By now the layouts were finished, Bill’s visits had become less frequent due to pressure of work in L.A. and so the onus was on Steve Melendez and me to get the thing through. Fortunately, we worked well together, and Steve’s energy rand versatility in handling the editing and work flow enabled me to cope with the animation side. I soon discovered that the luxury of sitting at a desk drawing was something that had to be fitted in at the end of a day given over to preparing timing and layouts, briefing animators, even finding animators, checking line-tests and rushes, making corrections, and trying to keep pace with last-minute changes in the story. It was at this point that I discovered for the first time how few animators can actually draw – but that’s a subject on which I could sound off at length!
The story meetings tended to be free-wheeling affairs led by Leo Rost, a larger than life character who was the chief backer of the project, aided by Victor Spinetti who was the voice of Dick Deadeye. As well as contributing jokes to the film Victor regaled us with extensive autobiographical revelations, the effect of which was to induce a state of collective hysteria which in turn generated more ideas than we could possibly use and it became part of my job to edit these down to a form that would not distort the basic story structure already in existence.
By the end of 1974 we were under pressure to wrap the film so that it would be ready for exhibition by Easter ‘75. There was still much to be done and alas, in my opinion much that needed to be re-done, but Steve persuaded me that decisive editing was the answer and so I concentrated on getting the scenes animated in time and desperately trying to get the drawings to resemble the original models, while Steve hacked away in the cutting room.
I was not involved with the final editing and dubbing which was done by Steve and Bill in Los Angeles and I therefore plead diminished responsibility for the result!
CLARK: After so many years on shorts and commercials with their cut-cut-cut policy, how did you react to the slower pace?
D.HORN: When we started on “Deadeye” I was horrified to be given a scene 30 seconds long. I thought “this can’t be one scene -someone’s made a mistake!”. It took me the length of the production to even begin accepting that you could do scenes that way. In the event, Steve and I did cut them down simply to spare our artists, and we used a lot of cut-aways. The muted public appeal of the film is due partly to the lack of acceptable sentimental characters – I don’t mean cuddly Disney rabbits and animals as in “Snow White”, but somewhere in the film we should have had a strong hero or heroine.