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Drawing a picture of Dreamworks' future...
July 13th, 2012 1:58AM

With 10 movies in production and around eight others in various pre-production stages, key members of the Dreamworks team talked in a San Diego Comic-Con panel Thursday mainly about three of them, including Rise of the Guardians, about a super-team of Jack Frost, Santa, The Easter Bunny, and The Tooth Fairy, and The Croods, a prehistoric story.

"Does the Easter Bunny know Santa Claus?" A child's question led to a book, and then to a movie that made warriors out of some familiar characters for Rise of the Guardians. Production designer Patrick Hanenberger described creating recognizable swords for each character in keeping with their image, even as they became action heroes.

The Croods, set in a fictional "evolutionary puberty," will have an array of animal "mashups" to suggest an as-yet-undiscovered stage of evolution, said Dreamworks Chief Creative Officer Bill Damasche. Supervising animator James Baxter said the animated voice performances of actress Emma Stone as a cave girl yielded expressions that will find their way into the film.

Madagascar 3 director Tom McGrath noted that The Penguins of Madagascar will be a sequel to the Madagascar films. He also discussed generally the work involved in managing an animation team that could involve 700 people, comparing it to Tom Sawyer getting people to paint a fence and noting that he has to pitch the stories to the people working on them. "It's not a dictatorship; it's inclusive," he said.

Asked about whether hand-drawn animation will make a comeback, Baxter noted a 2-D sequence in The Croods and Damasche noted a mix of 2-dimensional work and CGI in the upcoming Me and My Shadow. The panelists agreed that the material dictates the form the animation takes. "Is this film going to taste better when it's animated?" is the standard Baxter described, noting that many animated films could also be live-action.



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