Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Entretien avec l'auteur Steve Hulett

Rox et Rouky

As the animation union rep I get hit up for interviews from time to time, mostly from reporters but once in a while from film aficionados asking about my time at Disney.

An interview with me has been posted on this site. The interview was conducted in English and translated into French. We ran the interview through the Google translator to put it back into English, resulting in the following, extremely eloquent bon mots:

How did you become author for Disney?

I have an English control and another in history and I took courses of writing, because that always interested me. However, after my studies, the government requisitioned me for two years in Navy. On my return, with the autumn 1976, I postulated at Disney because my father, deceased two years had worked before, there of many years as a decorator. I thus returned as an apprentice to the department “history” and I spent ten years there ...

I started to write under the supervision of Larry Clemmons until it leaves to the retirement of 1978. It was the principal author of Disney since Livre of the Jungle and it marked me much. After its departure, we kept the contact until its disappearance a dozen years later ...

With what the history did resemble it at the beginning?

At the time of Rox & Rouky, the basic history was only one skeleton and the things changed perpetually. At the end, Rox and Vixy were to have the small ones. It was also questions of babies and a rescue. That came owing to the fact that Woolie arrived with always different tracks which remained during a certain time while the remainder of the history also developed him, and one realized that such scene did not go any more and one removed it ...

Other scenes were removed in the course of production. Can you speak to us about it?

There was of it not badly. As I said it to you, Frank Thomas worked with considerable scenes implying Rox and Rouky babies. As for Ollie Johnston, it animated a whole sequenced with Chef sauntering around the house with his broken leg. In general, one can allow oneself to cut crayonées sequences whereas one removes only a few seconds when they are painted. Many crayonées sequences were removed at the beginning production because they cover an experimental side more, in order to define the characters ...

Another major event with the studio was the departure of Gift Bluth.

Absolutely. It left about to the three quarters the production Rox & Rouky, which shifted the film exit about the one year old. Its departure to carry out Brisby & the Secrecy of Nimh put the department animation smell above below because it took along approximately a third of the team with him, and in particular John Pomeroy and Linda Miller, which were organizers of great talent. All had worked with Don on short-measuring The Small One in 1978.

... It was a very collaboratif process insofar as, when that functioned well, that did not come strictly from a linear scenario but rather from a skeleton supplied with the ideas of all kinds of people. And it is a process which one finds today. That it is Disney or Pixar, they are from now on the branches of the same tree of which the roots go up again to Walt.

I think I (and Google translator) come off very well, don't you?

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Fish. It very well of the speak.

Anonymous said...

Monsieur Hulot I do miss them crayonnees sequences , they have a je ne sais quoi , considerable organizers' work is missed these days , It was la creme de la creme.
C'est la vie
Mercy Buckets & Eau Revoir

Lionel said...

Hi Steve,

the interview, which I read in French (since I am French) was very interesting. When the movie opened in 1981, I was 7, and I remember vividly the first time I saw it. It's no Sleeping Beauty, but I still like it, because of its simplicity, unpretentiousness and mature themes.

There is a point in the french translation which is not very clear: after a long meeting with Woolie, you remember Ollie saying: "Enough, I'm going to animate". The translation did not make it clear if Ollie was fed up with Woolie and the meeting, or if he had by now enough understanding of the scene or characters to animate. Could you tell me? Thanks

Steve Hulett said...

Gladly.

Woolfgang would have loong story meetings around his office desk. All-day story meetings. Grueling story meetings. We would be thrashing through script pages, rewriting dialogue over and over, changing plot points, etc.

Woolie always liked to have Frank and Ollie there while we argued and rewrote. Often Frank wouldn't bother to show up, since he wanted to animate, not help the story guys throw out story ideas for Woolie to chew on.

Ollie was much the same, but he showed up here and there. And when he did, by the middle of the day, he wasn't overly interested in making still more suggestions for new "Chief" dialogue.

He wanted to get back down to his office and work at his main job, and so would excuse himself.

Lionel said...

Many thanks, Steve, for the explanation. Never imagined that in my life, I would have the opportunity to talk to someone who worked on a Disney feature. And thanks for this very interesting blog.

Site Meter