Show 028 – Ken Duncan, Part Three

Ken Duncan

“It’s really great trying something out and then seeing how people react and if they don’t kind of react the way you think they should, it’s wise to be honest with yourself and try to analyze the work.”

Ken Duncan owns Duncan Studio in Pasadena, CA. Before that he animated Meg in Hercules, Jane in Tarzan, Capt. Amelia and Scroop in Treasure Planet, and he served as a sequence supervisor on Dreamworks’ Sharktale. In this final part of the interview, Ken shares more of his experiences on Hercules and Tarzan as well as futher insights in to his approaches to performance and how he approaches running his own animation studio.


Continue for Show Notes, audio file download links, and comments…

Get the MP3 here: Show 28: Ken Duncan, Part Three
Animation Podcast Show 28 MP3(40.2MB, 1:27:39 minutes)

Or get the enhanced version playable only with Quicktime, iTunes, or iPods.
(Includes chapter breaks, pictures and links in addition to the audio.)
Get the enhanced podcast here: Show 28: Ken Duncan, Part Three
Animation Podcast Show 28 Enhanced(42.2MB, 1:27:39 minutes)


  • 00:00 The Intro Voice
  • 00:05 Sponsored by –
  • 00:21 Introduction – Duncan Studio
  • 01:08 On acting and observing reality
  • 03:12 Definition of texture in animation
  • 06:01 Various structures of supervising on films
  • 08:58 Animating Meg on Hercules
  • 12:49 Dealing with criticism and getting better
  • 14:30 Strength of female characters
  • 14:53 Supervising at different studios
  • 17:05 Animating a song
  • 18:07 3/4 inch video tape
  • 19:56 Style of Hercules – Gerald Scarf and cartooniness
  • 21:01 Portraying women in animation
  • 24:16 Actresses of the 40s – Barbara Stanwyck and Jean Arthur
  • 25:26 Animating Jane in Tarzan
  • 29:42 Supervising in 2D vs CG
  • 31:23 Traditional animation methodology
  • 36:12 Getting the right reaction
  • 38:55 Analyzing and the human touch
  • 42:47 Taking characters off model
  • 45:14 Jane’s physical transformation
  • 47:54 Treasure Planet
  • 50:24 Starting in to CG – Oskar Urretabizkaia
  • 55:48 Sharktale
  • 1:00:41 The atmosphere at Dreamworks
  • 1:01:37 Analyzing European animation styles
  • 1:03:26 Other animation is going on out there
  • 1:07:09 Setting up Duncan Studio
  • 1:13:46 Opportunities for experimentation
  • 1:17:44 Conclusion
  • 1:17:57 Question about show length
  • 1:18:14 Feedback info/Voicemails – Email ClayLink to Voicemail
  • 1:21:33 Preview of next show – Eric Goldberg
  • 1:27:09 Sponsored by –
  • 1:27:29 Closing

18 Comments on “Show 028 – Ken Duncan, Part Three

  1. Great, downloading right now, can’t wait to get to part 3. 1 and 2 were supurb. Thanks again for all of your hard work Clay.

  2. AWESOME!! Thanks a ton clay, and thanks a ton to Ken also. Theres so much info in this show it hurts my brain.

    Thanks for the fuel.

  3. Great show ! It was probably the most complete podcast yet, I thought. Lots was covered. Ken Duncan is definitely thorough, maybe it was unintentionally, seems just like Kens personality.

    Mostly liked, how towards the end of the podcast,he gives his personnal opinion about what is animation today and how he sees it has a art form and tells the pit falls of current issues happening in some studios. Makes it feel real.

    Great job. Lovin’ it !

  4. Part three has arrived! Awesome!

    Hey Clay,

    I love it when people such as yourself continue what they started and that you keep posting these great insights every once a month. We are so lucky to have these podcasts!

    I have added this show to my MP3 player now, so I can listen to it during my flight to LA tomorrow. Flying to Los Angeles from Norway sure takes a long time, so I will definitely get to listen to it more than once…

    Best regards,

  5. Wow I’ve been busy and I log into the ‘tunes and have to go and download not one podcast, not two, but a Three parter! You’ve been busy. 🙂 Can’t wait to listen.

  6. Eric Goldberg next! I can’t wait! I’ll be getting his book for sure.

  7. Great stuff as usual. any chance you can try to get something going with Doug Sweetland? or anyone else who worked on Presto?

    cant wait till the Erik Goldberg one.

  8. You posted this on my birthday on purpose didn’t you? Oh you… blushes*

    Thanks Clay! Hope work is treating you well. Seen the trailer for ‘Bolt’ it looks awesome!

  9. Great stuff Clay, for me this is definetely the best interview yet.

  10. Awesome show Clay! You’re killing me. I already wish I was going to Comicon so I could get “Who is Rocket Johnson,” now I have to lament not being there for yet another reason! I’ll just have to order it online… 🙂

    Thanks again for your commitment to the podcast. I can tell that over the years, it will be an invaluable resource in the same way that “The Illusion of Life” is today.

    Kyle. I know the spline doctors are about to publish an interview with Doug Sweetland. They’ve been hyping it up for a while. Take a look!

    Thanks again Clay.

    Michael Woodside

  11. Just started listening a few days ago, and now I’m working my way through the archives. Inspiring and informative stuff here. Keep up the good work.

    This interview was especially cool because I had just finished up listening and when I got home Treasure Planet was on TV. Makes you look at things in a whole new way once you have some insight into the artists and the process behind the work. Definitely looking forward to the next one!

  12. Vince – You’re welcome!

    Andy – If your brain doesn’t hurt you’re not challenging yourself enough. Keep it up.

    Louis – I’m hearing from a bunch of people who say it’s the best yet and I’m eager to know why, so thanks for the great feedback.

    Thomas – have a good trip. I always try to put out a new show just before listeners go on trips. (Just as long as the trip is the first Monday of the month.)

    kborcz – Where have you been for the last three months?! No, really it’s good to know I have breathing room with some people. Take your time. Soak it in.

    Walker – Thanks for listening to the end! Yes…must…have…book!

    Kyle – that’s a great suggestion. I ran in to Andrew Gordon a couple months ago and I think an interview with him is an inevitability. Someday.

    Petey – Happy birthday. I always try to post on listener birthdays. (As long as the birthday falls on the first Monday of the month.) Work is great. Thanks for the complement on the trailer. The hamster is my character and the animation these guys have been doing on him is so amazing! I can’t wait for it to come out.

    Jay – Thanks so much. How do I top that?

    Michael – Killing is good, right? I can pretty much guarantee that Rocket Johnson will sell out. I’ve only seen snippets, but it is so cool!
    Animation Podcast vs. Illusion of Life? Sorry, no comparison, but thanks for the notion. Today I saw someone at work walking with The Illusion of Life under their arm and it made me so happy – and they were a lifer like me.
    And yes, thanks for the reminder to Kyle. I’m absolutely looking forward to the Doug Sweetland interview on Spline Doctors.

    Kevin – Did you really listen to all of them in a few days? THAT’S dedication – or insanity. But you need a little crazy to do animation. I always try to release a new show when Treasure Planet is – oh wait, no I don’t.

  13. Hi Clay

    I was wondering if you could post a listing of all the European comic artists that Ken Duncan mentions in the last podcast. I’d google them, but I don’t even know how to spell some of those names. Thanks alot and I’m always looking forward to the next podcast! Can’t wait to get my hands on “Who is Rocket Johnson”, that is if they’re still available when I get to Comic Con.

  14. If I told you where I’ve been I don’t think you’d believe me Clay. Anyway, I do know where I’ll be in TWO DAYS. SQUEE comic-con. I’m going to go into an art-induced coma I think. lol Podcasts will be listened to on the flight over. Who needs airline movies when you’ve got animation gold

  15. Hi Clay,
    I second Joe’s request for the European comic artists that Ken Duncan talks about in show 028. I only recognized a few of them and would like to get to know the rest.
    Keep up the good work and I’m excited to check out the “ENHANCED” podcasts.

  16. Dude the podcast was great. I like the format. And btw, comiccon was insane, this being my first time at it, pretty overwhelming.

  17. Hi Clay!

    Congratulations with your podcast. I think it’s amazing. One small correction: the amazing comic artist Franquin is not French, as Ken says. But Belgian (like me, that’s why I reply.)! He is still our most talented comic artist we ever had.
    Thanks for all the wonderful information you bring us. Keep it up!