Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pierre Speaks: Working on Bob Morane

By far..... Bob Morane has been the best show I have worked on. It is the TV show I am the most proud of so far.

Heck at the time, we thought we had a winner. We thought we would do at least 12 seasons of that series.

I guess it is a great example that you cannot predict success. ;)

Previously I mentioned how I could go to various studios in person and apply for work.

Ironically, that was not the case for Bob.

The mother of what would become my future girlfriend at the time (but who now is my ex-girlfriend ;) ) had seen an article in some paper about a studio looking for artists. She gave me the phone number she got from the article.

That was before I started working on Scary. I was still looking for work at the time so I called the studio and spoke with one of the producers who gave me their mailing address and told me to send to the director of the show, a great guy named Norm Leblanc who had directed the Flash Gordon TV series, my CV and some portfolio samples.

Then some time later, I was hired on Scary and pretty much forgot about that. Until I got a phone call giving me an appointment to meet with Norm.

I almost didn't go.

I was working on Scary. Although I was about done working on the design team on Scary, I had applied to work on the storyboard clean-up on Scary (yes..... again it meant doing another test..... even though I was already working on Scary) and was told I had the job.

But I figured..... let's go anyway. The worst that can happen is that I turn down the job on Bob Morane.

So during my lunch hour, I went to meet with Norm.

I was very impressed with Norm's enthusiasm. And he seemed to really want to hire me, he started showing me a truckload of designs they had done. Then he took me to the coloring department and started showing me a lot of color samples they had done to establish the style of the series.

I was hooked. I wanted to work on that show.

So as expected..... Norm gave me a test. It was a character rotation to be cleaned.

So that very evening, I did the Bob Morane test after work, and the very next day in my lunch break I brought back my test to Norm.

I had already warned my bosses on Scary that I might be leaving to work on Bob Morane instead of working on the storyboard clean-up on Scary. I asked them if they had anyone in mind to replace me if I did not take the job.

They said not to worry about it. They had someone else in mind if I was no longer available.

So a few days later, I got the job on the Bob Morane design team.

So from that day.... I always try to meet the people who offer me work before saying no (or before saying yes for that matter ;) ).... just in case.

Here's a funny story.

The guy who was taken in my place on Scary is a guy with whom I went to college with called Azad Injekian.

Some of you may know him as the creator of the comic "Sammy: the tourist trap", a series that was published by Image Comics in 2003 if I am not mistaken (great series by the way).

But that is not the funny part.... the funny part is that Azad had also applied on Bob Morane.

If I had stayed on Scary, Azad would have had the job on Bob Morane. But since I left for Bob, he got the job on Scary.


So I started on Bob Morane as a clean-up artist. Which essentially meant that I would do pretty much anything required of me. From fixing some props, to cleaning-up character or location designs, inking an early version of the series' logo, or even helping out on correcting the storyboards if needed.

In retrospect, I was wayyyyy too inexperienced to be working on a series like Bob Morane. It was not easy.

But in the first few months that I have worked on Bob, I learned more then I did in all my years in college.

I also had the pleasure of working with a great guy called Gabriel Morisette who worked for DC on various series like Ragman, Team Titans or Hawk & Dove or some other series I can't think of right now. He also had his own comic called Angloman.

Then I applied to work on layout & posing for Bob Morane, and another series called Ivanhoe. So I spent a couple of week-ends doing the Bob Morane and the Ivanhoe layout & posing tests.

But this time, not only did I have a better idea of how layout and posing worked from all the tests that I had done before, but also I was right there in the studio and could ask for tips and advices to some of my co-workers if I needed to.

Let me tell you.... it is much easier to get a job once you are inside and know some of the people in the studio then when you are trying to break in from the outside.

This time.... both tests were good enough.

So I had to chose between doing layout & posing either on Bob Morane or on Ivanhoe.

I chose Bob.

But for the first few days..... I almost regretted my choice.

That first week, I had the posing of 25 scenes to do for Friday...... and by the end of Tuesday.... I had only done 2 scenes.

I was in big trouble.

I was thinking to myself..... I will never make it. I'll be fired Friday.

But as it turned out, the first few scenes were the really tough ones. Then it got easier with later scenes, and the last few scenes were very simple to do.

So by Friday, I was able to hand in my 25 scenes finished with some time to spare.

So I was given 35 scenes to do for the following week. ;)

I remember saying to my boss something like..... 35 scenes is too much.... but she told me...... you just made 25 scenes in your first week..... you can do 35 now.

And I did.

Also doing layout & posing paid you for the amount of scenes you made. So the more scenes you made..... the more money you made.

When I started on Scary, I was making $450 per week. Which was awesome at the time since I was finally getting paid to draw.

Then I was making $700 per week on Bob. Which was the most money I had ever made at the time.

But then working on layout & posing, I was making $1200, $1400, heck sometimes as much as $1600 per week.

Life was good.

I foolishly thought that I had made it. That from now on, it would always be like that. But sadly... that is not how it works.

But that is a story for some other time. ;)


Unknown said...

Oh my god, when I was a kid/adolescent, Bob was a GOD to me! I vividly remember him being hit by the metal hand thingy and going over the side of a ship... My world crumbled for real! And to imagine that was the last episode of BM I'd managed to see, I'm surprised I turned out as well as I did. I've been looking for episodes of the show for a year luck with no avail (apart from some youtubed stuff). Would any of you guys know where I could find them? Even VHS would do, I'd buy a cassette player just to watch Bob, Bill and Sophie once more :O

Eipa said...

Thank you for uploading the stuff. I used to love Bob Morane sou much as a child...

Siri said...

Thank you so much for sharing this, the drawings and the insight :-) I'm a huge fan of the animated series - loved it back then as a teenager, and now that I've rediscovered it, I'm hooked again! It's too bad that there were only two seasons. Thanks again, this website is just awesome ;-)


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