When I was younger (and yes, there was a time when I was younger), one of the best parts of going to the movies was seeing the animated shorts. There weren’t a trillion TV channels where cartoons could be watched all the time. That made any animated short at the theaters a real treat.
That trend went away for a long time. It’s been exciting to watch the Walt Disney Studios revive the practice. The latest animated short offering from the company can be seen with the new feature film, “Big Hero 6.”
“The Feast” is the story of a scrappy dog who will eat anything put in front of him. The real story is the relationship he has with his master over the years. It’s a sweet story of love and loyalty.
Kristina Reed, producer of “The Feast,” was working on “Big Hero 6” when she got moved over to riding herd over the animated short. The biggest challenge she faced was that while Disney has been making shorts for a few years – including the Oscar winning “Paperman” – it’s a company built around making feature length movies.
“Your challenge as a short producer is you’re just running along, like this person’s free for two weeks? Great, come on to my show and do this. There’s a little animation team that has four weeks available? Come on to my show and do this,” Reed says. “You’re trying to sort of thread through and make consistent progress with random resources becoming available at random moments in time.
“That’s a challenging way for a director to work on the short, but your job as a producer is to try and make that as smooth for the director as possible.”
“The Feast” was directed by Patrick Osborne. He’s worked in the animation department for years on such full-length offerings as “Wreck-It Ralph” and “Bolt.”
Don’t look for more than one animated short a year because of the limited resources.
“Because our resources are really dedicated to features, there’s not a lot of room for two shorts to be duking it out for those extra resources so we tend to only put one into that position at any given time,” Reed says.
At least they’re making animated shorts to show in theaters again.