Animation Artifacts &Articles on Animation &Richard Williams 13 Jun 2008 08:03 am

Dick’s Notes

- Thanks to The Thief blog, and further discussed by Mark Mayerson, information is out there about Richard Williams‘ new site for his Masterclass set of dvds.

Dick’s website is very informative and gives an extended promo tour of the dvd’s showing a longish segment. Take a visit even if you don’t plan on buying the instructional set which is currently selling for $999.

Of course, Dick’s companion book is still available. The Animator’s Survival Kit is for those who still can read and comprehend from the written word. The book also comes with pictures, but they don’t move like the dvd does. It’s only $20 in paperback, though.

Years ago – and I mean years ago – Dick brought gifted animation stars to his studio to lecture the British crew. He put together a set of notes for Art Babbitt’s lecture series that took place July 1973. When Raggedy Ann was in production, Dick had offered us all copies of his notes. It’s a big volume, and it involved extensive photocopying. I don’t think it took long for this book to make it all across the animation industry. Everybody seemed to have owned a copy. This was certainly Dick’s credo – to promote good animation.

Dick also had another notebook that was larger. 11 x 14 copies were even harder to photocopy, but this book seemed clearer and more planned. It was also not distributed as widely. It was obvious that Dick was looking to write a book, and this was its predecessor.

I have copies of both, and they’re very different. I thought I’d celebrate the promotion of Dick’s new dvd’s by posting one of the chapters from the Art Babbit Lecture series. It’s a bit hard to follow, but if you make the effort, you’ll find a lot to learn. These WERE essentially Dick’s notes on Art’s lectures; they weren’t designed to teach.

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(Click any image to enlarge to a more legible size.)

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12 Responses to “Dick’s Notes”

  1. on 13 Jun 2008 at 9:09 am 1.Bruce said …

    I’m glad that this was recently released (that quickly?!) but I have to label this box set as a forbidden fruit, only because of it’s Uncle Scrooge price tag.

    Then again, it’s good to hear that such an item is available, but I’ll just stick to my copy of the book, which was well organized & easy to understand, and at times, it’s fairly funny.

    My favorite story happens to be when Dick innocently asked Milt Khal if he listens to classical music whenever he’s working, and from the answer he got. Milt’s spirit, as well for the teachings of the other old greats are still alive and are thriving in Richards Book (IY-IY-IY-IY-I’M NOT SMART ENOUGH TO THINK OF MORE THAN ONE THING AT A TIME!)

    The first lesson, Animation is Concentration.

    …end of lesson one.

    Anyway, when you were working at the studio, did you see or meet any of the old guys working, or did they come & go as they see fit, or simply to do some work and teach the then younger guys, then moving on to retirement?

    Just curious to know how mind bending the experience was.

    Thanks Mike, and have a good one.

    From an inspiring animator

  2. on 13 Jun 2008 at 9:26 am 2.Michael said …

    Over the years, I had various opportunities to work alongside some excellent animators. On Raggedy Ann, most of the animators worked at home. Jack Schnerk (a brilliant animator who deserves much more credit) was one of those who worked in the studio. I was close with him over the years.

    Outside of Raggedy, I worked alongside Art Babbitt, Tissa David, Johnny Gent, Marty Taras, Lu Guarnier, and plenty more. I also worked alongside a lot of animators that weren’t brilliant but offered a lot of help and information. Someone like Earl James had plenty of advice and information to offer even though he wasn’t the top of the craft. I’ve also spoken several times about my luck to have worked alongside Larry Riley, who was an all-purpose genius in animation.

  3. on 13 Jun 2008 at 12:30 pm 3.Tim Rauch said …

    Thanks for posting that, Michael. It’s an interesting piece of animation history to see those notes, they have quite a reputation. I’m amazed at the difference in prices, book to DVD. I’d be very curious to see what the DVD has, but I gotta say there’s plenty in that book and if anyone out there is trying to study animation on a limited budget, do yourself a favor and buy the book. Use the left over money to pick up “Illusion of Life”, take an anatomy class or two, and buy DVDs of everything from Yuri Norstein to Bambi to Zagreb. I’d venture to guess there’s a richer education available elsewhere for half that $999 price tag, but man I’ll be jealous of anyone with the time and money to plunk down on the whole case.

  4. on 13 Jun 2008 at 1:35 pm 4.Tom Sito said …

    Nice post, Mike. I still have my Babbitt notes, although the xerox pages are yellowing.

    My favorite Jack Schnerk anecdote- I asked Jack,”how can I become a faster animator?” Schnerk replied:” If you’re drawing a scene, and you feel you have to go to the bathroom, finish the scene first. You’ll be amazed at how fast you get.”

  5. on 13 Jun 2008 at 4:10 pm 5.Mike Rauch said …

    $999 might sound hefty, but I imagine it’s worth the price of admission. After all, how much would you pay for a college course somewhere? This seems like a similar investment in your education. Can’t expect a master to give up his knowledge and wisdom on the cheap. I’m not an animator myself, but the content seems pretty good from what they show on the website. That said, the book seems to pack in quite a bit of information for the short(er) of cash.

  6. on 13 Jun 2008 at 4:23 pm 6.Michael said …

    To be fair, the dvd will let you see timing experiments and exactly how a walk will work. This is something you can otherwise only learn by doing it. Fortunately for people todaya, computer programs allow you to pencil test a piece almost immediately.

  7. on 14 Jun 2008 at 2:56 am 7.Jenny said …

    This might be a place to mention that Eric Goldberg is going to have a book of his own published on animation technique in a month or so; it comes with a DVD of examples Eric animated specifically for it. Pretty damn exciting(I’m not a paid shill, mind you-just happen to know the publisher)!

    It’s going to be a must have and I was reminded of it’s imminent arrival reading your post about Dick’s set here…I really, really wish it were affordable for more people. Certainly it’s worth whatever he wants to charge–in a way, it’s priceless-the result of one man’s lifetime of experience after all-but it’s unfortunate that it’s more than so many eager aspiting artists can spend.

  8. on 14 Jun 2008 at 3:00 am 8.Jenny said …

    Okay, first: TOO many illiterate typos on my part-ugh. I hate it when that happens.
    Second: rereading what I’ve written I hope I’m not confusing anyone. The Goldberg book/DVD is going to be priced so as to be accessible(I can’t remember how much exactly, but it’s definitely affordable).

    The “it” I was going on about in the 2nd paragraph was the new Williams DVD set, not Eric’s book. Eh-I shouldn’t try to post after midnight!

  9. on 14 Jun 2008 at 11:56 am 9.Oswald said …

    I have seen a 50 minute excerpt of the dvd about “breaking the joints” in Annecy. While it certainly is a treat to see Dick Williams explain those things in person, they are presented exactly like in the book. I was certainly amused to see the fully animated (all on ones I suppose) versions of the illustrations.
    I still prefer the book though, because it comes in more handy to me if I want to look something up and besides it doesn’t free me from doing the animation myself to see how different timings change its impact.
    The small exhibition of his works in the library had far more impact on me.

  10. on 15 Jun 2008 at 2:49 pm 10.Hank Spears said …

    Williams is a master at comic timing, and draws and designs exceedingly well. And a terrific teacher.

    However, I (among many) find his animation weightless and often characterless. Works better in short form (commercials).

  11. on 16 Jun 2008 at 12:03 pm 11.Dietmar said …

    Haha, I always loved the story how Dick innocently asked Milt Khal if he listens to classical music whenever he’s working, and from the answer he got. OFC he told us that story too when we worked on the Thief. It was to stop people using the little headphones and their walkmen and he tried to ridicule animators who did so.

    Well, here is the part that you never hear :) Sitting in the middle of us 20-ish animators, Dick would be playing Free-Jazz on his radio..loud enough to drive us all crazy and certainly disrupt my concentration. I prefered ridicule when he caught me with my headphones on – at least I could concentrate after shutting out HIS music that way….

  12. on 01 Jun 2011 at 8:01 pm 12.Erin Syed said …

    Not easy to say thank you, me english not so well but these really good. Good read to practice English.

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