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Seven Questions For Nick Park, Animator Of "A Close Shave"

Seven Questions For Nick Park, Animator Of "A Close Shave"

Seven Questions For Nick Park, Animator Of "A Close Shave"

Academy Award-winning animator Nick Park talked with indieWIRE and an online audience on the production and success of “A Close Shave.”

indieWIRE: Hi Nick, How long did it take you finish the short film. What is
the process?

Nick Park: “A Close Shave” took 10 months to shoot, and that was with 5
animators working full-time, producing approximately 5 seconds a day each.
The process is known as stop-frame animation. We specialize in clay
animation, which involves a clay figure being moved in very small increments.
One frame of film is taken for each move made. When you have taken 25 of
these frames, that constitutes 1 second of film.

iW: How did you get into Showbiz?

Park: I started making animated movies at the age of 13. I continued as
a hobby until I was 17 or 18, and my father suggested that I apply for a
degree in filmmaking. This was quite an alien idea to me, coming from
Preston, in the north of England, which is a long way from TV or movies. I
never thought it was possible for someone like me to work in tv and movies,
but one thing led to another.

iW: What was your motivation at age 13 to begin animation?

Park: At school, I was only ever good at one subject, and that was art.
For a long time I wanted to be a comic strip artist, until I discovered that
my parents camera could do animation. I drew flip books, and filmed them.
When I saw my
cartoons come to life, I fell in love with the process.

iW: Where did you get the idea (for) Wallace and Gromit? Where did you
come up with their names?

Park: Gromit is a word my brother, an electrician uses. It’s a piece of
electrical wiring insulation, called a Gromit. I just liked the word. I
gave it to the character, which was a cat, at the time. Later, in college,
it became a dog. Wallace was just a name I liked. It’s always very
difficult to trace the origins of an idea. They came from sketch books I kept
when I was young. Some people say Wallace has a resemblance to my father,
and some say the same about Gromit. If there is a family resemblance, it
isn’t deliberate. It’s just something that happened.

iW: What kind of dog is Gromit??

Park: He’s completely made up. He’s my kind of dog!

iW: What’s next for them?

Park: I’m putting W&G on the shelf for awhile, while I work on a feature
film, which doesn’t star W&G, unfortunately. I certainly want to make more
W&G films in the future. As a matter of fact, I’m making more W&G whether
people like it or not! I feel that W&G are my children, and couldn’t leave
them for too long without making another film.

iW: What would you do if not working in animation or film?

Park: If I wasn’t in animation, I think I’d be an artist of some kind,
or a lion tamer! I sometimes wonder what I’d be doing if I didn’t discover
that my parents camera had a stop-motion/animation button.

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