Invincible producer Catherine Winder delves into what it’s like to bring animation to life

With over 30 years in the animated series business, Invincible producer Catherine Winder knows the industry inside and out. Their work built the teams they brought Star Wars in animation, produced the mega-hits of Ice Age and The Angry Birds Movie, and even worked behind the scenes on everything from MTV’s Aeon Flux to the Barbie movies.

In an exclusive CBR interview, Winder delved into his insights into the industry, the atmosphere of radically diverse projects, and the importance of a cohesive artistic vision by bringing stories like Invincible to the life.

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CBR: Your career spans all media that appeal to a wide range of demographics, involving everything from Barbie and The Angry Birds Movie to Aeon Flux and Spawn of Todd McFarlane. Does the target audience change their approach to a project and, if so, what is the difference in the atmosphere behind the scenes?

WINDER: Sure, when I launched the project, I carefully chose and selected a specific team for the genre and audience we are looking for for the property. So, since that’s the case, each project and team is unique, but the consistent thing is that the team I put together has a passion for the material, the content. Whatever we produce. So behind the scenes, there is always a passion filled with incredible filmmakers.

Also, something I do is take a global approach to choosing the artist. So you will also find that there is a real global team. Again, all passionate about content. For example, if it’s a comedy like Angry birds, is a group of people who have strength and love for global event movies. In the case of Clone warsWe actually travel the world. We had talent from the US, Canada, Asia, all bringing their points of view.

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CBR: That is amazing. And what are those different teams like? I imagine it affects the atmosphere very differently having collected the passionate Barbie versus people passionate about Appear.

Yes, in most cases, they are passionate. They are fans of the material. The Barbie team, collect. They love toys. Not everyone, but that’s something we surround ourselves with. People innately understand content and canon.

A property like Angry birds, we managed to assemble a team of filmmakers who not only played games, but understood how to tell a global narrative story for a global event audience. Again, the environment is different because you may have to say: Appear, a dramatic action-adventure team, and for Angry birds, people focused on comedy. But in all cases, it is a family. They are a passionate group of people working to dedicate themselves to creating the best content possible and making audiences happy.

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CBR: How did your initial job as a production manager for Disney Animation in Tokyo influence your professional development? Were there great lessons you learned in those days, and was the work culture in Tokyo markedly different than in North America?

There is an incredible opportunity as a foreigner, female, and working in an office in Tokyo to help Americans and Japanese discover how to work together and produce content for a global audience again. The learnings were significant and really shaped everything I did. As I said, my role was to create a bridge between both studios, each of which had very different cultures and work styles.

In Japan, for example, it is not comfortable to be direct, but you need to address your questions, your way of communicating, [in] in a slightly more indirect way. Where, in the United States, you should be direct. It is encouraged and expected. So you can imagine trying to sell creative challenges and finding solutions and working together, being direct or indirect, can be very confusing.

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CBR: Bringing any massive franchise to the world of motion picture animation for the first time would be quite difficult, but Star Wars in particular, he has a fan culture that can be very difficult to please. Did you feel a lot of pressure when producing Star Wars, Clone Wars Understand it well? “

Absolutely. Let’s face it, there is no bigger property to bring to the world of animation. So the responsibility was huge, especially when someone like George Lucas tells you that your mandate is to produce something that no one has seen before, a global, unique and compelling visual style. Now, while it’s overwhelming on the one hand, it’s pretty exciting on the other. To have that opportunity, an opportunity, to form a team, which by the way is my favorite activity, and to take it to this new world and work to make the fans really happy, but also to add more. fans.

Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi in the movie Star Wars The Clone Wars 2008

At that time, Revenge of the Sith it was being released, and there were no plans to make other movies. It’s not like it is today. So it was really important that we were able to reach out to the younger generations and bring them to the Star Wars universe. So, the most important thing when you have this responsibility, particularly with Star Wars, is to find the right team of people. The idea was really to create a diverse group from Star Wars Experts to incredible artists, and they don’t stop in North America. We reach the whole world.

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CBR: Delegating wisely seems incredibly important to what you do. Would you say that there are key characteristics that you look for in the talents you handle that let you know that they are capable of handling the task at hand?

One of the most important characteristics I look for is someone who is not afraid to ask questions and challenge what we are doing. And in the case of, say, a producer, the production staff don’t know how to solve a problem, they’re not afraid to say, “I don’t know,” raise your hand. The fact that someone can put their ego on the shelf and not be afraid of looking bad and instead openly say, “I need your help,” for the greater good. That’s amazing and that tells me a lot about someone.

That is very, very important. People often try to hide things and pretend they know. They can be passionate, but if they don’t really know how to solve something, they can’t talk, ultimately you won’t be able to complete it.

Invincible stars Steven Yeun, JK Simmons, Sandra Oh, Seth Rogen, Gillian Jacobs, Andrew Rannells, Zazie Beetz, Mark Hamill, Walton Goggins, Jason Mantzoukas, Mae Whitman, Chris Diamantopoulos, Melise, Kevin Michael Richardson, Khary Payton, Gray Griffin and Max Burkholder. The series is produced by Skybound and is executive produced by Robert Kirkman, Simon Racioppa, David Alpert and Catherine Winder. The new episodes premiere on Fridays on Amazon Prime Video.

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Invincible producer Catherine Winder talks about adapting the series for Amazon Prime Video

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