Friday, November 02, 2007

Pinocchio Part 31C

While there were supervising animators used on Pinocchio, they animated fewer shots of a character than you might think. Ward Kimball was the supervisor for Jiminy Cricket. A fast count shows 285 shots of Jiminy, of which Ward Kimball animated only 47, or 16.5 %. Kimball's animation is most visible in the early sections of the film where Jiminy first enters Geppetto's workshop and Pinocchio comes to life. After Pinocchio's release from Stromboli's birdcage, Kimball's shots don't appear again until Pinocchio and Lampwick are playing pool on Pleasure Island. Then his animation doesn't show up again until the film's final shots, with Jiminy talking to the wishing star.

Bernie Wolf does 40 shots of Jiminy. Don Towsley does 51. Woolie Reitherman does 46. John Elliotte does 42. The shot count doesn't necessarily reflect footage, but it does give an indication that Kimball's contribution, on screen at least, was a minority of Jiminy.

There are roughly 186 shots of Geppetto, admittedly many of them only hands or feet as he's interacting with pets or clocks. Of these, Art Babbitt animated 67, or slightly more than a third of all shots. Bill Tytla animated 23 Geppetto shots, all in the opening sequences.

How much did the supervising animators contribute to other animators' shots? Did the supervisors supply poses or timing? Were they responsible for the hand-outs, where they would go over what was needed in each shot with another animator before that animator would start work? Would they call for changes on other animators' work before it was viewed by the sequence director and the overall directors?

I'm sure that involvement varied by supervisor and by which animator they were supervising. I doubt that Art Babbitt had to work as carefully with Bill Tytla on Geppetto as he did with Bill Shull, Walt Kelly or Don Patterson. Did the supervising animators give as much attention to action scenes as they did to personality scenes?

While Ward Kimball and Art Babbitt were interviewed multiple times, I don't recall reading anything detailing how they worked a supervisors. I certainly wish more of that information was available in print.

This is probably my last post on Pinocchio, at least as part of this series. I want to thank Hans Perk and Michael Sporn again for supplying the animator draft. While I've never had any contact with Alberto Becattini, I owe him a thanks for his database of animators. Many of the less well-known animators and effects animators on Pinocchio were new to me and Becattini's database allowed me to make intelligent guesses as to first names.

For those of you with long memories (or have bothered to access my archives), you'll know that I did mosaics for shorts before tackling Pinocchio. I think that I'll be returning to the shorts for at least a while, though I wouldn't rule out another feature sometime in the future. One other thing I very much want to try is to analyze individual animated shots. I don't know if words are sufficient to explain everything happening on screen, but I want to take a stab at it.


Thad K said...

As I may have noted here, Kimball only animates ONE shot of the Cheshire Cat throughout "Alice in Wonderland", despite being credited as the supervising animator of that character.

Milt Gray gave me the general idea of what a supervising animator did in those Disney features though - he simply set the look of the scenes he's supervising, not necessarily animating all of it.

I agree though, Mark, it would be great to have more detailed accounts on this process.

Galen Fott said...

Mark, just wanted to thank you for this long-running analysis of Pinocchio; you've lead us on a fantastic and fascinating journey through the film.

Steven Hartley said...

Its interesting to see how Ward Kimball only animates 47 shots of Jiminy Cricket, and yet Don Towsley animated 51 shots of Jiminy, I mean I think Ward did a good job on animating Jiminy, I DO also think that Woolie Reitherman's Jiminy is a little dodgy because he gives him a round head and he looks older, and if you look at "Sequence 3, scene 52" Woolie's drawing of Jiminy looks quite simaliar to the Kimball drawings, maybe he wasn't used to the Kimball drawings, and he did it his own way, anyway he will always be credited for animating Monstro the Whale.