Saturday, June 21, 2008

Friday Freak: Milt Neil

This week has sure been exciting! My birthday was Tuesday, and the family and I went to my favorite Mexican place to eat....and it was STILL open!
( In my neck of the woods, restaurants open and close quickly).
I was brought on to work with a company I have been trying to get into for years, but more about that later.
Yesterday, as I was riding my bike at the park, I took a nastie header as I was negotiating my way through a herd of small children.
As I was picking rocks out of my road rash, the kids came over to ask if I was ok.
This drawing of Milt Neil is also from my days at the Kubert School, circa 1981.
My only regret is that it's drawn in marker, and every year it seems to spread out a little bit more.
Milt was an old Disney animator, and worked on a lot of cool projects, such as "Fantasia" and "Dur Fuhrer's Face".
The man could draw anything, and he didn't take sh*t from anybody.
He was such a wealth of knowledge. When he would go down the line and help each of us with our assignments, it was amazing, and nerve wracking!
We'd go to the pencil test machine, and he would critique us one by one.
It was during our flag waving tests that he yelled at a guy for copying the flag from the " Timing for Animation" book. He saw instantly when someone was cutting corners.
Once, we were going over one of my scenes, where this depressed dinosaur was sitting on a log, looks up at the viewer, and gulps.
Milt said.." that looks real good, son."
I walked on air the rest of that week.
More often than not, Milt would flip your scene, say that it was getting there, and then motion for you to get out of your seat so he could sit and" show you how to take this further."
Watching him made you realize just how much you didn't know.
When he was finished, he'd get up, clap you on the shoulder, and go to the next guy.
Leaving you with a pile of Milt's animation that he just roughed out as he was talking,20 or 30 pages of key frames, alternate drawings for cycles to break them up, etc., that flipped beautifully, and that you didn't have a chance in hell of duplicating.
I'm not even going to talk about his mastery of pastels.