Sunday, October 12, 2008

Random Thoughts

Before we take a break from posting, I thought I'd post some random ramblings and images.
I have now been in the animation industry for 18 years and i can honestly say that none of this may have ever happened without Dick Williams and 'the Thief'. When Dick took us four Germans on, we had very limited experience. Holger and Dietmar had studied animation in college and Michael and I were entirely self taught. It takes people like Dick Williams to see the potential and most of all, be willing to take a chance. We all worked very, very hard on the movie and I think, our work ethic today is firmly rooted in what we learned in those first 2 years.
My very first assignment were inbetweens for Neil Boyle, a scene where the Thief walks on stilts while arrows whiz all around him. Was I lucky to work with someone so patient and knowledgeable right at the start. He sent me back several times to redo what I thought were perfectly fine inbetweens, my eye not trained yet to see the slight imperfections, changes in angles and volumes, but after redoing the drawings a few times and thinking all the time that I'd be fired by the end of the week, I got it. Thanks, Neil.
This industry really lives on through artists who are willing to share what they know and mentor. I have worked with good and ,well, not so great mentors over the years.The best, I found, were the ones to freely point out one's mistakes without putting you down, to inspire you to try your own ideas. Dick Williams is certainly someone who always put the work in front of ego, and I think thats what inspired the fierce loyalty we all felt on the picture.Eric Goldberg is another example of the ideal mentor, freakishly talented enough to warrant star behaviour, yet never displaying any, instead freely sharing his paraphrase Dolli Levy...knowledge is, pardon the expression, like manure. its no good unless its shared and allows young things to grow. While no young thing anymore myself, I will always be deeply grateful to Dick Williams for giving us the initial chance to enter this crazy business.

A crowd scene featuring a guest appearance by Barbra Streisand. I think, Gary Dunn did a few characters too. When we showed the scene to Dick, we glowed with pride when he said: Well done! There was no w@nking around on this.

One of Dick's pet peeves. He thought, we shouldn't listen to music while working. We did, anyway. We couldn't all bring in a trumpet to play out loud.


Holger said...

I started with animating flies for one of Raymond's pipe scenes, but then I also jumped on to inbetweens for this Thief on stilts scene. I pretty much had the same experience. On this scene I learned how to do inbetweens including techniques like flipping. Top pegs of course. I still remember looking over Neil's shoulder as he pointed out the mistakes, that I had not been able to see at my own desk.
Angle changes, thirds instead of straight inbetweens etc.

Alex said...

Amazing post!!

Anonymous said...

If any of the four of you running this blog look back into this post for comments, I have two questions: 1) Were there any other notable 'veteran' animators other than Ken Harris, Art Babbitt, Grim Natwick and Emery Hawkins under Richard's employment, working on "The Thief"? 2) What character(s) did Emery Hawkins animate?