Animated films are a staple of the entertainment world. We often take them for granted since most of us grew up on a steady diet of Disney. They are magical. This category of cinema is completely unique unto itself. Mutable and known to color outside the box, animation tells tales of lands on the outskirts of our imaginations with ease and credibility.
Making an animated film is anything but easy. The time and patience involved is reserved for a relative few. Back just a few short years ago, if things went off track in production it was like having to call a Fayetteville towing company on a Sunday – you paid a higher price.
If you have a talent and want to pursue it as your life’s passion, a solid education is your best foundation. There is no arguing that whether it’s about you, or your kids, learning from those who came before is like mining for diamonds.
Workers operating overhead cranes watched the filming of the opening scenes for the new James Bond movie Spectre as they went about their work at the Metropolitan Cathedral. The atmosphere in Mexico City’s El Centro is naturally filled with a palpable electricity that could be caught on camera without artificial staging. The producers and directors knew this.
What does it take to become a filmmaker? No doubt it’s a variety of prodigious attributes, but passion has to be the common denominator amongst the greats. How else could Steven Spielberg ever have pulled off Schindler’s List or ET or any of the other blockbuster films he’s delivered without passion for his craft? How could Alfred Hitchcock have given Psycho to a nail biting audience if he wasn’t 100% passionate about the delivery? Could not have happened.
One of my personal favorites was the light hearted Planes, Trains and Automobiles shot in 1987. Several days were filmed at Lambert International airport in St. Louis, Missouri. My Uncle’s catering business was on hand for 12 of those days making sure the crew was well fed. Apparently, the director, John Hughes was not always as light hearted as the film itself. It must take intense focus and a firm sense of direction, even when working with a comedy to pull off a number one box office hit.
Documentary films are meant to take us into the past, the future or the stark reality – we may not even notice, that surrounds us every day. Based in non-fiction, there is generally not a lot of wiggle room to interpret the story as it unfolds for the viewing audience. Science, history, facts and educated speculation are the cornerstones of a good documentary production.
On set for the filming of The Return of The Monarch, A Butterfly’s Tale, I was impressed by the number of consultants and scientists used to assure the authenticity of the information being documented. For example, my uncle is a great chef providing the best event catering in town, yet it is not his job to supply anything other than a good meal for clients. He sticks to what he does best, delivering the goods while taking all other input with a grain of salt. The same is true for good documentaries, they should deliver only the facts.