“Don’t overthink your skill level, and always bring a willingness to learn. Your colleagues will possess massive skills to help you grow. When you are starting off as an animator and are receiving notes from creatives, ask yourself what they care about the most. What’s most important about a shot, sequence or piece of art? It’s a focusing question that will make the process flow!”
Those excellent words of advice come from J.P. (Jean-Philippe) Vine, who is directing his first animated feature Ron’s Gone Wrong, Locksmith Animation’s maiden project (slated for a 2021 release). Vine, who was born in Curepipe, Mauritius, says he loved Aardman’s shorts growing up, but his biggest influences were French comic books and British classics by Raymond Briggs and Roald Dahl. After studying theater design in London, he found himself building sets and props for companies such as the Royal Shakespeare Company.
“Through prop work I found my way to work on Aardman’s Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit as a set dresser,” he recalls. “On that movie, the dressers would all watch the previous day’s rushes in dailies, and I realized the animators were having the most fun. I started bugging them for tips and took old characters home to teach myself. I was hooked. I even got some shots in the film. They were only rabbits, but hey!”
He also directed episodes of Aardman’s Shaun the Sheep series and worked as a storyboard artist on The Pirates! Band of Misfits, Inside Out and The Good Dinosaur. His upcoming movie Ron’s Gone Wrong is set in a world where walking, talking, digitally connected “bots” have become children’s best friends, and tells the story of an 12-year-old boy who finds that his robot buddy Ron doesn’t quite work.
“I love working with performance: whether it’s with an actor, an animator, a story artist,” notes the 43-year-old helmer. “I love the energy that erupts when we get excited about an idea … And I love working with design. Lots to love. The challenge is the volume of decisions that have to be tracked throughout the whole film. We’re working all over the film at all times so it can be challenging to hold it all in place.”
His take on the state of animation worldwide? “I’m delighted that more creators are being backed on streaming platforms, and that animation tools are becoming so much more accessible. My nine-year-old has just started animating in Procreate, which I love!”
Locksmith Animation have announced they’re in development on an animated feature, The Empty Stocking, specifically for digital platforms, based on a series of Christmas children’s books by writer/director Richard Curtis (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Love Actually, Yesterday). Veteran producer Bonnie Arnold, (How to Train Your Dragon, Toy Story, Tarzan) will join Locksmith heads Sarah Smith and Julie Lockhart to oversee the project.
The company is partnering creatively on the feature with Curtis and his team, which includes illustrator Rebecca Cobb, executive Colin Hopkins and writer Peter Souter. Curtis and Souter will write the screenplay.
“We are thrilled to be working with iconic British talent like Richard, of whom we are perennial fans, and delighted to be partnering on this utterly charming and unique material. It is a perfect opportunity to expand Locksmith’s stories into new formats, and forge new relationships with digital platforms.”
Time to get a move on: Is British film animation set for a rapid revival?
Food for thought from Sam Briggs - Of The Guardian this month.
Could British animation be on the verge of a new golden age? Warner Bros. appears to think so: it has announced a multi-picture deal with Locksmith Animation, co-founded by Elisabeth Murdoch with Arthur Christmas director Sarah Smith and Shaun the Sheep Movie producer Julie Lockhart.
Locksmith is a sought-after outfit: its first film, Ron’s Gone Wrong, is in production under a previous deal with 20th Century Fox; however, the takeover of the latter by Disney appears to have prompted the switch to Warner Bros. The reality is, though, that British feature-length animated releases are rarities. Bristol-based Aardman Animations has long been the dominant – indeed, only – creative force. Its most recent offering, A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, was released two weeks ago. Otherwise, the landscape looks pretty bleak. The British Council’s animation catalogue for 2018 has 32 pages dedicated to short films, born in part out of the success of outlets such as Channel 4’s Random Acts series.
Animated features run to a meagre two and a half pages. Aardman’s Early Man is the only out-and-out British feature; Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs is included, and while it showcases the talent of UK animators, it doesn’t possess the same homegrown feel.
Read Full article here
Author: Sam Briggs Full Article -https://www.theguardian.com/film/2019/nov/01/british-film-animation-aardman-early-man-stop-motion-hollywood-studio
Fri 1 Nov 2019 18.06 GMT Last modified on Thu 7 Nov 2019 12.56 GMT
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