David Soren

Animation Magazine - - Awards Preview -

Di­rec­tor, Turbo Key mo­ment of in­spi­ra­tion: My six-year-old son’s ob­ses­sion with race­cars com­bined with the snail prob­lem in my front yard—that was the in­spi­ra­tion. Com­mit­ting to mak­ing an un­der­dog story was the key that un­locked the front door. Un­der­dogs live lives that are stacked with ob­sta­cles. No­body ex­pects them to suc­ceed. I re­al­ized that a snail is the ul­ti­mate un­der­dog: They’re stepped on by kids, car­ried off by crows, eaten by the French and re­ally, painfully, ex­cru­ci­at­ingly slow. That said, a mo­ment of in­spi­ra­tion is just that—a mo­ment. What re­ally makes it all come to­gether is just a lot of hard work, a ta­lented and uni­fied team, and dumb luck. Tough­est part of mak­ing the movie: Get­ting past the de­vel­op­ment phase and into pro­duc­tion was rough. We went down so many roads with the story that all seemed to lead to dead ends. The good of all that work though, was that by the time we fi­nally crewed up, I re­ally knew the movie I wanted to make. It made the pro­duc­tion much smoother, faster and cheaper than if we’d en­coun­tered all those prob­lems with an army of peo­ple aboard. Fave an­i­mated movie or char­ac­ter of all time: Since you didn’t spec­ify run­ning time, I’m choos­ing Nick Park’s The Wrong Trousers. It’s an in­cred­i­ble short chock full of charm and in­ge­nu­ity. On the state of fea­ture an­i­ma­tion: With so many an­i­mated movies be­ing made ev­ery year, re­lease dates, es­pe­cially for non-se­quels, are fast be­com­ing more im­por­tant to fi­nan­cial suc­cess than the qual­ity of the movies them­selves. It’s a sad re­al­ity but, as film­mak­ers, it’s all the more rea­son to push our­selves to tell the best sto­ries we can, to en­sure the au­di­ence is in­vested in our char­ac­ters, and to re­ally push the en­ve­lope with our vi­su­als. Mak­ing high-qual­ity, orig­i­nal movies is the best way to en­sure au­di­ences don’t get sat­is­fied with medi­ocre prod­uct. Ca­reer be­gin­nings: I drew from a young age and had my heart set on at­tend­ing Sheri­dan Col­lege, which was the only school to go to study an­i­ma­tion near my home­town of Toronto. Trag­i­cally, they re­jected me the first time I ap­plied. So I went else­where, stud­ied fine art and cre­ative writ­ing for year, worked on my port­fo­lio, then reap­plied and got in. I was re­cruited by DreamWorks out of school as a story artist and have been here ever since. Best ad­vice: We were lucky enough to have Wally Pfis­ter as a vis­ual con­sul­tant on Turbo. Early on, we had a color script that was very tra­di­tional in the sense that it had dozens of dy­nam­i­cally col­ored tiny paint­ings rep­re­sent­ing key mo­ments from the story. Wally thought it was beau­ti­ful but cau­tioned that, “too much candy is go­ing to make you sick.” His point was that cer­tain mo­ments in the story need to pop, but if ev­ery­thing is scream­ing out for at­ten­tion, noth­ing has any weight or im­por­tance. It was a fan­tas­tic note and one that ap­plies equally to ev­ery as­pect of film­mak­ing—from cam­era move­ment and pacing, to act­ing, mu­sic and sound de­sign.

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