So its the morning after the Oscars. Just to get it out of the way, we obviously didn't come away with gold, but seriously had a great time nonetheless. They always say that just being nominated is an honor, and its true. This has been an amazing accomplishment for the artists that really made this movie. Dean and I joined it in progress. The world, characters, and sets were mostly finished, which allowed everyone to concentrate on the story. To have gone from where we started and end up with an Oscar nomination was spectacular, and I really want everyone who worked on this movie to take that in. I was so proud to be there, representing Dream Works.
One thing I can never get over is the light in the film. When they showed clips last night, it really stood out yet again. These animated movies cross into another realm, I think. Quite often, after a screening, people comment on how they didn't feel like they were watching an animated movie. One of the interviewers on the carpet asked why these films have become so entertaining for an adult audience. I said that I believe we've always worked to create stories and characters that will be entertaining to anyone of any age. Beauty and the Beast, Lion King, Lilo and Stitch, Mulan....all of them. But now the look of these films has caught up with the storytelling. We've been so limited in the past with what we could do with the light and the camera. Now don't get me wrong, those films I mentioned are, to me, perfect. I wouldn't want to change a thing about them. But they were designed to work with the limitations we lived with. You couldn't truck-in to a character or move around them without a massive undertaking to change the perspective of the background. And you couldn't put more than a few spots on a character (hyenas in Lion King) before you'd break the bank. We couldn't put a graphic on Nani's shirt in Lilo and Stitch because there just wasn't enough time and money to track it. It was possible - anything is - but we had to be wise with our resources. A coffee cup on a shirt isn't going to change the way you feel about a character, so it isn't necessary. Incidentally, at the end of Lilo and stitch, the artists put the coffee cup on Nani's shirt just once. Do you know where?
Those films were engineered to work with what was practical and available. And I think they work great. But with CG, we can adjust our expectations to include the sort of camera work and textures and light that you would expect to see in a live-action film. We have many many more tools available to tell these stories, and the net effect is different. More intense. More immersive.
Anyway, I digress. But I wanted to also say that I wished our category had had enough entries to have expanded to five nominees. Despicable Me and Tangled should have been there with us as well. The character animation in Tangled was a triumph - a new high ground in CG animation. And from sheer brilliance in story telling, Despicable Me should get more recognition. I have watched that movie ten times, and I watch it till the end every time. That's what I go to the movies for. A great journey, and a great story. Well done.