talking about KID'S STORY
and yourself shot some digital video of Clayton Watson for KID'S STORY, which
Watanabe-san is directing; could you describe why you did that.
Watson, who plays the Kid, is the central character in the KID'S STORY ANIMATRIX
episode that Watanabe-san is directing. First of all we shot Clayton with a regular
video set up, just to capture his facial expressions
as he reads the dialogue that’s actually planned for the KID'S STORY.
He sort of expanded off it and gave us several different readings of each line,
so it’s going to be very useful reference for the guys drawing key frames
to get those facial nuances, which you have to see in motion to appreciate. You
can’t just look at a picture of someone smiling or frowning, you want to
actually see them go between expressions because it’s so different seeing
a person animated.
KID'S STORY script calls for the Kid to drop a cell phone as well;
did you film Clayton doing that for similar reasons?
As long as we’re going to animate this character, which we want to
seem like the same character, the same Kid who is in THE MATRIX 2 and THE MATRIX
3, it’s only going to make a more convincing illusion the more the animation
resembles the real Kid. There are obviously some things, like expressions and
motions, which tend to get exaggerated and timed differently in animation, because
it has more of an impact that way. Someone doesn’t just reach for a glass,
they reach for a glass. There’s a very different acceleration and deceleration
you see in cel animation that is exciting to the eye, it’s more pleasurable,
which is something you don’t have in live action. Although, in THE MATRIX
movies, a lot of the special effects definitely have that in mind, all the fight
scenes feel like they could be hand drawn.
Andy and Larry are probably very influenced by animation, in that respect anyway.
They definitely have a sense of the way that motion can feel good and can actually
be pleasurable to watch. It’s not just watching people move, it’s
watching these people move in a certain way, it’s very orchestrated, and
we, as animators, have to go through the same process. We’re not using
Clayton’s motions as is, we’re not tracing them or anything, but
they’re very useful as a guide. Shooting the reference video means that
he’ll be that much more recognizably the Kid in the anime.
you be using Clayton Watson’s voice as the Kid in the anime itself?
Clayton himself is going to speak the dialogue and the various voice over parts
for the Kid. That is essential because it’s the first thing that
tells you the anime character is the same person. Besides it just looking like
the same person, the anime character has to have the same voice. It will definitely
be an important part of the performance, Clayton has a particular delivery style
that we want to capture.
you also use some ‘real world’ photo reference for the classroom
that features in the KID'S STORY?
did something similar to what you do for a live action movie, a location hunt.
Watanabe-san is from Japan, so he doesn’t have knowledge of what an American
high school or a high school in everytown USA looks like. They have different
desks in Japan, it’s a different style of schooling. One of the first things
we did on the project was arrange for Watanabe-san and one of the graphic artists
we’re working with, to actually tour a couple of high schools close to
THE MATRIX location in Alameda. We went to Alameda High School and also Berkeley
A good friend of mine from school is the Vice Principal of Alameda High School,
we’ve actually based the character of the teacher in the Kid’s Story
on this guy as well. He arranged for us to have free reign at Alameda High School
and go to Berkeley High School, which is a much bigger school. Watanabe-san and
the other artist, Hashimoto-san really got to absorb what makes an American High
School look like an American High School, because there are some very particular
things: the acoustic tile in the ceiling, the fluorescent lights, the tiles on
the floor, the lockers, the desks, the chairs, those hideous plastic chairs from
the seventies, it will all be in the anime. I think we’ll have a very realistic,
but at the same time a very general, picture. It can’t look like just one
school in particular, it has to be part of THE MATRIX.
MATRIX: Watanabe-san worked with a particular composer for Cowboy Bebop, will he be working
with the same composer for this ANIMATRIX episode?
Kano is the composer for Cowboy Bebop, I would love to get her for THE ANIMATRIX,
but I’m not sure yet if that’s a possibility. She’s a good
friend of mine as well and she’s a wonderful, wonderful composer. She’s
done a lot of amazing animation sound tracks, work on Memories, Cowboy Bebop,
Macross, she’s all over the place and is really good, but yet to be discovered
in the United States.
MATRIX: Thanks Mike.
Interview by REDPILL