Just got out from a Don Hahn's talk and I was utterly impress! I almost couldn't make it after many hair-pulling moments with my Maya animation homework. Although this doesn't happen often to a perfectionist like me, this time I was thankful I decided to wrap it up and say "Screw it!" when it wasn't completely done and made it to talk, 5 minutes late!
Well I knew what I was heading for - after a brief synopsis but who could have thought it was such a big deal??? I just met the biggest Disney producer of our time! I can't believe what I saw through his presentation. I just went through slides and slides of all classic Disney favorites and hear the fail and error stories of their work behind the scenes. The materials he showed us were materials that did not make it to film; even though some did but there were crude, just like you and mine's sketches on a regular coffee-stained notepad but they made it to the big screen! I was looking at the original sketches from Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, 101 Dalmation to Lady and the Tramp! OMG! His experiences were endless, big names here and there, I was just in awe! Don Hahn was also involved with some of Tim Burton's movie like Nightmare before Christmas... and we were shown some of the behind-the-scenes clip on how they shot the scenes of Sally's hair flying while at the cemetery which took them 16 hours a day to work and enough hours to sleep and eat, just to get back to work and do the same thing, again! Nothing glamorous but was it worth it? Hell ya!
I can't believe it... I was almost in tears just feeling how privileged and honored to have had this opportunity to hear him talk and show us materials the public wouldn't have known. Don Hahn's talk wasn't just eye-opening, he brought us back to basic. I remember when I was about 8 years old, I had drawings of my own that look quite similar to some of the sketches of Little Mermaid. Out of obsession of the cartoon movie, I drew tons and tons of Little Mermaid figures and gave them away to friends. I wish I can do that again but now, I've always known to over-complicate things.
After that talk, I have learn how not to - it will take practise. His slideshows were all about basic drawings and basic subjects such as lines, cool and warm colors, focal points and simple composition. Complicating stuff like animation and music come much later. But just like every other movie they did so far with Disney characters, it started out with artists and animators little 5 minutes thumbnails sketches using basic shapes like circle, rectangles and triangles, yet it never come across my mind that the figures were made out of that! Like the Sleeping Beauty's fairy godmothers, were so clear to form but I didn't see it... they only took 30 second to sketch - the fairy godmothers silhouettes are only made of guess what? Triangles!
His book, Drawn to Life probably has more of the drawings and sketches that were shown in his talk. Unfortunately, I didn't get the book in time to let him sign it in person. Sigh.
I'm so out of words to describe how appreciative I am for this experience. It is like a dream come true to know what really, really went on behind-the-scene's, behind-the-scene - the experience working with songwriters, the story lines, the scripts, actor/actresses, the studies before characters development, the experiments with character's appearances, the budgets and premieres - I never thought I'd have a dip of that, ever. What an amazing experience, I'd remember it for life.