Saturday, September 22, 2012
Sunday, September 16, 2012
Saturday, August 11, 2012
Sunday, July 29, 2012
We at ACK Animation Studios along with TASI had recently got the amazing opportunity to bring the legendary HANS BACHER to Mumbai and organize a talk. And maan it was so awesome!! Before I start giving a brief description on how everything went, a short introduction as to who Hans Bacher is for those who still don't have an idea. He has been a production designer in the animation film industry for the last 40 years and he has contributed his designs in films like 'Mulan', 'The Lion King', 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit', 'Balto', 'Aladdin'.... shall I go on??
So to begin with, Hans first came to our office and he was kind enough to go through some our best artworks that we have been creating over the past few months. And it was so amazing to see him giving feedback! He kept drawing thumbnails explaining to us how a certain artwork could have been much more better just by a few correct compositional choices. Needless to say, he thrashed my drawings. He kept going 'this silhouette is not working, it could have been like this'...to simple adverse reactions like 'NO!'. When asked why a certain image is not working for him, he pointed out that the composition itself is screwed up. So no matter how well you apply the colors or how well your draftsmanship maybe, it CANNOT save your image from getting ruined. Some of our works were a bit too colorful for his taste and also too saturated. He said that its a wrong notion that to make something exciting you throw in more colors and also criticized the kind of film producers who think the same. At the end we lined up to get him sign our copies of 'Dream Worlds' a book he had written which is highly recommended for any animation filmmaker, perhaps even for live-action guys. Here's a scan from my copy.
The next day (yesterday) we along with all the other members/students of the Indian animation industry were rewarded this golden opportunity to listen to him and his experiences for 4 hours! Hans created a slideshow where he shared with us his sketches from his childhood right from when he was of 2 and half years old, through his art college days and finally the visual development pieces done for Disney films and other movies. The talk was not a 'How to...' thing (which I liked because he has done it extensively in his book) but it was about understanding the process, the idea behind each film and the experiences he came across during his career. He shared with us some golden videos of him having a great time with Glen Keane, Andreas Deja, Don Hann and other veteran artists at Disney while they were working on the earlier, more serious version of 'Beauty and the Beast' (those of you who have seen 'Waking Sleeping Beauty' might know what I'm talking about). He stated that working with Richard 'Dick' Williams had a profound effect on him while working on Roger Rabbit and even considers him his mentor. While discussing about Mulan he mentioned that when he presented the simple and yet elegant artworks to the executives, everyone doubted that it wouldn't work and that there should be more detail so that people don't think as if Disney is cutting on its budget. But it was Peter Schineider who trusted Hans's vision and they went ahead with the movie. One thing that we observed was that most of the projects that he had worked on didn't take off beyond the pre-production because either the directors changed (along with the vision) or internal politics or worse 'making it appealing as a Disney product'. When asked about how he would still remain motivated he answered, "It would totally piss me off. But at the end its a job you get paid for."
There are just too many things which I have missed and its really impossible to cover every bit of it. Hope you got a gist of it. All in all it was the best thing that has happened to me yet! A very big THANK YOU Hans for sharing your thoughts and experiences with us. And also special thanks to Kushal Ruia, my boss at ACK and Sanatan Suryavanshi, who works with Hans and is also the co-author of Hans's new book 'Dream Worlds: 2'. This wouldn't have been possible without you guys!