Sony Pictures Animation's Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 Co-Director Kris
Pearn Shares his Insights into the Serious Art of Making People Laugh
OAKVILLE, ON, Sept. 27, 2013 /CNW/ - Drawing from lessons learned over a
20-year career working on animated feature length films and television shows
in Canada, the US and England, Kris Pearn, a graduate of Sheridan's Classical
Animation program, explains what it was like to co-direct a major blockbuster
film that hits theatres today.
Conversation and Collaboration
Pearn credits a lot of what he learned about directing from Chris Miller and
Phil Lord who co-directed the first movie and served as Executive Producers on
the sequel. Pearn worked as Head of Story on the original film and tried to
model the approach that Miller and Lord took to let the story room be a
writer's room. "We think we had 350 funny people working for us and we
wanted everyone to contribute," he said. "We tried to open the door for
animators to surprise us. They came up with jokes that were never in script
but that made their way into their animated sequences."
"It was also fantastic to see the film go through lighting and understand how
much detail and thought go into those jobs," added Pearn. "We got to mix the
movie with Michael Semanick and Tom Johnson, who did the sound on Lord of the
Rings. They take a sound you've heard a thousand times before and just make
it sound so much better. I have so much respect for somebody who is good at
what they do."
Optimism and Belief
"What I also learned from this experience is that you have to stand in front
of 300 people every day and be optimistic and it's not always easy because
you're getting a lot of pressure and there's a lot of stuff happening. At
the root of the idea, you have to love it and you have to believe in it."
That sense of love, belief and dedication can be seen - or literally heard -
in the movie as Pearn even contributes voices for some of the minor
characters. "I did the Tomato, the Shrimpanzee, Buttertoad, and the
Think-wa-nots. At the beginning of the movie there's a guy who gets eaten by
a cheeseburger and that's me. My co-director Cody Cameron does the voice of
Barry and Dill Pickle."
Drawing, Reading, and Paying Attention to Life
For people who want to get into animation, Pearn says, "I always tell people
to draw. Visual communication is the cornerstone of what we do. And while
the technology has gotten better and equalized the amount of work there is for
animators, you still have to understand how to phrase, how to pose, how to
tell your story and how to handle things in space and draw people in
"If you want to be a story artist, you also have to read a lot and watch
movies. Find material. Life is about gathering experience. So go and
sketch and draw and listen to people talk and just pay attention to the
world. Story is about finding those moments that just make you laugh even
when you shouldn't be laughing."
Pearn's Personal Path
"I grew up on a goat farm just outside of London, Ontario. I was one of three
brothers and I always loved to draw. My parents were really supportive and
they just let me pursue that. I really got into comics, like Calvin and
Hobbes and Bloom County. We never had cable because we lived in the middle
of nowhere so we only got three stations. I remember every Saturday afternoon
on Global, the Looney Tunes came on and life would just stop and I would just
sit there and watch and I never thought that people actually made that, and I
never thought that people in Ontario could make that."
Pearn credits his high school guidance counselor for opening his eyes to the
possibility of a career in animation. "I was planning on becoming an architect
because I knew how to hold a pencil. He told me about Sheridan and the
attention it was getting. I entered the same year that Lion King opened.
The popularity of animation went through the roof. I've been lucky in my
career that I've been in front of opportunities at the right time."
Watching the Audience
Pearn was in Canada last week to be part of the film's debut at the Ottawa
International Animation Festival. "People were laughing at jokes that I didn't
think anyone would laugh at and there was great applause at the end. That
was such an awesome moment in my career." Over the next few months, he'll
also travel to Russia, Italy, Argentina and France as the film opens in
different markets. "It's a bit nerve racking. People loved the first movie
so it's a hard thing to follow."
As for next steps, Pearn says he hopes to direct again but that he definitely
needs to take a breather and he knows he'll be careful about the project he
chooses. "These films are three to four year commitments in your life. You
really need to love and believe in what you do. That is way more important
than the title."
Sheridan is one of Canada's leading postsecondary institutions, offering over
100 diploma, certificate, and bachelor degree programs in an environment that
fosters innovation and creativity. Its aim is to become Ontario's first
university exclusively dedicated to undergraduate professional education - one
that will be based on applied learning. The model also focuses on meeting
university accreditation requirements so that Sheridan graduates have more
pathways to the continued learning that will underscore their personal,
career, and industry success.
About Cloudy with a Chance ofMeatballs 2
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2picks up where Sony Pictures Animation's
mouth-watering comedy left off. Inventor Flint Lockwood thought he saved the
world when he destroyed his most infamous invention -- a machine that turned
water into food causing cheeseburger rain and spaghetti tornadoes. But Flint
soon learns that his invention survived and is now creating food-animals -
"foodimals!" Flint and his friends embark on a dangerously delicious mission
to battle hungry tacodiles, shrimpanzees, hippotatomuses, cheespiders and
other foodimals to save the world - again! Directed by Cody Cameron and
Kris Pearn. Screenplay by Erica Rivinoja and John Francis Daley & Jonathan
Goldstein. Story by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller and Erica Rivinoja.
Inspired by the bookCloudy with a Chance of Meatballswritten by Judi
Barrett and illustrated by Ron Barrett. Produced by Pam Marsden and Kirk
About Sony Pictures Animation
Sony Pictures Animation produces a variety of animated and family
entertainment for audiences around the world.The studio is following its
worldwide comedy hits—the 2012 monster hit comedyHotel Transylvania, the
hybrid live action/animated blockbustersThe SmurfsandThe Smurfs 2,and
the 2009 mouth-wateringCloudy with a Chance ofMeatballs—with the family
comedyCloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2in theaters September 2013.
Sony Pictures Animation will also release a brand new mini-movie on DVD and
television this Fall,The Smurfs: The Legend of Smurfy Hollow. The studio,
in conjunction with Aardman Animations, has produced two critically acclaimed
feature films: the CG-animated family comedyArthur Christmas; and the
Academy Award® nominated stop-frame animated high-seas adventure,The
Pirates! Band of Misfits. In 2007,Surf's Upalso received anAcademy
Award® nomination for Best Animated Feature Film. The division, whose first
feature filmOpen Seasonled to a very successful movie franchise, turned 10
in 2012.Sony Pictures Animation is an operating unit of Sony Pictures
-- Website: http://www.sonypicturesanimation.com/
-- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SONYPicturesAnimation
-- Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/sonyanimation
-- Tumblr: http://sonyanimation.tumblr.com/
-- YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/SonyAnimation
SOURCE Sheridan College
Christine Szustaczek, Director of Corporate Communications & External
Relations Sheridan College Tel: 905-815-4169 or
Image with caption: "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 (CNW Group/Sheridan
College)". Image available at:
Image with caption: "Kris Pearn (CNW Group/Sheridan College)". Image available
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