Monday, December 28, 2009
The Next Ron & John...
Now that Walt Disney Animation Studios seems to be on the right track again, one has to wonder who will be the storytellers of the future...
Who will be the next Ron Clements and John Musker, Disney's Brad Bird or Pete Docter (a future post). And make no mistake about it; WDAS has its own share of talented animators and directors. Pixar is not the only place that has great directors and craftsmen. Many were never given the opportunity to shine under previous regimes but are now having whole new worlds opened to them.
Now that Lasseter has a few years under his belt we can slowly begin to get an idea as to where the Mouse is headed. Of all the pieces that are out there I have a personal favorite.
Prep & Landing.
It's the best thing that they've done since the new openness that John and Ed started when coming over to Burbank. My second favorite thing they've done is the Goofy short; "How To Hook Up Your Home Theater." Ironic that it was done by the same team responsible for Prep & Landing. While I think "Bolt" is a missed gem that didn't get as much attention as it should have, and "The Princess and the Frog" marks a return to the beauty of hand-drawn animation, they aren't my favorite parts of the puzzle that is the new Disney.
And of all the new projects in the works, guess which one I'm looking forward to the most? Rapunzel? Winnie the Pooh? Snow Queen? No, none of these. I'm excited to see the new short that they're making called "The Balled of Nessie." And it's again by the same duo responsible for the other two projects I really like. It's also hand-drawn and in a style remarkably like those 50's styled animation shorts done by Disney. So as soon as this short is done, I'm hoping that the duo responsible for it get the greetlight to move from directing shorts to directing an animated feature. Incidentally, the reason we haven't heard much about the short lately is because of it being hand-drawn, the majority of the artists who were working on it happened to have been busy with TPATF. Such is the case with so few 2D animators in Burbank right now. That'll change with the two hand-drawn features lined up over the next few years needing talented artist.
Kevin Deters and Stevie Wermers-Skelton are the directing duo behind those projects and they're who I think are the new, bright stars of WDAS. These two have created the most clever and compelling of all the new animation that has come out of the Hat Building and I look forward to whatever they come up with for a feature. And if I can see this, you know that Lasseter can see it. Not that I've heard anything yet, but you can see where a trail is going if you follow the path. These two are clearly on the path to a very promising future.
And I believe as soon as Nessie gets done they're next project will be something that I can't wait to see...