Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Busy Bee

A busy time ahead...where should I start?

I've received word that "I'm Dirty", the short film I animated on through the Fall for Galen's BigFott Studios, is in the can, and is currently in post-production for a release date later this year. Can't wait to see it! Needless to say I look at back-hoe loaders a whole different way now.

I just got another little animation gig from Galen on another short film, so I'll be working on one short sequence throughout the next month or so. The character designs are really fun on this one.

Enrollment for my part-time courses this session has turned out to be rather low...the lowest it's been in years! Can't really figure out why, but anyway I'm still running my 2D course but had to cancel Stop-Motion, which I haven't needed to do in several years. So unfortunately, no student dialogue exercises on YouTube until late summer folks, (if my May course runs). A big part of me is actually quite OK and relieved, because as much as I enjoy my one day of teaching, it takes its toll after a long week. The last session took quite a lot out of me! I'm extremely grateful for the extra time, since I not only have this little animation gig but also my online course to start building, plus allowing for more family time. So it's actually quite a blessing!

Speaking of the online course, hopefully soon I will know when I'm going to San Francisco for the video shoots. This probably means no Michigan visit until later this year, most likely. Sigh...

Oscar noms released today...for the most part I don't really care this year...didn't see any of those deep, arty films I haven't heard about. New dramatic movies just ain't cuttin' it for me these days! Excited to see many noms for Ratatouille though. Tonight I watched the stop-motion Peter & the Wolf by Suzie Templeton which is nomimated, and loved it! (Watch it in 3 parts starting here)

I hope it wins, although it will probably go to Madame Tutli-Putli which would also be a good choice, and props for Canada too!

I absolutely adore Peter & the Wolf as a musical piece, a story, and for the many different ways it has been expressed through animation. (Just found a neat version narrated by David Bowie on iTunes, hoping I would find the Weird Al version, which I have yet to hear, sad to say) I have an old British audio version of it on vinyl and the Disney version on 16mm which is a joy to project now and again.

As a child, my Mom got me really interested in the piece as a way to learn about different instruments. I was particularly drawn to the french horn because I loved the wolf's theme. Later on when I had to pick a musical instrument to learn, I went with trumpet instead...oh well, that was fun too.

Ariel actually sat still with me and watched most of the stop-motion version this evening, and even laughed a few times. I also just got the Chronological Donald Vol 3 and we both sat on the couch last night to watch it. Ariel laughed out loud several times...I can't even begin to express the joy I felt! My daughter loves Donald Duck! What a role model...oops, now we're in trouble! Jay will have to counter-balance it with Strawberry Shortcake or something to keep her temper in check.

Finally we are getting close to the phase where she will begin to sit still for a book or a short film. Once she starts to comprehend what she's looking at, the fun will really begin! I can't wait to curl up with her and introduce her to Snow White, Beauty & the Beast, Mary Poppins, and all the rest...not to mention Star Wars and Lord of the Rings when she's a bit older. I'm really excited that the Narnia films will likely continue to unfold into her generation; for her and any future siblings, those stories could be what Star Wars was to my generation. (Until then, we have the finger-puppet spider book.)

Tomorrow night I'm going to a test screening of Edison & Leo, the first Canadian stop-motion feature film. Back in the Fall I visited their set here in Mission and was blown away by the lovely detail of the sets and puppets. Hopefully the story works just as well. I've never been invited to a test screening before, so I'm honored for the opportunity.

In other future news, coming up soon is my Sunday Morning message, "The Breath of Life: Animation as an Act of Worship" at my home church Cedar Park, this Sunday (eeek!) January 27. Service starts at 10:30 and directions can be found at this link to their new site, if anyone local reads this in time, you are invited!

To help me prepare my thoughts for this momentous occasion, Pastor Dave just happened to find me a copy of an amazing book I just read within the last couple of days on the bus, called EPIC: The Story God Is Telling and the Role That Is Yours to Play by John Eldridge. It's a wonderful, quick, inspiring read about how fairy tales, myths and movies reflect the grand story we are all a part of...God mending the universe and calling us home to a life of adventure and abundance. It gave me a sobering reminder of what the Christian life truly is all about. I highly recommend it to you reading this, whoever you are and wherever you are on your journey. Find out more about it here.

In other future news, it's finally official that I will indeed be introducing the films King Kong (1933) and Jason & the Argonauts on Thursday, January 31 for the SIGGRAPH Spark VFX Film Festival. In addition, on Saturday Feb 2 I will be giving a re-cap of my historical Kong Introduction and then segueing into a Q&A with Brett Purmal, a current employee at Electronic Arts, who was an animator on the Peter Jackson's King Kong film. Brett has a limited edition replica of the original Kong armature, which should make a nice conversation piece, don't ya think?

There's many more of my favorite films playing throughout the weekend, in particular Close Encounters and Raiders of the Lost Ark...not sure how many of them I will drag myself to, if any...Raiders would sure be awesome to see in 35mm though. At this rate, I'm not sure if my brain could handle it...my life is so boring!

I need to get out more eh?

"I wonder what sort of tale we've fallen into?"


Ryan McCulloch said...

How bout I hook you up with Weird Al's Peter & The Wolf, I'll burn it for you and send you the files, its a classic and comes with Carnival of the Animals Part 2

Ron Reed said...

God bless RATATOUILLE. But you've also missed one heck of a fine crop of "deep arty films" - probably the best year on record since 1999 for American film. Still, I remember, as a new dad, I saw only a handful of movies in theatres for at least half a decade. (But at least I recognized the fact that it was ME not cutting it, not the movies... heh heh heh!)

Love the snot movie!