Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Ross Anderson Pulls a Rabbit from His Hat

Ross Anderson
Canadian author and animation historian Ross Anderson has finished his long-anticipated book - Pulling a Rabbit Out of a Hat - The Story Behind the Making of Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Ross was first interviewed by animation blog FLiP back in 2013, about writing of the book, which has taken six years to bring to fruition.

Ross's book has finally hit the bookshelves; he was signing copies this week at this year's Annecy film festival.

Ross's book aims to be the definitive history of the making of the film. I've been looking forward to buying my copy for years. Among the highlights are Tom Sito's hilarious sketches and scribbles that documented the roller coaster ride that was the making of the film.

Ross traveled extensively to meet many of the key people involved with the making of the film, including author Gary K. Wolf and Tom Wilhite, who was Disney’s live-action Production Head in the early 1980s and was instrumental in bringing Roger Rabbit to Disney.

He also made many trips to London and LA for interviews and gathering information.

You can buy the book in hardback pr paperback at amazon.com.

Official site
To get a feel for the book, and to see what the content is like, Ross has put together a website full of stories about the making of the film.  Some of my favourite posts include this one about the ACME warehouse, filmed in a bus shelter a short walk from my own house in London.  I also have fond memories of being asked to sing "Smile Darn Ya Smile" just before the wrap party at the end of the movie. To see the video, recorded by (now sadly deceased) animator Jacques Muller, fast forward to 33 minutes in the video below.

Ross's stories are all the better for being extremely well-researched (Ross's attention to detail is admirable) and therefore true.  For me, his stories are a beautiful walk down memory lane; Who Framed Roger Rabbit? was my first film and also my break into the industry.

My work on the film was mainly as an in-betweener (the drudge who did the "in-betweens"; the drawings that the animator didn't have the time or inclination to do). I didn't get to do much animation. But, two summers later, I got to work on RollerCoaster Rabbit, a shot film made at the Disney Studio in Florida. You can see a couple of shots below.

My experience of working on Who Framed Roger Rabbit? is also a reminder that, despite all the changes in our industry in the last 30 years, some things remain the same: it is still the case that, as a junior artist, your best chance of landing that elusive first job is to find a big production that is crewing up and needs a lot of artists.

To read more about getting hired in into the animation industry - read this blog post.

For more on the experience of studying at Bucks New University, come and visit us at one of our Open Days, take a virtual tour of one of our animation studios, check out what our students think of our course, and see why we're ranked in the top 12 creative universities in the UK.

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