This week we were saddened to receive the news that long-time Pixar production designer Ralph Eggleston passed away after a long battle with cancer. I spoke with Ralph for one of our first episodes, so my instinct was to remember him by re-running that episode this week instead of what we had planned. I'm joined by long-time Pixar animator Shawn Krause, who has known Ralph, or Eggman as many knew him, since the early Pixar days.
Ralph shared his journey and his wisdom generously in this interview, talking about his beginnings at Cal Arts, his big break animating on Family Dog with Brad Bird, Fern Gully with Bill and Sue Kroyer, and his time at Pixar. He gets in-depth about his process and adds tips and advice for young artists. This episode was our longest and one of our most popular, so I encourage you to listen and learn and appreciate this talent who is gone too soon.
Toward the end of the episode, Ralph talks about a recommended reading list for filmmaking and production design. We've shared the list below.
The Big Goodbye, by Sam Wasson
All text, a few pics. An exceptionally well-written account of the making of the movie Chinatown, with lots of design insight by the film’s production designer Richard Sylbert. Can get on iPad…one of the best books on making a film EVER. Blast to read (like Easy Riders, Raging Bulls, but on one film!)
By Design, by Vincent LoBrutto
All text. Interviews with film production designers.
Hollywood Art , by Beverly Heisner
GREAT survey of the design departments of the major film studios in the early to late 20th Century. Lots of medium-quality pics, but a great starting place for names and films to look into further.
Designs on Film: A Century of Art Direction, by Cathy Whitlock
Excellent book LOADED with high-quality images.
Selznick’s Vision, by Alan David Vertrees and Thomas Schatz
EXCELLENT book on the design and making of Gone with the Wind. At first, it reads like a doctoral thesis, which it probably is. But endlessly fascinating. The first film to give credit to Production Design to the great William Cameron Menzies.
William Cameron Menzies: The Shape of Films to Come, by James Curtis
Terrific biography of the great William Cameron Menzies
Designing Movies: Portrait of a Hollywood Artist, by Richard Sylbert
Autobiography of Richard Sylbert
Production Design and Art Direction (Screencraft Series), by Peter Ettedgui
Great overview of more modern films. Lots of interviews and TONS of images!
Production Design: Visual Design for Film and Television, by Peg McClellan
Excellent book. Lots of practical stuff.
Production Design for Screen: Visual Storytelling in Film and Television, by Jane Barnwell
Lots of good basic info.
The Art of the Hollywood Backdrop, by Richard M. Isackes, Karen L. Maness
Thanks for listening. If you have any comments or suggestions please get in touch.
Host & Producer: Michael Wakelam
Executive Producer: Eric M. Miller
Music by: Rich Dickerson
Audio Engineering: Mike Rocha
The Creators Society is a professional society for all disciplines of the animation industry. Our mission is to bring the animation community together to build strong relationships, provide education, and form a better understanding of the different roles we all play in creating animated stories. We celebrate and promote the love of animation, and all the talented Creators who breathe life and imagination into their work.