Cab Smith brought this article to our attention. We believe it was published in a glossy film magazine of the 1940s entitled "The Screen." We are searching for the publishers or the successors for clearance to use. However, what makes the article important is that it was written and published when David Hand's G.B. Animation was in its infancy, and before the famous Animaland and Musical Paintbox films were even in production. We have no publication date, but it's likely to have been somewhere in 1947. Any information would be appreciated. The photographs accompanying the article are reproduced from the magazine. The capital words in the article are the author's.

THE FUTURE OF BRITISH FILMS is being mapped out in an old manor house at Cookham village, Berks. Moor Hall, headquarters of Gaumont British Animation Ltd., is the home of an enthusiastic team of artists and technicians and their collection of animated characters. Here may arise the creations that will out-Disney the cartoon king himself.

G-B Animation, yet another branch of the ever-widening Rank organisation, sprang to life just over a year ago when J. ARTHUR RANK decided it was time Britain opposed America's film cartoon monopoly. To direct and manage the new unit came DAVID HAND, a burly American with graying hair and alert blue eyes who is well qualified for the job. After working with Disney for fifteen years and directing "Snow White" and "Bambi," David Hand abandoned the overwhelming vastness of the Disney organization and devoted his talents to the development of its small but ambitious British cousin.

Even in normal times his job would not be easy. In a land of shortages it is made doubly difficult. In common with most British film studios, Cookham lacks new equipment, particularly cameras. And although there is no question of having to find stars and feature players for its films, the right kind of artists have to be discovered who can create cartoon characters.

Artists must be young and able to draw wel in the exaggerated cartoon style. They must have a strong sense of humour and an untiring interest in personalities and animals. Hand has found about seventy artists and is still searching.

Cookham is not yet producing cartoons for general release but is feeling its way with instructional films. One of the most ingenious of these traces the history of Britain from the time of the Great Charter to the present day.

Combining enlightenment with entertainment, this cartoon will be distributed by the British Council to foreign countries. The film demonstrates the growth and development of British democracy throughout the years. A striking feature is its depiction of each period of history in the artistic style of the time.

A sequence dealing with the Peasants Revolt of 1381 was inspired by illustrations in the Queen Mary Psalter made by a 14th Century Artist.

The satirical style of ROWLANDSON is imitated as the film moves into the 18th Century, and so through the 19th Century to the Atlantic Charter and the present day with history outlined as it was drawn by "SPY" and LOW.

The evolution and completion of this and any other animated cartoon is a complicated process. First the story is worked out as a series of rough sketches. The director plans and times the action of the film, so that the length is calculated exactly to the one-sixteenth of a foot, or twenty-fourth of a second. Lay-out experts construct static backgrounds against which the characters will move, and the musicians are called in to decide on the right type of music to fit action and moods.

Penciled drawings of high spots of action are made by the animator, while the "in-between" movements are drawn by assistants. The animator will make a "key drawing" of a character beginning to run; his helpers supply the many positions of arms and legs which, when photographed consecutively give the illusion of running. As many as 20,000 drawings are needed for a ten-minute film.

When these drawings are approved, they move to another department to be traced on to non-inflammable celluloid and painted in solid colors. Meanwhile the lay-out man's drawing has the background painted on. Here color variations are skilfully used to intensify action or emotion-different shades and depths of color being used to symbolise the various moods of the film. Then the coloured celluloid action pictures are placed one by one on the painted backgrounds beneath a camera, and photographed in their correct sequence.

The musicians are called in for the final recording, the sound effects man discusses with the director any necessary "noises off" and these and the music are recorded together. At last, everything --- dialogue, music, sound effects, and pictures - is combined into the completed cartoon ready for final editing.

Everyone at Moor Hall is enthusiastic about the future of British animated cartoons. Although instructional films for the forces, factories, schools and medical students form their chief output at the moment, David Hand and his colleagues aim to develop characters that will challenge the Disney collection.

Realising that British entertainment cartoons must be of superlative quality and originality to compete with America, they experiment continuously and tirelessly to discover the right formula. Scores of ideas are worked out, only to be destroyed as not good enough. But judging by the high standard of the studio's factual films, there seems little doubt that as a great a success will be achieved eventually with cartoons designed for entertainment.

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