Thumbelina started late in 1992 during the completion of A Troll in Central Park. It was the first of several films where we did extensive live action reference for the main characters, Thumbelina, Prince Cornelius, Mr. Beetle, Mrs. Toad, and a chorus of dancers for the Beetle Ball sequence. The process is usually for human characters, and dancing situations, giving the animators a performance to draw from. The challenge is for the artists to exaggerate the live actors’ reference movements and key poses to accommodate the classical animation appeal and avoiding the look of simple “Rotoscoping” (tracing the action from the photo references).
There were some challenges to get the right voices for the film, sometimes having to fly to far-away places to record them. The main studio was based in Dublin, Ireland. Don and one of the editors would be at each recording sessions for direction and technical confirmation. Voice recordings were usually done in Los Angeles, 6,000 miles from Dublin. However, for the recordings of Charo’s lines for Ma Toad, Don and the sound editor had to fly from Dublin to LA, then on to Honolulu, Hawaii, an 8,400 mile trip. Though, we believe that they enjoyed the humid tropical atmosphere, the azure-blue ocean, the white sand beaches and a luscious green environment.
All the while, Gary and the crew toiled away in Dublin where they could enjoy all four seasons in a single day, including a misty atmosphere, winds, occasional sunshine and downpours – providing Ireland with its own luscious green environment.)