Time Meets Miyazaki and Lasseter

Time's Nerd World blog met with John Lasseter and Hayao Miyazaki at the San Diego Comic Con. You can read the full post here.

Oh, and if you're a younger kid and don't know, that's an Atari 2600 VCS joystick. They were stiff as a board, broke very easily, and gave you endless hand cramps. You're spoiled with today's game controllers - blisters were every gamer's badge of honor eons ago.

Anyway, let's go to the highlight reel...does this clip need any setup? Yes, Lasseter and Miyazaki make their case for preserving animation as an artform, and Ponyo states that case brilliantly:

We're here to talk about Miyazaki's new film, Ponyo, which is set in a tiny industrial fishing town in Japan. It's about a little boy and a little girl-ocean-spirit, Ponyo, and how they meet, and love each other, and how her father -- who's a kind of crazed ocean-dwelling wizard -- tries to keep them apart. Like all his movies, it's gorgeously hand-drawn, and it's cute and funny and dark and real at the same time. The water alone in this film will have people shaking their heads for years. It's a big win.

I find it doesn't help to get fanboyish in situations like this -- it just freaks famous people out -- so I keep it together, helped by Miyazaki's translator -- she's a calming presence. I'm not going to run through the whole interview, which I have to save for the print magazine for now. But we talked about where Ponyo came from -- she was a frog before she was a goldfish, and her story to some extent parallels that of the Little Mermaid, a story Miyazaki loved as a child, though he didn't like the ending. We talked about his storyboarding technique -- there doesn't seem to be an indigenous word for this in Japanese, since I could hear him say 'storyboard' to his translator. He and Lasseter talked about their determination to preserve animation as an art form that can say serious things to children; they mention Nick Park, of Wallace & Gromit fame, as their colleague in this. We talked about the cartoons
Miyazaki loved as a little kid.

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