Thursday, December 02, 2004

Will Vinton...

This started out as a response comment to Mike's comment on the last post, but grew so long that I decided to just devote a post to it.

Will does a monthly animation screening (last one was just "will's pix," showing us various pieces of Academy Award-winning and -nominated animation, the next one is a look at Tex Avery and Chuck Jones), organizes/moderates panel discussions (last one was "Creative Mavericks," a talk with design heads, very cool) and also does neat things like comes into classes to talk about animation.

I've had the opportunity to go to his events four different times, speaking to him three times. He's a really nice guy who REALLY loves this stuff. It's a real shame what happened with Phil Knight essentially booting him out of his own company, but right now Will's new company (Freewill Productions) has a couple projects in development for two major networks (not sure if I'm allowed to mention them yet, though), so he's still doing quite well.

An interesting sidenote... according to some Oregon news page I have yet to recover, the "straw that broke the camel's back" and led to Will being fired from his own studio actually had to do with the CGI Popeye special. Will Vinton Studios was originally the company who was slated to create it, but there were disagreements between Vinton and the other bigwigs. Will wanted to create something that both children AND adults could enjoy (like any animation with any real staying power), while the corporate guys wanted something SPECIFICALLY aimed at children. His refusal to back down ultimately cost them the job, which has since been given to Mainframe, and we've all seen how that's going.

I have another instructor teaching a black-and-white design class who freelances for Vinton Studios. If you've ever watched The PJs or Gary & Mike, you've probably seen her work... she's one of the people who designs and creates the characters' clothing. :-)

   - posted by Tyler Sticka @

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