Sony Pictures Animation arranged a panel at San Diego Comic Con International with Hotel Transylvania director Genndy Tartakovsky and producer Michelle Murdocca. These two brought a few clips for the audience and shared their insights into the making of Sony’s upcoming CG animated feature, which includes the voice talents of Adam Sandler, Selina Gomez, Andy Samberg and many others. The film will be released Sept. 28.
The panel was moderated by actor/comedian Ralph Garman, who asked Tartakovsky what drew him to the project.
“For me it was the idea of Dracula, and kind of reimagining Dracula for a new generation, in a classic sense,” Tartakovsky said. “At the same time, I grew up with not the scary versions of the monsters, but the Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein versions of them. So for me it was a great opportunity to have another comedic take on Dracula. And the most appealing was Dracula as a dad.”
Tartakovsky spoke about his involvement over the last year and a half and what it was like making his first foray into feature-length CG animation.
“I really wanted to break out,” Tartakovsky said. “A word like ‘cartoony’ in feature animation is sometimes kind of a taboo word, but I felt that you can do a cartoony feature and still have this great energy and still have a strong emotional core underneath it.”
Tartakovsky addressed some of his concerns surrounding his move into CG and his relief at the control and flexibility computer animators could achieve.
“I never really thought you could do it in CG because you basically have this puppet, and you’re kind of stuck with it within a range,” Tartakovsky said. “And then they broke the puppet, they changed it and I don’t even know how they did it, but it was great.”
Tartakovsky credited the feature’s animation supervisor, James Crossley, and visual effects supervisor Daniel Kramer with accomplishing this feat and allowing him the range he needed for his characters.
“I worked hand-in-hand with the animators every day,” Tartakovsky said. “One of the great things was that I got a little Wacom tablet and as we watched the animation, I could pause it and draw on the poses and talk about the timing.”
Tartakovsky also shared how impressed he was at how seriously the cast of comedians takes comedy.
“It’s like they’re craftsmen and comedy is their craft,” he said.