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How did you discover you wanted to be in this field?

Sylvain Chomet: My work experience in London in the mid-eighties was a revelation. I discovered not only the art of animation, but also how great it can be working as a team, with talented senior animators who happily teach you the ropes.

Dominic Buttimore: I came to animation through graphic design, then animation itself and finally production. I loved the art and the people.

How did you first meet?

Buttimore: When I was an executive producer at an animation company in London back in the 80s, Sylvain arrived at the studio with another small group of French guys and started working on commercial projects with me. We hit it off immediately. His skill and talent was obvious (especially for late night drinking, enjoying jazz at Ronnie Scotts and playing darts!).

How would you describe your working relationship?

Chomet: As the perfect one. How great can it be when the producer you respect the most in your field happens to be your best friend? It is a very mutual respect.

Buttimore: It is indeed, Sylvain is an amazing talent and I am honored to work with him. He is also my best friend and just great fun to be with. I think that if you can make friendship and work go together it is incredibly powerful. Each is willing to go the extra mile for the other, and it results in great work and... happiness!

What advice do you have for maintaining a professional partnership and overcoming differences of working styles and opinions?

Chomet: Dom and I share the same taste in art. The only differences we had to overcome were mainly about the French and English rugby teams.

Buttimore: I didn’t think there was ever an argument about this. England 55, France 35, on March 21, 2015.

What would be your dream animation project?

Chomet: I consider all my next projects to be one of them.

Buttimore: The Simpsons last year and the awesome project this year for Belgian singer-songwriter Stromae were pretty much dream jobs for anyone in this business, both with Sylvain of course. Sylvain’s talent attracts great projects.

What were your breakthroughs with The Simpsons titles?

Chomet: I considered it a breakthrough to add a ridiculous stereotype of Frenchness to the opening sequence. The Simpsons had already parodied my style in a previous episode, but I think its only fair that I gave it a go as I’m actually French. And it’s the first time that Maggie has gotten lost in Homer’s bottom, as far as I’m aware.

What were your challenges with the Stromae music video? How did you overcome them?

Buttimore: Timing was an issue. It was a three-and-a-half-minute sequence, and there was a lot to do in that time. But the musician, Stromae, had worked very closely with Sylvain on the idea at the beginning and really trusted his directing talent, so nothing really changed conceptually from concept to delivery—which helped! We also had a great th1ng team on the project, superbly organized by producer Ru Warner. Good planning and a great team overcome most things.

What tools do you find indispensable for your work?

Chomet: A pencil, even a digital one.

Buttimore: A great team around me at th1ng and, of course, a mobile phone. Communication is key in production.

Where do your best ideas come from?

Chomet: From a nice state of relaxation, like traveling by train, or early in the morning, in bed. Never in front of a white page.

What personal/pro-bono projects are you working on, if any?

Buttimore: I would say that all of Sylvain’s work is personal as it comes from the heart. We are working on two long-form concepts at the moment: “Mimi and the Mountain Dragon,” a half-hour children’s musical for the BBC, written by Michael Morpurgo (Warhorse) and scored by Rachel Portman (Academy Award, Emma) and The Thousand Miles, a 90-minute feature based on an original Fellini story.

What excites you about animation right now?

Chomet: The digital era applied to hand-drawn animation and all the possibilities it offers. I’m happy not to be limited to celluloids and rostrum cameras for constructing my visuals.

Buttimore: We have been embracing pen and tablet technology for drawn animation, and Sylvain is currently developing hybrid techniques to increase the accuracy of this art, which is very exciting.

What is the most important skill you need to succeed in animation ?

Chomet: Patience, patience and patience. And sometimes good darts playing skills.

Buttimore: On the production side, an appreciation of the art of animation, attention to detail, a good eye for design and filmmaking, an ability to lead and also to work with a team and, of course, some basic darts skills.

Dominic Buttimore has a 35-year history in production and post-production. Answering his entrepreneurial calling, he founded his current integrated production company th1ng. Starting as a three-man operation in a small room on Beak Street in Soho, London, it now encompasses six floors on Wardour Street and has offices in New York, London, Stockholm and Dubai. His producer/director relationship with Sylvain Chomet started in the early ’80s, and they now work as friends and colleagues on all his short- and long-form productions. Their recent collaborations include The Simpson’s titles commissioned by Matt Groening and the Stromae pop artist project. They are currently working together on a BBC Christmas special with Michael Morpurgo (the author of Warhorse) and a 90-minute feature based on a short story by Federico Fellini for Emanuele Filiberto di Savoia, the Crown Prince of Ve

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