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Great Animated Performances: Zazu as Supervised by Ellen Woodbury
Page 4 of 7

RW
So did Rob or Roger direct most of your scenes?

EW
Both of them equally. I got direction from both Rob and Roger. I started out with Rob. The first scene with Zazu in the cave is directed by Rob. But the first scene he gave me - the first scene I animated - was in the stampede, where Zazu goes for help and Scar slaps him. That one little section of the scene, where Zazu slams up against the canyon wall, that was the very first scene animated of Zazu. If you look at it closely you see that it's an early model of Zazu. The beak is more pointed and a little longer, and the wings look more like the fringe on a jacket.

Indeed, in the preceding moments Zazu is distinctly different than in that one single shot as he heads beak-first into the wall.


(c) Disney Enterprises

RW
Was there any difference in the direction between Rob and Roger?

EW
No. It was a while back, but I don't ever remember going away confused or feeling like I was getting something different from one than I was from the other. They were very much on the same page. I always wrote things down. When I met with the directors I always wrote things down so that in case I needed that reminder I had it. Because once you get going with ideas you're all over the place, and you have to say ‘oh wait, what did they want?' and you look go back and see ‘oh, yeah, that. I gotta' work that in.' Because you know how when you're talking to people about animation it tends to get very exciting and it can get carried away, so I need that grounding so that I would know what they wanted.

RW
Is that something that you learned to do as a directing animator or had you always done that?

EW
I think it's something I just naturally do. In school we would be watching all these films and I always had my notebook in the dark. You know, you just sit and watch and write without looking at the page. You write until you hit the margin in the binder, and then you move down, and you keep writing until you hit it again and you keep going. And you go back to read it later and maybe you can read it. Maybe not! (laughing).

RW
How large was your crew?

EW
There was Mike Swafford and Randy Cartwright, and Barry Temple, and....that was it. Not very big. I think Dale Baer did one scene at the end where he's on the rock as Simba goes by, after he's coming down from having defeated scar. And Mike Surrey did one scene in the rib cage, and that was all.


(c) Disney Enterprises

RW
Who was your clean up lead?

EW
Dan Tanaka.

RW
Did you go back to do morning report?

EW
Yes

RW
What was that like?

EW
It was fun. It was really cool. They gave us ramp up time. And I said ‘oh, I don't think I'll need more than a day.' Actually I think I took two hours. It was two hours of ramp up time. The thing is that when you know a character it's just a question of dusting off your acquaintance, you know? And then when Dan (Tanaka) got my first scene he pointed out a couple of things to me. ‘Ellen, you gotta' remember to do this here, and this there.' And I was like ‘oh, yeah! Okay.' So once Dan gave it the lead key's eye, we were back solid. It was really fun. It was really crazy, too. I think we had ten weeks to do something like 142 feet or something like that. It came out to something like fourteen feet a week. And we could have done that, except there was the last shot where Simba grabs him by the tail and Zazu is pecking him on the head. That wasn't figured out at all.

RW
It wasn't boarded?

EW
No, it wasn't even boarded. The whole thing that was boarded presumably was something that Roger didn't like and he said ‘I want you to come up with something else.' And that took a long time. It's one thing to get a scene, and it's there and it's planned and you animate it. But it's another thing to start searching for ideas and to bring them all in and then figure out which one it is and how to stage it. And what beat it's on - the whole thing was on a beat. It was a lot more. And there was no layout. So that ended up taking over a week just to figure that out. I think I went through five dummy versions - not even animated, just scribbles - curvy scribbles that kind of linked up.

 

 

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