Career Highlights - "Titan A.E" - 2000
Following "Anastasia" and "Bartok the Magnificent", we produced one last feature film...
"Titan A.E" (After Earth), was a very expensive, film.... and quite the roller coaster ride. It had a pretty big cast and high production values, but due to lack of promotion, and in my opinion, a confusing film title... the film didn't do well at the box office. It's worth checking out on DVD though.
I was promoted to "Assitant Animator" to the Senior Directing Animator on this film. I worked on a lot of the key scenes with "Cale" and "Akima", and some of the fun action scenes with the supporting characters. As a team we animated this entire feature film, in only 53 weeks. That's all the time we were given on budget. Anastasia had roughly 2 years for the character animation, to put it in perspective. Many scenes were animated one drawing per frame, in order to sync up with 3D environments, vehicles or for complicated camera moves.
Several computer animated sequences were produced by CG animation companies, like George Lucas' I.L.M (Industrial Light and Magic), and Blue Sky VFX. These scenes are just amazing to watch. The hand-drawn special effects produced by our team are also spectacular.
Titan A.E. was nominated for an Oscar for Sound Design and Sound Editing... and well-deserved! Watching this in the theater it had amazing sound. Especially during chase scenes and ice-crystal sequences. The soundtrack was also very cool. It's a lot of up-beat music by modern artists at the time... with many good songs worth checking out. This was at a time when other animation studios were still releasing singing musicals, so it was nice to see something different offered to audiences. The instrumental score also added so much to the pace of the film.
20th Century Fox chose Titan A.E. be the first feature film sent in real time over the internet... to be broadcast to an audience at full film resolution. This would have been difficult and expensive technology considering the limitations of the internet and computer speeds at the time. One for the record books, I guess.
I worked at Fox until the character animation was completed on this film. I returned to Canada in the fall of 1999. It was hard to leave the studio at this time. I had made many friends, and I really enjoyed working with this crew. Fox Animation was a great way to start my career, and learn from such talented animators and directors. At the time, I was missing home, and family... and the future of Fox Animation was uncertain. I was sad to find out that Fox would be closing roughly 6 months after I left.
It's a shame that 20th Century Fox closed the doors on Fox Animation Studios, as this studio had real potential. We were developing many great ideas that wouldn't be completed.
One film we started did see completion however. We developed many conceptual designs for "Ice Age"... what became a popular computer animated series of films by Blue Sky Entertainment. A new CG company at the time, (which created the "planet creation sequence" at the end of Titan A.E.)... and is now known for the hit films, "Ice Age", "Horton Hears a Who" and "Robots."
My time at Fox was a real highlight in my life and career. I'm happy to see many of my co-workers have gone on to bigger and better things. I am grateful to have kept in touch with many of them. They have been a great source of inspiration.
Thanks for Reading! Look for more of my Career Highlights in future updates!