Monday, January 14, 2008
The Laughing Brigand
I had planned this story for sometime down the road, but since it came up in David's post I want to post it now.
As David said this scene had been around for a long time. Dick had originally animated it for academy fielding. He asked me to help him shoot a linetest of this scene. He was redrawing it and widening the shoulders for scope. As a student just a year or two before I had watched this scene as part of the Clapperboard documentary religiously over and over. I couldn't get over the bit where he flips the scene for the camera and says: I did this in a day... I wasn't even sure that I heard that right. It depressed me for weeks. Later I found out that he had worked on it for months. In 1990 I think Sleeping Beauty was released on VHS and I spotted the similarity. Dick had always been pretty open about using live action as inspiration for some of his animation. So I didn't think it was a big secret and casually mentioned "Hey, Dick the animation from this, you took from Sleeping Beauty, right?" His face dropped and he said "Dammit... Is it that obvious?" He decided to retime it in order to make it less obvious and I was thrilled that I got to do a few of the new inbetweens for this scene. In the following days he would reshoot it several times and ask me if it was getting any better. It's one of my favorite scenes in the film and I didn't think it needed to get any better. Of course he meant the similarity to Milt Kahl's henchman animation, and I didn't think that the retiming had the desired effect. Fanboy that I was this whole business and the attention that he gave me was immensely flattering, even though I was somewhat aware that he was probably manipulating my eager youthful enthusiasm in the service of getting me even more fired up about the project, and it sure worked.