At the risk of stating the obvious, a film like Shaun the Sheep The Movie requires a fair few animators - 16 in total. And the Lead Animator plays a very important role in bringing the story that's sitting in the directors' heads to life through moving characters. Will Becher does just that in his working life - you can find out a little more about what being a Lead Animator entails below...
I’m an animator – one of those people who move puppets around in front of a camera in a darkened room… but on Shaun the Movie it’s not a darkened room - It’s a MASSIVE city and an epically big FARM!! And it’s an amazing place to work.
There are 16 animators on the film and it's our job to bring all the amazing little characters in their fantastic miniature world to life. So that YOU - the kids, grown-ups and grandparents watching in the cinema - believe in this wacky story that Golly and Mark (the writers and directors) have made up.
Being an animator is great fun but it has it’s challenges. Sometimes when I drive into work, I don’t know what to expect when I get there. For example, recently I arrived at work and had no idea that by the end of the day I’d be behind the wheel of an ambulance! (animating, of course). On other days I’m a surgeon or a teenager walking down the road, or an animal warden! And my colleagues, the other animators, have been all sorts of things too, like a tortoise, hairdressers, a man in a chicken costume and even a hedgehog. It's a pretty crazy type of job if you think about it.
But the challenges also come with rewards. One of my favourite things about working with Shaun the Sheep are all the tiny things that I am surrounded by. Everything you see on screen is made like by hand. We animators are surrounded by these tiny things and it makes our jobs so much fun; it’s like we are there, in that tiny world too. When people come to visit the studio they often want to know if it takes lots of patience to be an animator. And sometimes - when you keep dropping Bitzer’s tiny eyelids on the floor, for example - it does take patience.
But once you get animating and start moving Shaun and his pals around, and bringing them to life, time goes really quickly. The rest of the film crew (production, model making, and camera and art department) need just as much patience if not more. They have to WAIT for us animators to finish each and every shot before we can move on to the next one, and on a good day we might only produce 3 seconds of finished animation! And THIS IS A FEATURE LENGTH FILM! Now, that must take patience.
Before I get back to animating, I just want to tell you about one more fun thing us animators get up to. Before almost every shot, we go to the LAV....No, not the lavatory! LAV stands for Live-Action-Video. It’s where we meet the directors to practise a scene from the film before we animate it. Often we pretend to be all the different characters in front of the video camera. Then, when we are animating, we can look back at the video performance for ideas
Now it’s time for me to get back to my animating – hope you enjoy the movie!
Posted by Luisa 4 years 9 months ago