Tuesday, July 7, 2009

SplineCast: Pete Doctor & Bob Peterson

If you missed it Andrew Gordon posted the interview he did with Pete Doctor and Bob Peterson. Here's my notes:

The original idea for Up while a cool idea, had no emotional core, no "Oh I can really relate to that, I know what he's going through"

what's the engine that drives your story forwards, what are people going to take home with them. Craft the why. So they started with a sketch of Carl looking sour, with happy baloons, and they had to craft the reason he was so bitter and why he wanted to fly his house.

how do you know if something is funny after seeing it over and over?
Try and trust that very first laugh, if when you first came up with it and everyone was laughing... After the 20th time there is no way you can see it clear, so have to rely on other people.
How do you take it further?
Sometimes you break it, you change it and it suddenly isn't as funny. Gags that don't add to the emotional throughline, don't forwards the story, then you have to pull them out. Russel dropping the GPS out the window was in and out of the movie 5 times. Partly it comes down to defining the characters, we didn't know if we wanted to make Russel competent or not. Also the high pitch dog voices we were on the fence a lot, the audience will only grant you so many get out of jail free cards, "I was with you up to there, but man, you just went too weird", and wanted the villain to have teeth, since Charles Muntz was pretty elderly Alpha had to be a threat, so were afraid to lose his dark side for that gag. Sometimes a gag is okay just for a laugh, even if it doesn't forwards the story, it gives the audience a release to pop the bubble to ease the audience into a lighter place. or stuff born out of gags can work its way into plot (like squirrel started as a gag, but was used in the end to defeat dogs)

on a reel a walk cycle that shows weight and that the person is thinking about their environment

the goal is that everything already works in story reel, so that animation can't help but plus it. Don't have a weak beat and hope the animator's can save it.

tying up at the end of the film, you want to hint at what's happening in the future without giving it all away.

pitching-imagine it as if you were watching it, keep it moving along, do the voices if you can.

the difference between a successful sequence or not is the entertainment, it has to move the story forwards but it also has to be entertaining (and humor is usually entertaining)

Pete: I always had an eye to where I was going, but I was always having a great time with where I was. At any time you should be able to pause and say "this rocks, I'm painting cells, how cool is this! I love my life"

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