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Tony Bancroft offers a sweet read in Directing for Animation

Everything you didn't learn in art school and were afraid to ask
Tony Bancroft, Focal Press

Directing for Animation: Everything You Didn't Learn in Art School


Annie Award-winning, LA-based director/animator Tony Bancroft does not sugar coat his adventures in animation. Bancroft's forthcoming book Directing for Animation: Everything You Didn't Learn in Art School (Focal Press, 2014) is an honest achievement in articulating the sometimes uncomfortable truth of a cartoon career.

Nevertheless, Bancroft's opus provides an entertainingly sweet tour through his personal journey. This title also builds on autobiographical aspects by offering a handy how-to guide for aspiring animators. The dos and don'ts are doubly effective, because Bancroft illustrates them, in words and pictures, with tales from Mulan, The Lion King, and other projects on his substantial resume.

The LA Animation Examiner has a sneak peek inside the pages of Bancroft's publication. There are many high points; below are the top five crowd pleasers:

1) Family photos - Bancroft is unafraid to expose his biological family (namely, his twin brother Tom), his former California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) family, and his former Disney family in very real, unaltered, often fashion-challenged images. However, the most priceless picture is on page one: teen Tony creates art in his boyhood bedroom, a color-coordinated shrine to the Star Wars franchise, complete with corresponding curtains and coverlet.

2) Interviews with storied animation directors - Dean DeBlois (How to Train Your Dragon), Pete Docter (Monsters, Inc., Up, Monsters University), and Nick Park (Wallace and Gromit, Chicken Run) are the stuff of animation legend. Bancroft snags interviews with all three and more. The foreword is by industry heavy hitter and Bancroft collaborator Rob Minkoff (The Lion King, Stuart Little).

3) Page 43 - This page is worth its weight in gold statuettes. It contains a simple, sample, animated feature film production schedule.

4) Studio versus indie animation style - Bancroft's curriculum vitae includes both low budget and big budget fare. He bravely chronicles the pros and cons of each.

5) Tough love - In particular, see Chapter 6, entitled Be Prepared. Subtitles hint at the harsh reality herein: Know What's Coming and Prepare for It, The Real Pressure Cooker: Working with Voice Actors, and Be Prepared to Throw Away Your Preparation.

In addition to bragging rights on his first tome, Bancroft earns directorial credit on an upcoming CG theatrical feature film; said movie is High in the Clouds, which is based on Paul McCartney's corresponding children's book. This screen musical boasts original songs by McCartney as well. Could a salty sequel to Directing for Animation be in the works? A Bancroft/former Beatle joint venture might spawn further delectable fodder from the toon front lines!

For more scoop on Tony Bancroft, see

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