|Good Story Means Successful Animation|
|http://www.sina.com.cn 2004/03/02 08:49 英语沙龙|
Zhao Wei: You have produced many famous animation characters. So what elements do you think a successful animated film should possess?
Becky Bristow: Well, the most important element is a good story. The second most important element is telling that good story well in a visual form. As long as you have a well-told story and a good idea, if it's a sad story or happy story or any kind of story, it will be a successful film. It's just simple like that.
Zhao: Japanese animated film Spirited Away won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film for 2003. As a member of Academy Awards committee, could you tell me the criterion to be a winner?
Becky Bristow: Again, the same thing. It's a good story, an imaginative story, a well-told story visually and something touches the heart. Spirited Away certainly did that. It's a fantastic film. I think it's very interesting, and we were very surprised. Because Disney had film in the competition, Dreamwork had a film and all of these studios had films in the competition, but a Japanese film won. So that’s an important message to the US animation business that something they are doing is not right.
Zhao: I think a person who could produce animated films catering so much to children's mind must possess a childlike heart. Do you think you are that kind of person?
Becky Bristow: I think so, and I think a lot of animators I know are very childlike and innocent, because you have to have that sort of way of looking at things. But a lot of us care about children being given good things to watch. They should be fun, but also children learn something from it. So you need to make it appeal to them, and you also have to look from the angle of the adult and protect them from certain things, but not protect them too much. I think kids know too much today.
Zhao: What's your favorite character of all the characters you have produced?
Becky Bristow: Oh, that's like asking a mother which child is her favorite. I wouldn't want my mother's answer. I can only say that any of them is my favorite, 'cause everyone is special in some way.
Zhao: What's the current state of Chinese animation industry? How do you predict the future development of Chinese animation?
Becky Bristow: Well, it's healthy I think. From the end of 80s, when I first visited China, to about 2 years ago, most of the animations being done in China were for the west. So I was worried about Chinese animation because I didn't see any original animation being done. But in the last 2 years, there was a lot going on in Chinese animation. There was a big interest in opening Chinese animation to western appeal. Not losing the special of Chinese art in animation, but making understanding what is more appealing to a wider audience of the world.
Zhao: Now you are the chair of Department of Digital Arts Design of Beijing University. What advice would you give to the students who want to join in the animation industry? What skills do you think are important to be a successful animator?
Becky Bristow: Well, they should know how to draw. That should be a No. 1 thing. They should learn how to draw in different ways. When you are sitting on a bus in the traffic in Beijing, look at the people walking and think about what's the difference between one person and the person next to him. And then sketch them. You just have to expand your vision of world and fill it into your body and your mind. And you also have to develop ideas and learn the craft. If you work for studio and you are in very low place, talk to everybody, and help as many people as you can. That's the best advice I can give. But obviously coming to art school will help you a lot.
Zhao: So how can we enter your school?
Becky Bristow: Well, what we want to see is a lot of drawings. When people hear digital arts, they feel it doesn't mean drawing, it means some sort of computer. But computer is a tool. You need the basic things that can be put into that tool. The basic things are art and knowledge of art. Some students don't have film experience at all, they're really good painters that are interested in moving it to the film. So we access some of them.
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