A TOOTH TALE
F&V faculty member Ron Fleischer’s animated short A Tooth Tale is
traveling the festival circuit recently debuting at the Rhode Island International Film Festival and screening next at the New Orleans Film Festival.
It’s been six years since those arctic rodents marched off that cliff, proudly singing about it along the way. Why the six-year gap between films? “The initial process I use to create animation is the same one that’s been employed for over 100 years,” laments Fleischer, “which requires creating a series of drawings—thousands and thousands of drawings—by hand.” Computers are used to scan, paint, and render the drawings over digitally painted backgrounds, including camera moves and visual effects.
It took two years to get through pre-production, that consisted of working out the film through a series of storyboard revisions, recording temporary dialogue tracks, and editing a story reel. “When you’re working on a project that employs traditional animation, everything needs to be pre-edited. You don’t have the luxury of alternate angles or different takes for any given shot.”
Fleischer ended up hiring a handful of students who had recently graduated from the Animation Program. He recalls, “The day after graduation I hired six students who were in my senior capstone class because the quality of their work was up to my professional standards. My good friend Jon McClenahan (Animaniacs, Pinky and The Brain) jumped on board a few weeks into production, and all animation was completed in a matter of 10 weeks.”
While Lemmings was geared towards the Adult Swim crowd, A Tooth Tale is aimed at kids who are 6 to 12 years old. The story is about a 6-year-old boy who loses his first tooth and hatches a plot to trap and shake down the Tooth Fairy for all her loot. “It’s a bit dark and twisted, but at least it has a moral to even things out.”
Fleischer is looking forward to screening his work on the film festival circuit and eventually marketing it as an interactive eBook. “Lemmings premiered at the Chicago International Film Festival. I would love to debut my new film in that venue as well.”