Thursday, February 19, 2015

Creating Wallace and Gromit

Nick Park started creating Wallace and Gromit in 1982. The first film was A Grand Day Out.

He came up with the name Gromit from his brother, an electrician. A grommet is a rubber device used to insulate wiring. He was originally going to be a cat, but once he found it was a lot easier to make dogs out of clay, Gromit became a dog.

Park had never written a script before, and his first version of A Grand Day Out would have been four hours long. Aardman took Park on and helped him cut down his ideas to make them better and makeable in a shorter amount of time. A Grand Day Out took seven years in total.

The next film, The Wrong Trousers, came out in 1993. The train chase in the film is something that they had never seen done before in stopframe animation, and none of them knew how to do it. They built a 20 ft long living room wall, 2 ft high. They fixed the camera to the train and filmed on a long shutter speed to make the background blurry.

In an interview with The Guardian, Park talks about once they made The Curse of the Were-Rabbit with Dreamworks: "We made The Curse of the Were-Rabbit with Dreamworks, and it was often a struggle to keep things as we wanted. They'd say: "Why do they have to have an Austin A35? Can't they have a pickup truck or something cool?" But I love it because it's not cool. We were going to call it The Great Vegetable Plot, but research showed that vegetables were a negative with American kids, and they didn't know a plot is a place where you plant vegetables."

Co-founder of Aardman, Peter Lord, says, "Nick manages to convey in animation what Wallace and Gromit are thinking – and that's something most animators can't do. The lack of sentiment is the most charming thing about them: their affection is never saccharine, never obvious, just kind of real. I love their Jeeves and Wooster thing: the master being such a dope and failing to properly value his lower-status companion – I won't say servant – who is so much more intelligent."

Nick Park ends his interview by saying, "Digital animation is getting better all the time – they can make it look so much like clay now – but for me, there will always be a difference."

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