DreamWorks Comic-Con Panel featured Bill Damaschke, Chief Creative Officer for DreamWorks Animation among others.
DreamWorks Animation kicked off Comic-Con with a filmmaker panel moderated by Anthony Breznican from Entertainment Weekly. The panel featured DreamWorks Animation Chief Creative Officer Bill Damaschke, Madagascar 3 director Tom McGrath, Rise of the Guardians production designer Patrick Hanenberger and The Croods head of character animation James Baxter.
When asked where do the stories come from when making DreamWorks Animation’s animated films, Bill Damaschke spoke about the inspiration for Rise of the Guardians. He said “William Joyce, who wrote the books that the film is based on, is really into the holidays. His daughter asked him one day, ‘Dad, does the Easter Bunny know Santa Claus?’ The answer was ‘Not only do they know each other, they actually work together and they do all the things that we think they do. They hide the eggs, deliver the presents and collect the teeth but they have another purpose on top of that.’ So actually building on that question leads you to so many things you want to know and so many avenues in the story we want to create.”
Patrick Hanenberger, production designer on Rise of the Guardians, talked about his job of bringing the story to life through visuals. For Rise of The Guardians, he was tasked with creating a new take on the Guardians that everyone grew up with. They’re introduced as believable characters that are actually grounded in our reality. Patrick’s biggest inspiration was real geographic locations all around the globe. For example, North is heavily influenced by Russia and Cossacks, and Tooth’s realm is based on South East Asia. He said “Diving into those places that were relatable empowered us to make the characters believable.”
When asked how he assembles a team together for a film, Tom McGrath, director of Madagascar 3, replied “When it comes to bringing together a team, instead of telling everyone what to do, you pitch a story over and over so they get to know the characters and the story that you want to tell. It’s not a dictatorship; it’s inclusive. Ultimately you have about 700 people working on the production of an animated film and everyone is a talented artist in their own way. You bring them into it and allow them to be part of it. You know the story you want to tell in your head, but when other people contribute and bring things that you didn’t think of, that’s when the magic happens.”
James Baxter, head of characgter animation for the movie The Croods, raved about Emma Stone’s animated character Eep, a cavegirl who’s family escapes from their cave dwelling. Baxter stated that Emma Stone is, ” is so animated when she performs her line readings in the booth.” He further explained that they have the actors mimic facial expressions and get into character to be fully expressional.
Rise of the Guardians will be in theaters on Nov. 21. The Croods has a realease date set for March 22, 2013 release.