Where It All Began: THE ILLUSIONIST
As I have just launched my site, many are asking about its name: 62 George Street.
Although the origin is explained in the company’s bio under the “about” tab (feel free to hunt & peck – and return as the award season progresses), I will go into a little more detail below.
62 George Street was one of the two Edinburgh studio locations for Sylvain Chomet’s THE ILLUSIONIST (see trailer below). One was on George Street, just behind Princes Street near the Castle and one was further down on Canongate, near Holyrood Palace.
The Illusionist / L’Illusioniste trailer:
Making Of (Layout & Animation):
At the time I was on the production (2008 – 2009), approximately one third of the Edinburgh crew (including compositing, color, CG and layout) was working at the Canongate studio (with Sylvain) and two thirds of the crew was at working at George Street under our fearless leader, Paul Dutton.
The Canongate Studio Entrance
Assistant Director, Paul Dutton (& our Color Supervisor, Emma – check out her upcoming stop-motion short film teaser: SETTLING: https://vimeo.com/66254849)
There were 3 offices & 4 work rooms on George Street and approximately 80 artists between the two Edinburgh locations involved in the production of the film.
Assistant Director (& Animation Director) Paul Dutton & Director of Assistant Animation John Walsh shared an office, there was an office in the front for production (the producers, our production manager & their assistants) and one in the back for scene prepping, accounts & facilities…
The animation work rooms were of good size, housing (roughly) 6 -15 animators/assistants and a handful of line testers. The rooms were all nick-named: the Spanish room, the French room, the Tati room, and the Alice room (although we had many more countries represented than France and Spain – we were a wonderfully eclectic group of artists from around the globe).
The French Room – Elio, Laurent, Eric (Al is out of frame)
The Hallway / Storyboards
The Tati Room – Line Testing with Al & Sam, James & Yann.
(Two of these artists are Sam Taylor and James Duveen – and Bjorn Aschim, our layout artist from Canongate [+ 3 other artists], went on to create THE LINE, a BAFTA-nominated animation collective in London – http://www.thelineanimation.com/about/)
Line testing in The Alice Room – Yann, Dong, Sandra & Slaven…
The Facilities, Scene-prepping and Accounting Room
(Inside are Rosanna & Anne. Rosanna & her husband, Director Ignacio Ferreras, have beautifully adapted Paco Roca’s graphic novel: ARRUGAS [WRINKLES] into a feature.)
The animation and assistant work/key clean-up was primarily done in Edinburgh (with follow up work done in Dundee by Ink Digital) with important secondary shots and complex miscellaneous sequences (with multiple characters) sent to Neomis in Paris (an amazing, gifted crew headed up by Bruno Gaumetou & Etienne Longa, who were also at the helm of Disney Paris and many of the crew were veterans of that time) to animate and clean up.
The Neomis animators included the likes of the incomparable Pierre Perifel (a supervising animator now at DreamWorks [Lord Shen, KUNG FU PANDA 2] ) and Tom Caulfield (an Irish animator and storyman, who also worked on THE SECRET OF KELLS – and whom also has a shortfilm [UNHINGED] due out in 2014).
The Edinburgh crew of THE ILLUSIONIST was the heart and soul of this film, with Paul at the center.
And Paul’s never-ending show of appreciation…(Photo Credit: Anne Beauduc)
And his constant show of leadership, by day and by night…
To be (Arthur-)seated in one of the most beautiful places on the planet with such an incredible (kind) group of artists was a gift.
A special thank you to the Chomets, to Fiona(!!), to John – & to Paul (infinitim)…
In walking to 62 George Street my first week of work (with this view of the castle above) I happened across the first images I’d ever seen of THE SECRET OF KELLS (on a bus along Princes Street) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lw2_HZTuQBE.
KELLS had just premiered at the Edinburgh International Film Festival – it was the first time an animated film had ever won the Audience Award at the EIFF.
I returned to the states, determined to see the film and to get it over to the US to share with my colleagues…
My professional life ultimately changed course that day, (thanks to Tomm Moore & Cartoon Saloon).
It seems only befitting to honor the site/the company/my advocacy in the championing of independent films by naming the company after the location of where it all began…
Full list of credits – Sylvain Chomet’s: THE ILLUSIONST: