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Darwyn Cooke
"Generally, footage is so valuable in animation you'd never think of just doing a bunch of stuff if you knew you were going to scrap half of it."
Emru Townsend: Now, I've got to ask: what is up with Batman, with that funky dance he's doing in the title sequence?

Darwyn Cooke: Okay, are you referring to that kung fu shot?

Yeah.

Well, there you go. That's Adam, pure and simple. We talked about doing a scene that would show these claws that he's got, and maybe do a little bit of martial arts, and he came back with that crazy bit. I mean, the guy is just so talented, and it was just so wild, it was like, yeah, this is perfect the way it is. Just go with this [laughs].

I came up with the idea of that cyclone sort of background that's right behind it. We put it all together, and [we said] that looks cool, it works.

We had a lot of shots we didn't use. I'd say there's easily a dozen things that we threw away.

At what stage of the game? After it had been animated, or just storyboarded?

After it was animated. Because again, [we had] this premise of editing it like a trailer. It's like taking this big pool of footage and then sitting down and editing. And then when we got down to it, we said, this is kind of weird, but it works. It was kind of interesting, and in that respect we had a lot more flexibility. Most animation shows would definitely take an A-B-C approach to the titles.

Ninety percent of the time it's just clips from the series itself.

And that was the other thing. We were originally going to use clips. They were going to be distressed and treated. And we actually came up with some really great treatments. But we got so enthusiastic and we generated so much material, there was no need to use footage from the show. Once we [completed it] we were really happy, because it's completely original, and it was all produced right here.

You know, Bruce's enthusiasm had so much to do with it. He got so into it, he worked on the drawings for a lot of the shots. That was a big surprise, seeing him getting into actually animating and stuff on it. We had a ball.

So you say your original background was in advertising.

I started as a magazine art director. You know, BouClair, Chatelaine, that kind of thing. And from there I drifted into advertising.

Normally I would ask what sort of influences you had in terms of animation or comic books, because usually that's where you find the relation with people who are in the animation industry. But you sort of came into it sideways, as it were.

And I think that's why I ended up getting that project, because it is a little sideways. In terms of influences, one of my strongest influences after coming here was Bruce himself. So there's that, that's a strong foundation. Then when you get into film, yeah, I tend to be more interested in the way live-action is put together and cut, the way music videos are being assembled and approached. And for a change trying to treat animation to that type of thought process. Generally, footage is so valuable in animation you'd never think of just doing a bunch of stuff if you knew you were going to scrap half of it. You can't afford to think that way. But it's the way live-action is done all the time.

And I guess if I didn't name names, Bruce would kill me. I'm a big John Woo fan. I love the way his stuff cuts. I'm really interested in that kind of thing. Comic-book wise, let me see... well, there's Bruce, but I guess going back, it's definitely [Jack] Kirby. It's funny, it doesn't look like it, but I think there's a velocity to the titles; it's certainly the spirit of Kirby driving that. Alex Toth, of course--I could talk to you about that for hours, if you want, because we're all freaks for that.

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