Join Rob Garrott for an in-depth discussion in this video Part 5: Solving problems and pitching ideas, part of Artists and Their Work: Conversations about Mograph VFX and Digital Art.
- So you've been with Sony all this time? Or are you now still with them? I see the shape you're going for, that's great. - Still with them, still with them for now. - Fantastic and is there a current project you're working on that you can mention? - Not really, no, everything is kinda all hush hush. - Yeah.- Top Se-- - That's the interesting thing. So you find yourself years in advance that you can't talk about. - Yeah.- You know-- - I mean my kids see it all. - Yeah (laughing).
How do you get them to not blab it to their buds? - We live in an entertainment age where there's stuff there I think, you know, as long as I'm not on the internet, actively talking about it. What my kids say in a classroom isn't gonna, - (laughing) - and they know, they know to be discrete about that stuff. - Yeah. - Know what I mean? They've been lucky enough to get into a lot of early screenings and stuff, like with the Lego Movie and what have you. And it's like, they feel, you know they love it when the guys come up and say "OK, so you're going to see this before anybody else." You know what I mean, there's something - Ya, it's exciting. - really cool about it.
- So has there been, you mentioned earlier that you have things where you, that make you go take a walk. - Mmm-hmm. - Like, uhm. And I guess, maybe I'm answering my own question as I ask it because story boarding is such a formative process, but I mean, do you ever have, you don't really have problems that you can't solve because you can always come back and just draw something different. - Yeah, and we definitely use each other.
So, if I'm having a hard time on a sequence, I can go talk to somebody I trust on my crew. - Mmm-hmm - And they help, sometimes that conversation's what you need to unlock it, sometimes it's talking to the director, sometimes it's putting something up on the wall and pitching it and seeing what happens. - How many people are you usually collaborating with? Like on Cloudy With-- How many story board artists were there? - Uhm, I think at our height, we had 10. - Wow. - When you get down to the final throws of the film, you're really working with three or four people.
So, you know. And then there's certainly people who hop on and pinch hit and help out for a little while, and then they go on to other movies. And I've been that guy on films, do you know what I mean. So it's good. And there are times when you get tired. Like you've been on the movie for four years and you've lost all objectivity and it's nice to bring in somebody new. - Yeah, they see it with fresh eyes. - Yeah, yeah, like I said, I've been that on films, and it's great when that happens to your movie. Do you know what I mean, so it's-- You definitely hang on to your relationships.
- Agree with that? - Absolutely. Do you find with the collaboration, how do you guys coordinate drawing styles in the story boarding process? Or do you even worry about that? - We don't worry about it so much. - Mmm, OK. - I think that's OK for the movement. - Yeah. - We can always beat it, but let me take out the drawings I don't like. - OK. - See how we go. "Rawr." "Snatch." (mumbled swinging sound) "Rawr." "Bsshhh." - (laughing) Take that car.
- (laughing) Screw you and you're carbon foot print. - Yeah. - I'm try keeping the shot going. - OK. You'll hit it a couple times, smash, smash. - So tell me about your, like a typical work day that you might go through.
Like you get there in the morning and, you know, let's say you've already, you already know the project that you're working on, you've had a - Yeah. - review session with the script. - (chuckling) Yeah, I laugh because it depends on whether or not I'm delivering on that day. - Oh (laughing). - So if I got the click of a gun at the back of my head, I'm up at four in the morning and I'm, you know - Yeah. kinda drawing my butt off all day. If I'm not delivering, then I'm usually kind of screwing around. I go get a coffee, I kinda putter, I spend some time thinking, I stare at the internet for awhile, go to some meetings, and then usually late at night is when I get my rhythm down.
I'm a late night drawer. - OK. - So unless I'm in a panic, I tend to do other things kinda through the day, and work at night, I like to work at night. - Did you find, do you work at home sometimes or do you stay at the office 'til that time? - Yeah, actually, well just recently, I've relocated back to Ontario - Oh, wow. - for my kids to go to high school there. - Mm-hmm. - And so I'm home all the time now. - Wow that's great. - Which is great 'cause LA wakes up at noon, which is when I start to get my mojo. - Excellent. So you guys, so you're doing all your pitching remotely then, or? - Yeah. - How's that work? - Uhm, it's great.
I mean we live a in a day and age where the internet is so efficient, you know. I mean, between I can record my pitch and send it that way. Or I can get on and kinda have screen capture, my uh, my document and just step through it and pitch it over the internet. Like there's so many different ways I can communicate, which is great. And then I'll hop on a plane if I need to and go down, you know. - Yeah. So are the days of the big pitch meeting with the wall full of drawings, is that gone now, or is it? - No, it's just changed, you know.
Now it's all, we do everything digitally. So it's like an artist stepping through drawings. - Mm-hmm, mm-hmm. - Same amount of drawings, if not more, because they animate, you know. - Yeah. Think one of the things I also find most fascinating about the story boarding process is that it really is, timeless is the wrong word, because like you said, it's changed. Like you're doing things digitally now, but in some ways it is timeless, because it's such an important part of the animation process like, I mean, there's things that disappear from it, but it seems like story boarding would always be there.
It's such an inexpensive way to solve the problem. - Until you get a computer that can think and pitch ideas, in which case we have other problems, (both laughing) - Yeah. - As a species. - They won't be making animations at that point. They're going to be destroying us. (laughing) - I actually, I'm glad we're filming this, 'cause this is my process. I usually start off drawing, like really kinda tight drawings. Thinking someone might see this. - Yeah. - And then I end up just doing this. Where it's like kinda scribbles.
- Yeah. Have you ever had a sequence where you got it done and you're like, "ah these scribbles are not good enough "for anybody, I need to go back and add detail." - Oh, all the time, yeah all the time. Usually my process is I'll do this. Then I'll go back in and I'll-- - And then just pen draw back over the top of it. - Yeah, yeah. So could this be better? Sure. But you see how much time it took us to this? Almost nothing in all. You know what I mean in the grand scheme of things? The beautiful thing is that the story's there. - And you could through it out and you could try other things. - Yeah.
- You know I could keep working the drawings and we could make it better. What I'd like to do, is just slap a little bit of Grey tone on just to sort of clarify it and then I'll step through it. - I see. Just to define the shapes a little bit more? - Yeah. - People get hung up on having to draw the most amazing thing ever. - Mm-hmm. - And lose sight of the communication. - Right, right. And I won't lie to you, the drawings matter. You gotta be able to draw, but I think you can pull back a lot and it's really about the movement, you know what I mean, it's about getting your idea, I always liken it to when I was in high school, learning how to type, - Mm-hmm.
- The challenge was can you type as fast as you think, you know what I mean. And I think the same for your drawings. Can you communicate to yourself as quick as you're thinking through this idea. - Right, right. - So it's fluid, you know what I mean. You even saw when I got stuck, I went back and started flipping, - Yeah, just to, - I was going back to the - to review. - the movement, you know what I mean. Let me just shrink this down and actually, yeah 'cause then I can put on, if I have a keyboard, this where a keyboard would be handy. - Mm-hmm. Alright, so. "Do do do." "Bwurp." (laughing) "My bike." "My bike!" "No, why?!" "Damn you!" "Rawr." "Shwp, rip." "Woow, pshhh." "Raawwwrrr." "Whowoo." "Die fossil fuel!" "Puuhh." "Busshhhh." "Rrr, rrrr, rrr." "Hey dude." "Here's your bike." "Oh, sorry." "Ding, ding, ding, ding." "The end." That's it.
- (laughing) Man that was fantastic. I cannot tell you how entertaining that was and it was just a bunch of squiggles. - Just a bunch of squiggles man. - (laughing)
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