Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Fantasia 2000's The Ugly Goofling
One of the most fun aspects of working on Fantasia 2000 was coming up with ideas for stories and choosing interesting music to accompany them. We listened to all kinds of classical music searching for ones that would create the right mood and narrative structure to support a visual story.
My interest in classical music actually began with cartoons. The Warner Brothers cartoons are filled with snippets of classical music. These snippets got stuck in my brain. As a young adult, I would go to the library and borrow a new composer each week. This is how I discovered that there were other giants of classical music besides Beethoven and Mozart. Some of my favorites were Debussy, Mahler and Sibelius.
One of the challenges of Fantasia is that the story has to be told purely visually. It was kind of like watching silent movies. The other challenge was that when we needed to make changes to the story, we had only so many frames to make the change within because we were locked in to the timing of the music. Sometimes these constraints can stimulate creativity. Other times they’re just a pain.
One of my favorite pieces was Stravinsky's The Firebird Suite. I thought what if Goofy were a ballet dancer starring in the Ugly Goofling, a play on the Ugly Duckling story. Well, unfortunately the idea never went anywhere but it was fun to work on and dress Goofy up in a ballet costume. Here is the design and the beat board that I used to pitch the idea.
(CLICK TO ENLARGE)
One other tidbit about the music of Fantasia 2000 was that we occasionally had to edit the music for length. We picked which parts of the music we wanted to use. And don’t tell anyone but we even added some extra percussion to make the animations sync better. In the capable hands of legendary conductor, James Levine, these extra flourishes were completed in a very musical way. That was a real treat for me to get to work with him and even have him like Pomp and Circumstance.