DIRECTOR: KID'S STORY & A DETECTIVE STORY
Since we last
talked [November 2001] a lot of work has been done; can you tell us where
we are right now?
4°C in Tokyo, where we’re
doing some of the production on THE ANIMATRIX, as well as other projects
is involved with.
animation is now complete on KID’S
STORY; how did you enjoy the process?
tried to put some different kinds of angles and styles of drawing that
I enjoy into this film to bring a new feel to it. Basically,
what I did was use a sketchier style that what is usually done in animation.
made you decide to go with a process that was more difficult?
on THE ANIMATRIX
is a great opportunity for me. I can work on
ordinary animation whenever I want, here in Japan, but this is a special
occasion. Since KID'S STORY is a short film, we can spend a lot more
on this project than we usually can. On this episode I wanted to challenge
myself and to show my ability. Mr.
[Shinji] Hashimoto is the key person who designs the characters and who
did the key frames for this animation. Actually, he’s the
one who came up with the idea of trying this new technique on this project.
MATRIX: What was your reaction when you started seeing the results?
is a group effort, and since we came up with the idea, I had to first persuade
the other animators on the production to try
it, which was a little hard at first. To
have the episode turn out the way I envisioned, it meant more input at
the keyframe stage to get that sketchy look. Because of that,
not only the key animators faced more work, but it was hard for the in-betweeners
to keep up as well. Making sure that atmosphere stayed in the episode
to me as Director. I felt sorry
for the animators because this technique demanded hard work, but
it was necessary.
noticed the frames get sketchier when the Kid is on his skateboard,
when the action starts; was that switch from cleaner to sketchier a
depends on what kind of scene it is and where the character is. For example,
when he is punching information into the keyboard, it will be
cleaner lines, but when he is in the school it’s going to be a sketchy
type of picture.
do you decide what approach to use with a story like A DETECTIVE STORY,
as opposed to KID’S STORY?
I started on KID’S STORY the chance to work on
A DETECTIVE STORY came up, so I wanted to differentiate the atmospheres
of the two. I’m very fond of watching detective films filled with
hard-boiled types, so I want to put action scenes that felt like that
into A DETECTIVE STORY. Through the black and white animation, and keeping
the picture a little less sharp than it would be in color, I will try
convey a more traditional or nostalgic feel to the story, but the audience
should have a sense of the new at the same time.
working on the storyboards for A DETECTIVE STORY now, and should be finished
with that stage soon. The
actual story in A DETECTIVE STORY is quite long, so to make it work
in the allotted time, I want to have everything go faster.
By extracting the essence of what is important to the story, we will
be able to use a slightly more innovative kind of storytelling.
there any detective fiction — either in movies or books
— that you’re drawing from for reference?
haven’t used any particular reference book. My memories
of films I saw years ago that impressed me, are what I’ve been
drawing on. I very much like New York of the 1940s or 50s, so I’m
trying to combine some elements of those periods.
both your stories have appeances from actors in the film; how did you approach
doing animated versions of them?
Carrie-Anne Moss [Trinity], I didn’t have the chance to review her
work in RELOADED, so I watched the first movie and referred to that. For
Clayton Watson [the Kid],
I was able
to cature video reference with him on a day he wasn't on set, which was
very helpful in directing the movements of the character.
MATRIX: What is the daily process for the animators?
tend to start with meetings with the character designer and the set designer,
to let them know exactly what I want in the film.
There are many directors who can just design the sets by themselves,
but since I am not an animator, I put more value on the specialists. Then
on the storyboards and go over them with the key animators — there
are going to be between ten or twenty key animators on A DETECTIVE STORY.
Now, before the in-between artists get started, I also have regular meetings
with the art director and discuss with him in detail the look that he
wants to get, so that the message is passed along clearly to the people
ink and paint division. Then when we make a 3-D animated scene, we’ll
have a meeting with the 3-D directors and people in charge of computer
There are so many people involved in making one film, that it’s
the director’s job to supervise everything and make sure everyone
has the same energy and love of the picture.
you have a preference: computer
animation or hand-drawn cel animation?
don’t agree with the idea that everything should be
in 3-D now, so I’ve been using the computer only for the scenes
in DETECTIVE STORY that would be very hard for the animators to draw. I’m
thinking that I’ll
combine both 3-D and line art so you can’t tell them apart - I’d
call it 2.5 dimension or 2.5-D. I’ll only be using a small amount
of 3-D in KID’S
STORY, since I want this episode to have a real human touch and sketchy
instead of looking mechanically directed. Even on elements where
most directors would use 3-D software, I want to have traditional animation.
know some of the other animators and directors working on other episodes
of THE ANIMATRIX; is there a friendly sense of competition amongst you?
don’t really talk about the episodes; when we meet
we just talk about usual topics, far away from what we might be doing at
the moment. Most people have their own very consuming way of making their
films, so they don’t have the opportunity to talk much.
MATRIX: Are shorts
or longer feature films more challenging?
like the challenge of working on many kinds of productions, both shorts
and feature films. There are good points to both, so I don’t
have a favorite. When I’m working on longer films, I start thinking
about shorter films, and vice versa.
MATRIX: Thank you, Watanabe-San.
Interview by REDPILL
Translated by Isako