Sunday, April 23, 2006

Thief that never gave up

Hey there,

just posting to say boy howdy.
Weathers good and I can feel summer comin' so its all good.
Spent the day toolin around in the car and walking in the forest in Jenkinstown with Ben and teh madra dana Cu-dog.
The forest sequence is next on the agenda for a final pass so it was inspiring - bluebells are sproutin and stuff.
Li and I found a great new house last weekend with a pottery attached for her to do her ceramics so its all good.

The production is having trouble finding layout crew but we have several solutions and several leads too so hopefully it'll all come together.
We had a very productive production meeting on Friday the first one in our swanky new meeting room with big swingy chairs !
Narrowing down the voices now - its a tough decision between so many talented kids but we need to decide now.
We had call-backs on Thursday for Brendan and auduitioned for Aisling too.
Its a giid problem when they are all so talented and its a tough choice!
Kairen Wailoch helped out a lot and Nora , of course, was brilliant with the kids, I'm learning a lot about actinga nd stuff at the moment too.
Finished the Robert McKee book "Story" and now I'm mad to write a new script!
Gonna start with some comics ideas that have been bumping around in my noggin for a while and post those here too.
The lads in Barley films in Dublin gave us some good note son the animatic and thats good to keep us focused and to have an outside opinion.
Didier and Fabrice will have notes for us soon too I guess....

Just gettin used to my new contacts too - its mad having peripheral vision again! Nice one.

Anyway I found this guy Garret Gilchrist who is restoring one of the unsung masterpieces of animation - the Thief and the Cobbler.
Dick Williams has always been such a huge inspiration to myselfa nd all of us here.
I met him in 2002 at his master class in Denmark, showed him some old stuff from the film, and he was very encouraging.
The documentary "The animator who never gave up" that i saw in college was a big inspiration too over the years, the passion he had for animation is so infectious.
I LOVE the design style of the Theif too ...
I'll post some pics that were on this forum about the restoration -
I even had a picture of Dick williams stuck up at my desk to symbolically kick my ass when I was slackin! Fabian has my old desk now and he's got Dicks severe gaze staring him down now!
BTW Fabs is doing some magic stuff with the kids playing hurling at the moments some nice 2d doing what 2d does best kinda stuff.

Anyway check out the gorgeous artwork from the thief over on that forum.
25 years in the making - all on ones, ah ye all know the legend I'm sure!
But thats a heck of a cartoon - some of the detail seems insane especially as its from the days of handpainted cels and so on. I can't wait to see a good quality version of the scratchy old workprint that everyone copies in animation school!
Someday I hope the powers that be will release an official classy restoration.
Until then its mighty that Garret is doin' this important work.

anyway back to work...



  1. It's very interesting to hear how you guys are working!

  2. good stuff!!

    i got this great documentry on dick by itv, while he was still working on thief, shame it ended the way it did!!

  3. What?? Someone's actually restoring THIEF & THE COBBLER to it's original state? Amazing! I look forward to the day I can ditch my 5th generation video tape for a nice, clean DVD! (I refuse to buy ARABIAN KNIGHT...) Thanks for posting this!

  4. It's great to here how you guys work and about Thief restoration, keep it up. We need more great classically animated features to choose from. If you need help with layouts, i'll work for free.

  5. glad things are moving along, and glad to hear you're enjoying the new space. Rawk on!!

  6. For some reason I can´t find the thread of "the thief..." in that forum, anyway the film is marvellous, I´m glad about the reworking on the film..

  7. hi - a friend forwarded your blog to me - i animated the scene with zigzag holding the cobbler's hand . its nice to know the next gen of animators still rate dick williams and that film . it nearly killed me !!!!there never was a real finished DW version of the film - the last stage at which dick was involved was a two thirds animated film and full colour storyboards all drawn in marker pens by dick himself . i should know cos i was high for weeks !!!
    like the designs on your blog - best of luck with it .

  8. i got a copy of arabian nights free with a box of fruit loops.

    honestly. to think of all the work that went into that film and theyre handing it out free with sugar cereal ? heartbreaking.

    WORSE was the film itself. pan and scan - anybody who knows the film understands what a travesty that is - and with the most AWFUL, INFURIATING voice over added to the two main characters - mute, as williams cinceived them. here they bable on and on ...

    and they trimmed the colapse of the war machine sequence, if you can believe it. some of the most exciting stuff ever ! and they cut it !

    anywya, we all know how horrible it is. now comes news soem intrepid sould is restoring it ! brilliant ! i laughed at the old 5th generation art school comment by the way. true that ! maybe there will be a clunk audible around the world as we all junk our blurry copies !

    also, great looking book of kells stuff !


  9. Thanks for mentioning my Thief and the Cobbler restoration!

    Those interested can email me at tygerbug (at)

    Enjoying the development of Brendan and the Book of Kells! Looking forward to more!