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John Williams, who produced "Shrek” and "Shrek 2,” came across "Valiant” as a story treatment which was submitted to Vanguard by George Webster, the original writer. Vanguard then developed the script and decided to make it their first CG animated film. The film became the first in a multi-picture North American distribution deal between Vanguard and Disney.

Vanguard's goal was to deliver the animation production with a two-year schedule, which had never been previously accomplished in a CG animated film. The studio committed to produce a state-of-the-art CG animated film at approximately half the cost and half the time of other major-studio CG animated films. Vanguard turned to co-producers Curtis Augspurger and Buckley Collum to organize and produce this ambitious plan.

"Valiant” began production at Vanguard Animation in Los Angeles in January 2003, commencing with character and location design, storyboarding and animatic creation. During that time, the production team built its state-of-the-art European CGI animation studio with over 200 employees housed at Ealing Studios in London.

According to co-producer Buckley Collum, "We built a 13,000-square-foot studio equipped with a state-of- the-art hardware technology infrastructure and a complete suite of CG industry-proven, commercially available software tools which are found in animation and visual effects studios in Hollywood and around the world.”

In September 2003, the production unit moved to the Vanguard Animation studios in London and then traversed the world to bring together a team of quality filmmakers, resulting in the hire of over 200 artists from 17 different countries.

Co-producer Curtis Augspurger said, "The artists spoke seven different languages, making it a very multinational crew. This actually brought us quite a few benefits. Bringing this diverse and talented group to Ealing enabled us to build a strong team and create a kind of family with a very large energy point.”

Williams described Gary Chapman's route to the director's chair by saying, "Originally, Gary was on board as character designer, but the range of content of his ideas for the story, the settings, and the music quickly proved him to be my ideal choice to direct this.”

Chapman recalls, "One of my main concerns was establishing a look for the film. It is a comedy adventure but I thought it important to have some sort of homage to reality. At no point did we approach this like a cartoon.”

The music was also crucial to the mood and atmosphere of the movie. "We wanted to have the music reinforcing the swing stance of World War II,” explained producer Collum. "Gary was very keen on having the music of the period.”

With this in mind, the production secured the creative talents of Oscar® nominee and award-winning composer George Fenton.

Williams concurs, "What we were trying to do is to keep consistent with the period—in the production design, musically—in every way, but with some slight touches that will make it feel very contemporary in its tone and subject. Ultimately, there is a big comedy entertainment element in this movie, but it is the jeopardy and suspense that is the driving part of the story.”

"The storyline,” says Augspurger, "is a coming-ofage story that every child will be able to ascribe to and every adult has experienced. It is the plight of someone who is told they are incapable when they are too small or too young, and then they go off and prove themselves. The enjoyment of this movie is merging its two aspects. When we get into the adventure, I believe we have enough understanding of our characters that you really care about them and want them to succeed. You want them to make it through.”

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