Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Peek at Some Faces Behind Your Favorite Animation

Disney/Pixar logo
A Peek at Some Faces Behind Your Favorite Animation. Our goal here at Animated Film Reviews is to give animation fans just a teeny smidgen of insight into the animation they love. We do this by providing industry news, film reviews, and as much context as we can squeeze in. The animation industry is varied, like doctors and lawyers and plumbers and such, so it's impossible and unnecessary to try to give a complete view of the field. However, a little context goes a long way and helps some of us to enjoy the animation we see a bit more than we would otherwise.

With that in mind, and as a one-time thing, we're going to give an extremely quick peek under the hood and let you see a few animators who create the animation you see in the theater and on home video. These folks all have worked at Pixar, though they all apparently have moved on to new employment. You'll almost never hear of these folks otherwise unless you stick around for the five minutes of credits after some future animated film and squint really, really hard.

We're cool with anyone who works on animated films. We wish them nothing but the best. And besides, without these guys and many, many more like them, we'd here at Animated Film Reviews would have nothing to do all day! Keeps us off the street.

All right, on with the show.

Daisuke 'Dice' Tsutsumi

Dice Tsutsumi
Dice Tsutsumi.
Dice Tsutsumi has been an animator for a number of years. He began in the Art Department at Blue Sky Studios (pretty sure of that, if that's wrong, apologies), where he worked, among other things, as a matte (background) painter on the smash hit "Ice Age."

After that, he gravitated over to Pixar, where he was an Art Director on their smash hit "Toy Story 3." While there, he directed a couple of shorts, "Sketchtravel" and "The Dam Keeper," which he created outside of Pixar.

Dice obviously is extremely talented. A native of Tokyo, he just so happens to be the son-in-law of Hayao Miyazaki.

Yes, that Hayao Miyazaki.

Anyway, Dice recently sent around a notice to friends and followers that he was leaving Pixar, no doubt to go to another top outfit. It's worth posting just to give you a tiny slice of a top animator's life. We wish him the best of luck.

Subject : I'd like to thank you all----Today is my last day
Time: July 11th, 2014

When I graduated from high school in Tokyo, I left my country behind to start a new life in the U.S.

I had no idea what I got myself into at the time especially since I spoke no English and didn't even know what I wanted to study. (I knew nothing about art!)

People often ask me if I like America better as I ended up staying here for the next 20 years.

I look back now and I realize it was not a matter of preference between Japan and the US.

What mattered the most was the "change" I made in my life. It taught me so much about what it means to live in a fast-changing, diverse international society today.

Interestingly, my love for Japan actually grew more after I left Japan because I can see the beauty of my culture from outside. I proudly carry my Japanese heritage to this day while I adapted the culture in the United States.

I am certain that is what it's going to happen after I leave Pixar, the most creative environment on earth that I will miss so dearly.

One thing I learned from you guys at Pixar is that I shall not be afraid of taking risks. I'll live and work like a Pixarian even after I leave the gate behind today.

I hope this isn't a breakup. I rather see it as a child leaving for college to learn from his own failures in the outside world. I see Pixar as my parents and I hope to use everything I learned here to survive out there.

My dream is that I come back to work with you again someday and apply whatever I learn from this dark, scary and dangerous jungle of "unknown."

Until then...

with sincere gratitude

Dice Tsutsumi

Robert Kondo

Robert Kondo
Robert Kondo.
Robert Kondo has been at Pixar at least since "Ratatouille," on which he served as an art director. He recently worked with Dice on "The Dam Keeper" short, and was an art director on last year's "Monsters University."

Robert recently left Pixar for parts unknown. He tweeted this out with Instagram:

Robert Kondo
The picture is of the Pixar Gates
Kondo and Tsutsumi have announced that they have started their own creative house, Tonko House. In the animation industry, you never know what will happen, so they may wind up back at a big studio, or Tonko House could become a huge hit. We wish the boys the best of luck with their project.

Saschka Unseld

Saschka Unseld
Saschka Unseld.
Saschka Unseld started out in Germany, where he co-directed the short "Strasse der Spezialisten" for Studio Soi. He found his way to the States at some point worked on, among other projects, "Toy Story 3," "Cars 2," "Brave" and "Toy Story of Terror" as a Pixar layout artist.

That's a pretty impressive list of films right there.

Saschka recently posted a bunch of photos and stuff on Instagram showing him departing Pixar. Incidentally, he can speak for himself, he lists his own biography on Instagram as:
Saschka Unseld: Director and writer of things, including Pixar's The Blue Umbrella, I tweet @saschkaunseld 
Anyway, apparently after leaving, Saschka had to go back to the office for something, so he posted this:

Saschka Unseld photo
He now needs a "host" to enter the premises
That's how it goes in the big city, riding high in April, having to be someone's guest in the place you used to be a big shot in July. Just about anyone who's had a job at a big firm knows how that goes.

We wish Saschka the best of luck as well.

Teddy Newton

Teddy Newton
Teddy Newton.
Teddy Newton was at Pixar for a long time. His credits there go back at least as far as working as a voice actor on "The Incredibles." Before that, he did character design on "The Iron Giant" while apparently at Warner Bros. Animation. Since Brad Bird was behind both of those films, we're guessing they came over to Pixar together or one at the suggestion of the other. That's only a guess, but that's how transfers often work - one guy goes over, then puts in a good word for another.

At Pixar, Teddy's worked on "Cars," "Ratatouille," "WALL-E," "Up," "Toy Story 3" - these are some of the biggest animated films of all time, and he did voice work on all of them! Man, that's plain awesome.

Anyway, Teddy apparently has left Pixar as well fairly recently. His friend posted this picture of him with a bunch of big shots (trust me, these folks are not scrubbing toilets, they are bosses):

Teddy Newton and friends.
Anyway, so it appears that Teddy Newton now is at Paramount. It looks like they're all having fun as well, which is awesome. We're sure we'll be seeing and hearing his work in the years to come.

Anyway, that completes our quick peek under the hood of the animation that you see and love. Best of luck to everyone.


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