QUOTE Rush for the Gold OF THE MONTH
Now, we’re in the thick of it, and by “it,” I mean awards season. Much of this issue is devoted to this annual gold rush, focusing in particular on the Annie Awards, the VES Awards and the Oscars. The former two are especially near and dear to our hearts here at Animation Magazine, as they are the shows that recognize the contributions of the people who work day in and day out on making great animation and visual effects. These are also the most casual and fun events to attend, making a great excuse for everyone to get out from behind their computers and get together in person and honor the very best work.
The Oscars are a whole different ball of wax, mostly because it is one of the most-watched events of the year, every year. There’s a lot of exposure and a lot to be gained for the projects that win.
As in past years, I will be at all three events, posting the winners as they happen for those who can’t be there in person and want to follow along at home. So if you haven’t yet, be sure to check out our social media channels on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for all the details.
I would offer some predictions, but I have to admit I have a terrible track record at such things, despite nearly 20 years of experience writing about this stuff. Plus, this year’s nominees are all extremely strong and deserving in their own way of the awards.
By the way, if it’s awards season that got this hot little mag into your waiting hands, we want to remind you that we’re here all year long, so subscribe and don’t miss a beat.
With the end of awards season now in sight, there’s plenty of other events to keep animation pros on their toes, including the excellent Cartoon Movie forum, which this year has moved to Bordeaux from Toulouse, and Kidscreen Summit in Miami.
It’s also the time of year when we publish our annual International Education & Career Guide, including animation school listings and some spot-on advice on how to make the next big step in your career the right step.
To further help out with that, we are launching Feb. 13 our all-new online Career Center. We are sure it will become an invaluable resource for anyone looking for a job in animation or for companies looking to find the right animators for their projects.
I haven’t even had time to mention the other content in this issue, including our cover story on The LEGO Batman Movie, our chat with J.G. Quintel about the end of Regular Show and a look at the VFX of Monster Trucks.
So I hope you enjoy this issue — feel free to let me know what you like (or don’t like) about the magazine by dropping me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time,
Pixar released a teaser trailer and images from Cars 3, due in theaters June 16. Brian Fee, who worked as a storyboard artist on Cars and Cars 2, directs and Kevin Reher is the producer. Owen Wilson reprises his role as Lightning McQueen, joined by Cristela Alonzo and Armie Hammer as new characters Cruz Ramirez and Jackson Storm.
and ImageMovers still contending with the suit. Blue Sky was the first to settle in March 2016 for about $6 million, followed by Sony Pictures Animation and Imageworks in May with a $13 million proposal.
[Bandai, $170 ea.] The Disney-Pixar heroes get a distinctly Japanese re-imagining with these incredibly cool collectibles that are finally on sale (we’ve been waiting since August to publish these)! The transforming toys combine five figures into one incredible 9-inch robot. Woody, Rex, Bullseye, Slinky Dog and Hamm unite to form Woody Robo Sheriff Star; while Space Ranger Robo assembles out of Buzz Lightyear, Alien 1 & 2, a Space Shuttle and Big One rocket. [Funko, $15] The CN shop also has Mojo Jojo and the Girls in POP! form, plus cute new apparel options and costumes for PPG fans. [GUND, $25 ea. | $70 set] Preorder the magnetically-stackable stuffed Grizz, Panda and Ice Bear at cartoonnetworkshop.com for delivery July 1. [David OReilly, 11 oz. $15 | 15 oz $18] Available through society6.com and designed by the animator behind The External World and Please Say Something. Also: Relatable as hell. [Ethan Allen, $799] Make a subtle statement of well-funded nerdery with this Luxo Jr.-inspired statement lamp, pictured with the less subtle “Mr. Mouse” Bravo Chair ($1,479) — both available at ethanallen.com. [
2Lots of events kick off today across the globe. Jet out to Animac (Lleida, Spain), Cape Town Int’l Animation Festival (S. Africa), GLAS (Berkeley, CA), FICCI (Cartagena, Colombia), the Boulder (CO) and Chester (U.K.) int’l film fests, or log on for the SICAF Student Short Film Festival. Not to mention the NYC Summit licensing shindig and Emerald City Comic-Con (Seattle). [Check your Animag calendar for URLs!] Canadian Screen Week begins, culminating the 12th with the Canadian Screen Awards. [academy.ca] Disney’s live-action, musical reimagining of Beauty and the Beast is ready to enchant audiences.
McKay is no stranger to the LEGO franchise, having been brought on to The LEGO Movie by directors Christopher Miller and Phil Lord as animation director and co-director, based on his experience directing such TV series as Robot Chicken, Titan Maximum and Moral Orel. “I wear a lot of hats and I expanded my role from co-director and animation director to co-editor and head of story, really, and I worked really closely with them and the studio and we had a great time working together,” says McKay. “It was a good trial run for directing on my own and I had relationships with all the people and they offered me the job to direct LEGO 2.” Scheduling Switch But with The LEGO Movie sequel being an ambitious project with a lot of music and original songs, development stretched out and LEGO Batman ended up ready to go into pro-
able to add more expression into the faces was certainly a goal of mine.”
That required improvements to the animation software that had the added benefit of being much faster than what was used on The LEGO Movie.
Animating comedy also required some extra work, with it coming to some animators more easily than others. Coleman says he sees part of his job is to assemble a team of animators with a variety of abilities, meaning those with facility for humor or action or drama can bring those talents to shots that emphasize those elements.
Some shots in the movie were so complicated, they took a half hour to load into the computer. “There’s some shots that must have over 50 characters, all animated, as well as vehicles moving around,” says Coleman, who gives credit to Stewart Alves for being able to animate dozens of characters and vehicles in the movie’s single most complex shot.
The movie is jam-packed with references sure to please die-hard Bat-fans. “We went far and wide into our reference. I wanted Gotham City to be filled out with the rogues’ gallery from throughout his history,” says McKay. “I wanted to take pieces of different aspects for, say The Riddler, and reference (the Frank) Gorshin Riddler (from the 1960s TV show) or more modern comic-book interpretations. Bane was the classic Bane with the Tom Hardy coat (from The Dark Knight Rises). It was that kind of thing. We really wanted to make allusions.”
The most obscure references are to a pair of oddball villains, Magpie and Crazy Quilt.
But McKay says he’s eager for fans to recognize references like dialog that matches up with the 1989 Burton movie. And it was that kind of fun that spread throughout the making of the movie. “Patrick Stump from Fall Out Boy sounds eerily like Will Arnett in the way he sort of sing-growls,” says McKay, who brought in the vocalist as Batman’s singing voice. “He picked up on a bunch of the references and it was like a nerd fest.”
With the movie having wrapped and ready to roll into theaters, McKay says he’s very happy with the final product. “Batman was my first superhero and I wanted to make a Batman movie for people who deeply love movies, who love superheroes,” he says. “I’m really proud of what we did and I’m proud of the crew. I’m really loving watching it with an audience and watching people get into it.” [