical shorts, using metronome and bar-sheets - now that's a WHOLE different matter. I had the best fun directing that I have EVER had, doing that back in the 80s. But when does anyone get to do that, nowadays? Unless it's an independant production...

As to timing tools, an AVID isn't a $200K investment anymore, as it was 10 years ago. Nowadays, the director could adjust the timing of the film on his laptop in the plane to the Far-East, if need be. Still their working habits differ from person to person. Some write timing in frames on their boards before they are shot...

Hans Perk said...

Excuse my rant - I didn't mean to sound all that depressing ;-)