Thursday, August 2, 2012

Meeting the Merchant of Dreams

"To Alok,All My Best"
- Hans
I met Hans Bacher.
Had the amazing opportunity to attend a talk given by the legendary production designer Hans Bacher organized by TASI at Whistling Woods International,Mumbai last saturday (28th of JUly,2012).

Hans Bacher has been a HUGE hero of mine ever since I chanced upon his cult book 'Dream Worlds' that chronicles his life's journey working as production Designer on some of the most epic animation feature films of the last quarter of a century - Who Framed Roger Rabit,Beauty and the Beast, Aladin, Balto, Mulan to name a few. He's worked with some of the greats in the american animation industry - having met eight of the 9 old men at Disney's,been mentored by Richard Williams (and even has the original rough skeletal manuscript of the Animator's Survival Kit that Williams wrote) and even taught drawing lessons to a young Andres Deja!Hans now runs The Centre for Visual Arts in Singapore and teaches there.

Hans Bacher's autographed my little note pad! I'd like to shamelessly believe that
 he made that cute character there (which apparently only I got!) 
because he was impressed with this.

A barfish 10 second sketch I made of him 2 mins before I went in 
and showed him as I bugged him for the autograph.

Anyone who has read his book Dream Worlds would sure have an insight into his amazing talent. Production Designers set the visual look for a film. They navigate through a vast ocean of abstract and not so abstract visualisations of a film treatment script and help the director discover a particular visual language for the design and look of the film. In a way they are like the Art-director cum Cinematographer of an animation film. Theirs is a formidable task and it is as hard doing as it is to try and articulate.For they deal with a realm beyond words where a single painting could convey a thousand feelings and spark a million ideas.

He was a wonderfully humble person.(for some reason I had a George Lucas version of him in mind before meeting him).He had an amazing clarity and genuineness about him and I was kicking myself when he,disarmed by our overwhelming enthusiasm at meeting him,asked us why we never comment on his blog! (Frankly I never had the balls to comment).His work and his book is partly the reason why I have taken such a keen interest in film treatments and styles,a topic that is so vague for a person in my position that its really hard to decide how to go about learning it. Its also partly why I've started the Film Treatment Library on this blog which tries compiling interesting 'looking' short films from all over the web.

It was a pure bliss,that 4hr session with Mr.Bacher.Every now and then I keep recalling a little thing or two that he spoke about at the talk.His time learning from super-8 footage of Bambi to the stories working with and learning from grand master Richard Williams to his strong personal views of how art is viewed and treated in western films.Every nugget of that session was amazing.Wish I had a recording of it.But its ok. I think I'll keep it in a sweet deposit box in my memory.And draw from it whenever I need inspiration.

I hope I get to meet him again someday.And next time maybe I'll get to show him some of my own work or,even better,get to work with him. ;)


"You cannot be creative just by planning systematically.For me its always 90% research and 10% work.You gotta get inspired till your head explodes and then make that first sketch."
- Hans Bacher (a pieced together quote from his talk)


one1more2time3 said...

dear alok, thank you for your kind words. my first visit to india was an unforgettable experience, especially to meet so many friendly people and get to know a hospitality that is unmatched. you bet I will be back. will announce it on time so everybody can make plans. till soon

-Alok- said...

It was a great honor to have had you here Mr.Bacher.Can't wait for your next visit! Will definitely attend and this time there would be a lot more people! All the best on your book too,hope to see it out soon :) .

Nikhita said...