Eye on the Oscars: The Producer

“Shrek” producer and PDI-DreamWorks head Aron Warner remembers the conception, gestation and subsequent birth of the big, lovable green monster as a “grueling, time-consuming job … but definitely worth it.”

For Warner, that job meant essentially producing two pictures. The producer recalls 18 months of 12-hour days with an editorial staff storyboarding scenes that they transferred to Avid, essentially creating a template “which we watched and treated like a real movie.”

“The great thing about producing ‘Shrek’ was that we were able to make the movie over and over again until we found the version we liked before committing it to animation,” says Warner, who produced the picture with Jeffrey Katzenberg and John Williams.

This kind of perfectionism can become extremely costly, especially when you have 300 people waiting for work in production.

The first animated film nominated for a Producers Guild of America Award, “Shrek’s” highly technical production process caused its own creative conundrums.

“Unlike live action, everything in ‘Shrek’ had to be conceived, built and art directed from characters to sets to lighting,” says Warner. “You have to constantly check with every department and see what they are working on and show it to the director for approval.”

But while the voyage took a half-decade, Warner says the trip was smooth sailing. “Once we found the movie, it just flowed like a river.”

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