Below you can see the bit of original animation we made for the Oscars under extreme time pressure!
I would have loved to have had a Viking answer the question of "what does the nomination mean to you?" with a loud "GOOOOOLD!" and then have him trash the place..Big laffs.
but we figured this was the biggest audience we'd get to advertise our surprise nomination, so Aisling would be best as shes the cutest character and the one everyone seems to love (along with Pangur ban) the most. We would have liked to have included Brendan but his voice was provided by Evan McQuire almost 4 years ago and Evan has since become a towering strapping young chap with a very deep voice;) Thankfully the talented young Christen Mooney still sounds pretty much like Aisling does in the movie - at least when shes in character!
The producer Bill Mechanic asked us to do the piece while we were out for the Annies and the Santa Barbara film festival and Pixar sort of set the template. it was a mad panic to complete this and we were'nt paid anything for it, it was just an amazing oppurtunity to create something for one of the biggest Tv shows in the world . We only had three weeks total to do it too.
Paul and I brainstormed the script with Nora over skype the night we got asked to come up with something and we had a few revisions from Bill Mechanic before we got it right, I met up with my friend Jim Capabianco in Santa Barbera at the festival there and ran some of our bad ideas by him until we whittled it down to something do-able!
Time was tight so I was doodling ideas directly on the tablet pc with the scratch track provided by Paul Young - sounded pretty weird to have a 35 year old man do Aislings voice but it quickly showed we had too many ideas for the time we had. Nora did a scratch of the lines we settled on and I did a scribbly Flash animatic on the plan from LA to Dublin.
Flying back from the Annies , I had a four hour stop over in Chicago where I tried to call in to the sound studio when Nora and Christen were recording the final approved dialogue. But we were pushing mobile phone technology a bit too far and Nora took care of the voice directing alone ;)
I sketched the pose and basic idea in Brown Bag studios in Dublin first thing in the morning when I flew back to Ireland as I knew the time was tight for all involved and the hours I'd have lost getting to KK that morning would have been crucial not to lose.
Design wise I made her a little more like how she appears in the short prequel I drew for the French comics.
With extra long hair trailing into mist and flowers in it to give her a bit of glamour for Oscar night:)
Thanks to Darragh and the lads in BB for their help, without whom I could'nt have got the pose and design off to the talented Allesandra Sorrentino and Alfredo Cassano in time.
Our Italian friends animated it in beautiful full, frame by frame style, but in Flash, drawing each drawing directly into the computer with wacoms, the result is pretty much as good if not better than their superb work on paper for the feature itself IMO.
Lily Bernard and Maestro Ross Stewart made the BG and the sound studio Piste Rouge in Paris tidied up the sound and did some subtle forest efx.
Serge Ume and his team in digital graphics made the Ink and paint and compositing in five days and hey presto , Aisling was ready for the Oscars.
It was a great honour to create something original for the actual show and we scrambled to rebuild our international pipeline mainly because every one in our own studio are so busy on other projects right now but also because it was good to work with some of the best talent we had on the movie itself.
It was cool also to see the Fantastic Mr.Fox clip mention The Secret of Kells too...almost makes up for not getting to meet Wes Anderson after all. I only saw all the other clips on the night myself, so they were all a lovely surprise.
I have to say Pete Docter is the ultimate gentleman and his speech is just lovely to watch again after the clips play when he most deservedly wins the goldy fella.
It was very moving to be sitting next to his lovely wife Amanda , but I am very sorry that I kept standing on the end of her gown all night :(