Tete a Tete with Hans Bacher

On the 28th, last month, the Animation Society of India in association with ACK Animation Studios organized an exclusive interactive session with Hans Bacher. The event was a bank of knowledge with many animation students and professionals gathering to hear the ins and outs of production design from Hans himself. Hans spread his valuable experiences, a series of splendid works with the attendees and the end of the event saw a bright motivational start in the attendees to give their best to animation. This event by ACK & TASI was truly unique in terms of attendees getting a chance to have one on one interaction with Hans. With so much of creativity, vast experience working on movies like Mulan, Who Framed Rogger Rabit, Lion King and many more, Hans for sure has enthralled the audience at the event sharing his style and ideation behind bringing out successful works like these. I am honored to bring across a short tete a tete with Hans about his experience at the event, his upcoming book Dream Worlds 2 and lot more. In this Interview, we have Hans sharing his views with Kushal Ruia of ACK Animation Studios and Vaibhav Kumaresh of TASI also bringing across their thoughts on Hans and the event. Happy Reading! How was your experience at the event ACK & TASI organized for you? It was great to see so much interest and enthusiasm in the community. People came down from all over India! Everybody was so incredibly warm and friendly. I’m looking forward to meeting them again and seeing more of their work. Many thanks to everyone involved for all their efforts for and at the event. So what did you think of your first trip to India? Way too short! It’s was an absolutely incredible experience, I can’t wait to come back The attendees seemed to really enjoy it too judging by how you were swamped by the crowd after the talk! Any chance you could be persuaded to do a full scale workshop next time? It’s possible but a workshop has to be smaller in scale and more concentrated to be effective. When I visited ACK animation, I got to actually sit with a handful of artists as they presented their work individually. We went over the art piece by piece with me doing thumbnails, critiquing and explaining my thought process to the group. This kind of learning takes time and personal interaction not really possible with very large groups. When can we expect you back for another great event or workshop? As soon all my other commitments allow. I had a great time in India and would love to be back very soon but there’s always several projects going on at a given time besides my work at Nanyang that have to be balanced in the equation. If all the right things fall into place it could even be as early as autumn. Speaking of your other projects, the last slide in your presentation showed the cover of Dream Worlds 2. Can you tell us a bit more about that? It’s the book I’m doing together with Sanatan Suryavanshi on composition and color for film. We’ve been working very hard on it for over a year now and I must say I’m very happy with how it’s looking so far. Where Dream Worlds was meant to inspire, this book is meant to inform. It breaks down the science of composing for visual storytelling to its nuts and bolts and actually explains how to use each of these. Updates on it can be found on my blog http://one1more2time3.wordpress.com/ Do you have your own ideas for a film in development? Several. Some of them have been in development for many years and some are on the back burner. Three of the ones I pitched to Disney went all the way to the final selection before getting put on hold. Who knows, you might see them in some years. Of all the films you have worked on, do you have a favorite? No. There were some that at one stage and time seemed to be very interesting and would probably have made for incredible films, but for all different reasons they got destroyed by management. You always approach new projects hoping that this next one will have the potential to be your favorite. What would you say are the requirements of becoming a good production designer? There’s so many, but if I was to pick a few even just focusing on the artistic side of that job, I’d say the ability to draw and paint in all different techniques, especially techniques that are fast, thorough understanding of the art in general, tremendous knowledge of art history, a vast reference archives of books, photographs gathered from the real life and the internet and above all, a big fantasy and imagination. Photography and Production Design- Your Views, I heard you clicked around 2000 pics all over India? India is such a photogenic country! So many incredible motifs. You can see some of the pictures I did there athttp://twelvefield.wordpress.com/. Basically photography is just another way of making you see everything more intensely. To me there is not such a big difference in photography and doing sketches for reference. When you are somewhere in the middle of these amazing cultural centers like I was in India, and you don’t have that kind of time to make sketches everywhere and capture all the ideas and information around you, train yourself to do this with a camera. You can make the drawings and designs later based on your experience and the photographs. Not to mention it will teach you a lot about composition. Any advice for youngsters in the field today Spend time traveling through the World Wide Web and find out what similar artists are doing in the other parts of the world. This will help you answer the question ‘How good am I? And more importantly, ‘How good should I aim to be.’ Don’t lose hope if some artists out there seem out of reach. As maybe some of you remember from the very early drawings of mine that I showed in my presentation, everyone starts somewhere. But at the same time make no mistake about what the competition is and work accordingly. Get a thorough education in the arts and practice drawing at every opportunity you get. Have someone next to you, perhaps a good friend, who is also studying with you and has similar hopes and dreams for the future. This is very important. It’s amazing how much easier and more fulfilling it is to grow together than in isolation. Above all, keep alive your love for the medium. For film and animation, you should be so passionate about it, that you are close to being obsessed. I think only when you are obsessed, you have a chance today to survive and to be successful. Let’s hear some experiences from ACK & TASI as well Kushal Ruia, Creative Head-ACK Animation Studios, ACK Media, “To say that me and my team at ACK Animation Studios benefited greatly by the one-on-one interaction with the master would be an understatement Add to this the fantastic presentation at the ACK-TASI event just made for one inspiring weekend. We hope he can come back for more!”  “TASI is truly delighted with the presence of Hans. Hans was so enthusiastic in bringing across his experiences and we are extremely thankful to him. It was a great session! The event saw a huge count of senior industry professionals come in to know about Hans and that was pleasant sight! TASI hopes to collaborate with Legends like these in near future.”Vaibhav Kumaresh, Committee Member, TASI   connect@animationxpress.com