Ever wondered what it’s like being an Animation Director? Jacques Daigle from Mikros Animation takes us through what his role as Animation Director looks like and dives into his latest project, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem.
Q: Hi Jacques, tell us about your role and journey into Mikros Animation?
A: I was the Animation Director on TMNT Mutant Mayhem. My journey to Mikros Animation is a long one! I first started on the film Mune and worked on many subsequent films at Mirkos Animation up until now.
Q: What was your first reaction after learning you’d be working on the Animation for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem?
A: Capital O, capital M, captial G
It was a dream come true! A lifelong fan of the Turtles, never in my life did I think I would work on a super cool animated version of the Turtles!
Q: What does your role as an Animation Director look like on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem project?
A: An Animation Director has enormous responsibilities. On this film it was no different. The position demands constant collaboration with every artist on the floor, as well as inter-departmental communication to ensure the assets that we need in animation are built correctly.
For example, I was making the final calls for the performances that would be serving the film. I say “make the call” because I would always allow the animators to bring their own ideas. The ideas were great, and one of my million jobs was to nudge the performance to a place where it fits the style of the film. It was an amazing experience. So many excellent surprises.
There are far too many individual responsibilities to spell out in this Q&A, so I’ll just say : It was cool to make this movie!
Q: Describe the project in 3 words
A: Raw, Spontaneous, Fun
Q: Which TMNT character do you relate to the most?
A: Probably Raph. He has rage issues. I’m not as strong as he is, but we share impulsiveness.
Q: While working on the CG animated film, what were the main artistic or technical challenges you had to overcome in your department?
A: Getting the work to feel as though it was animated by one person. Asking 80+ animators to fit a mold is next to impossible. Everyone has something to bring, their own flair, etc. So I needed to find something that could help gel the overall structure of the film and create unity.
Q: What was your favorite part of the project?
A: The team. Definitely the team. Serving them was the most satisfying experience. They all really wanted to work on this project, and they all brought their A-games. I was there to help them achieve their own creative goals. The movie itself is outstanding; the experience on the floor is just as important as the end product.
Q: When you’re not working on a project, you can be found…
A: Sketching at a café, sketching at a park, making some sort of new jam recipe or fishing.
Q: What advice would you give to someone who wants to be an Anim Director?
A: To be an Animation Director, primarily, the position is not at all about you. It is about the team you serve. Listen to them. They are the ones building it. They are the ones bleeding over their shots. What an Animation Director can bring is clarity, help develop performances, creatively help artists with balancing meeting their individual goals and serving the film at the same time. It’s a human-centric job. The worst thing you can do as an Animation Director is oppress the work by controlling ideas that are different from your own. Just because you didn’t come up with it does not mean it’s not good.
Q: Anything we should know about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem film?
A: This movie is an awesome refreshing ride; every frame of it was carefully crafted by all the departments, from Layout to Comp. We loved making it, and we hope you love watching it!
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