Please allow me to explain about my mysterious roll in Sony´s “ In to the spiderverse” film as an "Visual Consultant"
3 years ago ( or a bit more? ) I was hired by Sony as the Production Designer / Art Director ( I always much prefer the sound of Art Direction than Production Design, despite the status or hierarchy ) and I was also contracted to direct a little clip that will ended up been called: "the animation test".
Very early, So early that I had an entire empty huge massive 2nd floor just for myself, and it was like that for few months. No Directors or Producer was attached to the film at that point yet.
My main goal at first was to explore the world, the comics , the past of Spiderman, the cinematography, the language, the style, the possibilities. To set the most amazing thing ever, basically.
Something that either accidentally or on purpose I always want to do in my projects is to brake the repetitive and very succesful “look” and pipeline that all the big Giants Corps in animation had been smashing in our faces for the last decade, up to a point that is dificult to diferenciate who did what.
Successfully achieved in early projects like “The Beatles Rock Band” , my Pinkman videos or later on with “Tron Uprising” . But this requires openess and colaboration.
As soon as I got hired I worked super hard 7 days a week and hell of hours per day from day one. Painting, Drawing, Designing and Story Boarding. SONY responded amazingly with the first images and animatics.They were real happy. I felt powerful, super confident partially because I was doing good hard work but also partially because Sony made me feel that way.
Sony was generous and open to anything. Everything I asked it was given to me. We hired my dream team : ALL my favourite artist and long time collaborators. ( Vaughan Ling ( heavypoly ), Yun Ling, Neil Ross, Craig Mullins, Beeple, Peter Chan, Jesus Alonso Iglesias, Wardelight, Robh Ruppel, Raffaello Vecchione ) They got me an Spiderman suit ( ...for my references for the character… ) and trips to New York with a great location scout whom took me in to definitely NONE public super restricted areas to take million of photos and feel what must be to be Spiderman. HELL of Vertigo I must say, HOLLY FUCK. Getting up there and loosing myself around NewYork with my camera in search of locations was with no doubt some of the most amazing times on my career so far.
Anyway, Sony very much allowed me all my eccentricities.
The animation test ended up just few clips to explore the technique and the style.
Again Sony 5 Starts gave me full most luxurious team of super high profile technicians, artist, software , hardware, animators, 3D artists and modelers. People with lots of patience that didn't understand very much what I had in my brain at first. But together and thousends of paintings , layers , renders and hell amount of art we all develop the most spectacular 3 or 4 shots I ever seen. ( at least at the time ) I hope Sony will publish them some day. ( And hope they dont give me an "Advisor" Credit for that…! )
Sorry this is getting too long.
At this point of your reading you provably figured out that I get fired some time in this story.
After almost 2 years ( or year and 1/2 ) I guess Sony and me didnt get along that well and I was fired . Where the decision came from or where it was initiated is still a mystery. This was very much a painful surprise for me and my team and many others. We had mostly technical and style discrepancies but I didn't know they were so major. The way I wanted to do things and the way Sony wanted to do things, at least at the time, were different.
I think it was really difficult time for Sony too.
As a very intense and eccentric artist that I am, I rented a U-haul , emptied my office in few hours, left the building as quick as I could and pretty offended unfriend every one in facebook!!!!!!. ( This now explains my raging post back in December 2017 with the release of the first animation teaser . I hope this answers your questions, I will not delete that post, but I apologies if I disrespect the artists involved on such a piece of animation. )
It was very hard time. Specially because I had to leave all my artists , all my art, lots of painting tutorials and all my ideas behind. If you are an artist you can imagine the feeling.
Other artists , other directors and art directors and production designers join the team. A difficult task for all of them. Brave people with new energy ready to continue what I left.
I want to congratulate absolutely everybody, my original team and the huge amount of artist that came after. Everybody, Artist, Producers and Technicians. My original vision for sure could had been a different film. Worst film or better film, thats not important. A film, same a life, has many possible futures. The movie in fact talks about dimensions. Thats very much my point. The film I imagined happily lives in another dimension.
And I can feel they were all very inspired from that early vision, the initial base.
Believe me Im not trying to claim any authorship because this film has many authors: hundreds of artists, producers, animators, 3 directors, modelers, groomers, shaders, 2D artists, Storyboard artists, writers, assistants, in resume HUGE AMOUNT of brains creating a brave pipeline…
Please keep in mind that when I left : STILL THERE WAS A FULL MOVIE to be made !
Animation is so collaborative and inclusive. More than any art that I know. Everybody are all authors and responsibles of this film.
I know so well that this film hasn´t been easy . Was not easy when I was there, was not easy when I left. More than 100 minutes of animation are a lot of minutes.
And the film preserves the most important part: To create something different from what we generally see in mainstream animation.
Sorry I was long. I just wanted to explain about this weird Visual Consultant credit that I ended up having in the film. People keep asking.
The reason why Sony, directors or producers do not mention my work that much out there, or if my mysterious "Visual Consultant" credit is not bad, or not good , fair , or unfair is more a problem of myself getting poor legal advice. I dont care as long as I can write a text about it and at least have few people reading it. Even though I think I have a pretty sweet mention in the book. May be no, Im not sure.
Thank you Sony for investing during that time. The film is finished. WOuhh… look at the general reaction! Sensational. Well deserved.