I finally got a freelance board in April ’84, from D.I.C., on the “Rainbow Brite” TV show. D.I.C. was the first American animation studio to use Japanese animation; it was a 3-way partnership between American, French and Japanese corporate interests. My director was Bernard Deyries, part of the French contingent. When I showed him my roughs, he asked if I wanted to do the changes. I said “yes”; what I really meant was, “YES, PLEASE, THANK YOU!” I’d been working blind at Ruby-Spears and Hanna-Barbera, receiving no instruction or feedback beyond, “long shot-medium shot-close up”, “don’t jump cut” and “don’t flop screen direction”.
Bernard changed 2/3rds of my first board, mostly to play out the action, accentuate the mood, and make it more cinematic in general. I’d been trained in the flat, left-to-right H&B style, and indoctrinated that the script was sacred. I objected, “It wasn’t that way in the script”. “But is this not bett-air?” he rejoined.The light went on in my head. “Wow—I get to actually make this good”. My dawning awareness seemed to work for Bernard as well; he only changed a quarter of my second board, and then offered me a staff position.