Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Kaj's earliest films: B&W theater commercials

When Kaj graduated from school in the summer of 1945, it was hard to get into animation. He didn't know a grown man in the whole country who knew anything about it. His only way to learn was go to theatres, watch Disney and Popeye cartoons, and work it out in his head.

In 1946, Kaj started working in an advertising agency, making animated commercials for theatres. He made seven films, in zigzag order: one ambitious, one safe, some to impress himself, some to avoid trouble.

These black and white films are highly influenced by the Fleischer Popeye cartoons. They brought the attention of Kaj's mentor-to-be, Borge Ring. Shortly afterward, Ring set up an animation studio in Vedbek and Kaj came on staff.

Eventually Ring got in touch with David Hand, former director on Snow White and Bambi. In 1949 Hand finished working at the J. Arthur Rank studio in England, and Borge Ring invited him to Denmark as his guest. Hand could stay as long as he wished, under one condition: he had to lecture about Disney animation.

Kaj vividly recalls David Hand saying that “For every 10 thousand drawings you see on screen, another 10 thousand had to be made to find the finished drawings.”

Bad news!

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