QUEST FOR CAMELOT
Creating The Characters
The story of "Quest For Camelot" was loosely based on a book called The King's Damosel, written by Vera Chapman, but producer Dalisa Cooper Cohen and director Du Chau had several ideas about contemporizing the story without destroying its medieval flavor
The story of "Quest For Camelot" was loosely based on
a book called The King's Damosel, written by Vera Chapman,
but producer Dalisa Cooper Cohen and director Du Chau had several
ideas about contemporizing the story without destroying its medieval
What they knew right away was that an adventure story, no matter
how exciting, can only succeed if the audience can really connect
with the lead characters. So the filmmakers and lead animators
spent months creating leads and many supporting characters
who were interesting, appealing and ready to spring to
life on the screen.
They worked closely with Kirk De Micco, William Schifrin, Jacqueline
Feather and David Seidler to develop a story that had at its core
a feisty, adventurous young woman whose desires and goals were
not those of the traditional courtly maidens.
Says producer Dalisa Cooper Cohen, "We've created intriguing,
unconventional characters who prove that the unlikeliest of heroes
can win the day through intelligence, courage and humor. Kayley,
our female lead, is a strongwilled, agile and principled
young woman who's not afraid to plunge into a haunted forest or
take a swing at a villain if the situation requires it. She wants
to be a knight, something unheard of in her era, but she's not
so singleminded that she's immune to the charms of a handsome
young man who comes to her assistance, either."
In addition to creating a physical presence for Kayley, a process
which took several months of research and experimentation, a voice
was needed to bring her to life. Many possibilities were considered.
Explains Du Chau, "The voice of a character is vital to the
way an audience will respond to him or her. It also has a major
effect on the way we draw and animate the character, because certain
qualities from the speaker actually change the way the character's
face appears when it's speaking."
The voice of Kayley came from not one, but two sources. Her speaking
voice is provided by Jessalyn Gilsig and her singing voice is
courtesy of Andrea Corr, a member of the Irish singing group The
Reveals Dalisa Cooper Cohen, "Creating a character's voice
is an interesting exercise for a liveaction performer, because
they can't rely on body language, facial expression or mannerisms
to convey information; it all has to be in the use of the voice.
Although this was a new experience for many of our voice actors,
we were lucky enough to attract several very talented stars, who
brought the perfect combination of distinctive sound and expressive
characterization to their work."
The lead animator on Kayley was NASSOS VAKALIS, a veteran of several
feature animated films for Don Bluth. Vaka is stresses that, particularly
with a female lead, the voice actors are an essential part of
creating the visual presence of the character.
"We tape the actors as they record their parts and it's very
helpful," he says. "Sometimes it's just the way they
move their eyes or a twist of their mouths that conveys a certain
emotion, and we can translate that into our drawings. You have
to be especially careful with a character like Kayley, because
she's a strong person, especially for a young girl in medieval
times, but we always want her to be appealing, so we have to be
subtle in the way we draw her facial expressions. She ne
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