Tuesday, 30 July 2019

The Making of Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Canadian author and animation historian Ross Anderson's long-anticipated book - Pulling a Rabbit Out of a Hat - The Story Behind the Making of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? is finally in print.

Ross was first interviewed by animation blog FLiP back in 2013, about writing of the book, which has taken six years to bring to fruition.

Ross was signing copies at this year's Annecy film festival; his book aims to be the definitive history of the making of the film, which changed the animation industry and launched dozens of animation careers (including my own).

Among the book's highlights are Tom Sito's hilarious sketches and scribbles that documented the making of the film.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
Ross and Tom Sito sign books at Annecy
Ross Anderson lives in Canada, but traveled extensively to meet almost everyone who worked on the film, gathering their stories.

Ross tracked down author Gary K. Wolf and Tom Wilhite, who was Disney’s live-action Production Head in the early 1980s and was instrumental in bringing Roger Rabbit to Disney.

Ross also made many trips to London and LA for interviews with the London crew, many of whom still work in the animation industry.

Ross Anderson
Making of Roger Rabbit Blog
To get a feel for the book, and to see what the content is like, Ross has put together a website full of stories about the making of the film.

Some of my favourite posts include this one about the ACME warehouse, filmed in a bus shelter a short walk from my own house in London.

I also have fond memories of being asked to sing "Smile Darn Ya Smile" just before the wrap party at the end of the movie. To see the video, recorded by (now sadly deceased) animator Jacques Muller, fast forward to 33 minutes in the video below.

Ross's stories are extremely well-researched. For me, his stories are a beautiful walk down memory lane; Who Framed Roger Rabbit? was my first film and also my break into the industry.

My job on Who Framed Roger Rabbit was was to start out an "in-betweener", the drudge who did the "in-betweens"; the drawings that the animator didn't have the time or inclination to do.  Later I became an assistant animator, and by the time the project was over I had even got to do a little animation of my own.

Best of all, two summers later I got to work on RollerCoaster Rabbit, a short film made at the Disney Studio in Florida. You can see a couple of shots below.

Breaking into the animation industry
My experience of working on Who Framed Roger Rabbit? is also a reminder that, despite all the changes in our industry in the last 30 years, some things remain the same: it is still the case that, as a junior artist, your best chance of landing that elusive first job is to find a big production that is crewing up and needs a lot of artists.

To read more about getting hired in into the animation industry - read this blog post.

Buy the book
You can buy Ross's book in hardback or paperback at amazon.co.uk

The Escape Studios Animation Blog offers a personal view on the art of animation and visual effects. To find out more about our new BA/MArt, now recruiting for September 2019, follow this link.   To apply, visit the official page here.

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