Nov 3, 2006

Toad in the hole: Paul Fisher

Paul endowed the Toad with a generous helping of himself: a not-so-thwarted thespian-megalomaniac. All images copyright 2006 Dreamworks Animation and Aardman.

I generally make it a point not to mention anything that pertains directly to something I personally have worked on, but I do enjoy pointing a finger at those artists I work with or near that deserve special mention.
Patrick Mate, Devin Crane, Dave Pimentel and Donnachada Daly have all had blurbs from the Blackwing Diaries, and so with today's release of the Aardman/Dreamworks production "Flushed Away" I'd like to direct you to the "heart and highlight"[Paul's words, written for Ian McKellan's Toad] of that production: its prolific and very funny head of story Paul Fisher.

left to right: a barely visible Mark Kennedy, Paul Fisher, Jenny Lerew, and Ash Brannon at Calarts--all veterans of the class of '87-90. I believe I'm actually on the phone to Don Knott's agent in this shot. He really should have done Mark's film.

another rough board drawing; Le Frog and a compatriot
Paul had a habit on this production of drawing all his boards very, very small, then knocking in the tone and blowing them up on the xerox to pin up on the boards. These measure a little less than the size of a playing card; the size of our actual story pads is much larger, but both keep to the same filmscreen ratio.
So, being relatively tiny these are also fairly rough or loose drawings, but they're just right for the places they fill in the story.

Paul has a particularly keen feeling for nuance in a character's performance--and, better than that an eye for the absurd in every circumstance. Like all good artists, these guys are utterly real to him when he immerses himself in a scene, which in my opinion is why he's able to get real laughs and a genuine sense of life from his cast.

These drawings are basically scraps I culled from his floor over the past several years of "Flushed Away"(well, maybe from a shelf or the seat cushions of his guest chair--this stuff is everywhere; I'm sure all story artists can relate). There are only about 25,000 more where these came from. Put together they make for some great sequences and he isn't a bad boss, either.
Congratulations, Paul--see you on the other side of the weekend. And many thanks to our directors, Sam and David, too.


mark kennedy said...

Those are kick-ass drawings! Paul is the best. Thanks for giving him the public kudos he deserves.

MrBubblesNSunshine said...

Paul is an amazing talent!

And who knew he used to look like Jim J Bullock back in the day?

Break a leg this weekend! The film looks great!

Bob L.

MrBubblesNSunshine said...


And I love seeing dem' story sketches!

More please!


Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Funny, cartoony drawings!

Todd Harris said...

the film looks awesome. can't wait to see it. nice posts on this blog. I will keep coming back. great job.

Louie del Carmen said...

Saw Flushed Away this weekend and liked it a lot. Congratulations on a job well done. It was definitely fun and clever than the recent crop of films. Kudos as well to Aardman.

Marc Crisafulli said...

I was most impressed with all the bits of business that
were thrown into the movie, especially all the stuff with the frogs. These same charm and energy one sees in many of those moments is right here in these sketches. I hope you'll post more.