Saturday, June 30, 2007

To my own Queen of Six

Dear Janet-
Thank you for 6 wonderful years of having you as my wife! I'm so proud of everything we've accomplished together, and you continue to inspire me, make me laugh, and just make me feel grateful for all we have! You are wonderful and I love you with all my heart.

Happy Anniversary
Love Ken

Platform Day 4

Thursday, after checking out of le hotel, the first order of businesss was to get some breakfast. I wandered into the Oliver Twisted restaurant across from the festival venue, where I had eaten twice before already. This time nobody came to serve me...I sat there for over 5 minutes watching the staff ignore me so I left and got a muffin & coffee back at the venue instead.

Then got to sit in the "Statler & Waldorf" section where the filmmakers go, as part of the present crew for the Librarian film. It was very well received and fun to see on the big screen. After that I dashed over to the 'Job or no Job' panel and distributed the rest of my VanArts brochures to the many students attending. The last main event I attended was the Aardman Presenation with David Sproxton, which was fantastic and great to watch live action video references of Nick Park acting out scenes from the Were-Rabbit movie. Also got to see the actual Wallace & Gromit (and Lady Totty) puppets in person...who would have thought that such tiny puppets would be swarmed by a huge crowd flashing their cameras? Would "Pupp-arrazzi" be an appropriate term? (har har har) That's one of the main things missing from CG, as fun as it may be to watch, there are no artifacts to display as part of it.

I also got to meet Stephen Chiodo and gave him a copy of my book...incredibly nice guy and I look forward to staying in touch with him for help on future book projects. Also spoke with Imogen Sutton (Richard Williams' wife) and heard about the DVD project they're working on, which sounds awesome. Whereupon thereafter I had to head back home, but overall the festival was a fantastic opportuniy to get so many great people together and celebrate the art of animation. The films, from what I did see, were a mixed bag but mostly wonderful, but the best part of these events is really the people. I feel blessed to have gotten to know so many people this week who are doing great things in the animated realm. I look forward to next year!

In other news, I've created a NEW BLOG for the production of 'Storytime with Nigel', yesterday we had a succesful grad for the VanArts June group, and Ariel's face when she finally saw me after all this time was a real priceless treasure! We went to an outdoor film festival screening of Grease last night with Jack & Stella. Looking forward to the rest of them!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Platform Day 3

Wednesday was relaxing and enjoyable. Upon arriving at the venue I got to hang out with Steve's student Jared who is helping him with Kinex Studios research, and I got to see a few more of the films in their entirety. They're so ingenious for their time so we gotta find out more about them!

At the Animators Picnic I got some advice for my next book from Amid Amidi and got to chat with David Sproxton, Steve Segal (in photo checking out the book) PES and David Levy, plus several animation students doing stop-motion and other projects, and people from Laika. Good times all around.

Afterwards was a very good presentation from Amid on Tom Oreb, good burgers for dinner with Micah & Galen and more competition films, most of which were abstract and weird, and the Animation Show with Don Hertzfeldt. Always great to see those films with a crowd. After that I was interviewed for some kind of rotoscoping video project and was asked if cartoons can save the world. I responded that cartoons are the only thing that can possibly save the world, besides Jesus...but that the two go hand in hand. Well, time to get going to today's events and the long drive home!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Platform Festival Day 1 - 2

Today is Day 3 of the Platform Animation Festival in Portland OR, which has been really great so far. I didn't bring my own camera, as it would be wrong to deprive picture-taking of Ariel for even more than a day, but (EDIT) I now have some pictures courtesy of Galen Fott and Ward Jenkins to jazz it up! (Thanks guys!) I drove down on Monday through only a moderate delay at the border and a very pleasant drive. Upon entering the US I felt compelled to blast the Dixie Chicks on the stereo, and man, the first track on that CD just fed my soul! It's rare when a song can actually do that...'Taking the Long Way Around' I can certainly relate to. I feel I've done that in many ways, trusting God to offer his timing into the circumstances in my life.

So upon arriving into Portland and settling into the ultra-modern Jupiter Hotel, I found my way to the Performing Arts Centre and met former VanArts comrades Galen Fott & Micah Baker for dinner and the opening screening. The Librarian from the Black Lagoon film we worked on together will be showing here on Thursday.

(VanArts Animators Unite! Galen Fott, myself and Micah Baker)

The mayor of Portland kicked off the films, many of which were amazing. Highlights included: The Danish Poet (funny, uplifting and reflective on the mystery of life...good candidate for my own festival program ideas), Black History Toons (SNL hilarity), The Pearce Sisters (from Aardman...everybody's talking about this one! CG models with beautiful drawn textures...creepy but endearing in a weird way), Apnee (beyond description), and Storyville (finally! Someone found a way to make a 1930s cartoon in 3D! If I were a CG animator, that's the kind of film I'd make.)

Afterwards was the opening night party. Right away I ran into Will Vinton, who told me he has been using my book for reference. That's a comment you take to the bank! I'm still recovering from that. Also chatted with Tom Knott, Jerry Beck, Amid Amidi and Ward Jenkins. Jerry gave me some encouraging words about my next book project, so the road is beginning to be paved...

Then was a show-down screening of comedy films vs. abstract films with Bill Plympton and Joanna Priestly. As much as I love a good laugh, I think the selection of abstract films was stronger than the comedy ones. Very good spirited screening overall...if you turn away and just listen to Bill Plympton's voice, you'd think it was Norm McDonald up there. Very funny.

Highlights from Tuesday were meeting up with friends Lindsey & Bill and their little girl Brooke for breakfast. They're doing so well, and we had lots to catch up on and talk about, comparing our 'lives with a little girl' stories and plans for the future. Next year hopefully the whole family can come down with me and Ariel will make a new friend! Then checked out some more competition films and met with a girl named Devon who is interested in VanArts; very interesting conversation as she also has an autistic brother and is interested in exploring how animation can be used to explore their psyche and their world. Then chatted with Galen about animation training for kids and how it was important to re-iterate the importance of drawing and art from an early age, so that they understand the process of animation rather than only the final computerized product. Then as irony reared its pretty head, the following screening of films 'By Kids For Kids' was all built (using the exact same words) around that very philosophy, including some films made by autistic children. That was particularly inspiring, and gave me a vision for another dream.

(Galen & I discuss the future of animation...)

Next I ended up talking with Peter Lord (see photo) and his family, and showed him my book. He seemed very impressed and proceeded to buy a copy from me! That was quite a thrill, to say the very miniscule least!

Then reeling in joy I checked out some of the Modern Design films, stopped into Powells Books and drooled over all of the rare animation books I couldn't afford but managed to buy at least two reasonably priced ones, and the Educators Reception at Ai of Portland, where I met some great people from Laika and other schools, including saying hello to John Canemaker. (I told him there were rare Disney books at Powells and his eyes lit up...later I ran into him on the way back to the festival venue and found out he had bought six of them. Always glad to help.) Then more films and screenings as my eyes grew heavy and deep...had to crash! This is lots of fun, though I miss my girls terribly this morning and hope to have them with me next time.

On to the next adventure...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Father's Day

This past Sunday was my first Fathers' Day and featured many of my favorite things: pancakes & coffee in bed, a new collection of Police songs, film discussions, church, food, nap, more food, and music (namely updating my ipod, which I'm currently doing some more of, importing Pink Floyd at present.) It was a great day and I'm a happie daddie.

Ariel is growing into quite the little turkey. Tonight we had a bath and she left a little present behind in the tub, creating a little Caddyshack moment.

Work is mellow now that audit is more day plus a teaching Saturday, then Sunday and it's off to Portland for a few days. Expect a full report.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Parenting is all about balance...

One of the things I used to worry about before Ariel came along, and still do from time to time, is how will I manage to find the time for all the other projects I have yet to finish? Like my film, the documentary, another book, movie reviews, saving the world, etc, etc, etc...? Well, time is a funny thing, says the Mad Hatter, 'If you knew Time as well as I do, you wouldn't talk about wasting it. It's him.' Who knows what he meant, but does it matter? Clean cup! Move down!

Anyway, things have a way of working out, especially after the angel finally goes to bed. As I sit here I look at a big-ass stack of animation paper ready to be shot. Outside of a few scenes out being in-betweened by Steve, there's not much else left on Nigel. As far as my next book goes, after getting some advice from various historian friends at Platform, I'll send off my proposal and see what happens. Until then, the regular evening walks with my girls are really the best part of each day, and make all the waiting and chipping away at the rest of life worth it. Our little peanut turned 10 months today, and it's amazing how she's really starting to look like a little girl rather than a baby, or a fish...or Skeletor. Anyway, tonight was one of those nights when I really felt like a dad. Walkin' through our little village with my caramel frap, pushing Ariel in her swing, life is pretty nice in those moments...

Baby Movies

This is part of a series of short films by an Australian couple about their baby. Brilliant stuff...all the more reason we need a Mac, or at least an easier way to make films instantly like this.

Thursday, June 07, 2007


Engineer worked at Ford, Hudson's

The Detroit News

Robert A. Priebe, a former longtime Dearborn resident, loved all things mathematical and had the respect of family and friends.

Mr. Priebe's son, Robert Jr., said his father will be remembered as a diligent man who had a gentle side.

"Family was very important to him both extended and immediate," Priebe said. "He was a guy who was always fair. He was soft-spoken and always won the respect of everyone he met both professionally and socially."

Mr. Priebe died Friday, May 4, 2007 at his home in Prescott, Ariz., of coronary insufficiency as a result of metabolic syndrome. He was 81.

Mr. Priebe was a graduate of Fordson High School in Dearborn and a graduate of Lawrence Institute of Technology where he earned an industrial engineering degree in 1951.

Mr. Priebe worked at several Metro Detroit corporations, including Ford Motor Company where he worked in Brussels at Ford International during the early 1960s.

He also worked at Chatham supermarkets, Brooks & Perkins engineering firm, and the J.L. Hudson department store chain.

Mr. Priebe's family said he loved mathematics and took great satisfaction in solving problems, including monthly spreadsheets of his investment portfolio, balancing his checkbook and preparing his annual income tax forms.

A U.S. Navy veteran, Mr. Priebe was a member of the Lions Club in Arizona and served as chapter president.

In 1994, the Lions Club awarded him the Melvin Jones Fellowship, the highest honor given to a member for his commitment to humanitarian causes.

Mr. Priebe and his wife Mary, who died in 2002, moved to Arizona in 1986.

A big Detroit Tigers fan, Mr. Priebe gradually put his loyalty behind the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Survivors are his son, Robert Jr.; a daughter, Carol Ann Roseman; a sister, Rose Marie Bala; a brother, Edward; four grandchildren; two great-grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.

A funeral Mass was held last week at St. Germaine Catholic Church in Prescott Valley, Ariz.

Interment was in Heritage Memorial Park in Dewey, Ariz.

Memorial tributes may be sent to the American Heart Association, 2929 South 48th St., Tempe, AZ, 85282.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Becky: My New Hero

Our radio station has crossed over to new management playing the same crap, which is rather pointless and I will miss our DJ friends. Jay is very upset over losing them. I don't get why this always happens. Some people are dumb.

Anyway, whenever this kind of thing goes on, there is a day in-between where they play all kinds of weird stuff like novelty records and comedy bits, etc. Now THERE'S a concept! Why can't we have a station that's like Dr Demento-stream-of-consciousness stuff all the time? I would rather listen to that. As a result of listening in last night to the strange radio filler, I discovered a sound clip from this 8-year-old girl named Becky who is a radio personality in Ireland! This is the one they played:

And luckily, there's more! If you need a laugh, this is the place to return to:

More Becky

And More Becky!