Life imitates art! Interesting to hear that FIFA has finally brought in strong penalties against racism in the game. Our 'Spirit of the Game' movie is set in two eras... one when there was racism in the game and later, when it had been dealt with through measures like this. I guess we're just ahead of our time, huh? :)
With 'Spirit of the Game' I'm still at the stage of finding a final style for the film. Yes, we do already have much work - including a fully animated teaser - to show. However, for a film to fully find its voice you have to dig deeper than that by continually updating and refining its vision. No one person alone can do this and so I'm enlisting the help of several artists and individuals to help me out in defining a final style for 'Spirit of the Game' that I want to animate. Its an exciting process and a pleasure to have so many other minds on the challenge in addition to my own. Time and money are of the essence however. To explain this process better, let's consider the words of the great maestro and mentor of animation, Walt Disney...
The challenge for me as Director/Producer of 'Spirit of the Game' is to respect the wisdom and knowledge of the past, while at the same time reflecting the styles and technologies of the present, for audiences of the future. In time 'Spirit of the Game' will find its perfect voice and I'll gladly share it with you when it happens. In the meantime, we'll be exploring so many creative options - as a team of individuals - as Walt once did with the fine talents of his generation. Watch this space folks! :)
Got a weird email about the teaser today. Everyone does realize that 'Spirit of the Game' does wholeheartedly have an ANTI-racism message, not a pro one - don't they? (Just in case anyone's in doubt!) >:(
Here's a short promotional video I quickly put together about the project, the teaser and its process - initially to have been shown in the UK while I remain at my drawing board here in the USA. Supporters of a 2D-animated project are always keen to know how their funding is going to be spent and so this will hopefully make this process a little clearer. (Reminder: This part of the film's development deals only with the 'how it all began' past aspects of the films storyline, set in the UK. The 'modern day' elements in the story - set in the world of MLS in the USA - will be developed differently later.)
Here begins the final ambition of my life... the making of my first full-length animated movie, 'Spirit of the Game'!
The teaser is done, the website is out there and now I'm putting a final polish to the script. Soon I will be flying to the UK to record the soundtrack with some amazing actors over there who are all donating their time and talents to the project - dedicated to seeing it made, as am I. Then begins the final design polish, the storyboarding, the production layouts and the full-length animatic. With all this in place I will simply jump in and start animating, single-handed, until its done if I have to.
But it really shouldn't be like this at all should it? This is America, home of feature film animation, after all!
Its totally ironic to me that I live and work in the richest country in the world, the nation that defined and refined the great 2D animation filmmaking medium, and yet 2D-animated projects like this, and others, are totally ignored. America didn't invent animation but it certainly brought it to the world... and through the late, great Walt Disney, made some of the finest classics that will EVER be made. Yet in America 2013, 2D animation is taboo, a pariah, something of a bygone age that has seemingly fulfilled all its potential. The rest of the world still makes and enjoys hand-crafted animated movies of course - but here, corporate Hollywood turns its back on what is still potentially the finest creative medium Mankind has ever devised.
Yet despite Hollywood's indifference, so many people tell me that they really want to see 2D animated films again. Yes, they want modern story-lines - i.e. not merely predictable re-hashes of the old 'cartoon movie' form - but they do most certainly want to see imaginative, hand-drawn animated films that contain all the craft and innovation that Walt used to put into his films. Yet the mainstream still turns its back on all this and - I most earnestly believe - misses out on something that can still be radically innovative, remarkable and (heaven forfend) significantly profitable too!
So I believe its time to stand up and be counted. I have achieved many things throughout my 2D animation career... written books, won awards, travelled the world. But for one reason or another I have never, ever been allowed to realize my most cherish wish... that is, to create a unique and innovative full-length animated movie. Therefore 'Spirit of the Game' will be made... somehow... someplace... sometime... and the audiences of our world (for generations to come) will vote with their feet to underline what I say here. As long as I have breath in me and the strength to hold a pencil I will attempt to create something that will entertain, inspire and entirely be well worth the price you pay to see it. You have my word that 'Spirit of the Game' will be made - with every last ounce of passion, love, and skill I have - and it will be made well!
So do join me now on this journey into a last unrealized ambition. (Perhaps donate some money to it too, if you are of a mind to!) Let us travel together into the future - to see what awaits us along this insane (but more than a little glorious too) animated adventure called 'Spirit of the Game'!
And believe me - if I do build it you will most certainly come! :)
An own goal!
Share my journey as I make 'Spirit of the Game' for you and for everyone else around this world who wants to see again an innovative, top-quality, hand-drawn animated movie. 'Spirit of the Game' is a story for our times and one that shares core life values for those with the ears to hear and the eyes to see.