Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Henry Selick - Animator Extraordinaire

Pondering again on yesterday's post, Neil Gaiman and "Coraline", I decided that I hadn't given sufficient mention to the movie's stop motion animation director, Henry Selick (on right of photograph).
His earlier work on previous animated movies, including "The Nightmare Before Christmas" and "James and the Giant Peach" is discussed at Wikipedia HERE, also in an article at Digital Media FX: "Layers: A Look at Henry Selick"

Henry Selick was born on 30 November 1952 in Glen Ridge, New Jersey. I've included a 12 noon chart for that date in the absence of time of birth. His natal chart describes quite clearly what Wikipedia has to say about his "Style and Creative Temperament".
A quote from Wikipedia follows, with my notes in red as to how the comments relate so well to Selick's natal chart.

"Joe Ranft, a friend and collaborator of Selick's, once stated in an interview that Selick had a "rock 'n' roll-meets-Da Vinci temperament" -Venus opposite Uranus or vice-versa! In Ranft's words "He'll still go off to his office to play guitar or electric piano to ease off and think", but at the same time Selick operates scientifically. "He gets an outrageous premise-something that comes from a real dream place - Neptune- then approaches the aesthetics of it like a mechanical engineer Saturn. (= Neptune conjunct Saturn). What can we build on this foundation, how do we buttress it? If we have a mechanical shark, how does it kill? Will it shoot things from its snout?" Ranft thinks Selick has an uncanny gift: "He can articulate things through animation that people couldn't say otherwise." Sun conjunct Mercury sextile Mars in Aquarius.

Selick's natal Moon would have been in Taurus before 3pm, Gemini if he was born after that. I'd go for early Gemini, in trine with Mars in Aquarius. A Gemini /Aquarius trine would reflect the high level of mental acuity needed for the skills he so obviously possesses.

The magic in this chart lies in the way the key planets and signs are so closely linked harmoniously or dynamically: Neptune (imagination, creativity); Uranus (innovation); Sun/Mercury (self & communication); Venus (art); Saturn (the mechanics of it all); Aquarius and possibly Gemini (mental acuity); Cancer (the sensitivity to understand how put it all together in an appealing way); Capricorn (the common sense and business sense to be successful in what he does); Sagittarius - the expansive and risk-taking element needed in many of his ideas which have ventured further into the realms of animation than most others in the field.

The process of stop-motion animation is as follows:
Position a model by hand, take a picture and reposition it — repeating, ad infinitum, in tiny increments, to create the illusion of motion. Selick says the process combines all of his favorite things —sculpture, drawing, photography, music and physics. With the help of 30 animators, Selick produced about two minutes of finished footage a week over the course of almost two years. One technique, called "replacement animation," called for thousands of heads, each with different expressions, and the services of both a "face librarian" and an "assistant face librarian" to help keep track. (Information from NPR).

A couple of coincidences in the charts of Neil Gaiman and Henry Selick are worthy of note: Gaiman's Mars and Selick's Uranus are at the same degree of Cancer (17). Gaiman's Saturn and Selick's Venus are just 3 degrees apart at 14 and 17 Capricorn respectively. Perhaps these similarities help towards the good working relationship they seem to share

It's not really relevant but I may as well throw it in: I noticed that Selick's Mars in Aquarius is spot on my Sun, to the minute, so was also hit by the January solar eclipse this year.


Wisewebwoman said...

so when can we expect some claymation from you, T?
No excuse now!!

Rossa said...

It's interesting how there seems to be a raft of 3D movies due out this year. Disney with their children's movie Bolt and I read that George Lucas, Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg are also bringing out movies to watch through those lovely plastic glasses....NHS anyone?

Even Titanic's director James Cameron is in on the act with a movie called Avatar, a sci-fi extravaganza. So you get your aliens in 3D, eat your heart out Will Smith/Tommy Lee Jones (Men in Black) and apparently as you sit in your seat you can watch the planets rush past you as though you were in your own Star Trek movie. Forget the star wars programme (the govt one I mean) and satellites crashing in orbit, lets just zap it out in

Rossa said...

PS. The new icon is called Colours of the Earth. I've just started a new career in pottery, well the ceramic arts to be posh about it and I've got a new blog called Earth, Wind and Fire. And yes I am sad as that was one of my favourite bands in the 70s.

It's all thanks to you Twilight, WWW, AN and others whose blogs I follow. I thought I'd give it a go as well. Only 3 posts so far since Saturday but who knows.....Rossa

As Tom Lehrer said "..I went from adolescence to senility, trying to bypass maturity.."

Twilight said...

WWW ~~~ LOL! I'm a keen observer and appreciate all kinds of art, but haven't the slightest smidgin of talent in that direction. Best comment I ever got in Art at school was: "Messy".
Anyway, I can't find my plasticine.

Twilight said...

Rossa ~~~ Hi!
I hadn't heard about those. Anything giving us a more lifelike view of the planets would be great though. Hmmm - imagine '2001 A Space Odyssey' in 3D.
I love that movie!
Aha! I wondered why you hadn't leapt into Blogland - you write so well. Thanks for the link - I shall visit now, and add you to my links. :-)

Tom Lehrer's brill!

dan said...

can anyone tell me the title and creator of a clay animation clip that starts off with people in a really cool lookin forrest with birds singing and these poeple start playing wind/accoustic instuments and eventually switch over to electric instruments the bird cant be heard singing anymore then it shows nuclear power plants in the back ground the river turns bad had a 3 eyed frog i think basically everything went from peacefull nature to mankinds destruction, i saw this back in the 80s as a kid and cant find any references. thank you

Twilight said...

Dan ~~~ Hi! sorry, I can't help you on that. Nick Park (of Wallace and Grommit fame) comes to mind, but I don't recall seeing a piece of his such as you describe.

You might consider asking Neil Gaiman, he has a blog and I think there's an e-mail address there.
Google his name for the link.

Good luck!