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Ratatouille: Behind the scenes 1


Feature by Rob Carnevale

Creating the menu on the cutting (story) board…

Supervising chefs: Mark Andrews (story supervisor) and Ted Mathot (story artist).

What happens? “This is where it all begins,” explains Mark Andrews. “It actually begins with the director’s idea and his vision for the movie. We have to visualize the story; we’re the visual storytellers. If this is going to be a big animated picture, we want to know what it’s going to look like.

“The more he can make his film on storyboards look exactly like it’s going to look on-screen, then the rest of the process – through layout, animation, sets and lighting – is easier on those departments. They can then focus on making it really, really, really good.”

Adds Ted Mathot: “Our goal is to get to what’s in Brad’s head and then hopefully along the way add embellishments to it that he may not have thought of.”

Once those ideas are in place, it’s up to Mark, Ted and his team to visualise them. Hence, they’ll spend their days drawing and then revising and replacing anything that director Brad Bird doesn’t like, or wants to change.

Mark Andrews continues: “We’ve done about 20,000 drawings since Brad [Bird] came onto the film. And that’s finished drawings – the one’s Brad liked and thought worked. There’s probably 10 drawings for every one drawing [that works] on average, so, in total we did 200,000 drawings, or a cool half a million, because some sequences are a lot harder than others. It’s a lot of work. We come in about 9am-ish and we just keep drawing, drawing, drawing… We break for lunch and then draw, draw, draw again. At 6pm-ish we quit and then the next day we start all over again.

NEXT: Assembling the ingredients