The minor panic set in when Andy Chiang, one of our prop designers brought in some designs for broken wood and glass and said, "I guess this is my last day on this picture." Whaaaaa--? Was he leaving? Why wasn't I told? Was it something I said? "Yeah, I have to start on the next picture. Stephanie says storyboarding begins in about two weeks." WHAAAA-- ? Did I know that? Of course, I knew that but I didn't know that!
For budget reasons and because we don't want to lay off artists for a month while we get our act in order, our two movies overlap. If things are running smoothly, every category should finish, just as it's time to start the second movie. There's always odds and ends left to be done on the first at the same time everyone is trying to gear up for the second. But as Supervising Producer/Director I have to be on both at the same time. Luckily, I have a couple of great directors, Phil Weinstein and Vic Cook, to help me. Phil is directing the first one with me and really helped figure out some of the Mignola compositional stuff we try to capture. Vic starts at the same time as storyboard although he's already going over the script. He'll have the advantage of having an experienced crew but where the first movie has all sorts of locations, the second mostly occurs in a single house so he's got some real creative challenges.
So we're behind in some areas and well ahead in others. Background painting has begun and although it looks nothing like the comic, I think we're beginning to discover how to play with light and shadow in the same way Mike does. Cheeks has done a ton of concept drawings for the character designers to follow and Mike visited the studio and got the layout guys focused on how to approach the house. The reality is that we've got a huge amount of work to tackle but we're still having plenty of fun.
Hope you have plenty too in the New Year! -- Tad