A Station Eight Fan Web Site
I was watching Max Steel with my 2 year old son and was curious what software was used in the making. What about Lip Synch software.
I have no idea. Sorry.
I would like to ask a producer his view on what an aspiring director and/or producer should major in college? Should it be filmmaking? Or media arts? Or is it something else all together? Thanks!
Two years later, I'm guessing my answer comes late. And I'm afraid you didn't provide me with enough information. I assume we're talking about Animation, right?
I'm a producer, and I majored in English w/an emphasis in Fiction Writing. But a director (as opposed to an animation director or a voice director) ....
I don't know.
Depends on the programs available....
I have a few questions about the Leica reel for Bad Guy's, as I've never seen it (but really want to).
1. If you can't/don't want to spread the reel all over the net, could/would you write a detailed/some what detailed report on how the story goes. You of course don't have to, but I'm sure it would satisfy a lot of people who have never gathered to a gathering.
2. What IS a Leica reel? Is there anything animated about it, or is it more of a montonage <sp?> of art work with voice-overs from key characters?
3. How much detail is shown in the animation/stills (i.e.: sketches or paintings or stuff the like I see in Gargoyles)?
4. How long dose it run for?
*Note* I could have asked the CR about all this, but I enjoy the way you write, when you do :^B (enough flattery?).
And I hope to see it for myself someday, not in Virginia, but in NY, 2003 if all goes well.
1. No. Sorry. It's a special treat for Gathering attendees, and I don't want the story in it to become common currency. I still have hopes of selling it someday.
2. A leica reel can be many things. The spelling suggests it has something to do with a Leica camera, but I've been assured that it really is code for IT'S LIKE-A REEL. It's also sometimes called an ANIMATIC or SIZZLE TAPE. There is no true animation, though I've seen some recent stuff using flash. It's basically a filmed storyboard, with a few fancy editing tricks, like panning, scanning, pushing in, pulling out and maybe a few dissolves or wipes. That's put with actual recorded vocals and hopefully some music and sound effects. It's an effective way to tell a story, like a glorified comic book for the screen. But it's supposed to be done for a relatively small amount of money. A few thousand dollars as opposed to tens of thousands of dollars.
3. It depends. Some are very detailed some are very sketchy.
4. Again, it depends. I think BAD GUYS runs about 7 minutes, which is probably too long for anyone but garg fans.
Or maybe you can come see it in Montreal in August of '04.
Who-hoo! An update, thanks Greg!
Onto the questions:
1) Will we ever see the Gargoyles episodes collected onto DVD? I would love to own the collection and think that it could possibly lead to more Gargoyles toons, as a Direct to Video thing maybe?
2) What projects are you currently working on?
3) As an aspiring cartoon creator can you give my any advice on who to contact or how to break in to the business?
1. Disney tells me that the DVD of the first season will be released sometime in 2004 to coincide with the series' tenth anniversary. Further releases will obviously depend on the sales of the first release.
2. I'm in development on a number of potential projects, but nothing definite. My current paying gig is for Platinum Studios, where I'm writing a bible for their entire Universe.
3. Where do I start? How about referring you to the "Animation" achive here at ASK GREG, where I've answered this question before.
First off Gargoyles is a fantastic show. Back in college I used it for many media research theses and got stunning results. Thank you.
I'm not filled with questions regarding continuity, what if, or whatever happened to, rather I'm more interested in technical production.
Is there a resource that offers animator's model sheets from the Gargoyles production?
Again thank you for your work and dedication.
(Feel free to edit)
Thanks for the kind words, Michael.
Unfortunately, no, I can't think of a resource offering model sheets from the Gargoyles production, though samples have occassionally been on display at the Gathering.
I know you generally dont DESIGN characters, as to give the artists more freedom, but do you (or would you) ever say "i really want this character to have this specific trait" or "i want them to look kind of like this" or would you never even go there. (please dont take the words 'ever' and 'never' to be all inclusive, i just mean generally. :)
I often do exactly what you describe. For some characters, I have a real clear picture in my head. For others, almost nothing. Depending on how strongly I feel, I'd give guidelines to an artist... and I certainly give feedback. But I try very hard to keep my mind open, to allow the artist to surprise me with something I hadn't thought of but just feels right.
We got more designs from WDAJ. Here's our response back to them...
To: Motoyoshi Tokunaga 8-26-93
From: Greg Weisman 818-754-7436
Re: GARGOYLES DESIGN WORK
Dear Mr. Tokunaga,
This is in response to the designs sent in your fax dated August 21st. (We've looked over the originals you sent as well.) Although we have substantial notes, I want to emphasize that we're learning more with each submission. Things that did not occur to us initially are now becoming clearer. For reference purposes, I'm going to refer to the page numbers of the fax. In the future, you might want to number every drawing on every page for easier reference.
Seeing the four Gargoyles together raised a number of interesting problems. Goliath seems to have lost some of the upper body bulk that made him so imposing. And Broadway seems to be on an equal level with Goliath. We need to make Goliath more special and unique. And although the trio of Brooklyn, Lexington and Broadway must each be unique from each other, we'd like to see the three of them as a natural grouping. As it stands now, Goliath, Broadway and Brooklyn all seem of a piece, with Lexington as the odd man out.
I might propose the following possible solutions:
--Let's give greater stature to Goliath relative to the other three, particularly Broadway.
--Let's make Goliath the only one of the four who tends to stand erect like a man. If Broadway and Brooklyn existed in a crouch as Lex does, we could cheat all three of them larger and still leave Goliath with greater stature.
--We already have two unique wing constructions (Goliath's and Lexington's), but we could stand to create a third type. Leaving either Brooklyn or Broadway as is, if we gave the other a third style of wing, then when we looked at the trio of younger gargoyles as a unit, each of them would have a unique wing-type and Lexington wouldn't seem like such the odd man out.
--If I haven't mentioned it before, we think of Goliath as being in his late twenties (in Gargoyle years). We think of the trio as being between 17 and 19 years old (in Gargoyle years). Keeping them youthful should also help in making them into a visible unit and still distinguish them from Goliath. Broadway, in particular is looking a bit too old.
PAGES 4 and 5
We'd like to make Goliath more imposing in size. Perhaps by slightly reducing the size of his head relative to his shoulders and chest. Bulking up his upper body.
We're also divided over here on the issue of the tail. Some of us feel it adds an inhuman element to help make Goliath cool and different. Others, just feel it's another thing that'll need to be animated.
Love the way the wings drape on page 5.
One of Gary Krisel's concerns is that the face have depth. He doesn't want it to look like a mask connected to Goliath's thick neck. I'm not sure I see that problem in these drawings, but it's something to watch out for.
Another important point is Goliath's attitude and expression. He is highly intelligent. Noble. Gary was also concerned that some of the expressions here (and on page 4) made him look a bit like a thug.
A third concern is whether or not we might still have too much pencil mileage in the facial design to animate effectively.
I love the top two head shots. Goliath looks terrific surprised. And I think the trick with the pupils vanishing in anger is very effective with all the characters. I also like Goliath amused in the lower right corner. But I'm not sure about the lower left shot. I'm not clear what emotion is being expressed. Something about the teeth and maybe the eyes is unappealing. I apologize for not being able to pin down my problem further. Maybe we should reserve his jagged teeth for extreme expressions? I don't know.
Both poses, particularly the kneeling shot, are wonderful. In the first pose, however, I think we should be cheating his wing-span much, much larger.
I like his slimmer "teen" build, but perhaps Brooklyn should "stand" in more of a crouch. Not simply bad posture, but keeping at least three limbs on the ground.
Again, Brooklyn needs to remain 18 or 19 years old. Particularly in the lower left and right corners he seems much older than that. We also probably need a greater range of expressions. Remember, he is the irrepressible leader of the trio. Out to find adventure. Are his horns too far apart? As opposed to being slicked back like his cool young hair, are the horns scooping up, giving him a more demonic look than necessary? Have we created a mouth that inhibits expression too much? You can see, we have more questions than answers, still.
I think Lexington works as a basically horizontal character, but we don't want to make him too diminutive relative to the others...stretch him out in poses. Remember that his middle set of limbs function as arms as well as legs.
His wing design may be more complicated than necessary. We may not need the rib construction coming out of his back. For him, it may be enough that he has this wing like webbing between his two upper sets of limbs. Perhaps it's more elastic than draping.
Again, we need to keep him young. Lex is highly curious about the modern world around him. Everything interests him and fills him with wonder. He's more naive and innocent than the others. These qualities should help compensate for his slightly more demonic look.
My favorite shot is the third from the left on the bottom row. And as usual, the angry glowing eye "battle" version works great. The upper right shot is cute. And I like the surprised version in the second from the left on the bottom row. But we're not getting the sense of wonder or excitement from him in the upper left and upper middle. And I don't really care for the sinister shot of him in the lower left corner. He's not angry or primed for battle (we know this cause his eyes aren't glowing), so I can't figure out what would give him that kind of nasty, almost hungry expression out of a battle context. Again, it may be that using jagged teeth outside of battle mode makes them too demonic. Another question: do his cheekbones need to be so prominent?
Body-wise, Broadway looks pretty good outside of a context of scale with the others. We like his gut, his sumo-like quality. But like Brooklyn and Lex, he should be a croucher. Like the center on an American football team. And we may want to scale him down; he doesn't necessarily need to be that tall or broad relative to Goliath.
Our biggest concern is that he looks way too old. Mostly in the face, but when scaled with Goliath, as on page 3, in the body as well.
Again, in all these shots, he looks too old. In some ways, he looks too much like Goliath. He should be a nineteen year old party animal. He just likes to have a great time. Always laughing. The only shot that really works for us here is glowing eyes shot in the lower left corner. In battle, it's appropriate to have the jaw distended and grotesque. In the others, we might try to give him more youth by making his head shape more horizontal than vertical. Less cheekbones, maybe. Rounder, perhaps? I'm not sure.
That's it for now. Looking forward to seeing your next pass.
cc: Bruce Cranston, Barbara Ferro, Eddy Houchins, Lenora Hume, Gary Krisel, Paul Lacy, Tom Ruzicka, Dave Schwartz.
Another old memo from my development files. It's pretty self-explanatory.
To: Motoyoshi Tokunaga 8-4-93
From: Greg Weisman 818-754-7436
Re: GARGOYLES DESIGN WORK
Dear Mr. Tokunaga,
Just a quick note to let you know we all looked at the Clayface episode of Batman that you sent us. We thought it was terrific. If you are confident you can animate to this level, I'm confident we have a great show in the works.
cc: Bruce Cranston, Barbara Ferro, Lenora Hume, Gary Krisel, Paul Lacy, Tom Ruzicka, Dave Schwartz.
Time to ramble....
This chapter (episode) was brought to you by:
Director: Kazuo Terada
Story Editor: Michael Reaves
Story: Michael Reaves
Teleplay: Michael Reaves & Brynne Chandler Reaves
Plus the usual suspects, including Frank and me.
The title is one of Michael's. I had the impulse to shorten it to "Shadows", but I didn't.
THE WORLD TOUR
As the recap ended and Tom shouted out: "Avalon doesn't take you where you want to go. Avalon sends you where you need to be!" My seven-year-old daughter Erin said, "Uh, oh."
"Uh, oh," indeed.
And so we begin Tier Four in earnest. Our quartet of travelers weren't headed straight home. Of course you couldn't know at that time just how long they'd be gone. And frankly when we started writing, neither did we.
It wasn't just the quantity of episodes (23 counting the Avalon three-parter, Kingdom, Pendragon, The Green and Future Tense) that we'd spend before everyone was reunited in Gathering One. It was the reruns in between.
What was supposed to be a five week trip became a five month trip. And so, for many of the fans it became interminable.
Why all the reruns? Well, the schedule finally just caught up with us. When Gargoyles was picked up for a second season by Buena Vista, I was asked how many we could reasonably produce for the fall quarter (between September & December of 1995) without interruption.
I told them that we were prepared to do six more. That was all the scripts that had been ordered (Leader, Legion, Metamorphosis, Lighthouse, Beholder, Vows). But I said we could do 13. We had done 13 the first season with a ten month sliding schedule. Now we had just under twelve months so we could certainly do 13 again.
I was asked what's the most we could do. I said, well if we start right now we can do 18.
Not 52? They asked.
52? Are you nuts? (Well, I didn't say that exactly.) I said we'll never get 52 done for the fall quarter. We'll wind up with a lot of repeats. You (Buena Vista) will not be happy with all those repeats.
They were disappointed. So disappointed, that instead of ordering 18, they only ordered six. (If we can't have 52, then forget it. [Okay, they didn't exactly say that either, but that seemed like the basic attitude.])
So we get to work to do six. Two weeks pass. Buena Vista comes back and says. No, do 13.
We respond with, uh, okay. Of course we've lost two weeks, so it'll be a bit harder, but we can do it.
Two weeks pass. They come back and say, "No, do 18."
We grumble a bit, because now we've lost a month of prep time when we could have been building crews, etc. But okay, I said we could do 18. We'll manage.
Two weeks pass. They come back and say, "Do 52."
Now we balk. We warned you we couldn't do 52 in twelve months. Now you want us to do it in 10? It took us ten to do 13.
And so we did. We built multiple crews. Our staff increased exponentially. We expanded to four writing teams from one. We expanded from one pre-production team (in Japan -- waves at Roy) to three and a half (one in Japan) and two and a half here in L.A.
And we worked like little demons to bring you 52 for the fall quarter. But it was never going to happen.
We wound up doing pretty good. I don't have my old calendar in front of me, and I can't remember exactly how many we managed to air in the fall, but it was considerably more than the 18 that I thought we could do.
But it wasn't 52. And so we had reruns. And reruns. And reruns. And most of those reruns came in the middle of the World Tour. And thus... yes... it seemed to go on forever.
Of course, other people didn't care for it for other reasons. They felt it got away from the series strengths of the gargs in Manhattan. Obviously, it left behind four of our characters, and I'll admit that I underestimated the trio's popularity a bit.
But I felt it was important. The World Tour gave our series breadth and hope. It expanded the Gargoyles Universe, added many new characters and in particular added at least four other clans of gargoyles.
And I think some of the stories really kicked ass.
So I apologize for nothing. NOTHING, do you hear me, nothing!!!!!!
Except for that outburst. Sorry about that outburst.
Anyway, our first stop was no place new. Goliath immediately recognizes the ocean cliffside as "home, my home."
Even before Hakon and the Captain start to drive him crazy, his dialogue is laced with nostalgia.
He's so into being back in Scotland, that when he climbs the hill, he doesn't even take Elisa with him. Elisa goes with Angela. Which is no big deal. But usually, G's more of a gentleman than that. Particularly with Elisa.
Angela: "It was always summer on Avalon."
Just wanted to give a sense of things on the fair island. Seemed to fit the legends as well.
I can't say enough good things about the animation in this episode. It's just gorgeous. The work of Disney's studio in Tokyo. WOW! Production AND Pre-Production was done there. All sorts of little touches, like Elisa slipping briefly and regaining her footing. And GREAT, GREAT character animation. Great lighting as the characters enter the tunnels. STELLAR effects animation in the megalith chamber. Just wow gorgeous stuff.
And boy, did we fight over this episode. [Roy, I'd love to get your perspective on this.]
When we got the storyboard from Japan, Frank and I each found something that just drove us nuts.
For Frank, it was the Wyvern cliff. The castle was gone, of course, as Xanatos had taken it away. But the cliff seemed to otherwise remain in tact. Frank was adamant that a chunk of the cliff had clearly been taken away and was part of the Eyrie Building. You could see it on that design. So obviously, we needed a crater of sorts to exist back at Wyvern.
When Frank pointed it out to me, I agreed with him. It didn't bother me as much as it bothered him, but I agreed.
What bothered me was Elisa's parka. In the storyboard, Elisa was wearing a parka with a hood. Of course, she looked great in it. And it kept her warm and safe and dry. But there was of course, no way and no place where she could have acquired that parka. (The Avalon Eddie Bauer, maybe?) So I insisted the parka had to go.
Frank agreed with me after I pointed it out. It didn't bother him as much as it bothered me, but he agreed.
So we gave Japan both these notes. And to our surprise, they balked. They felt that the only changes we were allowed to make to their boards were S&P changes.
We couldn't believe it. Finally, they relented. But on the cliffside ONLY. They felt that was a fair compromise. Since that had been Frank's BIG note, he was appeased. But obviously, I was not. All sorts of people came to me asking me to back down.
But I wouldn't. And I can honestly say it was for you guys that I refused. I knew even then that OUR FANS paid attention. That we couldn't get away with Elisa suddenly having a warm coat from no where.
So I put my foot down, and Elisa stayed cold and wet.
And our Tokyo Studio had another reason to be annoyed with me.
I regret the tension, certainly. But I still think I did the right thing, so I apologize for NOTHING, DO YOU HEAR ME? NOTHING!!!!
Except for that outburst, I apologize for that outburst.
A great movie. A husband tries to convince his wife that she's going insane. It's now a staple of melodrama everywhere. And we used it too.
So the ghosts of Hakon and the Captain try to gaslight Goliath.
We tried to gaslight the audience a bit too. Tried to let them think for a bit that Goliath might just be losing it. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, maybe.
You can hear it in Goliath's voice. How he's lost in the past. Angela tells him that he did the right thing all those years ago by saving the Princess.
His only response: "Still, I wanted revenge." I love Keith David's reading of that line.
But we also wanted to play fair, so we dropped a hint: when Goliath hears Demona's voice, Bronx howls. He senses something. Always trust Bronx.
Bronx has a pretty important supporting role in this, btw.
THE AXE OF HAKON
When Goliath and friends first enter the caves, Goliath picks up an old Viking axe. Hakon's Axe. The one he uses in "Vendettas".
Should have been a mace by the way. Should have been the same mace you can see in the opening titles EVERY episode. The one that Hakon used to smash the gargoyles at Wyvern.
Shoulda been. My fault.
Okay, for that -- I apologize. I screwed up. Dang.
THE STREET PIZZA TRADITION
A CLASSIC MICHAEL REAVES' ELISA LINE:
"This place is creepier than the morgue at midnight."
Michael was great at giving Elisa this tough contemporary feel without taking us out of the moment.
Another good one: "Old wounds bleed as bright as new ones sometimes."
GETTING TO KNOW ANGELA
When Goliath pretends that he's NOT freaking out and having hallucinations, Angela can tell he's lying.
I love Brigitte's read there. She sounds SO SHOCKED: "He's not telling the truth."
You can tell she was raised in a world where there was little cause for lying.
Goliath attacking Elisa and Angela, thinking they are Hakon and the Captain.
Very dramatic. And again, we don't know yet, objectively that he isn't just going nuts.
What did you guys all think at this point? Did you suspect the truth?
Anyway, Bronx saves the day.
And Goliath runs off. He also has a nice stumble here. Again, parka aside, much amazing attention to detail and character in all this animation. Stunning.
STAR TREK INFLUENCE
No, I'm not talking about the voice cast.
Finally, we objectively reveal that Goliath is being influenced. We see two floating entities hovering over the scene. He doesn't see them, so they're not part of his dementia. Ergo (I don't have much opportunity to use the term ergo you know), ergo, they must be what is causing this.
Of course, they look like energy beings right out of Star Trek.
We also see Demona, Othello and Desdemona.
More of us playing fair. Sure they're identifiable. But of course, they (plus Iago) would be the souls LEAST likely to be haunting Wyvern and Goliath.
Yeah, Keith was the star. And we're always going on about Jeff's versatility. But we really were blessed with an amazing cast right down the line.
Salli does Elisa SO DARN WELL. It's the little things really.
Like when Angela explains about the fissure and how Goliath could die in it. Elisa says, "Swell." Just, "Swell." In one word, she says everything that needs to be said. It's hard. Try it sometime.
SPEAKING OF FISSURES
Bronx saves Goliath (temporarily) from falling by chomping down on his arm. Always thought that was cool. Would have liked to have drawn some blood, but we knew we'd never get away with that.
And the fissure itself is way cool. I love Goliath's fall.
And Elisa's determination, as she starts to climb down feet first. And I love the contrast, as Angela and Bronx, by virtue of their claws, climb down head first.
Some fans have felt, I know, that the Captain's change of heart at the end comes suddenly. That may be so. It's hard in a mere 22 minutes to achieve these arcs and turns. But as usual, we tried to drop subtle hints that he wasn't fully on board with Hakon.
Hakon is enjoying tormenting Goliath.
The Captain says: "Make an end to it." Hinting at his ambivalence. Torturing Goliath doesn't give him pleasure.
And while we're praising voice actors, how about a toast to the late Ed Gilbert, voice of the Captain of the Guard. Wonderful work here. Evil. Tortured. Redeemed.
Ed, wherever you are... THANKS!
THE FATAL FLAW IN YOUR PLAN
Demona. The Captain must have assumed that Demona died in the massacre. He and Hakon figured that her appearance would be the coup de grace. That Goliath's will would just dissolve when faced with her ghost.
They were almost right. But of course, G is no idiot. A bit slow sometimes, but not stupid. Demona's ghost shouldn't be here. Cuz the dame ain't dead.
[By the way, the idea to have her fist morph into a mace was mine. Just a little post-storyboard tidbit that I suggested amid bitching about the parka. They must have liked the idea because that wasn't one I insisted on, but they did it anyway. When push came to shove, everyone -- on both sides of the ocean -- was just VERY dedicated to making the show better.] [See. It's a mace because that's the weapon that we associate with the Massacre. Hakon's axe should have been a mace. How did I miss that?]
Anyway, Goliath figures out the truth and, hey, we've awakened the sleeping giant. He trashes the phony Demona. And we think he's going to smash all the others.
But something even more chilling happens. They all begin to dissolve around him. It still gives me the creeps. Very cool animation AND music and effects. (Props to the gang at Advantage Audio too.)
Or rather how come we don't have ghosts hanging around ALL the time. I didn't want this episode to open a spectral floodgate, where any character that was killed or had died in the past was available to haunt us.
So the Captain offers two possible explanations: Hate and Magic. Both present in ample supply. Plus Guilt. His guilt. Unfinished business.
Again, very cool effects on the Megalith's here. But the idea emerges from an old (if not very original) idea I've had since I was a teen. The notion that Stone Dances, that Megalith Circles were like Medieval Mystic Dynamos. Circles of power. That build and generate.
Really came to life here.
I love Hakon's line: "I can feel it. I can feel again." I love that transition halfway through the line between where he can feel that the process is working and when he realizes the simple fact that he can feel things again.
But again, watch the Captain feel his own hand. You can see the ambivalence there. Particularly when Goliath becomes the Ghost and Hakon is beating on him. Cap doesn't participate in this.
And Goliath helps him remember what he has forgotten. The Captain doesn't HATE Goliath. His problem is that G's presence has reinforced his own guilt.
But here's an opportunity to redeem himself: "I can't let this happen again!"
He pushes Hakon back.
Hakon: "You've crossed the lines of power, you fool."
You can almost here the Ghostbusters say, "Don't cross the streams."
So Cap hated himself, not G.
G forgives. He forgave the Magus last episode. Now he forgives the Captain. Shows that he's a pretty decent guy.
You think if Hakon made an effort? Nah.
Anyway, I like G's line: "One enemy. And one friend."
And then a positively angelic Captain returns briefly to say goodbye and thanks. I also like the "shackles of hate and guilt" line. And the way he calls Goliath, "Old Friend".
Elisa thinks she's in for a long story.
G: "Centuries long."
And as the sun rises, and Elisa -- as usual -- leans against her stone beau for a nap....
Hakon: "Don't leave me here alone!! Not without anyone to hate!!"
Many people think I should have left him there forever. But evil doesn't rest in peace in my opinion. When left alone it tends to get out of control.
Besides I already had this fun idea. What if Wolf was Hakon's descendant?
Anyway, that's my ramble. Where's yours?
Was Gargoyles animated in the widescreen version? I know Gargoyles is a TV show, so it was meant to be seen in standard version on a standard TV, but I know movies like The Lion King II Simba's Pride was direct to video, and never shown in theaters, but there is a widescreen version of the movie. Thanks, I just was curious.
P.S. What do you think of both Lion King movies?
No. Gargoyle's aspect ratio was strictly designed for the tv set.
I thought the first Lion King was wonderful. (Not perfect, but wonderful.) And the opening still gives me chills, despite the fact that at one NATPE, I must have seen it five hundred times in one day.
As for the second one, I've never seen the whole thing. Just glimpses here and there, so it's not fair for me to comment.