Inspiring Minds. Part 1


Q: 3D ARK asks: “Who or what inspires you?”

A: Patrick Thomas, Animator, Blizzard Entertainment writes:

At blizzard we are influenced to be very creative and everyone is inspired buy most of the better fantasy artist’s like for instance “BROM”, or “Frazetta”. I know for a fact that we also love to pick up the latest copies of “S.M.H” a fantastic hobbyist mag out of Japan. Also what is popular right now is a book called “CREATURE CORE” it is another artist out of Japan who does phenomenal stuff.

A: Rachel Levine, Character Animator, Walt Disney Imagineering writes:

I can’t really say what inspires my work…I don’t think I’ve done enough to show what’s bopping around between my synapses. But there is a lot out there that gets me up in the morning, and keeps me chugging away.

When I was a kid, I wrote out a list of movies that inspired me. Star Wars Trilogy. Dark Crystal. Labyrinth. ET. This short documentary movie my dad got on videotape about Claymation at Will Vinton Studios. Neverending Story. Dune. Just about anything with a character that wasn’t human, or entirely human.

In High school, I added zombie movies. Day of the dead, dawn of the dead, night of the living dead, Return of the living dead, Evil dead 2. I was fascinated by how they made corpses, and the cool make-up effects.

Until I saw the documentary on Apocalypse Now called Hearts of Darkness, and I decided I had to go to film school.

College showed me what I was really missing. Great films. Double Indemnity. Marty. The Apartment. The Bridge on the River Kwai. Papillon. Laurence of Arabia. Singing in the Rain. Basically that AFi list plus a bunch more. There is a great small chain of video stores in New York City called Kim’s where videos are organized as they should be, by director, or screenwriter, or more specific genre…I saw a whole lot of great movies there. Kirosawa. John Ford. Kubrick. Lumet. Jimmy Stewart movies. Scorsese. Coen Brothers. Hitchcock. 70’s movies. And a ton more.

I’m completely addicted.

I love animated films, and I watch them all the time. But I’m just as jazzed about live action films where actors really make you feel something, and the director is placing the camera somewhere to make you feel something, not just at a good angle to see the actors do their thing. Fascinating lighting. Dialog that has been well thought out, and is authentic to the character. Good storytelling.

Right now I’m going through this Scorsese documentary called “A personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American movies” (yes, i had to look that up :)). It’s interviewing him about movies throughout the years, and what inspired him. There is a lot of clips of great films in that that I’m trying to watch separately. I also aim to see all the movies in the documentary “Visions of Light”.

Lots of great stuff out there to inspire a person.

Back to my cave now. (shuffle…shuffle)

A: Shawn Kelly, Animator, ILM writes:

Movies: Empire Strikes Back changed my life when I was a kid. Just about any classic Disney film inspires me (Sword in the Stone, Jungle Book, Rescuers Down Under too), but especially some of the shorts like the Sport Goofy shorts. More recent inspirational flicks would include Wallace and Gromit, Mulan, Cats Don’t Dance, and A Bug’s Life. . . Visually amazing movies like Dark City and Kundun really inspire me as well.

Bernie Wrightson, Brian Froud, Jeff Smith, C. S. Morse, Frank Frazetta, Dave Mckean, Frank and Ollie – some super inspirational illustrators and storytellers for me. . .

Animation done by certain animators really inspires me like crazy – Glen Keane and James Baxter’s work, of course, but there are a lot of others. Certain co-worker’s and friend’s work blows my mind and really gets me excited about animating! Tim Harrington, Lou Dellarosa, Kevin Martel, Tim Harrington, Glen McIntosh, Rick O’Connor, Bobby Beck – those guys are amazing and their work reminds me every day of how much I still get to learn – and that’s an exciting prospect!

Bryce Courtenay’s book “The Power of One” is not only the best book I’ve ever read, but is also the most inspirational thing I’ve ever read – since we’re on the subject!

Oh, and my collection of toys which has finally outgrown my desk!

shawn ;)

A: Steph Greenberg writes:

I’ve always been inspired by the classic Warner Bros. and Tex Avery cartoons, as well as some of the modern cartoons inspired by the classics. I think the most influential Disney film on me in Pinocchio, which was lush in the environments and the character movement, and IMHO still hasn’t been topped.

The first film with computer graphics that got me thinking that it was something I wanted to pursue, was “The Last Starfighter”, because I was convinced that eventually that power would come down to something on my desktop, and that I’d be able to take cartoon style animation into a new dimension. It took longer than I thought it would.

I also have the usual science fiction influences: Gibson, Adams, Niven, Pournelle and Barnes, Asimov, Phillip K Dick, Fred Saberhagen, Somtow Sakuritkul, Neal Stephenson, etc.

Film: The Maltese Falcon, Treasure of the Sierra Madres, some Preston Sturgis, Vanishing Point, The Three Stooges, Chaplin, Keaton, Lloyd, Pulp Fiction, John Woo, Jackie Chan, Sergio Leoni, almost any Riddley Scott, almost any Paul Verhoeven (I really like Flesh and Blood), Evil Dead (1,2 and Army of Darkness).

TV: Max Headroom, almost any cool commercial, The Addams Family (does that surprise anyone?), Xena (which inspired my “body switch” test for character development), A&E’s Biography, TLC and Discovery, numerous insipid sitcoms, Brisco County, Wild Wild West. Sometimes Star Trek DS9 and other treks where they go into Klingon culture, an interesting exercise in thorough development of an alien civilization. I’m sure there’s more, but offhand I can’t recall them.

A: Matt Wood, Freelance 3D Artist writes:

Hmmm, let’s see now, some things that get me wondering off in a world of my own…

  • Star Wars got me started – I think that’s obvious if you see my work
  • Everything (almost) by Steven Spielberg
  • Big fat books about architecture (I don’t bother reading the words)
  • Old crumbling castles in the English countryside
  • 2000 AD & Judge Dredd (not the film – oh please)
  • Crackpot stories about UFO’s – especially obscure ones from the 60’s or
  • South America
  • Big machines of any description
  • Really really bad weather
  • Airwolf (really)
  • The works of Arthur C Clarke (back when I used to have time to read)
  • Stanley Kubrick’s spooky, quiet dialogue scenes
  • Beer & barmaids (how did that get in there?)
  • Ugly, clumsy Russian military hardware
  • Mean looking Western military hardware
  • The Lord of the Rings
  • Insects, especially ants (looks like somebody beat me to the film idea though)
  • Cheesy Victorian-style sci-fi films with Doug McClure, Peter Cushing and the like
  • The Fifth Element (perfect in every respect)
  • Sitting down and watching the sky or the sea or both
  • Ridley Scott’s photography (didn’t like Blade Runner all that much though)
  • Old Flash Gordon/Buck Rogers serials
  • Preposterous conspiracy theories
  • Corny sci-fi illustration from the 70’s
  • Really big buildings that weren’t built between 1940 and 1980
  • Anybody who can work one of those pencil things

and … the thing I find most inspiring of all …

  • Pretty much anything that could have been done so much better …

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