Posted on Thursday July 21, 2005 by Steven Fischer
Kristin Harris, one of the areas consistently successful animation producers, recently invited John, Craig, and me to speak at an Animator’s Round table she coordinated (a gathering of animation professionals in the Maryland/DC/Virginia area). Women in Film & Video and Henninger Arlington hosted the evening.
Henninger Media Services is an established leader of cutting edge production in the Mid-Atlantic region. Their studios are high tech and their highly creative staff represent the best in the business.
Tonight, chairs were set up in the large kitchen/meeting room of Henninger’s Arlington facility. One roomy corner was arranged sort of like an old-time soda fountain, complete with a checkered tile floor and gum ball machines. Based on the creatively designed kitchen alone, one could tell this was a fun place to work.
Craig, John, and I sat together in the front row listening to opening remarks and introductions from two of Henninger’s staff. At one point Craig leaned over to me. “Are we buying John lunch on Monday?” He whispered with regard to an upcoming meeting we have with a certain music composer from Richmond.
“No, I don’t think it’s necessary for this meeting.” I offered. (Buying meals has long been a customary alternative to cash for services rendered on low- and no-budget productions. It’s also a practice we’ve been employing thus far on Freedom Dance.)
“Oh,” Craig said without emotion as though he was preoccupied with another thought. “Well, then, are you going to buy me lunch?”
“Only if you get salad … and a glass of distilled water!” I quipped. We laughed at our silliness. (Over the years we’ve developed a kind of brotherly ribbing between us, a harmless and fun-loving kind of razz. Towards the end of the evening, for example, as Kristin was taking suggestions from the group for future Round tables, Craig offered one about location. He was wondering if the Round tables could ever take place closer to Baltimore. But in an effort to be polite about the suggestion, it seemed to me Craig struggled to find the best choice of words. So I chimed in, a little flip, “In other words, he wants to know if you can have the next one closer to his house!”)
Our turn to address the audience came upon us. We spoke to a full house, talking about the process used to animate the Blue Dot commercials (which mixed my hand drawn cartoon animation with John’s Toon Boom in-betweening and Craig’s Lightwave and After Effects animation). I passed out some of the original animation drawings for people to look at; John took the audience step-by-step through the process of digitizing the drawings, in-betweening, inking, and painting; and Craig projected a series of slides that demonstrated how he composite the drawings into live action video.
The group asked some questions (mostly about the computer programs used) and I think appreciated what we had to offer from our experience.
Special thanks go to Kristin for making tonight so special (she also expressed interest in having us return at some future date to talk about the making of Freedom Dance!), and to Puerto Rican animation master Miguel DeAngel who invited us to show our Freedom Dance exhibition this February at an art show he is coordinating for the Northern Virginia Community College gallery in Loudon.