Please note: if an earlier link doesn't work, it may have changed following an update! Check the Category Labels in the side-bar on the right! There you can find animator drafts for sixteen complete Disney features and eighty-six shorts,
as well as Action Analysis Classes and many other vintage animation documents!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

In the works since 1986

Help I'm...Jaws?
Our third own hand-drawn feature film was also the most expensive film to have been put into production in Denmark in the last millenium. Originally released theatrically on October 6th, 2000 as "Help! I'm a Fish," it was released on DVD in the US as "A Fish Tale" some four years later, with a CG cover, to make it look like "Shark Tale" which came out four years later (again, the choice of the distributor, out of our hands). I just noticed that it is available again in the UK.

It started as an animation test for our assistants during our time at Swan Film in Copenhagen in 1986, two years before we founded A. Film. The test was "draw poses with different personalities for a fish, a starfish and a jellyfish." That was all. One of the first ideas we had for a feature film - see my previous post - was a film with these three characters basically commenting on the state of pollution under the sea. A few years later we cooked up the bit about three kids meeting a professor and being inadvertently changed into fish, and in 1996 we produced a two-minute pilot with symphonic score that financially sealed the deal. Terry Jones voiced the professor, Alan Rickman a megalomaniac pilot fish, the bad guy.

Because of the scope of the film, it eventually was a European co-production between our studio A. Film, German Münich Animation and TerraGlyph in Ireland, where Münich did much of the cleanups and coloring and TerraGlyph did some layout and the sound. We kept control, direction and much of the animation and styling were done in-house. We also had a few other studios help us with animation, including our own A. Film Estonia.

For this production I devised a system where Amiga Take-2 line tests, sent to us from all over the world in emails, were automatically unpacked and converted to OMF files for import in an AVID system. For nearly two years, the converting computer, a little IBM Aptiva that the finance department did not want to use because it was too small and too old, converted the thousands of scenes in different versions perfectly, and two weeks after the last scene was processed it died, in a little white cloud of burned-up electronics.

Above drawing is again one I picked up in our storage, a more unusual view (click on it and see WHY!) I suspect it is a gag drawing, though I do not know who drew it (yet).



Anonymous Michael Sporn says...

It's valuable reading these small bits about A Film's history. Thanks for posting it. Undoubtedly, you could have said much more about each of these films.

Monday, November 23, 2009 at 5:24:00 AM PST  

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