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Tony White p6

Animator Tony White on atelier-style studio-academies, digital-i publishing and Bad Penguins...

READERSVOICE.COM: At what stage is the making of Bad Penguin?

TONY WHITE: We’re really still in the development stage. As you probably know I did gratefully get some development money on Kickstarter and put it to good use. However, as I work into any project I find that I constantly have to evolve and revise my original concept. This is fair and reasonable if the ultimate intention is to create a great film. Bad Penguin is going through that process right now… principally polishing further both design and script. It’s good as it is but… as Walt would have said… it can always be better.
So I’m investing in some more creative revisions, in the belief that what will come out in the end will be rock-solid and actually worth making! (It’s not about taking production money and jumping straight in, you see… it’s about getting the art and story right before taking the money to commit.) Walt always pushed every project he did at the development stage and would not rest until it was ‘just right’. Then he would put it into production, or release it to the cinemas.
As far as I am concerned, his original philosophy has proven itself time and time again over the decades… which is why I’m surprised ‘corporate Disney’ threw the baby out with the bathwater in the Eisner era, pretty much reversing Walt’s great legacy of process 180-degrees!
I’m actually currently developing three significantly different projects right now, including Bad Penguin. Although each one is entirely different in concept and objective from the others I do believe that each will be ground-breaking in its own right when made. A lot depends however on my finding the right angel investor who is prepared to think outside the box and evolve the art and business of animation in entirely new and exciting ways.

RV: What are some [more] of your plans?

TW: I think the above answers this question pretty much. I’m definitely not writing any more traditionally printed animation books for a while, if ever! I think I’ve exhausted my well of knowledge and experience anyway… and it’s time to stop telling others how to do things and do them myself.
I’m particularly intrigued by the notion of digital i-publishing, where text and image (even animated image) can be incorporated into one instantly downloadable product, worldwide!
The three movie developments I mentioned above are just a start. My long published ultimate dream is to establish an atelier-style ‘studio/academy’ that brings together cutting edge production with an apprentice-style education for young and talented wannabe animators. That way master professionals can pass on their knowledge to current and future generations for the benefit of the art-form. The entity would also develop new and more exciting projects that over time would ensure the entire thing would self-supporting… while bringing back audiences to outstanding, quality, 2D animated films that they just don’t know are possible right now. It needs funding of course, but we are not talking of the kind of production costs that Hollywood ridiculously (and scandalously) spends. Amazing work can still be produced on almost ‘stone-soup’ budgets… it’s just a question of putting the artist back into the driving seat, relegating the businessmen and marketers to the back seats.
The problem is that these days too many little minds are making big decisions. This needs to change once and for all if animation is to survive… whether it be 2D, 3D, claymation or any other form of animated creation.

-See Tony White’s website www.tonywhiteanimation.com.
-copyright Simon Sandall.