In December 2012, when I was wrapping up development work on a new TV series for Eone, Disney and France 5 at TeamTo my producer, Corinne Kouper, asked me to take a look at the script and first animatic of the studios' first feature film, Gus.
Having come off a long stint as storyboard supervisor of a 52 episode series, and putting the finishing touches on the pilot and bible for the Eone property (The PJ Masks http://eonefamily.com/our-brands/pj-masks) all I could think of was a nice break.
Yet I took the Quicktime of the first animatic and the script and promised to come back to Corinne after Christmas with my thoughts.
That Christmas was the last real break for the following year and 10 months as, together with Corinne and a bunch of talented people, I embark on what would be my first solo animated feature film.
I had co-directed a film before, many years earlier, and a 2D film hand drawn, and painted on cel at that. But this was a completely different beast: computer animated 3D film IN stereoscopic 3D, which had already gone through a year of development.
As I read through the script I realized the potential of the story, yet looking through the first animatic I could see many issues with the main character and story which I felt did not work.
I also felt very strongly that the darkness, the high tension drama and atmosphere running through every scene needed to be revised. These key points were not playing in favour of the story or the main character.
With this in mind, and a armful of other notes, I wrote to Corinne what would become the basis of the our film, a 12 page document highlighting the changes I felt required to steer the course of the film, to service the story and characters better, and to clearly outline my vision of the film.
Luckily for me she agreed on most points and in late January 2013 I went back to Paris to rejoin TeamTo as the director of Gus, or as it is known in the English version, Yellowbird.
This blog is an account of all the work, from script to completed and rendered animation, and in the coming weeks running to the film's French premiere on the 4th of February, I'll be posting a behind the scenes look of every aspect of the project, with key insight from some of the major artists involved and many images and artwork from the project.
As a student I always loved learning how the different facets of an animated project came together, the tricks, the cheats, the inspirations and the little gems that you don't usually get in a 'Making Of' art book.
I hope this blog will give you a better view of the work involved in producing an animated movie, bring you closer to our film, and inspire some, especially the younger eager ones, to become involved in this wonderful industry that has given me and many of my colleagues, so much pleasure.