UT Special: backstage, behind the scenes look at cartoon production
"The Dragon Spell", or "Nick Tanner" as its original Ukrainian name is, can surely be called the first 3D cartoon ever to be produced in Ukraine. There is a long history behind its creation, that led to an establishment of an animation studio in 2011. It is the studio which took care of the production process going smoothly in order to eventually show us their result on the big screen.
The debut for Ukraine is scheduled for October 13. The same date the English version of the film should be on the silverscreen as well.
The idea of the cartoon is deep but at the same time simple: real heroism is in brain over brawn, rather than just strength of the body.
Oleksandr Polishchuk, head of production: We were trying to make an interesting story. The story, which would be interesting for both an English-speaking audience as well as a Ukrainian one with a combination to be instructive, cheerful and dynamic. That's why we referred to a Ukrainian legend and made a sequel of the story about Kyrylo The Tanner.
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Viktor Andriyenko, a screenplayer and voice actor, is highly excited about the cartoon. He says he joined the team when they had already started their work but he became an integral part of the process within first 20 seconds while watching a draft version. He started moving, enacting characters of the story, creating voices for them. And eventually, he voiceovered Eddie in the Ukrainian version of the film.
Viktor Andriyenko, screenplayer and voice actor: I felt how my character Eddie should react and move. It's like, if he falls down, I suggested his tongue drops out. I was constantly giving my suggestions. Many things appeared through dubbing characters, we felt free to improvise. Very often I was a helping hand for our animators.
The film director is still submerged in work. He is watching a final version and is finding minor things to correct before the release. There is some time left to improve the cartoon and make it better.
Manuk Depoyan, director: For example, I find some problems with light, or shots themselves. They are small nuances but we want a great quality. And the cartoon is actually ready.
The modeling department also had tons of work. It's the place where draft pictures of artists turn into object full of color and shape. It's hard to say how many sketches they need for making a model. Everything depends on the complexity of a character, his personality, and role in a film.
Anton Tytov, modeling TD: Artists get their task referring to a script and start drawing sketches. They take into account every detail, down to how eyebrows of a character will move. Then we make models out of these sketches. Then, these are all handed over to animators, who make models as moving objects, which play a particular role in the cartoon.
The budget of the cartoon, around EUR 4 million, allowed them to concentrate a lot of attention and efforts on quality. As a result, many countries around the globe are open to buying "The Dragon Spell" for their domestic screening.
Iryna Manzhosova, producer: We really tried and worked hard to fit into the budget and to give a really vibrant quality to the film. So, we can compare it with the quality of other studios, European ones, more well-known in the world. We are pretty happy we've sold it to many countries with traditionally high box-office hits, for example, China, Japan, the UK, Germany and countries from the Middle East and Latin America.
If "The Dragon Spell" proves to be a success, the cartoon's producers promise to make a sequel to it. And here is the part of viewers - they will vote by going to cinemas.
Taras Chechko, UT Correspondent