All the traditional westerns are about choice and the individual. When progress comes it’s much more difficult to define the individual in that world.
Animated films are so precisely engineered – right down to forming lines of dialogue with words pulled from several different takes – how do you translate that spontaneity from the live-action to the digital realm?
Animation is a technique, not a genre.
Drama is drama, and it’s really… if it’s something small, you put a magnifying glass up to it; if it’s something big, you use a wide lens.
Everyone always wants to find the answer, to feel that things are resolved. But in dreams, maybe there isn’t an answer so much.
For me, some of the happiest moments on a live-action film are the awkward moments. One actor says something to another actor. They didn’t expect that performance from that actor; that affects their return performance.
Honestly, every person, every individual has a process, and my philosophy, whether it’s an actor or an animator, is you try to understand the process that person has so you can get the most out of them, but I think you have to sort of manipulate that process with honesty.
I always wanted to do an animated movie. I find it to be incredibly liberating as a way of telling a story.
I just don’t know when we all decided that if it doesn’t fit in a Happy Meal box, it’s not for kids. I remember flying monkeys in the Wizard of Oz, and I grew up watching Monty Python. I think that kids can handle a lot more than we give them credit for, especially when it comes to the absurd.
I just think it’s growth when you pursue something you’re not sure you can do.
I just watched so many Westerns as a kid that you end up using archetypes and sort of tropes of that genre, because there’s a language there and you can twist it and turn it on its head or play to it or go sideways at any time.
I like horror movies, and in fact I like them even more now after making one. I just think they’re much more liberating because you don’t really have to apply a very strict logic.
I think audiences ultimately want something new. I think the business model for a franchise is such that it’s very low risk because you have data and studios love data.
I think comedy is drama, often. It’s hard to have comedy over a period of time – commercials are one thing, but over a period of time – comedy and tragedy go hand in hand.
I think my parents gave me a love of learning; from there you set out on your own path.
I think people imagine going back to a time when they knew who they were and they knew what the circumstances were – if you screwed up it was your fault.
I think when you get people who are really talented and you take them out of their comfort zone, you get a lot more out of them.
I think you can never ever lie, ever. If you don’t know, say, ‘I don’t know’.
I try to push and find something awkward. The gems to me are truly awkward situations, and you have to have somebody who’s willing to fail because those can’t be conceived. They never play if they’re thought about and discussed too much. You have to create them right at the moment and look for something honest.
I’d love to do a PG-13 animated adventure. It would be great.
I’m a fan of the western genre. When I see a character actor, I see a whole movie behind a scene before and after. There’s a whole other movie behind it.
If you imagine yourself as a craftsman at ILM, you spend your days tumbling buses and animating shards of glass. You’re doing a lot of visual effects work.
It’s a mistake for Hollywood to impose themselves on the gaming space. Not only is it arrogant, but it hasn’t really worked.
My respect for animation has gone way up. It’s a truckload of work. I have to sit with my animators the same way I’d sit with my actors and cast them.
My respect for animators and animation directors has gone way, way up and it is just not something you can phone in.
My respect for artists is very high. I think to get the most out of them, you have to liberate them. I think part of liberating them is saying, ‘Come up with something brilliant, new, and fresh. Stop thinking based on what has been beat into you by executives or publishers in terms of what’s going to work and what’s not. Don’t react, just act.’
My respect for Westerns have gone way, way up. It’s hard and treacherous work. It’s hard to find people these days who can ride horses like that and jump onto trains.
Nothing’s occurring in animation – you manufacture everything.
On a live-action movie, things happen that are unexpected. In animation, you have to fabricate the feeling. That takes a tremendous amount of nuance until the film becomes sentient and gives back.
Raising kids these days is hard. I’m the second to last child in my family. I think it’s tough; I have two kids, I see them and I feel like I see things in them; they awaken the inner child in you.
Reading in a sound booth seems very strange. Everyone has a process they are comfortable with; this was uncomfortable for me.
There is a sense that animated movies are suddenly a genre. I just don’t believe they are; it’s a technique to tell a story.
This is the story, this is your character, I have the sense of the landscape, I have the sense of the scene, I have all that stuff. But I’m also looking for something else to happen, an accident or something. You’re focused on the story you intend to tell and then you have to have a peripheral net out to catch these accidents.
Today we’re just growing and consuming, and I think maybe there’s a sadness in that. People are longing for a time when there was a black and white and good and bad.
When I speak of drama, I’m really referring to just ‘desperately trying not to be ordinary’. Trying to get something that has a little bit of friction, conflict, absurdity.