Calling all cartoonists! 

Calling all cartoonists!

By John DeFore

Richard Linklater's new film offers rare opportunity for local talent

Film fans who saw Waking Life know that the world of movie animation isn't all talking fish and Scottish ogres; that movie blazed new trails with its combination of innovative computer software and a sophisticated filmmaking sensibility. Bob Sabiston's program used interpolation to ease the burden of animation and make it more accessible to painters and other newbies, and Austin's gift to cinema, Richard Linklater, corralled the actors and artists.

Linklater, riding high on the clout afforded by his recent hit, School of Rock, is making an animated film with a bigger budget and actual stars: Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder, Woody Harrelson, and Robert Downey Jr. will be transformed into pixels for A Scanner Darkly, based on the Philip K. Dick book. This time around, Linklater and Sabiston need to find artists whose vision can be reined in; where Waking Life invited wild experimentation, Scanner requires that its cast be recognizable human figures.

That's where you come in: Know a skilled artist who would love to break into the film biz? Think he or she wouldn't mind spending some time in Austin? Tell 'em to email or send sample artwork to the address in the info box. (Just don't imply that they'll be hobnobbing with Keanu or Winona; this work is crucial but entirely unglamorous.) For more, let's hear from Sabiston himself:

John DeFore: What kind of artists are you looking for? What kind of portfolios do you need to see?

Bob Sabiston: We are looking for people with a strong skill in line drawing, with a good sense of style. Think of a particularly well-drawn, detailed comic book.

We aren't so much interested in pencil or charcoal drawings of the type you do in a life drawing class. Strong painters will also be seriously considered.

JD: Are all these jobs for background or coloring work, or will some of the new hires be doing character animation?

BS: All of the hires, about 20, are for the same job, which is doing the main animation for the movie. We might break down the roles depending on the skill levels of the people we hire, but for now we are looking for people who will be doing the bulk of the movie.

JD: What computer experience do they need? And will they be trained in anything that's applicable to other animation jobs?

A scanner darkly
c/o Sarah Johnson
3109 North I-35
Austin, TX 78722
BS: Computer experience is a plus - familiarity with Photoshop or Flash - but not required. A basic familiarity with computers is necessary however - things like using the mouse and saving files and all that.

JD: What will the schedule be like? Is telecommuting an option, or do they need to come to Austin?

BS: It will basically be a 40-hour work week, for at least 7 months, and yes, they will have to be in Austin. We are doing everything out of the one building.

JD: Are you advertising the pay? Will all artists get credits in the film?

BS: All artists will be credited, as animators. Right now the pay is around $27 per hour for a good animator, although that has not been finalized. People hired to do just backgrounds or assistant animation would be offered less. •

By John DeFore

More by John DeFore



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