Adam Phillips, part 3

Welcome back to Brackenwood! Below is the last of the three-part Cold, Hard Flash interview with Adam Phillips, Mayor of Brackenwood. In this section, we learn about Adam’s next Brackenwood installment, his thoughts on other vector-based animation software, and what DVDs are in his player.

AARON SIMPSON: How’s ‘Waterlollies,’ your most recent ‘Brackenwood’ short, coming along?
ADAM PHILLIPS: Right now it’s quite slow, but occasionally I’ll get a free day and pound out a few scenes. I have most of it storyboarded now, but every now and again when I’m tired of storyboarding, I’ll create a few backgrounds and animation and get a scene or two working in full colour. (follow this link and scroll to the bottom to see a sneak preview)

AARON: Are you experimenting with any new types of effects animation in ‘Waterlollies?’
ADAM: There are a couple of new scripting ideas that I’d like to discuss with Sham for this new movie. The problem with scripted effects though, is that they only work in the Flash Player. To get those effects working for a DVD or video, they need to be created manually (unless we can figure out a way to ‘bake’ the simulation, like in Maya).

AARON: How long is the ‘Brackenwood’ title sequence going to be?
ADAM: I’m guessing between 30 and 40 seconds. I’m also determined to win awards with it, just like ‘Invader Zim’ did with their title sequence.

AARON: Have you considered assembling your ‘Brackenwood’ shorts into a DVD compilation?
ADAM: Right now, there’s not enough episodes to make a decent length DVD. In fact, if you include ‘hitchHiker’ 1 and 2, there’s only about 35 minutes of viewing. I’d hate to release something like that ‘cos I feel I’d be cheating the audience. Once I have about 8 ‘Brackenwood’ episodes, I’ll pad it with special features and really make it worth the buy. :)

AARON: Have you ever considered utilizing other 2D software packages like Toon Boom, Moho, Toonz and Digicel’s Flipbook?
ADAM: I have thought about using USAnimation, the Tab and Moho. In fact, in TGSNT2 I won both ToonBoom and the Tab, so I can now explore their capabilities if I need to. I can just see myself reverting back to Flash anyway, because it’s usually quicker than learning a new program. If only I had more hours in the day…

AARON: You’re practically royalty in the Newgrounds.com universe. How has your internet profile changed since you started posting your shorts there?
ADAM: Dramatically. The popularity of ‘hitchHiker,’ ‘Bitey’ and ‘Brackenwood’ just exploded after posting them on Newgrounds, and thanks to that, the traffic hitting my site has skyrocketed in the past couple of years. This has finally made it possible for me to earn money from the site, which was a factor in my decision to quit Disney.

AARON: You’ve mentioned before that you enjoy playing Unreal Tournament 2004 – what other video games do you enjoy?
ADAM: I love RPGs and I love First Person Shooters (particularly multiplayer). I particularly love FPS RPGs, like Morrowind and Gothic II.

While RPGs are my favourite, First Person Shooters are great when I want a half-hour break from animation. You can’t play an RPG for just half hour.

In my games library I have Unreal (the original), Wheel of Time, Gothic II, Unreal Tournament 2003 and 2004, Splinter Cell, Morrowind, Quake 3 Arena, Doom 3, Deus Ex 1 and 2… blah blah blah.

AARON: What is currently playing in your DVD player?
ADAM: ‘Big Train,’ series 1 and 2!! That’s a sketch comedy show from the U.K. Brilliant.

AARON: Which upcoming animated feature are you most looking forward too?
ADAM: I’m really looking forward to ‘Howl’s Moving Castle,’ ‘cos I do like Miyazaki (probably not hard to see that in my work).

AARON: The recent batch of Disney’s animated feature sequels (in particular ‘Lion King 1 1/2′ and ‘Return to Neverland’) have been receiving a great deal of praise. To what do you attribute this increased appreciation?
ADAM: Both of those movies were animated at the Sydney studio which, at the time was Disney’s last remaining DTV (direct-to-video) studio. Our Canadian and Japanese counterparts were shut down, and as a result the Sydney studio got more money, more projects (in fact, all projects) and more people as artists and animators followed the work down to Australia.

The Australian director for ‘Lion King 1.5,’ Ryan O’Loughlin is an amazingly talented animator and a personal friend of mine. I attribute the success of the third ‘Lion King’ movie to his incredible attention to detail and his hard work in getting exactly what he wanted on screen.

I feel the same way about ‘Return to Neverland,’ where the story was kinda yuck and quite boring until director Kevin Lima was brought on board to make it all better. His changes made the audience care about the characters, where before, nobody gave a flying rat’s arse about what happened to Jane. In fact, she was a complete bitch. Early in the project, before Kevin Lima came on board, I hoped she would die in one of my scenes. One of the great things about working in FX is that you usually get to kill off the bad guys. I killed quite a few Disney bad-guys in my FX scenes – Zira, Forté, Morgana, the big bald guy whats-his-name in ‘Aladdin and the King of Thieves.’ I almost managed to kill the Mouse himself in ‘The Three Musketeers,’ but Goofy and Donald saved him.

Where was I? Oh yeah – directors like Ryan O’Loughlin (‘Lion King 1.5′) Kevin Peaty (‘The Three Musketeers’) and Kevin Lima (‘Return to Neverland’) make the audience care about the story and the characters. Those guys see the value of creating characters and stories that people won’t forget as soon as the credits roll.

AARON: Do you have any advice to animation students graduation this Spring?
ADAM: If you want success in animation, keep doing it until you’re tired of it, then do it some more. The thing that separates amateur from expert is experience and you only gain experience by doing. The more you animate, the better you’ll get, because improvement is an almost guaranteed side-effect of experience. Treat every mistake or bad drawing as a lesson learned, and in time your animation will reflect your level of commitment.

AARON: Thanks, Adam. Extremely interesting stuff. Congratulations on your awards this year, and best of luck on ‘Waterlollies.’ Can’t wait to see it!

One Comment

  1. Thanks for this very insightful interview with Adam.

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