Saturday, May 21, 2011

Memory Lane 9 - Video TWO : Linda Miller - Directing Animator Don Bluth Studios - 1986

Here is Video 2 of my friend Linda Miller.

Linda was one of Don Bluth's original animators when he first left Disney Studios. Linda is this amazing talent that always inspired me when I worked on her scenes. Beautiful draftsman with this wonderful sense of design. She always made animating look so easy as i stood over her shoulder and watched as she would lightly sketch down the shapes on the paper that all seemed to make sense.
I was always blown away with how at ease she would work. It just seemed as though there was no struggle with her drawing. I know that this wasn't true, as she worked extremely hard and was a perfectionist. She demanded her work to always be a certain quality and it was.
She was cast as one of the animators that animated the character 'Jeremy' the crow from Don Bluth's first feature 'The Secret of Nimh'. And if you know the character you know how beautiful it was animated.

Linda Miller and Don Bluth as I took their picture one Saturday afternoon while we were in Dublin Ireland 1987
Linda at her desk - Dublin Ireland 1987 - The club hanging from her desk was to motivate her crew to keep up with her. :-)

The video below is of when I walked into Linda's Room during one sunny Saturday morning during the production of  ' An American Tail ' in early 1986. I loved talking with Linda. She was always so easy to just listen to, always with her very sharp sense of humor. For those fortunate enough to know her, you know there is only one Linda Miller. And I'm certainly glad she was a part of my growing up in this business.

Linda Miller Directing Animator - 'An American Tail' 1986 from Mark Pudleiner on Vimeo.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Memory Lane 8 - Video ONE : Key Clean-Up Artist - Don Bluth Studios - 1986


I asked Gary Goldman { who is the Producer and co-director of Don Buth Animation ... as well as my kids Great Uncle :-) } about the reason for 'cleaning up' onto the original animators drawings. 
Below is his response and he mentioned that it was fine to post.



Cleaning up the animator's ruff animation on separate paper wasn't budget related. It's the way we were trained at Disney during the '70s under Woolie, Milt, Frank, Ollie, John Lounsbery and Eric Larson. They drummed it into our heads to knead down the animator's ruff drawings and cleanup them up on the same page. We had always cleaned up the original animator's drawings, otherwise the result is sort of a weak, fine-line tracing of the original. I believe that the reason Disney started cleaning up on a new paper was to preserve the original ruff, in case cleanup artists might have changed something that the animator or the director did not like and wanted to review the originals to make the correction. Our philosophy has always been that a cleanup on a separate piece of paper was a mere tracing of the original and lacked the power or essence of the animator's work. 

I was once the victim of poor cleanup on an 18 foot, multi-level scene with Bernard, Bianca, Evenrude and the leaf boat during production on The Rescuers, where the final version was stiff, and off model. It was heartbreaking for me, but I still believe that the originals should be cleaned up unless, of course, the originals are so far off model, or too ruff, or so darkened with a 6B pencil making is almost impossible to clean up the those drawings. 

If you ever had a chance to check scenes out of the Disney morgue (archive), from Snow White, Pinocchio, Bambi, or any of the classics and even up thru Pete's Dragon and The Fox and the Hound, the originals were always cleaned up on the same paper. Except maybe for Glen (Keane), who drew in a very heavy, sketchy style that the cleanup artist may have been too intimidated to take a chance on choosing which line Glen intended for the action. Glen always came up with some very powerful images, and the ruffs are probably still there in the morgue to prove it." - Gary Goldman


 This is the first of many videos i will be posting from my time working in California in the mid 1980's up until the time I moved back to Vancouver in 2009.

This 1st video is of me explaining to my family back in Canada 
what my job responsibilities were being a 'Key Clean-Up' Artist 
for Don Bluths 1986 feature film 'An American Tail '.

This video was shot in Van Nuys California half way through production on the film, early 1986. My extremely talented friend Barry Atkinson was holding the camera as I walked through some of the steps of my job. 

One interesting note is that at Bluth Studio's we actually 'cleaned-up' on the original drawings from the animators.
At Disney studio's the process was for the clean-up artist to take a new sheet of blank paper and draw over top of the original animators drawing, keeping them separate. You would then have two piles of drawings for the scene, one the original animators drawings and also the clean-up drawings.

Please NOTE the above reply from Gary Goldman explaining the process and why it was done that way.

I think the process at Bluth was different, as noted above, so there was very much a tendency for the animators to draw in their finished scenes as clean as possible, and on model. 
John Pomeroy lead this style by animating not only with his drawings loose and full of life but also extremely clean as well which made cleaning up his work a joy as it was so beautiful.

Near the end of the video there is a short moment showing what the studio looked like where 'An American Tail' was made on Hart Street in the middle of the San Fernando Valley in Southern California.  

And yes, back in the 1980's, a lot of Canadians wore mustaches so just roll with it  yikes ;-)  

An American Tail - Mark Pudleiner: Key Clean-Up Artist 1986 from Mark Pudleiner on Vimeo.
Explaining to my family back in Canada what my job responsibilities were being a 'Key Clean-Up' Artist for Don Bluths 1986 feature film 'An American Tail'. This video was shot in Van Nuys California half way through production on the film, early 1986.