Tuesday, November 14, 2006

looking back

when I studied graphic design in germany in the late
sixties I had no idea what I might do after my graduation.
to my knowledge there were not too many choices -
illustrator for books and magazines or poster-designer
for film and advertising. beginning of the seventies a
new development happened - advertising agencies
grew big in duesseldorf, the center of advertising in
germany at that time.

so, very early I started to earn good money in advertising
besides my studies . but there was nothing on the
horizon that would somehow lead to animation or
film-design. storyboard yes, for live action commercials.
I was not too happy about it, because dozens of
drawings had to be done over night. good money,
but not very challenging work, the camel guy in the
jungle, housewifes discussing whose laundry looked
more or less white.

very early though I was confronted with cartoony character-
design in the advertising world. again, it had to happen
over night, but that at least was fun.
accidentally through my work in advertising, styling and
storyboarding of animated commercials, I met finally
richard williams. he was at that time the guru in the
animation-commercials world, his famous studio was in soho,
london. after we had met in duesseldorf for some commercial
work he invited me to his studio in london, to do some design
work for him. that was how it all started. the stupid advertising
work at home was forgotten, that was the work I wanted
to do. especially when dick showed me what he had created
over years of his own feature film - THE THIEF, later finished
and bastardised by some other production and released as
ARABIAN NIGHTS. I never forget when I was sitting with
dick in his very small projection room in the basement of
his soho square studio and we both watched about 25 min.
of his superwide-screen animation masterpiece. afterwards
I was not quite sure if I was in the right business or it might
be better for me to start something completely different.
but dick williams was very patient with me, we got along
very well and became good friends after a while.
he came several times to duesseldorf to visit me and
the other guys in our studio MAD T PARTY. we exchanged
our big animation collection and talked about the future.
that was when he first mentioned a new crazy project
hollywood wanted him to be involved, it was about some
life action characters incl. a detective and a beautiful
blonde, and lots of cartoon characters, incl. the warner
stars like bugs bunny,daffy duck and mickey mouse
as well. - and a weird rabbit!

now I got involved in ROGER RABBIT. dick wanted me
to become his assistant. at that time I was too scared and
too stupid to accept that, I could not even imagine to move
to london and work there for over a year on this film, I could
not imagine to change my life so completely. later I realized,
all that could have been solved.
anyway, through the little work I was able to contribute i was
able to learn so much. and it was fun! additional to meet all
these incredible artists, incl. bob zemeckis, artie schmidt
and steven spielberg.
and to enter a new world, where from then on I would
stay for many years. it is interesting to look back after all
that time and to realize that everything happened accidental.
nothing was planned. and with every single new project
another new world opened. - it was good and I would do
it again.

the pictures -
1-3 richard williams studio 13 soho square london
4 shelley page in dick's studio under the roof
5 dick's dixie band DICK's SIX in the hotel brittania
6/7 'roger' and my title logo
8 dick animating in london 1985
9 dick in duesseldorf 1986
10 toontown meeting - me, jeff prize, bob zemeckis, p

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