Trevor Hogg has written a decent run down of Miyazaki's career. I'm seeing lots of quotes from his book and elsewhere. Nice to have a comprehensive timeline in one place with an idea of what each step meant to him.
To make the persona of Kiki three-dimensional, Miyazaki followed a simple human truth that no one treats everyone in the same way. “The hallmark of this film is the expression of the many faces of a person. In the presence of her parents, Kiki is childish, but on her own she thinks things over with a serious expression. She may speak roughly and bluntly to a boy her own age, but to her seniors, especially to people important to her, she acts politely.”
“For us, the continuity sketches are the screenplay,” admitted Hayao Miyazaki. “With continuity sketches, you have the drawings in the frames and next to each frame a description of the content in the frame, with stage directions on the left side and dialogue on the right. When you look at the page, therefore, you can get a pretty good idea of what’s going on, so it’s what the animators use to base their drawings on.For Whisper of the Heart [Mimi wo sumaseba, 1995], we had planned on a ninety-minute film, so we wound up with nearly 450 pages of continuity sketches. With Kiki’s Delivery Service, it was about 550 pages. For Castle in the Sky, it was around 650 pages. This is frankly a huge amount of work.
Mononoke-hime [Princess Mononoke, 1997] does not purport to solve the problems of the entire world. The battle between rampaging forest gods and humanity cannot end well; there can be no happy ending. Yet, even amid the hatred and slaughter, there are things worthy of life. It is possible for wonderful encounters to occur and for beautiful things to exist.”
“As usual, after the production started, I realized that it would be more than three hours long if I made it according to my plot,” revealed the anime artist. “I had to cut a lot from the story, and make a complete change.
So, I am making the film with the idea that it is the world, rather than bad guys or good guys. The scary woman, Yubaba, who looks like a bad guy in this film, is actually the manager of the bath house where the heroine works. She's having a hard time managing the bath house; she has many employees, a son, and her own desires, and she is suffering because of those things. So I don't intend to portray her as a simple villain
‘This is a two-dimensional film. This is our strength.’ There is a fundamental difference in thinking about how to approach a 2-D versus a 3-D film. For example, Yubaba’s head [large as it is] is not always the same size in every scene. Depending on my mood and her mood, the size of her head changes. This is an emotional relationship we develop through scale with the audience, one that we would have to abandon if we wholeheartedly embraced digital technology
Until now, I had made ‘I wish there was such a person’ leading characters. This time, however, I created a heroine who is an ordinary girl, someone with whom the audience can sympathize, someone about whom they can say, "Yes, it's like that." It's very important to make it plain and unexaggerated. Starting with that, it's not a story in which the characters grow up, but a story in which they draw on something already inside them, brought out by the particular circumstances