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Roger Rabbit animator talks film
Richard Williams
Richard has moved to Bristol for the expensive pencils!

One of the animation world's best-known directors has appeared at the Encounters Film Festival in Bristol.

Richard Williams is an award winning animation director and boasts a collection of three Oscars.

One of his most well known projects was 1988 hit film Who Framed Roger Rabbit which starred Bob Hoskins.

Richard now lives in the city after spending ten years in Wales: "We couldn't get any equipment there...you can buy some pencils here!"

Richard puts Bristol's success as a animation city down to Wallace & Gromit creators Aardman.

"It's because of Aardman, because of their enormous success and development. Of course, it gives birth to satellite groups and everything.

"We're conscious that they're here, of course, and I knew Peter Lord a little bit and now I know him much better."

Much of Richard's work is done at home but he does not use an expensive computer system to create animations.

"One of these computer guys in America, when we were doing this tour, said 'what system are you using? Which software system?'

"I said, 'the 3B system'. They all said 'what? We've never heard of 3B'.

"I said, 'it's a 3B pencil and a piece of paper'. I mean, there's a lot of piles of paper and there's a little camera in the corner, and that's about it.

"That's all you need. At least, that's all I need!"

Richard, now 75, started his career at Disney when he was just 15.

"I'd seen Snow White when I was five years old so it made a tremendous impression on me.

"I always wanted, when I was a kid, to get to Disney. I was a clever little fellow so I took my drawings and I eventually got in.

"They did a story on me, and I was in there for two days, which you can imagine what it was like for a kid."

After Disney, Richard was advised to learn how to draw properly. "I lost all interest in animation until I was 23."

He'd [the director] shoot the live action and I'd say to him 'just leave me a hole, mark an X on the floor and we'll draw a rabbit'.

Richard Williams on Roger Rabbit

He was drawn back to animation because "my paintings were trying to move".

His career then took him to London in the 1950s where his first film won him an Academy Award.

"It didn't make much money, but it won me all these awards," Richard said.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit came along in the 1980s after Disney and Steven Spielberg teamed up.

"You film the live action first, which is the work of the director of the film Bob Zemeckis.

"He'd shoot the live action and I'd say to him 'just leave me a hole, mark an X on the floor and we'll draw a rabbit'.

"So you would then print up each frame of the film in a big photograph and then we'd put a piece of paper down and draw a rabbit.

"The trick was to act it which they hadn't done before. Laurel and Hardy tangle up with each other, comics are always in each other's pockets, and so we did that. Tangled up the cartoon with the live action."

Encounters festival back in city
06 Nov 08 |  Arts & Culture


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