Today it’s Olivier Mitonneau‘s turn to speak in this new Tiger Talks interview! He tells us about his role as Environment Supervisor on The Tiger’s Apprentice, and about his epic adventure at Mikros Animation, which began in 2006:
- To start, can you tell us more about your journey in animation?
I initially started as a general artist full-time, working on special effects for ads, trailers, and other cinema VFX at Mikros in 2006. I even had the opportunity to be part of the short film Logorama. Later on, I progressed to project supervisor, participating in various film shoots. After a two-year stint in New York at The Mill, I ventured into animation with Sherlock Gnomes, where I served as a surfacing supervisor. After that, projects kept coming, and time just flew by!
- What was your role on “TA” as an Environment Supervisor?
I joined right from the project’s inception. We had already started forming a small environment team during The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run, so we could kickstart quickly and collaborate with the creative teams at Paramount, especially with Christophe Lautrette and Simon Rodgers. The team covered the modeling of the sets, surfacing, technical setup, and delivering to the shots.
- What were the starting points for designing the sets, and how did you work with the Paramount creative team to develop them?
The creative teams provided us with comprehensive references for the sets. They had even conducted 3D tests for certain neighborhoods. It was about finding a specific style, so there were many exchanges with them throughout the production.
- How did you ensure that the digital environments aligned with the film’s story and enhanced the narrative?
Firstly, it’s crucial to ensure all sets maintain the same high quality, even when the budget suggests otherwise. Then, it’s essential to immerse oneself in the story, understanding the creative team’s intentions. It’s also vital to follow the animatic and layout development to know how the set will be framed and focus efforts on impactful elements on-screen.
- What were the main artistic and technical challenges on TA?
Technically speaking, I’d say the streets of San Francisco were challenging. We had to be clever in creating buildings and various modular elements to construct different neighborhoods for the film. The main challenge was the steep streets of San Francisco, making it tricky to fit a generic house on a 30% slope! So, we created adaptable ground floors to accommodate the slopes.
- What’s your favorite scene, favorite character, and why?
I really like the scene where Tom and Mister Hu enter the Asian antique shop for the first time. The set is beautiful and rich, following many events where tension eases a bit for the audience. Also, this character duo is my favorite for everything they go through together in this adventure.
- What are you most proud of on TA?
I’m proud to have led the environment team during this production. Keep in mind that I was also supervising our other production, Ozi: Voice of the Forest simultaneously. It was a true synergy of skills and constant exchange between productions to move forward together!
- Describe the film in 3 words 😊
Emotional, beastly and magical.
- Any final words?
I’m very happy to have led the team during this production. We faced significant challenges, and everyone met them with excellence. Thanks to everyone, and now, after so much anticipation, let’s share this beautiful film with our loved ones and friends!