From Toonzone.net: Chances are you've heard Ian
James Corlett in one of the innumerable animated series he's lent his voice to:
ReBoot (Glitch-Bob); Beast Wars: Transformers (Cheetor); Dragon Ball Z (Goku);
Mega Man (Mega Man); Mobile Suit Gundam Wing (Quinze); Sherlock Holmes in the
22nd Century (Martin Fenwick); Ranma 1/2 (Dr. Tofu Ono); G.I. Joe (Inferno); [I]or in countless supporting roles in other series. But he is also a writer (Rescue Heroes, Rolie Polie Olie), a composer Yvon of the Yukon, Being Ian) and a series creator (Yvon of the Yukon, Being Ian). He recently spoke to Toon Zone about his career and history.
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Toon Zone: Thanks for talking to us, Ian. First of all, where are you from?
Ian James Corlett: I am from a suburb of Vancouver, British Columbia, called Burnaby. I’m the youngest in a family of three boys, who all grew up in and around our family business, which was a piano store. Which is probably a pretty odd setting and is the setting for an animated series that I created, called Being Ian.
TZ: So the show has "Ian" in the title and is set in a piano store like where you grew up. Can we call it autobiographical?
IJC: Well, it is loosely based on my life growing up as a young film buff and filmmaker in Burnaby, and the series mirrors lots of imaginative happenings in my life. Or, maybe not so loosely, since it’s set around the same kind of family and family business. We all worked in the family business ever since I can remember, basically, which is the joy of family businesses. My parents were there and so were we.
Being IanAnyway, the Ian character in the show is a guy with a huge imagination, who, whatever situation he finds himself in, will drift off into a fantasy world which has always got something to do with film. So, for instance, if he's trying to get out of a task, he'll imagine that he's in the military and his Dad is choosing someone for a very dangerous assignment, and we'll go to a short fantasy sequence of him imagining that he's in the army. Or if he loses something around the house, he'll drift off into an Indiana Jones–style fantasy sequence. He might be searching for his sock, for all we know, but he thinks he's searching for the golden idol.
And there's always several of these in every episode. These sequences are always done in sort of a different style and format from what the actual show is produced in. When I dreamt up the concept I thought it would be fun to have an animated show that was able to showcase different styles of animation at the same time. So it's not what you would call a high-brow, animation-festival style of a show, but we do get a chance to use stop-motion and computer animation and different styles within the same show.
TZ: Ian is a young filmmaker, you say. Were you a young filmmaker?
IJC: Yes. When I was a kid I got interested in making little animated movies, basically just using toys and doing stop-motion animated films with my wind-up 8mm movie camera. When I was in Grade 6 or 7, I made a film for a school project, for a science class. I decided to do this thing on volcanoes and to do a little animated film with a cutaway of a volcano, showing where the magma comes from and all that kind of stuff. And then I spiced it up by having a little scene with these little cavemen running away when they saw the volcano coming, just to add a little drama to the science. Basically, it was my way of trying something more interesting than the regular written report, and it was trying to do something fun, probably so it didn't feel so much like work. (Laughs) But the teacher suggested that I enter it into this little film festival that we used to have in Burnaby, and I ended up winning Best Primary School entry, or something like that.
I kind of got the bug from there, and, from that year on right up until Grade 12, I made films for these film festivals. In my last year of secondary school, in 1980, I ultimately wound up winning Most Promising Filmmaker in the BC Student Film Festival, which, for its time and the region, was kind of a big deal. I mean, it was shown in a downtown movie theater and had real judges and movie critics from the newspapers. And that was a bit of a coup, because the winner of that award was usually from the university category—whoever won the university category usually got the Most Promising Filmmaker because they were usually poised to go off on some sort of career path after university. But I would enter lots of films each year, taking the quantity over quality strategy, and my films were always comedies, and some of them were animated. And when I won it was kind of a big deal because I was the youngest winner ever. Anyway, I think they may have had a notion that I wasn't going to go to university (laughs).
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