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!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Small One finished yesterday...

Taking a little break to prepare some new things.

I must say that so far, the response to my Small One draft has been more underwhelming than I feared it would be. There IS no other place to find this information, folks! Look at the film (e.g. via the YouTube links I posted yesterday) and then check out the draft. You may very well learn something new...

The good news: Holland in the Final! (Phew!!!)
[Addition: It wasn't a pretty final, though quite exciting - which saw Spain win four minutes before the end of the extra time. Oh, well...]


Monday, July 05, 2010

Prod. 2521 - The Small One (VII)  - Section 7 - Joseph buys Small One and leaves for Bethlehem

Animation by Gary Goldman, John Pomeroy, Heidi Guedel, Lorna Pomeroy, Bill Hajee and Ron Husband.

I admit to not being the greatest fan of the scenes with Joseph - the acting seems based out of drawing problems more than out of the character's emotions. Still, several of John Pomeroy's scenes with the boy and the donkey are touching, the most appealing, really. Heidi Guedel's scene does what it has to, while Lorna Pomeroy (Cook) seems to have gotten a scene that no-one else wanted.

After many years of working in the business AFTER having seen the film, I must say that I enjoyed seeing the film again a whole lot more than I expected. I may have been too much of a "Snow White-Pinocchio-Bambi-Dumbo" snob to realize that this little Christmas film has certain merits, the most important of which is that it entertains. As I mentioned a few times, the animation does the job. There are not many brilliant scenes, most is subdued bordering on lackluster, but this is a subdued Christmas film, and the underplayed animation may even help the atmosphere. I enjoyed the songs, though in retrospect I do find "Friendly Face" a bit too close to the main theme from NIMH, and another theme reminds me of the (rather obscure) intro to "I'm Looking Over a Four-Leaved Clover."("Hel-lo ev'ry old familiar face..."). As Christmas films go, it is a rather pure and simple example, and we should at least take note of its existence. Even with the Christopher Robin/Mowgli-throwing-a-stick-and-kicking-a-rock reuse that as such isn't mentioned on the draft, it is clear that "the new people" did their best. They would go on to bigger and better things. I do not mean Pete's Dragon. Anyway, that came before The Small One...

It is still viewable on YouTube: part ONE, TWO & THREE.

I would, of course, love to hear from anyone who worked on the picture about their experiences, the re-dos, the long hours, the frustrations, the triumphs and the wrap-party (if any). Is there stuff we don't know? Are there scenes cut out that you animated? And if you saw the film get made from a distance (like - another wing in the building), what was the overall feeling about the project? Don't be afraid to write: I won't bite!

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Sunday, July 04, 2010

Prod. 2521 - The Small One (VI)  - Section 6 - Horse market and auctioneer

Animation by Chuck Harvey, Cliff Nordberg, Gary Goldman, Randy Cartwright, John Pomeroy, Ed Gombert, Don Bluth and Bill Hajee.

Cliff Nordberg's auctioneer works well, though not a masterpiece - and the business isn't as entertaining as the three merchants. It is a strange mixture of underplayed over-animation - somehow a sign that he tried to get the best out of very little. Of the boy-and-donkey animators, John Pomeroy definitely has the upper hand - and the best material. Chuck Harvey and Ed Gombert's scenes are not much more than head-turns. Don Bluth and Bill Hajee's crowds are serviceable, and Randy Cartwright's two scenes are less angular than the scenes around them, which is strangely pleasing...

[Addition 11/18/2020] John Musker let me know that Brad Bird and he animated about 70-80 feet of this section each, but they were told by production manager Don Duckwall that, since this was less than the needed 100 feet, the scenes were credited to Cliff Nordberg! They were not happy...

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Saturday, July 03, 2010

Prod. 2521 - The Small One (V)  - Section 5 - Money changers in the marketplace

Animation by Gary Goldman, Bill Hajee, Don Bluth, John Pomeroy, Chuck Harvey and the three merchants by veteran Cliff Nordberg. The others all animated the scenes with the boy and the donkey.

I admit that the three merchants always were my favorite in this picture, with the caricature of director Bluth in a prominent position. In a large part I do attribute it to the song they sing - at least before the PC Police damaged and corrupted it - but they are well timed and they read very clearly.

Clifford Adolph Nordberg was born 4/19/1917 and died 12/20/1979, in the middle of the production of The Fox and the Hound. Animated on most all of Disney's features and not a few featurettes since Make Mine Music, as well as scenes in Richard Williams' Cobbler and the Thief [your favorite title here]. In Heidi Guedel's words "a talented and warm-hearted animator," he obviously was the most experienced animator on The Small One, with more than thirty years under his belt. Was he at the time the oldest animator on staff still animating?

On IMDb I see that Emily Jiuliano is credited as Key Assistant Animator on Princess and the Frog. I wonder what happened with Chuck Harvey and Bill Hajee (who made layouts for the first Dutch feature Bommel, a film I also worked on)...

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Friday, July 02, 2010

Prod. 2521 - The Small One (IV)  - Section 4 - Thru the city gates to the Tanner's

Animation by Gary Goldman (36 scenes), Don Bluth (1), Emily Jiuliano (2), Bill Hajee (2), Chuck Harvey (1 shared), Ron Husband and Heidi Guedel (1 shared - a re-use?).

This section is mainly Gary Goldman's. Some of the scenes are sort of mechanical (like the tanner walking towards us), some others (mostly the action scenes) come off quite good. The Roman soldier is no highlight for Gary, or Don, for that matter.

And I HAVE to say it: Holland won 2-1 over Brasil!

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Thursday, July 01, 2010

Prod. 2521 - The Small One (III)  - Section 3 - Decision to sell Small One

Animation by John Pomeroy (26 scenes), Don Bluth and Gary Goldman (3 scenes each).

John Pomeroy's scenes with the father redeems him partly for the one I mentioned yesterday. I have a hard time understanding the "wiping his forehead but not really" gesture he makes a few times, but scene 10 is solidly drawn and well acted.

The animation on the boy and Small One in this section is quite nice, but I do wish we had more direct face-to-face straight eye-contact instead of the tilted-head look at each other sideways. It makes for nicer and possibly clearer drawings, BUT it takes away from the directness in the acting. (See, Jeff? I DO remember what you told me back in Nansensgade in 1984, when I had Loke looking sideways at Thor. I especially remember things I agree with...)

Small One drawn by Gary Goldman in closeup in the end is more donkey-like and less cute-toy-animal than in Pomeroy's scenes. Could this be because he drew less of him and thus had a harder time at it? Or was it an earlier model? Or just a different way of drawing?

At the time of posting, this section can be seen here as the last part.

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