J. P. Vine

Animation Magazine - - RIS­ING STARS -

Di­rec­tor, Ron’s Gone Wrong, Lock­smith An­i­ma­tion

“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 11-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!”

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