|When I went to film school in NYC every one seemed to know exactly what field they wanted to be in. Some wanted to be cinematographers. Some editors. Some grips. Me, I knew I wanted to be a director. But at the same time I wanted to experience a little bit of everything. So instead of just taking directing classes, I took a class in every aspect. Since I was able to draw cartoons well since I was a kid I decided to also try my hands at animation. Easier said then done...|
JANUARY 1993 - MAY 1993
For our final project for animation we're to produce a silent one minute long animated film. I decided to use this character T. Fly that I had created. Mainly because he was pretty simple looking. Big round head, small body. I figured he'd be easy to animate. His backstory was he was an "ordinary, everyday house fly with a desk job." He was supposed to work in an office and have stumbled upon a crime one night and stopped it. Then the media turned him into this "unknown vigilante" thing - you know the generic hero story 101. But of course for this class none of that was gonna be evident - except that T. Fly wore a suit like he just came from the office. My first stab at a "plot" was to have him toss down a rope and climb down into a room. There was a pencil in the room for him to pick up and erase himself and the whole cartoon. Seemed like a good idea. I started working on the drawings. Now I had 2 options. I could take the traditional route and draw it on paper and then lay a "cel" (clear plastic sheet) over the paper and trace it onto the cel. Then you paint the cel. But I can't paint for shit so my other option was to just take my paper drawings and color them with magic markers. So after a handful of drawings I decided to film them to see how it was coming along. This is called a "Pencil test" when you just animate the hand drawn pictures. So after I did this, I wasn't too happy with how things were coming along. I was having a lot of trouble with the animation of T. Fly climbing down this rope. I decided to scrap the whole project. My next idea was to have a box sitting in a room. T. Fly enters, picks up the box, shakes it and suddenly it explodes and a rainbow of paint shoots out. It spreads all through the room, then outside, across the US, and finally the world. Until we're left with a planet colored with rainbow paint. Now I wasn't trying to make any kinda statement with this cartoon. This wasn't the "rainbow coalition" spreading across the world. As a matter of fact, my ending was Ted Turner busting in and offering T. Fly a contract to Colorize old movies (this was 1993 remember). So I got to work drawing this new one. Again, I had trouble after my first pencil test. The hardest part about animating is the walk. It's really tricky animating body motion. The head goes up and down, the knees bending just right. It's tough. And I wasn't getting better at it. So I finally decided to move the box to the center of the screen, so I didn't have to make T. Fly walk that far. Less trouble for me trying to animate him walking. Next up was to start coloring, even though I wasn't done drawing the pictures. I first decided to drop the rainbow paint and just make it one color - yellow. It just seemed like it would take less. I also decided not to color the background in completely - just outline it. When you use cels to animate you have the luxury of having to just color one background and lay your cels on top of it when you film. But since I wasn't using cels I had to draw my background over and over. I knew it was gonna come out a little squiggly, but I tried best I could to match them up. In the middle of marathon week of coloring I finished the drawings. 481. That's how many drawings it took to animate this like 45 second cartoon. And now I had about a week to finish coloring them all and then shoot it. Well, I'm no dummy I got my girlfriend Amy to help color. My last chance to shoot the film before school ended would be the coming Saturday. So I just spent all my time coloring. From the minute I got up until the middle of the night. And finally on Saturday morning...I wasn't done. It takes a long time coloring 481 drawings and I just ran outta time...