Pixar

Olive the Woolly Bugger in 3D CGI

Anyone who has seen the Olive books knows that the illustrations which bring the stories to life are of a traditional, 2D style (the way all animated films used to look).  Thanks to Pixar’s 1995 groundbreaking Toy Story, the first feature-length 3D computer animated film, the majority of animated films are now being done in 3D CGI (Computer Generated Imagery).

I’ve been itching to see how Olive might look in a “Pixar-ish” style so I sought a 3D animator to interpret my characters.  Through the Animation, Media & Entertainment group on LinkedIn, I contacted UK-based animator Simon Cornish to inquire about his availability to render Olive and Clark in 3D. When I saw his website, Itchy Pictures, I thought, “This is the guy for the job.” It seemed my destiny to connect with Simon since Olive is a brand of Itchy Dog Productions, my freelance business. Great minds, or at least itchy ones, think alike.

Other than classrooms of elementary school kids, I’ve never had anyone draw Olive before, so I was a bit worried about how another artist might interpret characters that are so near and dear to me. My trepidation was for naught as I was thrilled when I received Simon’s renderings.  Now that my itch has been scratched and I know how she might look in this computer-generated medium, it’s time to forge ahead…

Thank you, Simon, for doing such a wonderful job with Olive and Clark. I’m hoping your work will help launch Olive and Clark toward big screen stardom!

 

 

Olive the Woolly Bugger film: an introduction

Olive the woolly bugger animated movie poster

Most recently I posted the movie poster for the Olive film. Now it’s time once again to share a bit about the Olive film project – not so much an update on my current progress in attracting Big Fish to the project as I’ve done in the past – but by sharing with my readership the actual concept for the film. A sneak peak, if you will.

For those familiar with the Olive books, you may wondering how the stories will make the leap to the big screen. I’ve been wondering that myself, and over the past few months have been developing the story. While the film will obviously draw heavily from the books, it won’t just be a recycled version of the Olive the Little Woolly Bugger, Olive and The Big Stream and Olive Goes for a Wild Ride – it’s much more than that. It has to be. The books are quite basic by virtue of the fact that they are children’s stories for ages 6 and up, and there is not “room” to tell a much deeper story. An animated film must have considerably more depth, and while it may visually look like something created for an audience of children, it has to be as much for adults as for their kids. There’s a reason grown-ups love the great animated films produced by the likes of Pixar (Cars), Dreamworks (Kung Fu Panda) and Blue Sky Studios (Ice Age).

Opening scene

The film opens with a scene that sets the stage for the adventure to unfold. A little girl named Olivia watches with great wonder as her father sits at his fly tying desk. In his vice is an olive-colored woolly bugger, which he describes to his young daughter. Once the final touches have been made to the fly, Dad removes it from the vice and hands it to Olivia.  The little girl is excited to use her new fly the next day, when she’ll be joining her father on her first fly fishing trip.  Filled with anticipation of the following morning, Olivia dashes off to her room, hops into her bed and gently places the woolly bugger into her fly box along with other patterns her father has tied for her.  She admires the many colorful, interesting patterns, then gently closes the lid to the fly box.

“Goodnight, olive woolly bugger,” she says as she turns out her light. She drifts off to sleep and begins to dream…

Stay tuned for more updates and descriptions of new scenes specific to the film. A strong undercurrent will be an important message about conservation, from respecting fish to caring for the river and the surrounding environment.  I’ll also be introducing new characters in the coming weeks–characters that I think everyone will find engaging and humorous.  I hope you’ll enjoy the progression and I welcome comments from those of you who have been following along since the beginning, as well as from those of you who’ve just come onboard.  Thanks for your continued interest and support in bringing this dream alive.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got more Big Fish to pursue…

Imagine the possibilities

You’re a talent scout for a major animation studio. Or perhaps you’re an executive for Dreamworks Animation, Pixar, Sony Animation, 20th Century Fox Animation (Blue Sky Studios) or Walt Disney Animation Studios. Your studio just released or is about to release the likes of Cars 2, Kung Fu Panda 2, The Smurfs, Winnie The Pooh, Happy Feet Two. Life is good–audiences love these movies.

But an animation studio cannot rest on its laurels and must constantly be on the lookout for the next blockbuster hit.

Certainly the fact that there are many sequels being produced indicates that animation studios can get added mileage out of a good initial movie. Cars, Kung Fu Panda, Happy Feet and scores of other movies have all spawned sequels.  Similarly, producing a movie based on long-established characters such as Winnie the Pooh or The Smurfs offers instant recognition in the marketplace.  It’s easy to see why remakes and sequels get made: it’s easier to build on an established and successful film than to create something totally from scratch. But are sequels always as good as those that preceeded them? That’s discussed often: HERE is one such website.

This is not to say that brand new ideas aren’t being made into animated movies. Earlier this year we saw Gnomeo and Juliet, Rio, and Rango. All seemed to be at least reasonably popular given their box office ticket sales.

But what about the next great, truly unique storyline?  Where does the previously unheard of idea come from?

I’m glad you asked, and the answer is right here.

A catchy title. A unique concept. An engaging cast of characters. The framework for a storyline which can be built upon. All the elements of a good children’s story. A strong underlying message of environmental conservation and awareness that also promotes getting kids outside and exploring nature. Olive the Woolly Bugger offers all this.

So, if you’re that talent scout or studio executive, consider this food for thought. You may not have heard of Olive the Woolly Bugger, but a lot of people have. And with your vision, a lot more people will.

Tag, you’re it.