17 Oct Animation Legend Talks about his Passion for Animation
First it was scratches and carves on the surfaces of primitive tools, then later sketches on paper using pens and pencils. The idea that something out of paper could move and could actually be turned into something else more than what they are – drawings on paper – was next to impossible.
But a few brilliant minds thought about it and asked, “What if?”. That was all they needed to do – to push themselves beyond their limits and voice out those two words.
… What if this dog I sketched could talk, instead of bark?
… What if the earth on this painting can actually revolve around the sun through a series of ‘moving’ images?
… What if I can make all my house appliances can walk and talk, and are my main characters, instead of just being the background of my movie?
That these drawings and sketches – unlived, not moving, stills – could pose as alternative to the films of the 50’s – is what animation is all about.
Disney animator for “The Sleeping Beauty”. All credits to Disney.
One of the greatest contributors in the field of animation, Bod Godfrey, described and summarized what animation is in one of his interviews: “Well, animation is not live action, I think that says it. Anything that is not live action (which is actuality) but is drawn is animation. The thing about animation is that there are absolutely no rules. That is why I am confused with all these schools that are springing up all over the place, ‘How to Walk, ‘How to Run,’ based on live action… how a live action man runs, how a live action person walks, you know, people in animation don’t have to walk, I mean they don’t even have to have legs, they can go up in the air.”
Amazing how true Godfrey’s words are! It is in animation that characters need not be humans. In animation, chairs can talk with tables as their villains; houses can fly using balloons, and maneuver this house using shower handles.
In order for these “magical” things to be executed, it is crucial to have very talented, skilled and imaginative animators behind those papers and pens. Moreover, animation guru Bob Godfrey has a few tips for fellow (and aspiring) animators, “In animation, you can do absolutely everything; and I said I think that the only two restrictions are your bank balance and your mind. And, well, your imagination that you can grow, you know, providing the budget will allow you to. When people are confronted with this absolute freedom, they tend to freak out, they tend to say, ‘We want limitations; we want gravity.’ Basically, there is no gravity in animation. Animation is free, it can fly, and it can go anywhere. I don’t think enough people realize this, they’re too earth bound. It’s not earth bound, it’s fantasy. You’ve got to have a very whimsical mind for animation, I think; you’ve got to be able to take off and be not of this world. You can create a whole world which is not like the physical world that we live in. But if we start – the worse thing animation can do is to start copying live action. You know I’ve always said, when I was up in Liverpool, teaching, “If this thing can be done with a live action camera, for God’s sake, do it with a live action camera,” because we’re into doing things that the live action camera can’t do. The Germans call animation “Trick Film”, which I think is so clever because that is exactly what it is – trick film.”
Watch the animated interview here:
Honing the Whimsical Mind
One of the places that does not restrict and rather welcome and develop the whimsical minds that animators should possess, is New Zealand. Aside from being the prime location for famous animation movies of the 20th century such us The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and The Avatar, the country is also booming with different first-rate schools that hone the talents of aspiring animators. If you are someone who has the talent and passion for animation, I’m sure you would be able to find these schools interesting. They teach a good balance between animation theories and actualization. They have technology that could cater to the different disciplines required for the field – 3D animation, design, illustration, visual effects, advertising, and even game development. What’s more, this field is skills-based. Once learned, it stays with you for life!
But what is more interesting is that prospect and future animators have the opportunity to study an animation program that would be recognized worldwide. After pursuing your studies in New Zealand, you can even build a career in the country and experience the exciting industry of animation in New Zealand!
Whatever part of the globe you are in right now, you can live your dream – as long as you have enough courage to pursue your passion. Find out more about studying animation in New Zealand. Make your dreams come true. Who knows, you might just be the next animation legend, like Bob Godfrey.
If you are ready to take that first step in pursuing your passion, click here.
Roland Frederick “Bob” Godfrey MBE (27 May 1921 – 21 February 2013) was a veteran English animator whose career spanned more than fifty years. He is best known for the children’s cartoon series Roobarb (1974-1975), Noah and Nelly in… SkylArk (1976-1977), Henry’s Cat (1983-1995) and for the Trio chocolate biscuit advertisements shown in the UK during the early 1980s. He also produced a BAFTA and Academy award-winning short film Great (1975), a tongue-in-cheek biography of Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Godfrey received Academy Awards nominations for Kama Sutra Rides Again (1971), Dream Doll (1980), Zlatko Grgic, and Small Talk (1994).