Comic-Con Live: Sony Animation Panel
by Alex Billington
July 20, 2006
1:07PM - Still clearing out from the last Flyboys panel. Waiting to get ready and start up Sony Animation panel featuring details on Open Season and Surf's Up.
Steve Moore doing a drawing of Elliot during the panel.
1:09PM - Starting up now…
Open Season trailer shown before the start.
1:12PM - Director: Jill Culton; Comic Artist of In The Bleachers: Steve Moore; VFX Supervisor: Doug Ikeler.
1:13PM - Jill: Inspiration for these comes from various places… In this case, Steve Moore was the idea for Open Season. His comic is in 250 newspapers worldwide, and is really known for the way he portrays the relationship between animals and humans.
Steve wrote the original treatment and Sony got us to produce it. I was terrified to read it when I got the treatment, because I didn't want to have to move to LA if I liked it and wanted to make it.
The ideas that drew me to it: the film has fantastic characters, the bear and one-horned deer. It's always been one of my dreams for me to make a movie with two sidekicks, two funny guys, hand-cuffed together on this adventure. They're so wonderfully flawed.
Second, it had a fantastic concept. The idea of animals fighting back during hunting season.
1:17PM - Steve: Sharing the origins of this film…
I've been doing cartoons for 21 years, and have done about 8000 in total.
I was minding my own business, and I get a call for a lunch meeting. In that meeting, there's a stack of In The Bleachers cartoons on his desk, and he taps his finger on them and says "I think you got a movie here."
1:22PM - Steve gets up to do a drawing of Elliot. Does a "live drawing" of Elliot, the one-horned deer, behind him. Finishes quick drawing in 2 minutes - applause.
1:24PM - Steve: What's happened with this movie for me is a big dream. As a cartoonist, you have voices in your head ("in a good way"). You take it and, it's this lump of coal, and you hand it to these strangers. And then to see this lump of coal get turned into a diamond is great.
2:25 - Jill: We just finished this film 2 weeks ago. We've been working for 2 and a half years!
There's something that happens when working on first films. People are willing to do anything and it's been a joy for everyone to work on it.
2:26PM - A few sneak peak scenes shown. Description below.
Clip where the rabbits are being thrown against the window. Elliot hops in the window to bust him out. Elliot goes through convincing Boog to leave. Elliot learns about his (Boog's) home and his life. Another pretty funny clip of defacing a convenience store that they break into in the small town.
2:32PM - Back to more from Jill.
2:33PM - Intro to Doug Ikeler, the VFX supervisor, who is going to give a PowerPoint presentation since "he is a computer guy."
Discussing some of the challenges artistically and technically to make Open Season.
Going over the Ivan Earl style graphically that they used to create this. Showing evolution of creating the set, background, the environment and so on, first. Starting by creating that, then by putting in an animal to see if an animal will work (in that environment).
Covering animation details on hair and character animation and so on. Lots of great slides covering the pre-rendering and pre-vis and further into the creation of the animation for this movie.
1:44PM - Back to Jill to finish up with one last film sequence/clip. A chase sequence between the hunter villain and Boog (on the river).
1:49PM - Producer Chris Jenkins out to talk about Surf's Up - a film about penguins surfing.
1:49PM - First clip from Surf's Up featuring penguin "Cody Maverick" surfing on some huge waves - Summer 2007.
1:50PM - Chris: The director's and I have all taken surfing lessons - we hope to do that on the water next year.
The story is really about a small penguin, who we follow who leaves his home in Antartica to go to Hawaii.
The beginning of Surf's Up being shown.
1:52PM - Clip description: "Last December we met a surfer… This is his story." "As soon as there was the first wave, there was the first surfer." Classic photos and old videos of penguins surfing, being the first old surfers. Some pre-vis animation clips, nothing fully rendered or complete. Story about how "Big Z," the biggest surfer of his time, was his (the main character's) idol that got him into surfing when he was a kid. Interview/documentary style start; including interviewing his "mom" and "brother."
Lots of laughter and applause for this world premier of footage from Surf's Up.
End of the Sony Animation panel.
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