The Willoughbys Behind The Scenes Panel presented by TAAFI x Switch
TAAFI's first live stream happened on Thursday August 6th with the crew from the Netflix animated film The Willoughbys.
Writer/Director Kris Pearn was joined by 7 of the film's talented artists on this TAAFI exclusive, including Production Designer Kyle McQueen, Lead Editor Fiona Toth, Co-Director Rob Lodermeir, Director of Cinematography Sebastian Brodin, Head of FX Helén Ahlberg, Mark Stanleigh Co-writer and Storyboard Artist, and Animation Lead Aniket Natekar.
Kris and the crew talked about the film and their creative process, showed a ton of art, designs, and never before released cutscenes and rough storyboards.
Kris Pearn was born and raised in Canada. After graduating from Sheridan College, Kris has spent most of his life making cartoons for both film and television. His credits include: Open Season, Surf’s Up, Arthur Christmas, Shawn the Sheep, Pirates: Band of Misfits, and Home to name a few. He was Head of Story on Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs, and co-directed Cloudy Two: Rise of the Leftovers. He has most recently written and directed the Netflix animated feature THE WILLOUGHBYS based on the novel by Lois Lowry. Kris has been nominated for several Annies, has taught at Sheridan College, lectures all over the world through Schoolism, and has given a Ted Talk called “The Optimistic Opportunity of Failure”. He has illustrated several books including: Edward The Tree Climbing Dog, Project Superhero, and Tales of Spiffing. He still loves to draw.
After conquering high school, Rob set out to complete a Neuroscience degree. A disagreement surrounding the comedic value of rat brains going splat on the ground prompted Rob to re-evaluate his career interests. Luckily, Vancouver Film School welcomed Rob into the 3D Animation and Visual Effects program. Rob has now been in the industry for over 17 years, working at several studios including Nerdcorps, Bardel, Rainmaker, Lucasfilm Singapore, and Bron. Most recently at Bron Animation, Rob helped build the studio from within, going from low budget motion capture TV specials to high quality feature length productions. First completing Henchmen as the Animation Supervisor, Rob then transitioned onto Netflix's animated film The Willoughbys to help develop and launch the animation. With heavy production hitting, Rob then stepped up to take on a Co-Director role with Kris Pearn. Most recently, Rob has embarked on a new and exciting journey of teaching at the online school, CG Spectrum. Other notable film and TV projects that Rob has worked on include Escape from Planet Earth, Space Chimps, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and Viva Piñata.
Sebastian Brodin is an award winning 3D animation director and writer who has been working in the industry for over 20 years in creative roles including Director of Photography, Head of Previs and Layout, Series Director, CGI Director, Animation Director and many others.
Sebastian started his career in 1996 at the 3D animation studio, Mainframe Entertainment as a Junior Animator for the first fully 3D animated television series REBOOT that first aired in 1994.
He won a DVD Premiere Award as animation director for best character performance for his work on Barbie as Rapunzel (2003), and he won a Leo Award his first script for League of Super Evil, “Friendship Day” (2011).
Sebastian’s first feature film work was on Netflix’s “The WIlloughbys” as Director of Photography and Head of Previs and Layout.
His animation directing credits include Slugterra, The Deep, Kate and Mim Mim, L.O.S.E. League of Super Evil, Rated “A” for Awesome, Storm Hawks, Spider-man: The new animated series, Barbie as Rapunzel, Max Steel, Action Man, Transformers: Beast Machines and Dragon Booster.
Fiona Toth is a film editor based in Vancouver, BC. She has worked on Netflix's animated features "The Willoughbys" and "Pinocchio". Contrary to typical human nature, she enjoys sitting in windowless cutting rooms for hours on end editing films and other projects.
I am an award winning Production Designer and Art Director with 14 years experience in the animation and games industry. I began my career in television animation where I held positions as an animator, layout artist, concept artist and lead character designer before spending 6 years in the gaming industry where I was art director on a number of titles including the award winning iOS game DRAGON UP. In 2013, I made my feature debut as Production Designer on the critically acclaimed animated feature SAUSAGE PARTY. My most recent role was Production Designer for the Netflix original animated feature THE WILLOUGHBYS at Bron Animation.
Helén Ahlberg is an FX artist who emerged from the ruins of Gotland. She specializes in both 2D and 3D FX. Her journey started back home working as an artist for indie game studios Ludosity and Zoink. She then traveled across to Vancouver where she ended up at Bron Aanimated feature The Willoughbys.
At the moment she is designing FX for Netflix’s upcoming animated feature The Monkey King.
Aniket was born and raised in India and since a very young age, he was that kid in the class who loves to draw. His love for animation was a natural progression from there on.
To pursue his dream of becoming an animator, Aniket moved to Vancouver and graduated from the Vancouver Film School's Classical Animation program in 2008. His first job out of school took him to France, where he worked for about 4 years at Ankama Entertainmen as a 2D animator.
Wanting to make the transition into feature animation, he moved back to Canada in 2012 and took an online program at CG Spectrum College of Digital Art and Animation with a diploma in 3D animation. During this time, he was an animation supervisor on a few TV shows for Hasbro and Teletoon and also animated on a pilot for Amazon's 'Niko and the Sword of Light'.
He got his first break in CG Feature Animation in 2014 with Bron Animation's 'Henchmen'. As one of the lead animators on Netlfix's 'The Willoughbys' he is very proud of the unique animation style that the team developed for the movie.
Since then he's worked as a Senior Animator on Netlfix's 'Over the moon' and is currently working at Sony Pictures Imageworks.
Mark is a writer, director and storyboard artist from Toronto. His mom thinks he's a super talented guy and she's very proud of him. He worked as a story artist on The Willoughby's but over the course of production he started helping Kris do rewrites and ended up co-writing a draft of the script. His biggest contributions to the film were the scenes 'Nanny Makes Breakfast' and 'Melanoff's Sad Story' which he almost entirely wrote and storyboarded himself. They were cut.