Nick Park

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Nick Park
Nick Park 2005.jpg
Born Nicholas Wulstan Park
(1958-12-06) 6 December 1958 (age 55)[1]
Preston, Lancashire, England
Occupation director, animator, writer
Nationality British
Genres Animation
Notable work(s) Wallace and Gromit, Creature Comforts, Shaun the Sheep, Chicken Run
from the BBC programme Desert Island Discs, 19 December 2010.[2]

Nicholas Wulstan "Nick" Park, CBE[3][4] (born 6 December 1958)[1] is an English filmmaker of stop motion animation best known as the creator of Wallace and Gromit and Shaun the Sheep.[5] Park has been nominated for an Academy Award a total of six times, and won four with Creature Comforts (1989), The Wrong Trousers (1993), A Close Shave (1995), and Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005).[6]

Early life[edit]

Park was born on Brookfield Park in Preston in Lancashire, England and grew up on Greenlands Estate, Preston and later moved to Walmer Bridge, where his mother still resides. He is the middle child, of five siblings. He was born to Mary Cecilia Ashton (born 1930), a seamstress, and Roger Wulstan Park (1925-2004), an architectural photographer.[citation needed] His sister Janet lives in the South Ribble area still, in Longton.[7] He attended Cuthbert Mayne High School (now Our Lady's Catholic High School).

He grew up with a keen interest in drawing cartoons, and as a 13-year-old made films with the help of his mother – who was a dressmaker – and her home movie camera and cotton bobbins. He also took after his father, an amateur inventor, and would send items – such as a bottle that squeezed out different coloured wools – to Blue Peter.[8]

He studied Communication Arts at Sheffield City Polytechnic (now Sheffield Hallam University) and then went to the National Film and Television School, where he started making the first Wallace and Gromit film, A Grand Day Out.

Career[edit]

In 1985, he joined the staff of Aardman Animations in Bristol, where he worked as an animator on commercial products (including the video for Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer", where he worked on the dance scene involving oven-ready chickens). He also had a part in animating the Pee-wee's Playhouse which featured Paul Reubens. Along with all this, he had finally completed A Grand Day Out, and with that in post-production, he made Creature Comforts as his contribution to a series of shorts called "Lip Synch". Creature Comforts matched animated zoo animals with a soundtrack of people talking about their homes. The two films were nominated for a host of awards. A Grand Day Out beat Creature Comforts for the BAFTA award, but it was Creature Comforts that won Park his first Oscar.

In 1990 Park worked alongside advertising agency GGK to develop a series of highly acclaimed television advertisements for the "Heat Electric" campaign. The Creature Comforts advertisements are now regarded as among the best advertisements ever shown on British television, as voted (independently) by viewers of the UK's main commercial channels ITV[9] and Channel 4.[10]

Two more Wallace and Gromit shorts, The Wrong Trousers (1993) and A Close Shave (1995), followed, both winning Oscars. He then made his first feature-length film, Chicken Run (2000), co-directed with Aardman founder Peter Lord. He also supervised a new series of "Creature Comforts" films for British television in 2003.

His second theatrical feature-length film and first Wallace and Gromit feature, Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, was released on 5 October 2005, and won Best Animated Feature Oscar at the 78th Academy Awards, 6 March 2006.

On 10 October 2005, a fire gutted Aardman Animations' archive warehouse.[11] The fire resulted in the loss of most of Park's creations, including the models and sets used in the movie Chicken Run. Some of the original Wallace & Gromit models and sets, as well as the master prints of the finished films, were elsewhere and survived.

Park's most recent work includes a U.S. version of Creature Comforts, a weekly television series that was on CBS every Monday evening at 8 pm ET. In the series, Americans were interviewed about a range of subjects. The interviews were lip synced to Aardman animal characters.

In September 2007, it was announced that Nick Park had been commissioned to design a bronze statue of Wallace and Gromit, which will be placed in his home town of Preston.[12] In October 2007 it was announced that the BBC had commissioned another Wallace & Gromit short film to be entitled Trouble at Mill[13] (retitled later to A Matter of Loaf and Death).

Nick Park studied at Preston College,[14] which has since named its library for the art and design department after him: the Nick Park Library Learning Centre. He is the recipient of a gold Blue Peter badge.[8]

By the beginning of 2010, Park had won 4 Academy Awards and had the distinction of having won an Oscar every time he had been nominated (his only loss being when he was nominated twice in the same category). This streak ended in the 2010 Oscars when "Wallace & Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death" failed to win the best animated short Oscar.

In February 2011, Park made his first ever appearance, himself as an animated character in The Simpsons episode, "Angry Dad: The Movie". His new Willis and Crumble short, Better Gnomes and Gardens borrows elements and themes from Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit. Lisa Simpson asks Park, in case he does not receive the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film:

Lisa: Good luck, Mr. Park. There'd be no shame in losing to you.
Park: Oh, that's very sweet of you. Thank you for saying so. [after shaking hands, Park's fingers come off]
Lisa: Agh!
Park: No worries. I'll just stick 'em back on. I'm more clay than man now.

(Note: Willis and Crumble are a parody of Park's characters Wallace and Gromit. Also, stop-motion animation is produced by Chiodo Bros. Productions, Inc., not Aardman.)

In late 2011, Park directed a music video for 'Plain Song'- a song by Native and the Name, a Sheffield band led by Joe Rose, the son of an old university friend. The video was filmed at Birkdale School, Sheffield, and Park also selected the track as one of his Desert Island Discs when he went on the show in 2011, which led to suggestions that Park was using his fame to give a friend a leg-up in his career. Park denied these claims insisting it had become one of his favourite songs. The song and video can be found on YouTube.

In 2013, Park was involved in the British stage adaptation of Hayao Miyazaki's animated film, Princess Mononoke.[15]

Personal life[edit]

The Daily Telegraph remarked Park has taken on some attributes of Wallace, just "as dog-owners come to look like their pets", overexpressing himself, possibly as a result of having to show animators how he wants his characters to behave.[8]

He is a fan of The Beano comic, and guest-edited the 70th anniversary issue dated 2 August 2008. He also contributed to Classics from the Comics at the same time, picking his favourite classic stories for the comic reprint magazine's new Classic Choice feature.

The character idea for Wallace came from his old English teacher. Wallace wears the same clothes as Park's teacher and has a similar personality.[citation needed]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Director Producer Writer Animator Notes
1989 Creature Comforts Yes Yes Yes Short film
1989 Wallace & Gromit: A Grand Day Out Yes Yes Yes
1993 Wallace & Gromit: The Wrong Trousers Yes Yes Yes
1995 Wallace & Gromit: A Close Shave Yes Yes Yes
2000 Chicken Run Yes Yes Yes Co-directed with Peter Lord
2005 Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit Yes Yes Yes Co-directed with Steve Box
2008 Wallace & Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death Yes Yes Yes Short film

Television[edit]

Year Title Notes
2003-2006 Creature Comforts Creator
Executive producer
2007-2010 Shaun the Sheep
2009-2012 Timmy Time Executive producer
2010 Wallace and Gromit's World of Invention

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Nominated For Award Category Result[5]
1990 Creature Comforts BAFTA Best Animated Film Nominated
Wallace & Gromit: A Grand Day Out BAFTA Best Animated Film Won
1991 Creature Comforts Oscar Best Animated Short Film Won
Wallace & Gromit: A Grand Day Out Oscar Best Animated Short Film Nominated
1994 Wallace & Gromit: The Wrong Trousers BAFTA Best Animated Film Won
Wallace & Gromit: The Wrong Trousers Oscar Best Animated Short Film Won
1996 Wallace & Gromit: A Close Shave BAFTA Best Animated Film Won
Wallace & Gromit: A Close Shave Oscar Best Animated Short Film Won
2001 Chicken Run BAFTA Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film Nominated
2004 Creature Comforts BAFTA Comedy Programme or Series Award Nominated
2005 Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit Oscar Best Animated Feature Won
2006 Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit BAFTA Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film Won
2008 Creature Comforts Emmy Award Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program (for Programming Less Than One Hour) Nominated
2009 Wallace & Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death BAFTA Best Short Animation Won
2010 Wallace & Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death Oscar Best Animated Short Film Nominated

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "‘PARK, Nicholas Wulstan’, Who's Who 2013, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2013; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2012 ; online edn, Nov 2012". (subscription required)
  2. ^ "Nick Park". Desert Island Discs. 19 December 2010. BBC Radio 4. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00wntyl. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  3. ^ Staff (September 2006). "Nick Park 1958–". Biography Today 15 (3): 84–101. ISSN 1058-2347. OCLC 24242423. 
  4. ^ "BBC Politics 1997: Courage rewarded in honours list". BBC Television News. 1997. Retrieved 17 June 2012. 
  5. ^ a b Nick Park at the Internet Movie Database
  6. ^ "Aaardman – Company History". Retrieved 12 Oct 2011. 
  7. ^ http://www.filmreference.com/film/98/Nick-Park.html
  8. ^ a b c Nigel Farndale (18 December 2008). "Wallace and Gromit: one man and his dog". The Daily Telegraph (UK). Retrieved 18 December 2008. 
  9. ^ ITV’s Best Ever Adverts. Retrieved 7 August 2010.
  10. ^ 100 Greatest TV Ads. Retrieved 7 August 2010.
  11. ^ "Animation archive up in smoke". BBC News. 10 October 2005. Retrieved 3 October 2007. 
  12. ^ "Wallace and Gromit statue planned". BBC News. 6 September 2007. Retrieved 3 October 2007. 
  13. ^ "Wallace and Gromit return to TV". BBC News. 3 October 2007. Retrieved 3 October 2007. 
  14. ^ "Hall of fame 2005". Association of Colleges. 10 October 2005. Retrieved 6 November 2011. 
  15. ^ http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/interest/2013-04-19/nick-park-involvement-in-princess-mononoke-play-revealed

External links[edit]

Preceded by
David Lean
NFTS Honorary Fellowship Succeeded by
Alan Parker