Inside the refurbished Lakeside building over at DreamWorks Animation, work trundles along on Shrek Goes Fourth, added DVD goodies are being created for Monsters Vs. Aliens, and the first DreamWorks animated feature slated for release in 2010, How to Train Your Dragon is rolling into production ...
A staffer on Dragon related:
"We're going to be doing most of the animation on this between now and next Fall. It's kind of a Bolt schedule. [For those who don't know, the bulk of production work on The Tale of the White Doggie was done in a hectic, action-packed nine months.] We won't be working at a slow pace ..."
Walking around, I saw more scenes of Shrek IV being worked on than Dragon, (Shrek in slapstick action with supporting players) yet the ogre lumbers into your local cinema a couple of months after Dragon.
This could mean story is further along on Shrek than Dragon, or it might mean Shrek has more moving parts and needs a longer production schedule, or it might mean ... not much at all.
I have no knowledge of the story development of either picture, and my knowledge of the Dragon story is minimal except for this:
How To Train Your Dragon is a comic adventure set in the mythical world of Vikings ... The story centers around a scrawny teenager who lives in the North Sea on the island of Berk. His Viking tribe, the Hairy Hooligans, live, and all too frequently die, by their motto: Only the Strong Can Belong! Hiccup desperately wants to make his father, the Hooligans’ chief Stoick the Vast and his tribe proud.
Initiation is coming, and all young Vikings must capture and subdue a wild dragon from Dragon Island. But when Hiccup is saddled with an undersized and uncooperative dragon, chances for impressing his tribe and his father look bleak. Yet, in his quest to train his dragon-of-choice, he teaches his father and all of the Hooligans a new definition of strength.
But the way story work has gone on in feature cartoons since the beginning of time is: Act One of the movie gets tied down pretty good, Act II is being firmed up, and Act III is still ... sketchy. But production has started on Act I because, you know, there's a release date looming out there and nobody can lolly gaggle while other story kinks are being worked out. It's move, move, move so the release window and marketing tie-ins don't get screwd up. (Years ago, the middle of Aladdin was retooled while animation was being done, and the name "Baghdad" was changed to "Agrabah" due to a brief war.)
In short, animated features are always in a state of semi-chaotic flux. Climaxes get altered, dialogue is tweaked, and sequences are dropped and added. It's just the way the process of tooning works.
And for whatever reason, HTTYD is going to move at a high rate of speed for the next several months. You've been warned.