The Collaborative Process That Led To "Song of the Sea"

Late last week, Cartoon Brew's Amid Amidi posted a treasure trove of "Man Behind the Curtain" information regarding Tomm Moore's gorgeous (and previously-mentioned) animated wonderment, Song of the Sea.

What do I mean by "Man Behind the Curtain" information? Well, animation is an incredibly complex (and super-humanly time-consuming) process. At least if you want Good (Even Great) Animation. And that means there are lots and lots (and lots) of cooks workin' on the animated broth. In this case, there were clearly not the proverbial "too many," but the question of how one ends up with a single creative vision when the work's being done by so many hands is a fascinating one. (I suspect Moore is mostly to blame.)

Amidi calls attention to the unusual nature of this sort of "creative transparency:"

Reels of this kind aren’t available for the vast amounts of hand-drawn animation produced nowadays (for example, TV shows that are animated in Asia), so it’s commendable that Cartoon Saloon has allowed these reels to be shared publicly, allowing the public an insight into how the animators planned their scenes and the variety of approaches they took to animating the same characters.

And what do I mean by "treasure trove?" That's easier to explain. Just watch these clips and you'll see that the term definitely applies. This one (from animator Victor Ens) does an excellent job of showing the "Before" and "After" images, which emphasizes the weird "bones without skin" look of the unfinished product.

Likewise with this one, from Danas Berznitsky:

Or this one from Geoff King, which is my personal favorite. There's something about the line drawings that are incredibly playful, yet still manage to convey the seriousness (and beauty) behind Moore's film. (Also, a fascinating tidbit from King, who noted that his quota was "1-1/2 to 2 seconds of animation per day." Gosh.)

There are a couple more over at Amidi's place, so be sure to head on over and check them out. And don't forget that the film itself is currently available for streaming to anyone with an AMAZON PRIME account. It's a MustWatch, truly.

Attribution(s): All posters, publicity images, and stills are the property of GKIDS Films and other respective production studios and distributors.