Animation as a form of moving image production has a long history. Simple technologies such as the flip book became popular in the 19th century. The advent of cinema captured the imaginations of a number of innovators who soon began exploring the creative possibilities of animation.
In Gertie the Dinosaur (1914), Winsor McCay created a character with an appealing personality. He paved the way for the animal characters that are such a key part of Walt Disney’s huge success. Disney developed the technology of transparent cells to create animation. This allowed parts of a drawing to be reused. Drawn animation was used for most of the 20th century, until the much more cost-effective computerised animation took over as the technology of choice for most feature film animations.
Stop-motion animation – multiple photographs of a series of incremental changes or movements – has a long history and has been used for dramatic special effects sequences in films such as King Kong (Willis O’Brien/Buzz Gibson, 1933) and Jason and the Argonauts (Ray Harryhausen, 1963). The popular Wallace and Gromit stories are animated in the distinctive claymation style of Nick Park and Aardman Animations. Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride demonstrate the aesthetic and emotional appeal of stop-motion puppetry.
Adam Elliot produced designs of varying complexity for all of the 200 characters in Mary and Max before handing these drawings over to his team of model-making sculptors.
Adam Elliot tells stories about outsiders, inviting his audience to empathise with the characters and understand their differences.
Yoram Gross made his first animated short film in 1958 without any external funding. He produced his own sound and developed the film in his bathroom.
Adam Elliot coined the term ‘clayography’ in order to emphasise the integral connection between the careful hands-on craftsmanship of his formal technique and the stories that he tells and characters that he brings to life.
In most animated films the characters’ voices are recorded first. However, because Mary and Max is driven by narration it was possible to record the voices of the individual characters towards the end of the filming process.
Once the storyboard and script for Mary and Max were in place, there was an intensive pre-production stage. This period was the chance to get things right.
When Yoram Gross and his wife, Sandra Gross, migrated to Australia they realised there were no Australian films for children, so decided to fill this gap.