456 - Pete Oswald

Make one image. Now make it move. Where does it go? How does it get there? Does anyone care about where its going and how it gets there and what would happen after that? Now have hundreds of artists do this same task but make everything look like one cohesive hour and a half that keeps eight year olds with notoriously short attention spans visually and emotionally invested. This is Pete Oswald's job at Rovio Animation as they undertook their first full feature length animated film, Angry Birds. As a Production Designer Pete oversaw each bird, pig, leaf, and wave that made up an entire world created out of thin air and brought to life by an enormous team across a half decade of hard work and art lawyering this all to the powers that be. Pete brings us his experiences as an integral part of telling a story that captivated audiences to the tune of over 300 million dollars worldwide. 

Talking Points

  • Falling into set design and discovering the whole look of a film.
  • The role of a Production Designer.
  • Raw ideas that sell concepts.
  • Animation techniques, budgets, and skills.
  • Streamlining multiple artists rough sketches into a finalized idea.
  • Protecting your story and limiting your expenses.
  • Which side of the game is better... creation or production?
  • Moving someone else's skeleton and not losing your own.
  • Expectations from Empire Strikes Syndrome.
  • The movie industry is a sport.
  • Investing a half decade of your life into one weekend at the box office.
  • Separating who did what and where something failed.
  • Options that inhibit the creative idea.
  • Taking a mobile game to a feature length and developing a fully realized character from an image that has never walked or talked before.
  • The symbiotic relationship between the actor and the animated character.
  • Building confidence, building an island, and building an opening sequence.
  • Checking the pipeline for kinks before you kick it into high gear.
  • The difference between how pigs and birds make art.
  • Nailing down Dracula.
  • Minding the gap in a volatile industry.
  • To live and hopefully die in California.
  • A Movie Director, an NFL Coach, and the POTUS walk into a bar...
  • Risks and Rungs.
  • No one can see your masterpiece if no one distributes it and why you still need a partner if you have a billion dollars.
  • Pecking off more than you can chew.
  • Moving up at your job but away from the art table and being the art lawyer.
  • Dialing in on the history found on The Mighty Eagle.