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A cute fox is plucked by a spaceship and becomes part of a cosmic adventure. Classical animation based on Michel Gagné's graphic novel.
A cute fox is plucked by a spaceship and becomes part of a cosmic adventure. Classical animation based on Michel Gagné's graphic novel.
880 backers pledged $57,875 to help bring this project to life.

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Update on the saga of Rex Feature Film!

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First, let me say right off the bat that being under NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement), I am not allowed to discuss any of the specific of the movie. What I will discuss, however, is the progress made and what I’ve been up to with the production.   

When I finished working on the My Little Pony Movie, at the end of July 2017, I informed Grid Animation (the current holder of the Saga of Rex option) that I was starting on the movie full time on September 4th. After Skyping back and forth with Grid’s CEO, we started working out a schedule. We decided that I would hire 4 storyboard artists to work with me for 5 months, while I create the temp score for the film and turn all the storyboards into a fully timed and articulated animatic of the film.  

By the beginning of September, I had reviewed over a hundred applicants and selected what I considered to be the top four storyboard artists of the group.  

Unfortunately, the negotiations quickly started falling apart in terms of our budget. I was informed that we would not be able to stay on budget with the crew I selected and the time planned for the storyboard/animatic. After a lot of back and forth, I proposed to Grid that we should elongate the schedule to allow me to storyboard and create the entire movie’s animatic by myself. They agreed and I sadly had to inform my four candidates of the new direction I was now taking.  

Up until the end of 2018, The Saga of Rex Movie will be a solo act. This has always been my wish but in the context of a financed production, I didn’t think it could be an option. I’m glad I was able to reach a deal with Grid Animation. This way of creating the film will ensure the true authorship of the project.  

The Animatic is the stage where I’m figuring out the essence of the movie: layout, timing, animation poses, FX block-ins, etc. I intend to have a solid blueprint of the film by the end of the year. After that, if everything goes to plan, I’ll be moving to Europe for 18 months for the full production.  

Since September, I’ve designed the characters in the film that are not in the graphic novel. I've constructed an epic score for the film using licensed music, which I’d selected from hundreds of pieces I’d been listening to specifically for that purpose for the past five years. The full score is truly gorgeous and one of the best movie temp track I’ve ever heard. It was built using nearly 50 pieces of music, cobbled together in a seamless manner, just like I did for the music of the short film. The rights for the score have been cleared by Grid so it could technically be the actual score if we ever decided to go that route.  

Once the score was completed in November, I took the screenplay and turned it into my first iteration of the animatic. This means that I created a full-length video of the movie with paragraphs of the screenplay on the screen, perfectly timed to the music. 

By the end of November/ beginning of December, I started storyboarding the film using Storyboard Pro. Although, I liked what I could accomplish with the software, I thought I could get even better results by setting things up in Toon Boom Harmony, where I was able to create more elaborate camera moves, rough layouts and animation poses. My animatic is completely choregraphed on the music and demonstrates a precise guide for each scene. For me, this is where 80% of the directing happens. As of now, I have created a quarter of the film in this rough form, and I’m on target to have the entire film done that way by the end of the year. 

Although it made me sad at first not being able to hire the initial storyboard crew I selected, in a way, it has been a blessing in disguise. The film is evolving completely in tune with my vision. It looks and feels the way I want it to. I’m not sure I’d have been able to extract such a specific vision from a storyboard crew. This is not your typical animated film, it’s an auteur film. And I believe that with true auteur projects, the more the auteur does, the better.

"The Saga of Rex" screenplay is completed!

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It took a while, but we all wanted to have the very best possible script before committing to the production. After a lot of brainstorming and many revisions, we finally have a script that we can be proud of. The Producer at Grid Animation loves it. I love it. No more notes. Jesper Møller did an amazing job. Ready for next phase! More soon...

"What's up with Rex" Interview Part 2

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"What's up with Rex" interview

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For those wondering what's currently happening with "The Saga of Rex" animated film: http://dogpatchpress.wordpress.com/2014/09/30/michel-gagne-interview1

Next Step: Feature Film

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Happy New Year, everyone! It's been a while, so I thought I'd bring everyone up to date on what's happening with Rex. After finishing the short film last July, I entered negotiations with a renowned Belgium studio called Grid Animation. We recently signed the contract and today the following press release was issued. Thank you all for helping to make this happen!

The Saga of Rex Sets Course for Belgium to Become an Animated Feature Film

Grid Animation, Belgium's premier animation and visual effects company, has acquired the option to create the feature film version of Michel Gagné's graphic novel, The Saga of Rex. Production is expected to start in the summer of 2014 with Gagné attached as director. The animated film will be a European co-production with main production taking place in Brussels.

The Saga of Rex was initially serialized over a period of 6 years, from 2005 to 2010, in the acclaimed comic anthology, Flight. It was compiled and published as a graphic novel in 2010, by Image Comics. Following a successful Kickstarter campaign, Gagné was able to produce four minutes of animation demonstrating the potential of bringing the story and imagery to animation.

"Years ago, I discovered The Saga of Rex in Flight, and I immediately loved it," said Mark Mertens, Managing Director for Grid Animation. "After the Kicktarter campaign, I contacted Michel to inquire about the rights for the movie. I was thrilled to discover that they were still available."

Since 1995, Grid has been providing services such as 3D, 2D, VFX, and set supervision for advertising and film production companies from facilities in both, Ghent and Brussels, Belgium. More recently, they started organizing complete productions for advertising and corporate assignments, as well as acting as a co-producer for international animated films. Last year, they were awarded "Animation Producer of the Year" by Cartoon Forum.

"I'm extremely excited about the prospect of working with Grid Animation and have access to the amazing European talent pool," said Gagné. "With a proper budget, and an inspired team to help me fulfill my vision, my dream of making an animated feature film that is a poetic work of art is now closer than ever to becoming a reality."

Michel Gagné is a veteran filmmaker, animator, comic artist, author and video game designer with over 25 years of experience. He was awarded a BAFTA (British Academy Award) and an Annie Award in 2010 for his video game, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet.