Fluffy (1995)

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Martin Hash
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Fluffy (1995)

Post by Martin Hash » Sun Apr 04, 2010 5:38 pm


When we left the protective wing of Mother Vinton's there was a lot of tension in the air. The animators who were loyal to us weren't sure whether further contact would harm them in the studio's eyes because at the time many valuable personnel were leaving for greener pastures. Doug Aberle, a long time Vinton loyalist and lead animator, was particularly uncertain because he was truly our friend but he was also comfortable in his career at "Will Vinton Studios."

One day Doug came to me with a script he wanted to do with us (meaning I paid for it and provided the animators), and he wanted to keep it secret in case there were any Vinton ramifications. The script was of a lovable, but very troubled dog. If I hadn't have known Doug for so long, and respected his twisted sense of humor and timing, I would have nixed the project, but to know Doug and his odd proclivities is to trust his creative judgment. Let me point out that all the animation work was done at Hash by Hash employees.

Doug normally has his sound work done at Vinton's, but for secrecy he sent the print to Jon Newton in Los Angeles. Jon is associated with the producers of "MAD TV," and while he was working on "Fluffy" someone suggested that the "look" was perfect for "Spy vs. Spy."

"Who did this?" they asked.

"Doug Aberle at Will Vinton Studios," Jon replied, not aware that he was supposed to be circumspect about the project.

The MAD TV people immediately flew up to Oregon. They met with David Altschul, president of Vinton's, showed him "Fluffy."

"We want this!" they exclaimed.

David was surprised. "Yes. This is nice. Who did it?"

The MAD TV people looked at David questioningly, "We thought you did it?"

"Us?"

"Doug Aberle."

David's eyes went wide. "Yes. Yes. Doug did this. It's great isn't it."

After the meeting David called an unsuspecting Doug into his office. Lucy, David's secretary said, "Go right on in Doug, David's expecting you." Doug walks in: he's almost floored. Playing on a monitor is the only copy in the whole world of the secret "Fluffy" and standing beside it was his unsmiling boss. "I guess it's time for a career change," thought Doug. Then David smiled. "You're a genius, Doug," he said, putting his arm around Doug's shoulder. David then preceded to sweet talk Doug into a happy stupor.

Fast forward to the SIGGRAPH film show. Doug had told us he had submitted "Fluffy." He gave us "Fluffy" badges and "Contributor" ribbons. He hung around our booth all show with a big grin on his face. We didn't have tickets to the show until the third day but we'd heard "Fluffy" was the BIG hit. More and more top players in the industry came by our booth to congratulate Doug on his great work. Finally, the day arrived for us to see it. We waited with baited anticipation for "Fluffy" to come on. I could hear the buzz of excitement around us as others talked about what their friends had said about "Fluffy." Finally, it came on: "Fluffy" said the opening credits ... "Will Vinton Studios." I didn't notice much more after that - I was so stunned that the uproarious laughter from the audience didn't even sink in. The rest of the film show was a blur.

Vinton's went on to make "Fluffy" a showcase event. The awesome Vinton publicity machine kicked in and everybody in the nation heard of "Fluffy," talked about "Fluffy," admired "Fluffy." Vinton's even sent out their Christmas cards with "Fluffy" on the cover. We didn't get one of those Christmas cards.

http://www.siggraph.org/s95/S95_V2/CAF_ ... FLUFFY.HTL
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