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Creative Substance of Animated Film, or, What Is the Director Doing to Us?

As opposed to feature and documentary films where the camera tries to follow the course of real time by photographing, animated film develops by filming the artistic objects in real time at one’s wish, and then »reproducing« them in new time. The act of movement creation is the first-class art substance of this art form. Therefore, animation is not the »exhibition« of artistic objects that change at the rate of 25 pieces per second, but an authentic act of movement creation, a sort of »revival«. Because of stylization which stems from the alchemic technological and creative act of movements’ visual reinterpretation, from the very beginning the animated film took the position of »metaphoric« spheres’ communication, and the feature film of »real« ones but the latest technological possibilities brought them close together. There are about forty different professions participating in the animated film production, nine of which are considered »artistic« or »authorial« (by animated serial ten): synopsis and script author, characters and backgrounds’ visual identity author, main characters and backgrounds’ sketcher, main animator, director and composer.

All the production professions are reduced to three key groups that create new, media substance and now I came to the sketch — the triangle of the animated film »creative software«. The story is the only apex of the triangle which is shared by animated and feature films. The second apex of the triangle is the films visual identity, design, that is, the key visual substance of the animated film. The third apex is distinctive of the animated film — the animation, a unique creative procedure that »revives« visual identity in a unique way and gives it the exact interpretation at the time of reproduction. And the most dramatic part in this definition of the »creative substance« is that there is no directing! Namely, in an animated film it is »understood«; when the opening credits name the »director«, they are not only thinking about the author who directed the film, but also about the person responsible for the film’s general creative scope. But, as opposed to the feature film, when the shooting script is elaborated, the animated film’s director brings his creative energy and the whole concept to the end; he gives the core creative sense to the film before the production, during the »pencil« phase.

In the animated film history there have been many examples of directors who could not draw (Vatroslav Mimica, Dušan Vukotić, Walt Disney). The animated film directors have to be very familiar with production technology, have sense of visual, music and animation components, but they do not have to be sketchers, writers, animators or musicians.

Joško Marušić

Film Caricature: On Caricature and Caricatured Film Image in Animated and Feature Films
Paradigmatic Monograph (Clare Kitson and Tale of Tales by Yuri Norstein)

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