MASTERCLASS ANIMATION & STORYTELLING REPORT 2012
/MASTERCLASS ANIMATION AND STORYTELLING /MICHEL OCELOT- STORYTELLING Of princes and monsters
French animation director Michel Ocelot explained the mechanics of storytelling. Michel Ocelot, creator of the famous and successful Kirikou films, loves a good story. ‘I think it was Jean Gabin, a famous French actor from the first half of the 20th century, who said: to make a good film you need three things. First you need a good story, then a good story and then a good story. I’m very much interested in stories. I enjoy creating them and actually it’s the part of filmmaking I love most.’ Ivan Tsarévitch et la Princesse Changeante Traditional stories such as Russian folk tales are a major source of inspiration for Ocelot. It’s a place to find a lot of ideas, he explained, and there are no copyright issues to prevent the writer from using them. Ocelot uses his own responses to what he reads as his sole compass. ‘I read classical stories and when something happens in my brain I write down what I liked or what I disliked. I write the idea and a little follow up about what I could do with the story. I never adapt. If the story’s bad it’s not interesting to adapt. And if it’s very good, then don’t touch it. I’ve been asked twice to make a feature film out of The Little Prince and I said no twice. Because if feel I don’t have the moral right to do it. It’s a masterpiece. It’s simple and it works well. And you have to realise that sometimes a story works well in a book but not on the screen.’ To illustrate his work method Ocelot read aloud the story of Ivan Tsarevitch, the Fire Bird and the Gray Wolf, a Russian fairy tale collected by Alexander Afanasyev. He asked the audience to take notice of what they liked and disliked about the story. After reading it and before showing his own animated interpretation of the story he explained his artistic choices. ‘I didn’t like it very much when I read the original story. The firebird he has no role in the story. He disappears very fast after the beginning. He’s just poultry in a cage. So I totally changed the role of the firebird. And I also strongly object to the prince
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having no personality. With the princess it’s even worse: she doesn’t exist. She gets taken and she has to marry the prince without having a say. There are many transformations, which is good and important, but there are no real reasons as to why these transformations take place. There’s also nothing strong in the beginning of the story to justify the course of events. And then there’s the lack of realism, which may sound strange to say about a fairy tale. But it’s important. A wolf can not carry a prince and a princess on his back. Of course with fairy tales you can be light-hearted and you cannot always be sensible and realistic. But there are limits. The story must be right on several levels. It most work on even the most superficial level.’
La maîtresse des monstres Another major source of inspiration is Ocelot’s own life. ‘This is not easy. But it’s the most important way of finding stories. The film I’m going to show you is probably connected with a time in my life when I was miserable. I had some very very bad times. You should probably try to forget such times but I did the opposite: I wrote everything down in a diary. And once everything was written down, some of the gravity was lost. I had a major death in my family. And I wrote
an upset letter to a younger friend who was a doctor. Instead of trying to console me he scolded me for being so emotional. Because death was happing everyday he said and it is a part of life. I remembered that later and I used it for La maîtresse des monstres in which a small, outcast girl and a rat hold the solution for a subterranean-dwelling tribe berated by monsters. I put in their what I learned in real life: sometimes you have to look what you fear in the eye.’
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/ROBERT STEVENHAGEN- ANIMATION Head of Story Robert Stevenhagen took us through the process of creating Frankenweenie and the importance of using a beatboard.
Dutch animator Robert Stevenhagen has built an impressive international résumé collaborating on major animation features, ever since he worked as an animator on Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Robert Zemeckis’ 1988 genre busting combination of live action and animation. In recent years he directed The Tale of Despereaux and worked on Aardman’s The Pirates! Band of Misfits and Wallace & Gromit The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. In the past year Stevenhagen was Head of Story on Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie, building the storyreel/animatic and visualizing the script for the production from beatboard via storyboard to final animatic. During the two-year project Stevenhagen and his team created tens of thousands of drawings from Burton’s script illustrating Cinekid for Professionals 2012
elements of scenes, preventing the story to wonder off and obscuring what it is actually about. On the storyboard level more detailed sequences were developed that finally served as a roadmap for the 3D stop-motion recordings. Stevenhagen ended his presentation by showing a roughly animated final sequence of the film, convincingly illustrating how much beatboard, storyboard and actual animation were in sync.
key movements and expanding them into a rough framework for the animators. He illustrated the step-by-step evolution of the text-based characters and their surroundings by showing numerous examples that were used in Frankenweenie’s actual production process. Based on the beatboard, which show sketches that eventually help create the storyboard by showing rudimentary gags, posing and direction elements, the art department started working on the actual 3D world of the characters. Once ready these object were then incorporated in the storyboard, constantly expanding the fictional universe. Stevenhagen stressed the importance of using a beatboard as a preliminary stage before the storyboard because it allows for recalibrating 5
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/COLOPHON Cinekid 2012 has been made possible Stichting Cinekid with the financial support of: Phone: +31 20 531 7890 Amsterdams Fund for the Arts, City of AmsterKleine-Gartmanplantsoen 21 dam, Fiep Westendorp Foundation, Fund for CulFax: +31 20 531 7899 tural Participation, MEDIA programme of the 1017 RP Amsterdam European Union, Ministry of Education, Culture Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and Science, Dutch Film Fund, SNS Reaal Fund, The Netherlands Mondriaan Fund. www.cinekid.nl Board of Directors: Michiel Buitelaar (Chairman), Niels Baas, Eline Danker, Paul van der Linden, Sabine Veenendaal Festival Director / Festival Programmer - Film: Sannette NaeyĂŠ Co-Programmer Film / Project Manager Film: Erik Tijman Festival Programmer - Television: Fleur Winters Festival Programmer - New Media / Crossmedia: Paulien Dresscher Project Manager: Elly Engel Business Executive: Jurriaan Rammeloo Marketing and Communication Officer: Dennis van Rijswijk Cinekid for Professionals 2012 Head Cinekid for Professionals: Fleur Winters Senior Producer Junior Co-production Market: Allison Cody Head of the Guest Department: Mirte Engelhard Conference Co-ordinator & Producer CfP: Cathelijne Berghouwer ScreeningClub Co-ordinator: Fred de Haas Producer ScreeningClub: Lotte van den Berg Junior Producer: Patrick Evertse Junior Producer: Sanne Scholing Co-ordinator Expert Meeting: Jenny Booms Production Manager: Cro Lampe Guest Desk: Amber Nefkens Car service: Sanne Bais Main Sponsors Cinekid 2012 Bernard van Leer Foundation, De Volkskrant, Zapp, Mondriaan Fonds. Sponsors Cinekid 2012 Art Support, PlayMais, Beamsystems, CamA-Lot, Cineco, Eye international, Fedex, Festival tickets, Fiep Westendorp Foundation, Film*Techniek Rotterdam, High5!, H&S Computerservices, IJsfontein, Lloyd Hotel, NPO Sales, NTR, Virtueel Platform, Westergasfabriek, Wim Pel Productions, UPC Nederland, Zapp.
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Cinekid for Professionals wishes to thank:
Cinekid for Professionals 2012 is supported by: The Dutch Film Fund and the MEDIA Programme of the European Union. Cinekid for Professionals 2012 has been made possible by: Bernard van Leer Foundation, Wim Pel Productions, IJsfontein, NTR, Virtueel Platform, Eye International, Zapp, NTR, DDG, Lloyd Hotel, Netwerk Scenarioschrijvers, Norwegian Film Institute, ACE, The Childrenâ€™s Media Conference, Power to the Pixel, EAVE, Mijn Kind Online, AIM, Primehouse. Conference report text: Ronald Rovers photography and DTP: Cathelijne Berghouwer
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