This title meant that the individual was responsible for the work done by the men under him. Ordinarily, he would be assigned anywhere from one to seven or eight animators of varying talents. If they were strong, experienced men, he had little to do. They would pick up their work from the director and do the scenes by themselves. The supervising animator would talk to them about the character they were doing, exchange m>
ideas on how to keep him consistent in appearance, suggest business that might fit into their section of the picture, or discuss further ways they all might develop the character. He might also commiserate when things went wrong or try to defend his animators if they were unjustly criticized.
When the animators were less experienced, the supervisor did whatever was necessary to help them get a satisfactory result. He was present at the handout, making suggestions and being sure that these men understood just what was wanted. In some cases, he made the key poses for each scene and even shot them on film as a guide for how the scene should work. Afterward, both drawings and film were turned over to the new animator, allowing him to concentrate on just the movement within the drawing rather than worry about all the other aspects of doing a scene. This young artist still had the problem of making that movement convincing and entertaining with the quality of life we wanted; his energies could easily be dissipated if he were expected to do too much all at once.
We estimated that it took a year and a half to learn the basic fundamentals of animation and another five or six years to be at all skillful. Even so, we never outgrew the concept of helping each other, exchang-ing drawings and sharing ideas. It was the basis of the team effort and enabled us all to do far better than we would have by ourselves.
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