In the meantime, here's one such drawing that I did while in T.A. purgatory that didn't make it to my (old) main site:
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More to come!
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AV Club: You actually choreographed the fights with actors wearing owl suits, fighting each other. How’d that work?
One thing about the art of animation is that you get to do whatever your mind can dream up, after all. Unfortunately, the mind can be a tricky place and have a few too many ideas sometimes, so why not just dress a dude up and have owls fight like people? You know what, I've actually seen this before in another animated film which may OR MAY NOT have been a terrible animated feature (skip to about 0:50):Zack Snyder: Yeah. When we got to the fight scenes, one of the things was like—these owls are supposedly an ancient culture, and they have a martial tradition that we can’t just make up. It’s gonna look goofy if they’re just clawing at each other. .... We got my old stunt team from 300 and made them put these cardboard wings on and basically fight each other.
If there's one thing I hate doing as an animator, it's pretending. UGH IF ONLY I DIDN'T HAVE TO PRETEND THOSE LETTERS ACROSS THE SCREEN IN THAT COMMERCIAL I WORKED ON TODAY LIFE WOULD BE SO MUCH BETTER.ZS: ... The animators then don’t have to pretend. It’s a real thing they have to work with. I think that comes through in the film.
Children do hate cartoons, after all. This is one talking owl movie that's not for kids, see? One thing that I think people don't understand about animation in this sense is that it NEEDS to be exaggerated. The physics and the way things move shouldn't act as they do in reality, because then things appear stiff and dull. Here's an example: I recently watched Anastasia with my girlfriend, and while I didn't mind the movie itself I didn't really care for the main protagonists, Anastasia and Dmitri. It wasn't because of their characters or lines, it was just that once the weird-looking villain or the comic-relief-bat Bartok appeared on-screen, the protagonists seemed rigid and inflexible by comparison. Unfortunately I couldn't find any clips readily available on Youtube due to copyright blah blah blah, but I did find these stills online:ZS: The thing about owls is that they do sort of have this facial disc, which is unlike any other bird. They kind of have a face, more than like a dog or a giraffe. They have this weird, alien face that you can actually make expressive. We really pushed without breaking. I didn’t want it to be a cartoon. I was like, “I don’t want to make a cartoon. That I can’t do.”
|"My mouth can only move so much due to the limitations of my movement and desiiiign"|
ZS: So the faux-realistic look was a look I was comfortable with, because this environment feels real. These owls feel real to me. “Now I can make an adventure that feels compelling. The danger is real.”Ok so just to make sure I understand this correctly, Zack Snyder wanted the danger to be real. He wanted to evoke some suspense in his audience and give them something "that feels compelling." I don't want to call a guy wrong, but let's point out a few inconsistencies with that statement above.
|Night on Bald Mountain, Fantasia (1940)|
ZS: For instance, say Soren [the film’s owl protagonist] flies into the hollow. I’d say, “If this was a real movie, I’d put the camera low and I’d dolly with him as he comes back.” So that’s the language I used to tell them how to do it, and it worked out really well. There was a point when they created this little bible—the rules, things I liked and didn’t like. Because there’s a lot of trendy things—you never know what the animators will try to whack into the movie.If only it was a real movie. Maybe next time, Zack... maybe next time.
|Mmmm that sadness in the eyes can only mean one thing.|