Friday, August 24, 2012

TV to Theatrical

The Times profiles animation creators moving from television to the big silver screen:

... The fields of film and television animation have long been divided by stark lines, with little room for talent to move between the two media.

That's changing this year, as three directors with roots in TV are helming major studio animated movies: Genndy Tartakovsky, the director of Sony Pictures Animation's "Hotel Transylvania" created the Cartoon Network series "Dexter's Laboratory," "Samurai Jack" and "Star Wars: Clone Wars"; Mark Andrews, who made Pixar's "Brave," storyboarded on the shows "Osmosis Jones," "Star Wars: Clone Wars" and "Samurai Jack"

"In TV you don't have any time to play around with stuff," said Andrews. "Every eight weeks or so, your episode has to be done. For me, that was a fantastic training ground. ...

The thing about working in television? You get used to being on a deadline and tight schedule. And getting the project done.

In theatricals, of course, the process is to beat the movie with a stick for months and years until it's a sodden, bloody corpse. The Simpsons Movie went through revision after revision after revision and the crew griped continually about redoing sequences over and over.

But it's been the process, from the early days of theatrical animation until now. Larry Clemmons, a Disney veteran of 35 years (although those years were 1930-1941 and 1955-1978) spent a long stretch of the in-between time writing a network radio show for Bing Crosby. One day when we were trudging out of a four-hour meeting in director Woolie Reitherman's office, he said to me:

"We write the sequence, then we write it again and then again. I used to turn out a half-hour radio show every week. What have I come to?"

What he came to was theatrical feature animation, where doing eighty-five minutes of dialogue, action and story arcs can go on for years.


Steven Gordon said...

Or, as we call it in the trenches, virtually guaranteed long-term employment...

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