Friday, May 31, 2013

The Luxo Limelight - Issue #1: William Jardine

It's finally here, folks! The very first issue of The Luxo Limelight!

This week we'll be taking a closer look at the one and only William Jardine of! He currently resides in England and runs one of the best animation blogs out there. I got the incredible opportunity to interview him and learn all about the impact Pixar and its films have had on his life, so without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, I give you William Jardine.


What is your favorite Pixar film? What is your favorite Pixar short film?
Favourite Pixar film is a tricky one to approach, given that I have loved every single film they've made, and love different films for different reasons. But my favourite Pixar film - my favourite animated film, my favourite film, in fact - is and always has been Toy Story 2. It just has to be a Toy Story, really - they're infallible films. As for shorts, I've always really liked Presto's zany humour.

Who is/are your favorite Pixar character(s)? How do you relate to them?
My favourite Pixar characters are probably Frozone or Dug, given the former's coolness (pun intended), the latter's lovability, and the great voice acting done for both of them. In terms of which character I relate to the most, it has to be Woody: he's a little gangly, perhaps a tad dorky, and maybe he doesn't always say or do the right thing, but he tries, he cares, and he tries his best to be a decent, kind person, to help and care for his friends. I think if we all try to emulate that, even a little bit, the world might be a much happier place.

Who is your favorite Pixarian, and how do they inspire you?
Ooh, now that's a tricky one. My love for John Lasseter is absolutely stratospheric - the man helped make the greatest film studio on the planet what it is, helped revive a fledgeling Disney, helped spur the animation renaissance we're in at the moment, and is just a damned fine storyteller. I'm also a great, great lover of Brad Bird - both in and out of animation. Artist-wise, Dice Tsutsumi's work has always astounded me.

How and when did you first come to be a Pixar fanatic?
That's an interesting story, actually. Obviously I've always been aware of Pixar (as I said, Toy Story 2's been my favourite film for as long as I can remember), but I never became a fanatic until, I think, early 2010. It was when Up came out on DVD here in the UK, I had a few pounds to spare and an itching to see a newish film, so I bought that. I was floored. The quality of the storytelling, the quality of the animation, the great characters, the emotional twists, the good-natured humour, it was all just so poignant and so earnest. The feeling of sheer amazement and adulation I got from watching Up for the first time is one I haven't had before or since. From then, I was hooked: I re-watched their older films that I hadn't seen in a while (A Bug's Life and Nemo, mainly) and caught up on the films of theirs I hadn't seen yet (Ratatouille and WALL-E); I started researching the studio online, came across names like John Lasseter and Andrew Stanton for the first time, memorised facts and details, re-watched the films a few more times, and... well, I became a fanboy. I started A113Animation shortly thereafter. The excitement I had for Toy Story 3 when it hit cinemas later that year was unreal, and that film holds a particularly special place in my heart as the movie which bookended my childhood; it was a very special moment, as a Pixar fan, to look around the cinema on opening day and see that there was nary a kid about, the screen was was packed to the brim with teenagers (and I'd venture there wasn't a dry-eyed one by the end).

On a scale of 1 to Mike when he sees himself on TV, how excited are you for "Monsters University"?
Somewhere around a Boo and a half.

Is it a dream of yours to work for Pixar? If so, what sort of job would you like to have there?
Hard to say, really. I'm starting university myself in September (not MU, sadly) on a Computer Science course. That's the same course Ed Catmull did (although obviously things have changed drastically in the field since the 1970s), so it's entirely possible that I could try and pursue a career linked to animation (a more technical role, likely - I'm hardly an artist), but having not had any practical experience with computer animation techniques, it's hard to say how I'll feel in three years time. I would love to work in the film industry, though.

How do friends and family react to your love for the studio?
Curiously. They humour my obsession as I humour their love of football (or soccer, to you guys). It is great, though, how everyone - old or young, male or female - loves Pixar; the studio has attained a level of respect that animation itself is rarely afforded. Not to say they don't all roll their eyes when I wax lyrical about how Bob Peterson follows me on Twitter, though...

Try to explain the feeling of seeing a Pixar film, feature-length or short, for the very first time in just three words.
Really bloody exciting.

Pixar's films teach us many valuable life lessons. Can you recall a particular time when you implemented any of these lessons into your life? Which moral lesson showcased in a Pixar film resonates with you the most?
It's hard to say with some of them, because - having grown up with the films - I've been morally affected by the Toy Story films in an almost subconscious way: they teach right from wrong, they teach dealing with jealousy, loss, pain, abandonment... Not to say they're just big lessons, they're rather fun too. But Up, again, is the most recent one I can recall, it hammers home how important it is too make the most of life while we still can. A pretty good lesson, I'd say.

You are in argument with someone who claims Pixar is overrated. How do you convince them otherwise?
Slap them across the face. Failing that, dare them to sit through Toy Story 3 without crying.

Pixar have created something of a legacy for themselves ever since they began back in 1986. What part of said legacy do you hope the studio holds on to for as long as they are in existence?
The love for what they're making. Nobody can stay on top forever (just look at the armies of doubters that've crawled out of the woodwork since the actually-quite-good Cars 2) and Pixar can't always hit a home run. And that's okay. Maybe every film they put out isn't going to be The Incredibles or WALL-E, but if the film is fun, if the film is filled with characters that the filmmakers have clearly enjoyed bringing to life as much as we enjoy watching them, then they can't go far wrong.

If you could say something, anything, to the founders of Pixar right now, what would it be?
Thank you.


There you have it folks. Before you leave, don't forget to follow William on Twitter at @WilliamKJardine and do yourself a favor and check out his blog to stay up to date with all the latest animation-related news.

Tune in next week for Issue #2 of The Luxo Limelight, and don't forget to shoot me an email if you are interested in participating!

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