When I was 8 years old I decided that I wanted to make cartoons for a living, and now I’ve done it. If I could go back in time, meet that kid, I would tell him his dream came true, then I would beat him within an inch of his life and tell him to be an accountant.
I’ve worked assembly lines and in steel mills and I’ve never done anything more difficult than make this independent animated film. There has been a lot of blood sweat and tears poured into this film and it would be a shame for the awesome team that made it happen to go unsung.
As we get near the final days/weeks/months of production, I’d like to share some of the work that went into making this very unique movie.
Below are a couple of (non-spoiler) stills and a little behind the scenes peaks at how we developed two of the main villains, Admiral Wells (Voiced by Carrie-Anne Moss) and the bird robots, the Corvax Guards.
The Clockwork Girl: Feature Film
Director: Kevin Konrad Hanna
The Clockwork Girl feature film stars: Carrie-Anne Moss, Alexa Vega, Jesse McCartney, Garrett, and Jeffrey Tambor
Still from "The Clockwork Girl"
Corvax concepts by me, Barnaby Ward, and final model by rocket-man Charlie Baker
Barnaby was an artist I meet online years ago on “The Drawing Board”, his work blew me away and I wanted to work with him ever since. When I put together the animated short that got this whole ball rolling years ago, he was the only concept artist I wanted to work with. He worked on the short film for free in the hopes of making it all happen. When I first started the movie I had planned to do the film in a cell shaded style that emulated Barnaby’s style verbatim. We were looking a lot at shorts like the beautiful “Gary” seen below.
Now check out Barnaby’s pin-up from the original comic below and imagine it fully animated. Obviously we went with a more traditional rendering style, but that would have been something different.
Maybe for the sequel.
Barnaby ended up designing every mechanical set, vehicle and prop, defining the machine aspect of the steam punk work.
I had a blast pitting him again Brandon Graham, who designed all the biological stuff (more on that and Brandon in a later post) to visual reaffirm the biological vs Machine dichotomy of this story.
The amazing worlds of Barnaby Ward are available on his site here: http://somefield.com/
Admiral Wells concepts by Barnaby Ward, and Marian Churchland, model by rockstar Gary Yuen
Admiral Wells was a benign old man in the original script, and Brandon (again, I’ll talk about him on a later day) and I thought it would be much more fun if the character were a relentless, strong willed woman.
Carrie-Anne Moss was a perfect piece of casting. She was great to work with a wonderful and giving human being, but in the back of my mind I kept thinking she could kick my throat through my spine if I had her do one take to many. In our off time we would talk about our kids, and restaurants in Vancouver, once she was behind the mic she was a scary, scary tyrant.
Marian Churchland and Barnaby Ward both had a hand in the design, bouncing concepts back and forth before landing on the above.
Marion did more storyboards then designs for the film, her boards were so cinematic that her shots stayed almost identical to the final results. here is just a tiny example:
Marian’s graphic novel won a Eisner Award during the production. I’m very thankful that I was able to work with her at the start because I’m pretty sure I couldn’t afford her now.
It’s a pretty amazing book if you haven’t already read it, grab at book places.
Speaking of, coming full circle, the original Clockwork Girl graphic novel is getting republished with some all new bonus material by HarperCollins, go to the book places and pre-order that and see what all the talk is about. At least my talk. See what the heck I’m talking about.
Be seeing you.