Crew Stories: StephenIn real life, Stephen Neary's face is more colorful. He is, however, cropped like this in person.
After completing his original short Umbrellacorn, we sat down with creator and veteran story artist Stephen Neary to tell us all about it. And now you're about to read it!
HOW DID YOU GET THE ORIGINAL IDEA FOR UMBRELLACORN?
Pitch Fest was coming up at the studio (this was back in 2008), and I knew I wanted to pitch a short to Blue Sky. I had a lot of weird ideas for shorts, but was trying to think of something a little more studio-friendly, a new idea. I came back from a run and got the idea pretty much instantly while standing in the shower. All that water just made me think of a poor, loser unicorn, stuck with an umbrella instead of his head. And a unicorn world meant I could do fun stuff with Ice cream, candy, and all that other stuff that dentists hate.
WHAT WAS IT LIKE MAKING A BLUE SKY PRODUCED SHORT?
I've made films on my own before, but it was really cool working with Blue Sky and Fox in LA. They made it clear that we were trying something new and different, which took a lot of the pressure off. Since we knew it wasn't going to be 3D, there was more room to play around with wacky ideas. It's got a lot less polish than what we're used to, but I think there's a lot of heart in Umbrellacorn. I think in the end I got to learn a lot more about working with a small team, and maybe in the end Blue Sky learned a little about working with a strange bearded man (me). When BJ Crawford was first showing me tests for the Cyclops animation--that's when I thought, "Dang, this is pretty awesome."
DID YOU EAT A LOT OF ICE CREAM WHILE WORKING ON THIS SHORT?
I didn't eat too much ice cream while making Umbrellacorn, but I started making a lot more pies. My mom can bake somethin' fierce, and I'm always trying to duplicate her crust. Nothing like making a pie to take your mind off of the back-breaking labor of drawing cartoons for a living! (I kid). But you can see my pies here: www.stephenbakespie.tumblr.com
Read more about Umbrellacorn here!