Friday, September 4, 2015

Interview: "House of Monsters" Creator Dawn Brown Talks Secrets of Animation and Kickstarter

Friday, September 4, 2015 - by Maurice Mitchell 0

House of Monsters (2015)

Check out House of Monsters by Dawn Brown!

Stop motion (also known as stop frame) animation is the technique of slightly moving an object, taking a picture and repeating the process. It's a pain staking technique that was pioneered in the 1920s and 30s on movies like King Kong (1933), Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973) and Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980). Computer animation has largely replaced stop motion on films, but there's recently been a resurgence in the technique thanks to movies like the Academy Award-Winning Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit in 2005. I've talked a few times about the award winning stop motion project called House of Monsters by concept artists Dawn Brown and Warren Manser. On July 28th the first two episodes went live on Vimeo On Demand! The web show is wonderful and Dawn Brown kindly agreed to do an interview with me about this break-through project.

Dawn Brown and Warren Manser are professional concept illustrators who've worked on big budget movies like Star Trek (2009), The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013), Man of Steel (2012) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012)




Here's the face-melting trailer


Maurice Mitchell: What motivated you to create this series?
Dawn Brown: We had tremendous success with the 2012 House of Monsters short. It won a couple of film festivals. It was Oscar qualified. People kept asking for more. We’ve worked so hard to create this world and these characters. Given the limited resources we have, episodic shorts seemed like the best option to keep going and gradually release the chapters of these characters and their adventures.

MM: How have you been influenced by the work of Ray Harryhausen?
DB: I'm not. I realize that might be blasphemous with this audience, but it’s the truth. I saw Clash of the Titans when I was a kid, and it was awesome. But that’s the sum total of my Harryhausen exposure. My biggest animation influences are Rankin/Bass, Looney Tunes, and Tim Burton. Throw in some Aardman, Laika and Robot Chicken for a little flavor.

MM: You successfully funded your project through Kickstarter? What's the key to a successful Kickstarter campaign?
DB: We ran a campaign in 2013 and  failed. We ran another campaign in 2014 and we succeeded. I spent that year in between learning as much as I could. I learned from my mistakes and spent months and months putting together the 2014 campaign. A successful campaign is all about social media, and I am not very social, so I was quite out of my comfort zone. Ha! You gotta do whatever it takes!

MM: How did Christopher Lloyd get involved as the voice of Dr. Gaulstone the narrator?
DB: As for Christopher Lloyd, we knew we wanted to bring on a character who would be a narrator or guide through the monster adventures. Dr. Gaulstone is the patriarch of this monster family, and seemed to be the best choice. We knew Christopher Lloyd would be perfect for the role. Playing on our strengths, we put together a pitch that was very visual, heavy on the concept art. We pitched through the normal Hollywood channels and it all came together pretty quickly. Christopher Lloyd was absolutely wonderful to work with. He knocked it out of the park.

Learn more about the web show by visiting House of Monsters on Vimeo. You'll be glad you did.

See more of Dawn brown's portfolio at http://www.DawnBrown.net and Warren Manser's portfolio at http://www.WarrenManser.com

Click on the links if you want to see more of Dawn Brown's work or House of Monsters artwork on my blog. 

What do you think of the project? If you've seen House of Monsters what do you think of the episodes?

Official House of Monsters Summary
House of Monsters is a stop-motion web series about all your favourite spooky characters from mummies to werewolves to vampires.
Directed by Dawn Brown
Starring Christopher Lloyd
Original Air Date: on July 28, 2015
Official Site: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/houseofmonsters
© Copyright 2015 The Monster Shop. All rights reserved

About the Author

Maurice Mitchell
Lover of science fiction and art.

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