Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Pierre Speaks - Heavy Metal 2000 pt 2

Office politics.

I hate them.

I mentioned how I almost did not get to work on Heavy Metal because of it.

But then later, office politics took on a new form.

On the design team, every designers were designing the show in their style, and were pushing to get the project done in their style.

And some of the producers had their own idea on what they wanted.

So when the time came to show some artwork to the main investors, the producers would not show them everything and let the investors decide which style they prefered. The producers would "forget" (meaning hide) to show the investors some of the designs, so that the investors would have no choice but to choose the work of the designer of the producers choice.

So you had that tug of war going on with people trying to get the project done in the style they wanted.

It made me realise that I had already seen that before..... but again at the time I never fully realised what was going on. I guess that Cypher war right.... ignorance is bliss. ;)

I started as a clean-up artist on Heavy Metal.... but that project was a rollercoaster ride for me.

The director seemed to like what I was doing and I did not work doing clean-up for long.

I remember someone commenting on how I seemed to have a sure hand when cleaning up the artwork with a fine marker, and how I was doing more then just cleaning-up, but was actually improving the artwork.

At the time, I took it as someone just pulling my leg, especially considering that I knew that many did not want me there.

But when the director started asking me to redo the designs that some of the designers had done..... I started taking such comments seriously.

And after a while, I was no longer redoing some designs that had already been done, but doing some designs of my own.

Once again..... some people weren't happy about that.

Some of the designers weren't happy that I was redoing their work.

Although... sometimes even I was not happy about that because I liked what some of the designers were doing.... and was not too crazy about the idea of "fixing" their work sometimes

But also some of the other guys who had been hired as clean-up artists were wondering why I was doing designs.

For most of them, it was their first job in animation. And they assumed that it was the same with me.

But again as they got to know me, they realised that I had a few projects under my belt already.... especially the fact that I had worked on Bob Morane. Having worked on Bob Morane was seen as an acomplishment by many at the time.

Bob Morane had at the time the reputation of having some of the best artists and THE best layout & posing team in Montreal working on it. Like Heavy Metal, many people applied to work on Bob Morane. So being one of those who were able to get to work on Bob was an acheivement in itself at the time.

So like on "the Busy world of Richard Scary" although I was hired as a "lowly" clean-up artist, now I was doing character design work on Heavy Metal.

Then I started getting some misinformation. Either on purpose because some people were not happy to see me doing designs..... or simply because of some poor communications.

For example, I was asked to design an army of Mutants (originally, there was such an army in the script). Although I was told that despite being refered to as Mutants, they were simply human looking.

So I went on to design those human looking Mutants..... until I showed some designs to the director and he asked me " what are those supposed to be??". I told him that those were the Mutants that I had been asked to do. That is how I found out that I was given the wrong information.

This was not at all what he asked for.

So I would have to check regularly with him to see if I had the correct information or not.

But then at some point.... the director was fired..... and the producer who had hired me was off the project too.

That was not good news..... at least for me.

So one of the producers assumed the directors position.

So back I was at doing simply clean-up work, or designing stuff like props.

Let me tell you..... I was not a happy guy working on Heavy Metal.

With all the problems on the project, making less money then I knew I would on any other project, and even the studio environment itself.

So when I was offered to go develop a new TV series for another studio.... I almost left Heavy Metal.

I went and met with the director of the new show, and when he saw my portfolio, he almost wondered why I was meeting with him. He thought that my work was perfect for Heavy Metal.

I told him something like "You should tell my bosses that".

Guess he could tell that I was not a happy guy right then.

So after my meeting, I went to see the Heavy Metal director/producer to let him know that I was thinking about leaving to work on another project.

I almost expected him to go something like "good riddance".

To my surprise... it was the opposite.

He really did not want me to go. He started showing me some designs and storyboards of upcoming projects. He was telling me how they would need someone like me and that I should stick around. That they would have plenty of work in the future.

I was a little confused at the time.

I was under the impression that my "new" boss wasn't very happy to have me on the project. But my meeting him gave me the impression that he really did not want me to leave.

So I decided to stay.

What I did not know was that he desperately needed someone like me to work on the layout & posing team of Heavy Metal.

If you remember how me and my 2 friends spent lots of time together during the Ice Storm.

All 3 of us had been part of the layout & posing team of Bob Morane.

The 3 of us were now working on Heavy Metal.

And all 3 of us had taken the layout & posing test on Heavy Metal. And we were at some point told that we would be part of the layout & posing team on Heavy Metal. But when we were trying to find out how things would work out.... and also.... how much we would be paid. Would we be paid by the week?? by the scene??

But week after week, we could not get any answers to our questions.

So at some point, the person who was our boss on the Bob Morane layout & posing team gave us a call. We were offered to work on layout & posing on a new series called Fantomette. All 3 of us gave our 2 weeks notice and that was the end of Heavy Metal for us.

I can tell you that our bosses on Heavy Metal weren't happy at all with our decision.

Only then did we find out that out of all the layout & posing tests that had been done..... and many many many people did the test, only 3 tests were good enough.

Our 3 tests.

But sadly..... it was too late. Our minds were made up.

So all at once.... they lost the only 3 people they had qualified enough to do the layout & posing on Heavy Metal.

We were not very happy working on Heavy Metal. And going to work on Fantomette meant going back to where we worked on Bob with essentially the same layout & posing team then when we were working on Bob.

So we felt that the "good times" were back.

Once again.... it doesn't work like that.

I will explain that in another blog. ;)

Until next time.

1 comment:

Swift said...

Interesting story! That explains why the mutants were such a diverse-looking bunch.

Guess this movie's development was just as hectic and thrown together as its story.

Nice designs on that wolf-guy... I don't recall him from the movie, though - did he make it to the final cut?


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