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Meet the biggest ego in the business! Mr Director released online

// Featured, Interviews

The life of an animation director is not a glamorous one. To create the worlds viewers can indulge in often means late nights, months at a time in S.A.D inducing dark rooms and an unending battle with both hardware and software. With such a lonely process dictating the process its no wonder that animation directors are, for the most part, shy, polite and generally good company when they are finally let out into the fresh air and sunlight.

Andy Martin

Andy Martin

Imagining the flip side to that coin, Andy Martin, the director best known for his monthly series of films The Planets and Plasticine Rhythm who has brought to life Mr Director, a Hollywood hot shot with a career that is as bloated as his ego. The mockumentary film takes us for a ride through the prolific career of the pioneer behind films such as Robots v Bananas with access to the entire history of films this visionary has created, all brought to life with superb comic detail. 

You can watch Mr Director below.

The fast paced film captures the imaginary career of the nameless director so those comic details shouldn’t be taken for granted, as you’ll see from the galleries below stills and posters from Mr Director’s back catalogue were created for the film with some funny parallels to other classics from the silver screen by actual directors. The posters accompany the film clips and behind the scenes action that the film is crammed with. To add to the illusion, Mr Director even has his own Twitter account where you can see his ego in action.

The film has been shown in festivals worldwide including Edinburgh International Film Festival, Anima Mundi and Animanima International Animation Festival. We spoke to a director with a much smaller ego than the films star, Andy Martin, about the making of his film Mr Director.

MrDirector_FilmPoster01

Who is Mr Director?

He’s a self proclaimed ‘genius’, film maker and a one man ego machine. In the animated short he tells us all about his long career with clips from some of his films, archive interviews and exclusive behind the scenes footage.

Mr Director

Mr Director

He’s a larger than life character, thats for sure, are there any other folk you’d like to parody in this way?

I had thought of creating a few fake arts documentaries with the same presenter introducing them featuring a 60’s rock act, an abstract painter and a novelist but this one has taken me so long to make I think it’s time to move onto something new.

The film is mixed media, stop motion with 2D over it, what software do you use to achieve this look?

I use Dragon Stop Motion and then a mix of Photoshop and After Effects for the 2D stuff and compositing it all together. I’ve always liked the look of having 2D elements on top of stop motion animation, it was something I explored first on a series of idents I did for E4 Music quite a few years ago and I wanted to explore that look further in this short.

Also, it has a lot if lip sync and doing that in 2D really speeds up the animation process. When you take do all the animation yourself it’s good to find ways of speeding things up (I could be making it for another 6 years otherwise!!)

You often animate with both 2D and Stop Motion, do you have a favourite or does it depend on the project?

I really depends on the project. For Mr Director I felt that being able to build real sets would give the fake film scenes a fullness and richness that they needed to feel like small sections of feature films. Also Mr Director is the kind of guy who would appreciate a more traditional technique. I think telling a story about someone like him in a slick 3D style or a minimalist 2D vector approach wouldn’t have fit well with the character.

I tend to switch between the two techniques to keep things interesting for me. While making Mr Director I found that most of my commercial work that was paying the bills was in a 2D style so it was fun to keep coming back to the film, making models and animating with plasticine.

A few stills from Mr Directors life in film

 

You’re a musician too, how important is music in your work?

It’s massively important. I find they go hand in hand, both in the process of making the animation and in the way it informs peoples experience when they watch it. For all my short films I make my own music and sound design, I think it helps give the work a continuity and a particular tone that I’m not sure could be achieved otherwise.

I love making the music, whenever there is the opportunity I try to get involved in that side of the process. I’ve always written and recorded songs and its great that I can use some of them in the visual stuff I make.

With The Planets I ended the series with a song that I’d written years before but I repurposed the lyrics to fit the narrative of the animation and more recently I wrote a whole bunch of very short, very stupid songs that became an animation called Tiny Tunes.

On Mr Director it was fun writing music for particular genres of film. From the sinister strings for a horror film to the ridiculously overblown, saccharine musical number for his film Singing At The Stars.

Do you feel like an animator who makes music or a musician who animates? 

Probably the cooler thing to say would be a musician who animates so I’m definitely an animator who makes music. I’ve always done both things but I’ve always felt that my profession is animation and that rings true by the fact that it’s very rare for people to pay me to make music but I can make a living animating.

Posters from Mr Directors films

You incorporate comedy into your work, do animation and comedy naturally work well together?

Definitely. There’s a long history of comedic animations, both for kids and for adults. As well as the usual routes of slapstick or absurd comedy which is ideally suited to animation I’m a fan of comedy that can be more subtle and dry. I want to bring a British sensibility to my stuff and inject the type of thing you would normally see in sitcoms like The Royle Family or Spaced into my animations. These are things that I find funny and hopefully brings a fresh angle to comedy in animation.

What is next for Andy Martin?

I’m trying to develop a couple of ideas for animated TV series at the moment. I’d love to move into more long form formats where I can take a gang of characters and set them off on various adventures. I’ve got a couple of ideas for new shorts too so maybe I’ll start writing one of those up.

Discover more of Andy Martin’s work through his online channels such as his website on Twitter, Tumblr, Vine and Instagram

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100 Animated Shorts Greats - "The Family Dog" - from Brad Bird, Steven Spielberg, Tim Burton, pure gem in comedy! t.co/gb9JSKxqTg
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