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SDCC2012: Panel Report - Filmation and Lou Scheimer: Celebrating a Generation of Animation and TV Heroes

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Mangels brought up the BraveStarr movie. He pointed to BraveStarr as the second Native American character that Filmation did. He mentioned the studio’s frequent reuse of animation and how this film, by contrast, had animation that was very involved. He asked Tataranowicz to speak to the ways in which Filmation brought innovative ideas to how animation was done.

Tataranowicz told the audience that they were dealing with CGI before anyone really knew what it was. He said there was a room with a couple of guys trying to figure out how to incorporate it into the movie to get the cost of animation down and keep the project in this country. He said it was an ongoing process and they did several scenes using that tool in the BraveStarr film. Tataranowicz also discussed Filmation’s stock system, which he said, “almost defies belief.” He said it was a cost-saving measure, but that the key became how to use it in an aesthetically pleasing way so that you, “don’t catch the trick.” Tataranowicz added, “At least that’s what I tried to do.” Tataranowicz said that standard animation stock scenes use a rectangular hole on each side of the cel, at the top, and a circular hole between those two, which fits a standard acme peg bar. Tataranowicz said that the Filmation system used 20 peg holes, which would allow repositioning of the figure every which way, telling the audience it was about close as animation could get to the complication of a Rubik’s cube. He thought it really upped the quality of the BraveStarr series.

According to Tataranowicz, Scheimer figured out that maintaining a certain degree of quality became difficult once the episode count shot up, again mentioning Scheimer’s contributions to pioneering the syndication of animated shows and the innovative stock system. He said that if you had an idea, Scheimer would listen to you and let you try to do it, while watching their budgets. Tataranowicz told the audience that they had to think different and that the saying of, “limitations promote creativity” became their credo. Tataranowicz told the audience, “If you can do just anything, you do just kind of anything and you can pay for it. But if you have to be really clever and make something work, it usually makes for a better product.”

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