Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Pixar, Brave, Mark Andrews and The Importance of Wearing a Kilt

Last night I went to a screening in Soho of Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman's charming celtic romp - Brave - which features a red-haired heroine in a Scottish setting (Readers of Flip will already know something of the origins of Merida's fiery hair).

I worked with Mark many years ago back in the heady days of the '90s (remember when animators got signing bonuses? Glory days....) at Warner Bros Feature Animation in Glendale, and we worked together on the ill-fated Quest For Camelot - Warner Bros' unsuccessful attempt to tap into the same vein of Celtic mystery and magic.
Quest for Camelot. Kind of like Brave, only much worse.

Also on the movie was the very talented Steve Pilcher, production designer on Quest and now also on Brave. It was a pleasure to work with both of them. Mark was a very skilled board artist and this was a godsend to us animators, as good story board drawings give us a great starting point to imagine the shot. I well remember turning some of his excellent storyboard drawings into my key animation poses.
Me at my desk on Quest for Camelot at Warner Bros Feature Animation in 1996

Mark is very proud of his highland heritage, and he used to take almost any excuse to show up at the studio wearing a kilt. So when the invite to the screening came through last week, I sent Mark a teasing email telling him to make sure to wear his kilt at the Q&A afterwards. And, much to my surprise,  he did. Here is a photo of the panel - Mark is answering questions from the Daily Telegraph's film critic who, apparently, led the tartan charge, leaving Mark to scramble to his hotel room to get the appropriate clothing.

Now, as anyone who has ever worn a kilt knows, there are certain risks associated with sitting in a chair in a kilt on a raised platform where your waist meets the audience's eye level. I am sure you can imagine. But I was reassured on the night to see that both gentlemen appeared to be well practiced in kilt etiquette.
Two tartan heroes at the Soho Hotel. Producer Katherine Serafian is on the right, and composer Patrick Doyle second from right.
There were a lot of redheads in the audience last night, and everyone seemed to thoroughly enjoy the film. I did too, and suddenly, half way through, a light came on. Mark and Steve have re-made Quest For Camelot. Only this time, they made sure it was done properly.

Well done to them both.


(Editor's note: To find out more about Brave, read our exclusive interview with writer-director Brenda Chapman, and learn about the secret Irish roots of Merida's hair....)

No comments:

Post a Comment