Subject: Marc Gordon-Bates
Mr. Gordon-Bates did not disclose his date of birth, nor did web searches provide one. However, he stated that he was about “18/19” when he applied to Gobelins. He attended Gobelins’ first year in 1981. Placing him being born towards the close of the 1950s or the beginning of the 1960s. He is presently living in the Perpignan (Perpinyà) Area of France.
Currently, he is in a self-imposed retirement due to the industry’s change from traditional animation to CGI. He became, “bored with the market,” and “felt too old to play ‘with dolls.’ In other words, animating virtual toys is not my thing….” Before retirement, he worked as a traditional animator and a TV director.
Marc Gordon-Bates graduated from Gobelins' two-year animation program in 1983.
When Gordon-Bates attended Gobelins, they did not have a full-time animation professor. However, in his second year, “a French guy who was a student in the same school and worked later for Hanna-Barbera showed up” “maybe 15 times” to “teach us the principles of animation.”
It was this "teacher" who, later, would give Gordon-Bates his first job as an assistant on the animated TV show, *Super Ted*. Gordon-Bates went on to become a non-credited and subcontracted animator for the show. After *Super Ted*, he worked on various cartoons by Asterix.
In the late 1980's, Gordon-Bates joined the animation crew of *Who Framed Roger Rabbit?* becoming the first Gobelins’ graduate to obtain a job at Disney. This is when he met one of his biggest artistic influences, Richard Williams.
Gordon-Bates “never had [a] corporate mind” and “working full time for a major company was not very important” to him. So, after *Who Framed Roger Rabbit?*, Gordon-Bates “had to travel and adapt myself to what ever [*sic*] came by starting from scrap [*sic*] each time and then I moved on something new. it [*sic*] was fun though…." He continued to work on various projects, including *Beany and Cecil*, *Maxie's World*, and *The 3 Wise Men*
. In 1992, NOA, a friend’s company in Vancouver, subcontracted him as a layout and animation key pose supervisor on the *Batman: The Animated Series* by Bruce Timm. He also worked on various commercials. Unfortunately, only company names (not subcontractors) are given credit.
In the early 2000's, SIP, a French company, had recently been bought back by Disney. They called Gordon-Bates and asked him to direct their new show, *W.I.T.C.H*. The show was based on the comic book of the same name. Gordon-Bates found it “very strange” that he was selected for the job because there “were several directors interested to go [*sic*] and work on the show, even more than I.” Also, he “didn’t have anything in [his] Demo reel wich [*sic*] indicate [*sic*] i [*sic*] could do the job. Yet, he “accepted without knowing what it was.”
After working on *W.I.T.C.H.,* Gordon-Bates did "storyboards, storyboards and storyboards" for *Lulu Vroumette*, *Wibbly Pig*, and various other projects. Eventually, he chose his last project and retired.
Gordon-Bates’ childhood concentrated on sports, namely, rugby. Unfortunately, he was only able to achieve “an amateur status” by the time he was “18/19 years old.” Therefore, he “had to figure out something else in order to make [his] life an interesting one and stop doing odd jobs.” This is when he began to draw. He considers his artistic career as “almost an accident.”
His mother was a big fan of Disney animation (particularly *Fantasia*), and knew that her son had an interest in drawing. She got the address of a nearby animation school and convinced him to put down an application. Not only was his mother very supportive, his father (a fine arts painter) encouraged him as well. Both have always been quite proud of their son.
Marc Gordon-Bates had never attended an art school when he enrolled in Gobelins. It was 1981, and Gobelins’ first year. There were no animation professors; therefore, students had to teach themselves using the school’s equipment. In his final year of the 2-year program, a new student came to the school. This student showed up for “maybe 15 times in all.” This French student knew the principles of animation, taught his fellow students, and eventually became employed at Hanna-Barbera. He gave Gordon-Bates his first job. Interestingly, Gordon-Bates does not consider this person a "mentor."
1981: Begins two-year program at Gobelins’ opening year
1983-1984: *Super Ted*, Animation Assistant to Animator
1985: *Asterix and Caesar*, Assistant Animator
1986: *Asterix in Britain*, Assistant Animator
1988: *Who Framed Roger Rabbit?,* Animator (First Gobelins’ student to work for Disney)
1988: *Beany and Cecil*, Animation Director (5 episodes), Layout Artist (5 episodes)
1989: *Maxie’s World*, Character Designer
1990-1992: Various TV animation projects
1992: *Batman: The Animated Series* by Bruce Timm, Layout and Animation Key Pose Supervisor
1995: *Aaron’s Magic Village*, Storyboard Sector
1996: *Werner - Das muss kesseln!!!,* Storyboard Sector
1998: *Oggy And The Cockroaches*, Storyboard Sector
2003: *The 3 Wise Men*, Animator
2004-2005: *W.I.T.C.H*., Co-director
2009-2010: *Wibbly Pig*, Storyboard Sector
2010: *Lulu Vroumette*, Storyboard Sector
2011- current: Self-imposed retirement
*Comments On Style*
Gordon-Bates’ style has never been fully realized because he feels he
doesn’t need one. “I don't have a style," claims Mr. Gordon-Bates. He
further remarks, "I tried to behave more like a technician like most of us
working in the business." His work suggests that he has achieved his goal.
The artistic styles of *Who Framed Roger Rabbit?* and *W.I.T.C.H.*, in many
ways, could not be further apart; yet, he was able to work on both.
Gordon-Bates believes “the only real artist i [*sic*] met who’s got style
(plurial) so far and wich [sic] i [sic] consider like an artist is Richard
Williams.” Richard William has done many different styles, from the
realistic and subtle *Christmas Carol* to the cartoony and zany *Who Framed
General influences include “Ward Kimball, Bob Clampett, Tex Avery, Charlie
Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, Dick Williams, Louis de Funes, Fellini, Samuel
Fuller, Raphael, and Kathe Kollwitz.” But he states that his “list could go
During his time as a director for Disney's *W.I.T.C.H*., he looked at
various Anime productions such as *Neon Genesis Evangelion* for design
Gordon-Bates considers himself to be “an extroverted type of person.” This
trait, he believes helped him in his career. He is rather laid back and
somewhat reserved about certain things, though. He has really enjoyed his
time as an animation professional, but is happy, now, with his current life.
In asking for anecdotes, he replied that he didn’t have any; however, he had a “great fun life on the side.”
Gordon-Bates is a very kind, but private person. He freely answered
questions regarding his career, but sidestepped personal questions. He
considers what he is working on today as “personal matters,” and won’t
divulge anything further.
· 1983 "SuperTed" (Inbetween Artist) - Uncredited
· 1985 "Asterix and Caesar" (Assistant Animator)
· 1986 "Asterix in Britain" (Assistant Animator)
· 1988 "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" (Animator)
· 1988 "Beany and Cecil" (Animation Director)
· 1988 "Beany and Cecil" (Layout Artist)
· 1989 "Maxies' World" (Character Designer) - as "Mark Gordon-Bates"
· 1992 "Batman: The Animated Series" (Layout Artist) - Uncredited
· 1992 "Batman: The Animated Series" (Key Pose Superviser) - Uncredited
· 1994 "The Busy World of Richard Scarry" (Layout Artist)
· 1995 "Aaron's Magic Village (Storyboard Artist)
· 1996 "Werner - Das muss kesseln!!!" (Storyboard Artist)
· 1998 "Oggy and the Cockroaches" (Storyboard Artist)
· 2003 "The 3 Wise Men" (Animator)
· 2004-2005 "W.I.T.C.H." (Co-Director)
· 2009-2010 "Wibbly Pig" (Storyboard Artist)
· 2010 "Lulu Vroumette" (Storyboard Artist)
http://www.nytimes.com/movies/person/819613/Marc-Gordon-Bates (has worked with)
*Contributors To This Listing*
Animators Hall of Fame