Bernard Waber 1921-2013
Bernard Waber was an author/illustrator I worked with twice animating his two most popular books for HBO. He was an enormously sweet fellow who enjoyed coming to my studio to see his projects in production. He wa...
Bernard Waber 1921-2013
Bernard Waber was an author/illustrator I worked with twice animating his two most popular books for HBO. He was an enormously sweet fellow who enjoyed coming to my studio to see his projects in production. He wanted little to no involvement in that actual production but we tried to involve him just as well.
Mr. Waber died last Thursday at the age of 91.
The favorite story I tell about him is that HBO had little party for him on the celebration of the completion of Lyle Lyle Crocodile. It was a pleasant party with several of the animation voices present. There were half children and half adult, and there was a guy dressed like Lyle who wandered about the party.
At one point a large cake shaped like Lyle the Crocodile was brought out and Mr. Waber was handed a knife to cut the cake. Staring at his cartoon creation he couldn’t cut the cake, so he handed the knife to the guy in the Lyle suit to lit him do the duty. With that, the Lyle impersonator cut off the head of the Lyle cake and began to dole out pieces.
It was an interesting moment few people took notice of.
Mr. Waber was a delightful person, and his art was truly fund to draw. I miss now knowing that he’s no longer around. It’d take the fun out of animating any of his other, many books.
Epic of Course
The MP Academy hosted a screening of Blue Sky’s film, Epic. Director, Chris Wedge attended the screening for a Q&A afterward. (Unfortunately, the batteries in my camera went sour and I wasn’t able to get a photo.) Last weekend, Candy Kugel got the Academy to offer seats to anyone who’d seen it on my blog. However, the day before the screening, we were told that only guests of members would be allowed to attend. Sure enough come showtime, they allowed all the young people who’d shown up to see the film. Good thing too since there was a poor turnout from Academy members. However, with the ASIFA members anxious to see the show rhere was a decent sized crowd.
It was a rather generic Q&A, but it went well and quickly. Chris Wedge is a very amicable guy and made a positive out of the program. The film itself is an attractive and very quick paced action-adventure film. It should do pretty well especially with music celebrities like Beyoncé (who isn’t ready to become an actor just yet.) I have to say that I’m a fan of Blue Sky’s work. There’s always a real attempt to do something more than give something generic; they really want to make something rich. And, maybe because they’re so far from the people in LA, they do things that are totally original and theirs. All those Ice Age films are good examples, but add Rio or the Horton movie, you get a good idea of what I’m talking about.
Now with Epic, they’re doing a giant of a movie that takes place in Wiliam Joyce’s world of little people. Fighting fairies that go to war on the backs of hummingbirds. It’s original, to say the least.
Unfortunately,it can’t take the backbone of Myazaki’s Princess Mononoke where the majesty of the forest is shown amidst all the battles. Yes, the forest and the woodland creatures are both beautiful and endangereed, but we have to see and understand this as part of the life and and death of battle, It isn’t enough to be part of ecosystem (albeit one we don’t know about), but it would be more courageous to show HOW they fit into that system and why they are so important – as are those endless battles. And the excellent art direction.
Another Epic – one from 1995
This article by Barbara Robertson in CGW Magazine August 1995, is an excellent report about the ways and means of making the first cgi animated feature, Toy Story. Ms. Robertson writes about the programs used, the methods of lighting and even their casting of the cartoon characters. (Rather than casting each character–that is, assigning a