“Thought of You” is a short 2-D animated film directed and animated by Ryan Woodwood. The work blends figure drawings, 2D animation, visual Fx, and contemporary dance to evoke the movement and emotion of an intimate relationship. Woodward has had a very successful career working on big distribution Hollywood films such as Spider Man 3, Iron Man 2 and Where the Wild Things Are, but this was a personal project, just something he’d envisioned for a while and wanted to make happen.
I discovered “Thought of You” when a dancer friend of mine, Sarah Anne Austin, posted it on her Facebook page, and I’ve been fascinated by it ever since. Usually, when I think of dancing animation, I get visions of Disney movies like Fantastia or Beauty in the Beast in my head. And, honestly, I am sucker for some good cartoon dancing of the sort where pink elephants prance and Bugs Bunny square dances. That said, “Thought of You” is something all together different because it actually evokes the delicacy and power of modern dance in a way that strikes me much the same way as a live dance performance.
As a choreographer, it was clear to me from watching the finished product that Woodward had collaborated with some real flesh-and-blood dancers to work this magic. I’ve posted above a short documentary of the process of making “Thought of You” (see the finished product HERE) because I loved seeing how this brilliant collaboration between the animator, the choreographer and the dancers worked. For me, seeing the process through which any is work developed almost heightens the sense of magic and mystery surrounding the final performance or product, and this was no different.
In my own work, as well in the work of artists I admire, there always seems to be a bit of alchemy involved. First there is the idea, the tiny seed of thought which becomes a vision and eventually evolves into plans with schedules and deadlines. People come together to work, think, create, fail and regroup and finally produce this thing that was once just a thought. In the process, the original idea remains both essentially unchanged and yet often radically altered by the touch of the particular artists working in concert. In the end, every work of art is a bit of miracle. Something as elegant as “Thought of You” is the sum of its parts and yet completely transcends the nuts and bolts of its components.