Friday, December 2, 2011

Mickey

I had the opportunity and the honor to animate Mickey Mouse on a number of occasions. In "Who framed Roger Rabbit" it was Dale Baer who handled most scenes for Mickey's cameo, but I did a few as well. A couple years later in 1990 the studio produced "The Prince and the Pauper", and I got the chance to animate a few key sequences. 
To tell you the truth, it was intimidating to get started on such an iconic character. 
I have always loved Mickey Mouse shorts, but since the character's look changed over the years, which design should we apply for this new featurette?
After studying just about all of his classic films, we agreed that the most charming looking Mickey was from the period of the late 1930ies to early 1940ies.
Time to go back to the archives and study Fred Moore. It was so much fun
to find out, how Mickey's hands really work and how to do graphic cheats with his ears and nose. 
The section I particularly enjoyed animating was when Mickey and the Prince meet for the first time. They both have the same design, but the acting needed to be specific to each character. Mickey is humble and shy, the prince is confident and cocky.

I had discussed "The Brave Little Taylor" (probably my favorite Mickey short) with Frank Thomas, who admitted that Mickey's old concept for his eyes gave him trouble when animating certain acting scenes. 
Still, those scenes in front of the King and Princess Minnie are animated GOLD.

The last Mickey short I worked on was "Runaway Brain" from 1995.
I can't shake the feeling that the world is truly waiting for a cool Mickey comeback, he's been away from the screen way too long, wouldn't it be nice.......






22 comments:

  1. Wow, definitely a comeback would be cool. And if I could make a request to not try to make it hip and now looking. I love the simple designs, one's where even the backgrounds, cars and objects where pliable,alive, not too perfect and stiff.

    Mickey's trailer is one of my Favorites and also Moving Day. Something in that realm. With new adventures and stories would be a blast. http://youtu.be/errn_Prwn-Y

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  2. I have been saying that for a long time. It would be the best to see Mickey up on the big screen. Back in college I asked one of my animation professors about this and he said that Disney is hesitant to use Mickey and the others because if the film didn't do well it would look bad for the company. I know a Mickey film would do great. As long as they don't release it with a hugely anticipated summer blockbuster like they did with Winnie the Pooh. I still don't know why Disney thought it wise to release Pooh the same weekend as Harry Potter when August was dead it could have easily made a nice profit. It seems like they want to make it look like traditional animation is dead.

    Maybe we need one of those online petitions to bring back Mickey.

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  3. The Princess and the Frog and Winnie the Pooh were done beautifully. They had the right amount of attention to story and characters, with masterful art work. Its time we see Micky given this treatment. I just re watched Micky and the Beanstalk and I'd love to see a Micky like that again. He had a bit of a mischievous side to him back then, I'd like to see that trait again.

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  4. Beautiful work Andreas! I also love love love the animation in Runaway Brain, it's classic Mickey animation with a little edge, just stunning work.

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  5. What are those "wrinkles" at the left side of the drawing?

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  6. Beautiful stuff!
    'Runaway Brain' is a classic. Fresh take, bold use of Mickey, animation oozes life and the story and cuts are SO tight. Would love to hear any stories about it.

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  7. There are so many Mickey stories and concepts from the comic strips, comic books and black and white cartoons that Mickey could be a regular series if'n the powers that be would just allow it to happen. I'm not talking saturating the market but tailoring some short films to the current (digital) market. That'd keep current and future generation of artists and animators drawing for years and years to come. Come on Disney... wake up!

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  8. your version of mIckey MOuse is very nice, and is the modern version

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  10. I saved this quote from Maurice Sendak which I always found very interesting:"The Golden age of Mickey for me is that of the Middle 30's. An ingenious shape, fashioned primarily to facilitate the needs of the animator,he exuded a wonderful sense of physical satisfaction and pleasure....a piece of art that powerfully affected and stimulated the imagination. I'm less a lover of Mickey's character and personality...that of the actor/boy next door, man about town.....than I am of him as a pure graphic image."

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  11. YES! A MICKEY COMEBACK WOULD BE AWESOME!
    I think I like ~this~ Mickey. Modernish (it's the one I grew up with, I think). Simple, cartoony, and not too old-fashioned. Very cute too :D Mickey will always be growing and changing through the years, but, personally, I'd watergun-squirt anyone who tries to 3Dify Mickey. Then again, even those polished, slightly more dimensional images of Disney characters look weird to me.
    I haven't seen many of the older Mickey cartoons, come to think of it...
    ~Goes to Youtube. Will be back after I've hunted down every single cartoon of that little mouse~

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  12. Mr.Deja, Dale has a webpage now,its www.dalebaeranimation.com

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  13. At Ron: I feel the same way as Maurice. Nothing fills me with such visual delight as older Mickey shorts (such as "Thru the Mirror" and "Dognapper,") watching that version of Mickey's design dance and move.

    I'd absolutely love to see series of animated shorts based on Floyd Gottfredson's comic strips, but I'm afraid that just isn't going to happen. That version of Mickey is lost to us, as it's a version of Mickey I doubt Disney would be interested in promoting.

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  14. why don't mickey and the prince have tails in this cartoon?

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  15. Thank you so much for this entry! I think that your animation is amazing as well and a landmark in the history of the character. I would be interested to know if your approach to the character was different during the years. I know you animated Mickey Mouse in Fantasia 2000 too, which were the major differences in the animation of the character in the early 90s and at the end of the decade? When you draw Mickey in a live action movie is your approach to the character different?

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  16. I love Mickey!!!! He'll make his comeback!!

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  17. I know earlier in the year there was rumour that Burny Mattinson was pitching a Mickey Mouse movie idea. I hold hope that if it's true, it might succeed. Poor Mickey and the gang are only on the pre-school channel now thanks to the destruction of what was once the magnificent Disney Channel.
    Does the quote 'It was all started with a mouse.' not ring any bells with them?

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  18. Mickey deserves a big comeback.

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  19. eeTeeD,
    I have no idea, why we didn't use tails.
    I know that some classic shorts show a tail, others don't.

    Andrea,
    yes, I had forgotten to mention Fantasia 2000.
    I don't remember changing the model from what I had done before. I recall thinking that the tones (shadows and highlights) made him feel a bit heavy, the pencil test
    didn't have that .
    It's always tricky to work with live action, but once you've been through "Roger Rabbit", you kind of know what to do, at least technically.

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  20. I agree with this wholeheartedly. I'd love to see another Mickey Mouse animated feature—one that is TRADITIONALLY animated, not CG. Why, it COULD be a handdrawn feature in 3D if they want. And why not? THE LION KING 3D proved profitable, and they're following it up with BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. Why shouldn't Disney try something like that? They didn't say they were abandoning handdrawn feature films, just taking them in a new direction, whatever that means....

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