Production Update July 2016

July 25, 2016 More

As we embarked on the production of the first 40 scenes, which we blocked out last month, an additional way of working has popped up.  Our process so far has been to work with individual story boarders, character designers, background artist, animators, and such, assigning each one a different element of a scene, so we have several artists working together on any given scene.  The image toward the end of this article represents just such a process.  That background was originally a rough idea turned into a story board sketch, then turned over to a background artist, and yet another designer who cleaned up the drawing to create a final production background.

That one background involved six of us. It’s the first part of a pan down to Musso & Frank, on Hollywood Blvd, from our “Gerald Hop” scene.  Another half dozen artists have worked on that scene as a whole, including two character designers, a writers, a composer, and a film crew who interviewed a former UPA artist telling a behind-the-scenes story, and a Pixar artist commenting on the scene.  The live action interviews have become part of the animated scene that illustrates a fascinating moment in the untold story of UPA.

Getting back to the original way that’s popped up on doing these scenes, earlier this month one of our crew members, Fenway Fan, asked if she could take on an entire scene herself.  As an accomplished animated short filmmaker, she does it all.  Her image is at the top of this post, with some of the characters that she’s designed for our documentary feature, starting with Bill Hurtz, who is leaning on her thoughtfully, Pete Burness suddenly got a great idea, John Hubley is enjoying a creative moment, Millard Kaufman jumps for joy, and Joe Siracusa creates the boing for Gerald,

Then, standing tall at the southern post, Alan Zaslove is pleased to be moving up at UPA, from bottle washer to director, Dave Hilberman feels good as one of the founders, then Bob Kurtz has finally found a theater playing a UPA short, Bill Melendez lets out a hearty laugh, Ted Geisel is proud to have created Gerald McBoing Boing, and finally up in the far left, Paul Julian seems shy about his stunning work on Rooty Toot Toot.  All these characters, and more, will populate our documentary.

Our lead character designer, Fenway Fan hails from Shanghai and is now living and working in Boston.  She first came to our attention with a short she’s made called, Handi & V, which was one of the finalists at the 2014 AniMazSpot festival in Burbank.  Her style was reminiscent of UPA, and when we contacted her, sure enough she’s a  big UPA fan.  She has selected a scene we call “Kurtz on the Phone”, which is a story Bob Kurtz tells about calling theaters to find out if they were showing a UPA short with their feature.  Fenway has already designed the Kurtz character, so she now has to design a John Culhane character, layout the scene, and animate it.  The beauty of this, for those as accomplished as Fenway, is that any “complete” animation filmmakers can feel proud that an entire scene was created by them from start to finish.  They will need to work within our parameters, of course, but that’s not a problem for Fenway.

Open Pan crp

So, production is moving along, it’s slow, our crew is still small, so our next project is to produce a Pitch Reel to bring in more crew members, and raise funds to pay our loyal initial crew members, some of whom have been working on this documentary for more than two years, without pay.  Also, we want to fill the kitty, so we can offer pay to a whole new batch of crew members.  So, if any of you have ideas for us, some potential crew members, or just want to pass a bit of enjoyable time, visit more of our website and send the link to your friends,  We update the latest news on a monthly basis, and more often if necessary, and you can sign up for an RSS feed to get updates immediately.

Thanks for popping in today.

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Category: Back Issues, Production