Friday, November 25, 2016

Persistent British Animator Dude

Started this morning catching up with the animation scene - a wide overlook mainly to tell what next to watch. In the drift, I found an old note, bearing a film title "Prologue". On my (most recent) birthday, I had watched the 2015 Oscar-nominated animation shorts, and the intriguing ones were noted for recollection. Though I didn't remember a specific short by name, it remained stuck in the head because of its brilliant animation style, the visuals being a treat + inspiration juice (having chosen nature drawing as a subject of pursuit only a coupla weeks back).  With great hope, I keyed in the name, and bull's eye! - found that short.

The Prologue (2015) - a "brutal battle between Spartan and Athenian warriors" - is a one-man-project, that man being Richard Williams. The short is actually a sequence from an unfinished longer project (adaptation of the play Lysistrata by Aristophanes). The animator Richard Williams is a veteran in the industry, and also one in unfinished projects - his most endearing project has been an adaptation of Mulla Nasreddin's folk fables, originally titled Nasrudin, which was then shelved and re-titled "The Thief and the Cobbler", which has seen the hands (and voice-overs) of many other industry veterans, which was eventually seized from Mr. Williams and forcefully released by the production house... the duration of this interesting project spans 31 years, and also has a coupla documentaries done on it.

His wiki page shows few other unfinished shorts, 8 or 9 among 17. With half things being scrapped, he mustn't have been treated well by his production house(s). But whatever he did put out, has been very creative and even path-breaking at times.

Here's somebody with their 2¢ on the animator
Richard Williams (the director/solo animator) is one of the greatest animators of this or any time, and he's a very astute observer of human motion. I've seen a fair amount of his animation, including other shorts done in this style, and while he's sometimes looked at live models for inspiration (not to my knowledge for this short, but for another he did for dancers), he's never done rotoscoping. A few years ago, at an Oscar event I attended, he showed a tiny clip of Prologue when it was still a work-in-progress, and he described that he was doing the animation based on his personal style and very meticulously over the span of several years. That kind of animation is possible for a great animator who is willing to take the amount of time Richard Williams takes, but because there are very few people at his skill level, and even fewer able to work on his timeframe, you very rarely see anything on this level. 
Persistence of Vision is a documentary on the unfinished Thief project.
The director Kevin Schreck has uploaded several related clips on his YT Channel.
There's also the Thief Archive, a related YT channel, promising hours of interesting consumption.

The Little Island - a gem of a find

Love Me Love Me Love Me - another beaut

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