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Help with Wallace and Gromit

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  • Help with Wallace and Gromit

    Sorry to be so quiet for so long and then just barge in demanding help, but that's the kind of selfish guy I am ...

    I may be interviewing Nick Park of Aardman fame in a couple of weeks. I'm sure I can think of enough to talk about, but what would you ask him? Is there anything you think might grab his attention, anything I should avoid?

    Maybe I'm worrying too much, but if anything comes to mind ...

    Thanks in advance.

  • #2
    Aardman did "Creature Comforts" which was adapted for a series of adverts for electricity boards. I really enjoyed the Lurpak character of "Douglas" an animated piece of butter that played a trombone. How much did the atmosphere at the studio change when the success of Wallace & Gromit made them a household name? What were some of Nick Park's favourite films? Did he grow up with lego, or plasticine? What award does he treasure the most?
    Nowadays, he is a widely recognised and respected talent, but did he have struggles on his way up the ladder - how does he advise newcomers?
    Does the niche world of claymation and plasticine offer a safe working environment, free from the #MeToo problems and personalities?
    Are the characters in his work borrowed from real life, are any of them based on Nick Park?


    • #3
      Good luck with the interview, Seaton (Rowdon). Let us know how you get on.


      • #4
        I'd like to know if there's ANY opportunity for spontaneity at all in such an arduous, painstaking (and ultimately brilliant) task?

        Were Mel Gibson and any other changes forced upon him to make 'Chicken Run' more palatable to foreign audiences?

        I understand Wallace & Gromit lived in Wigan in the 1940s and 50s. Could their stories be played out in the Wigan of 2017?


        • #5
          Excellent ideas! StoneAgeMan - I've been told to steer clear of the MeToo question, funnily enough. (I only mentioned it in jest but I was told not to bring it up.)
          There was an article I read recently with reference to Coco about how Pixar don't really make films for kids, so I think I'll ask how much he gears his stuff towards adults, or how he keep kids in mind ... I mean, it would be tough to understand any of the references in "A Matter of Loaf and Death" if you weren't around in the 70s.
          And thanks Shirl, I'll definitely let you know how it went.


          • #6
            You could ask him where the idea of the running gag about Wallace's obsession with cheese came from.


            • #7
              I remember Peter Sallis saying he wasn't really a cheese-eater and that he didn't think he'd ever had Wensleydale. Aaaaargh!


              • #8
                Good one, Edward G. I might ask if he has a favourite cheese. Or a favourite Ray Harryhausen movie. I bet he says "Jason and the Argonauts". I would.


                • #9
                  Thanks for all the suggestions. I think it went well. The on-camera interview I haven't actually watched, since I don't like seeing myself on film, but people say it went well. Afterwards there was a session with children asking questions and me kind of 'monitoring'.
                  StoneAgeMan: when asked about lego or plasticine, he said he played with bits of lego with plasticine stuck in them, as we all did. (And he had an action man, but didn't use it for stop-frame films, and never entered Screen Test, although it was a big influence). Also, none of the characters is based on him (although his wife pointed out that he does the voice of the wild boar (Hognob?) in Early Man) Wallace was based on his granddad - not for looks, but for the tinkering.
                  Jamal,nazreddin - yes, there is room for spontaneity, but not at the point of the model moving.
                  Edward G: he says the cheese obsession came from needing a reason for Wallace to want to go to the moon, because a perfectly-kitted out rocket in the cellar was the original idea (based on a caravan of early childhood holidays) - his favourite cheese is Wensleydale - and in fact he credits Wallace and Gromit with saving the Wensleydale cheese industry, which was going under before he mentioned them! We mentioned a lot of other stuff too - can't remember it all now, it went so quickly.
                  I got him to sign my Ray Harryhausen book (also signed by Mr Harryhausen at Forbidden Planet some years ago), but he had to be prompted to name a favourite model/sequence from the Harryhausen workshop. I suggested my favourite, Talos, and he agreed. He is very agreeable.
                  Altogether very enjoyable, Shirley.
                  Last edited by Seaton; 3rd February 2018, 10:03 PM.


                  • #10
                    Thank you for the feedback, that was great. I'm so pleased to hear that things went well. I had the impression that Nick Park was a thoroughly nice chap and I'm so glad that you seem to have had that confirmed.


                    • #11
                      Definitely a nice chap. Spft spoken, self effacing and all those kinds of adjectives. Here's a tip, though: if you're doing a filmed interview, put ALL your questions on ONE sheet on your clipboard. What I did was group questions by area, and put each group on a separate sheet ... Once the camera is rolling, I realise I have a mike in the right hand, and a clipboard in the left, and I can't turn the page! I'm just stuck on "So, Nick, how are you enjoying the promotional tour?" ...

                      I think I remembered everything though.
                      Great fun.


                      • #12
                        Seaton, thanks for the update on your interview with the man from my hometown of Preston. I'm glad it went well - will we get a chance to see it on TV at some point?


                        • #13
                          You can find it on the British Council Madrid website. Just scroll down. I haven't been able to bring myself to watch it yet ...


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Seaton View Post
                            You can find it on the British Council Madrid website. Just scroll down. I haven't been able to bring myself to watch it yet ...
                            Couldn't find it on their website - don;t suppose you could quote the link?
                            Edward G


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Edward G View Post

                              Couldn't find it on their website - don;t suppose you could quote the link?
                              Edward G

                              Click on the Diamond saying Nick Park if it doesn't start automagically