Group Animation – Our First Attempt

Another time saver was our method of providing the shooting information. We had no time really for sitting down and writing a shooting script or list, so I decided that all this information would be written on the right hand corner of the cels and also contained on a separate sheet, which was put into a plastic bag which contained the cels and its background for a numbered shot. My main concern was to convey what I wanted the guys, who were shooting, to do for a particular shot. This, in the main, worked fine until one day, one of the guys painting the cels put two different shots into one bag. This was handed onto the shooting guys who didn’t think that particular joke was very funny. Even I, who drew it all, couldn’t sort it out at first, because nobody actually told us two shots were in one bag. Mistakes like that can waste a lot of time. From the first time meeting to discuss the original ideas to the first bit of film back from processing, had taken 9 months.

By the time I was half way through the film I checked to find to my amazement I had drawn 4,320 drawings and we had 6 minutes in the can. We had decided right from the start to use 24 frames per second since this would be steadier to view and could easily be copied; also the sound quality would be better, from the stripe. Little did we know, when we started that I would spend 350 hours drawing over 7,000 cels and 150 backgrounds and the others would spend 1,500 hours painting the cels, before the job would be through – in fact when I got the cels back when all shooting was complete I couldn’t believe I had drawn them all.

The Sound

Have you ever thought deeply about sound in animation? It can t really be true life sound – it must really be contrived, as the film itself is.

The things I used for making the sound were unusual to say the least; an old wheelbarrow, a child’s spade, a squeaky swing, a tin lid, a plastic cup. Did you know a tin lid and a plastic cup makes a smashing Horse Clip Clop sound? But the best time of all was when 3 of us met, to do the URS and AGHS required throughout the film, and the 3 of us were to become a great rioting mob too – its really amazing what you can do with tape when you really try. But first we had to get almost drunk before we dare attempt to record some of the screams etc. required – not only did we get all the sounds we wanted but we had a damn good time doing it especially Bill Trownson, who directed operations throughout the film, whose wife needed to go OU-ER as if she had been pinched, and she could not do it for laughing. “Just leave the room for a moment”, he said to me – when I got back there on the tape was the OU-ER. I wonder how he did it.

council house
In this scene the old original council house changes to the present day one and the old man ages.

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