We strive to interview a broad cross-section of people in the cartoon industry, folks working on the theatrical and/or television side who have made big contributions to the art form.
Editing TV Cartoons -- Part II
In this second installment of "Film Editing TV Cartoons", Robert Birchard describes Disney Television Animation's rapid growth and growing corporate structure. ... TAG Interview with Bob Birchard Find all TAG Interviews on the TAG website at this link Mr Birchard tells of meetings that didn't start until company executives had entered the conference room in the right pecking order, and a bureaucracy that became steadily larger as the division gained more success. Note: You'll find the complete interview on video (above). The audio version is divided in half: Part One ran on October 16th; Part Two runs here today. Robert Birchard, besides being a crackerjack editor, is a writer and film historian of the first rank. For instance ... Cecil B. DeMille's Hollywood ... Drawing extensively on DeMille’s personal archives and other primary sources, Robert S. Birchard offers a revealing portrait of DeMille the filmmaker that goes behind studio gates and beyond DeMille’s legendary persona. In his forty-five-year career DeMille's box-office record was unsurpassed, and his swaggering style established the public image for movie directors. DeMille had a profound impact on the way movies tell stories and brought greater attention to the elements of decor, lighting, and cinematography. Best remembered today for screen spectacles such as The Ten Commandments and Samson and Delilah, DeMille also created Westerns, realistic “chamber dramas,” and a series of daring and highly influential social comedies. He set the standard for Hollywood filmmakers and demanded absolute devotion to his creative vision from his writers, artists, actors, and technicians. ... "Far and away the best film book published so far this year. . . . He [Birchard] had full access to DeMille's papers and records, and draws on this archival material like a true cinematic archaeologist." -- National Board of Review
Editing TV Cartoons - Part I
Robert Birchard, speaking at Cinecon. TAG Interview with Bob BirchardFind all TAG Interviews on the TAG website at this link Roberts S. Birchard has been an editor of television cartoons for almost forty years. In the early eighties, he broke into the animation business at a studio called Hanna-Barbera, and soon moved on to DIC Animation (where he found the hectic schedules and tight deadlines to be an interesting challenge). Bob was the supervisor of DIC's editorial department, but seven-day workweeks eventually wore him down a bit, and he jumped to a small, embryonic outfit named Walt Disney Television Animation. ... In its early days (which would be the middle of the 1980s) Disney TVA was a small, tight-knit organization getting its feet wet with The Gummi Bears and Duck Tales as it navigated a new world of television syndication. As Mr. Birchard describes it, small-screen cartoons were a product that the Disney Company wanted to get right, and a lot of time and money was spent delivering a quality product.
TAG Interview -- Kelly Ward
Kelly Ward knows better than many the need to reinvent yourself ... TAG Interview with Kelly WardFind all TAG Interviews on the TAG website at this link Mr. Ward, you see, was a professional actor at a young age. He worked on stage, he worked in television, he worked in movies. And he was successful at it. But then he had the bad luck to grow older, and miss out on roles he earlier snagged with regularity. He relates that a casting director told him, "We don't need to hire you for the teenager's part. We can just hire a real teenager.") So Kelly changed the direction of his career arc. In the mid-80s he was collaborating on scripts with animation veteran Jeff Segal, and soon after he was hired as an assistant story editor on Hanna-Barbera';s Go Bots. For awhile, he continued acting. But the animation work was steadier. In the span of three decades he has written numerous script, served as a story editor, produced, and directed voice actors. (He's also done some voice acting himself.) Today Kelly is directing voice talen on Jake and the Neverland Pirates, also collaborating with animation veterans Cliff MacGillivray and Phil Mendez on The Note Hunter: The Case of the Haunted Swamp. Why is Kelly now writing books? After so many years in animation. It's that "constantly reinventing yourself" thing.
The TAG Interview -- Nik Ranieri (Part III)
TAG Interview with Nick RanieriFind all TAG Interviews on the TAG website at this link As the 21st century dawned, and Disney hand-drawn animation gave way to its CG cousin, Nik found himself in a quandary. Should he stick with pencil and paper? Or move on to the land of computers and pixels? ... In this final installment of Mr. Ranieri's TAG interview, Nik talks about animating on Chicken Little and Meet the Robinsons, then returning to hand-drawn animation with Princess and the Frog. On later CG features, Nick created hand-drawn test animation like the example below. (Note: The video above the fold is only half of the entire interview, the first half. The damn camera ran out of memory, a problem which has now been rectified with a larger memory card.)
The TAG Interview -- Nik Ranieri (Part II)
Some Ranieri animation from "Beauty and the Beast". (Ignore the irritating commercial.) TAG Interview with Nick RanieriFind all TAG Interviews on the TAG website at this link When Mr. Ranieri made his way to Burbank after finishing work on Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, he had to prove himself as an animator all over again. Which in a short time he did. ... Nik here discusses the challenges working on the Disney blockbusters of the nineties, and how it took awhile to gain the confidence of different directors as he moved from one animated feature to another. (Working his way to Supervising Animator was not always a smooth journey.)
The TAG Interview -- Nik Ranieri (Part I)
TAG Interview with Nick RanieriFind all TAG Interviews on the TAG website at this link Nik Ranieri has had a long, fruitful career as a top-flight animator on hit cartoon features that reach back twenty-five years .... Nik developed an interest in drawing at a tender age. His older brother liked to draw, and Nik liked to emulate his older brother. Although his sibling moved on to other pursuits, Nike stayed with the drawing thing, which led him to Sheridan College's animation program, and then to Canadian production houses. From there, it was on to employment with animator Richard Williams on a film entitled Who Framed Roger Rabbit? ... This is the first of a three-part interview with Mr. Ranieri. The first section goes up today, the next two will be heard (and seen) Friday and Monday. (We'll be skipping over the low-traffic weekend.) A fine Ranieri interview from the Animation Podcast, recorded in 2005, can be found here.