I had an opportunity to chat with Bee Movie director Steve Hickner. He told me that working with Jerry Seinfeld has been a great pleasure and that it’s a project he is not looking forward to ending.
When it came time for the Q&A, many of the Sony artists had some of the same questions as the other studios like whether Geza Toth’s single camera move was intended from the start, which it was, and how Roger and Don Hahn convinced Disney to go with the sad ending on Little Matchgirl, which was by waiting until Michael Eisner had left the studio.
Animation (thank God) remains the last bastion of the individual artist. It is still possible to make a film with little money and a few dedicated friends and supporters and have that film stand toe-to-toe with the productions made by the major studios.
Here it is the long awaited gallery of select pics from Ron’s camera from the Oscar Showcase tour’s swing by DreamWorks, Fox, the Academy, Disney and ICM. There’s also a couple special pics at the end courtesy of No Time for Nuts director Mike Thurmeier.
I’ve been to two previous Oscar functions at the Canadian consulate general’s beautiful house in Hancock Park and couldn’t pass up the chance to go again. The luncheon took place in the lovely courtyard in back by the pool. They were prepared for the rain and had tents and heaters set up, making it comfortable on the rainy L.A. day.
Officially one week of the Oscar Tour is up and we’re nearing the home stretch. Today was less crazed than yesterday, but still wonderfully eventful nonetheless.
As we arrived back at The Little Theater for the screening, Ron introduced all the nominees to Vanessa Morrison, the new president of Fox Animation. It seems to me this screening will be hard to top. Tomorrow is yet another busy day with a screening at Disney and our first agency screening at ICM, which will be very interesting.
First with drawing, we would explore very simple basic structure with basic shapes (although we really meant forms – more of a 3D approach) and then build upon these forms. Next, a drawn model sheet was created and from that the participants had to take their characters to 3D in the form of MAQUETTES.
The goal was to see what happened when 2D was translated into 3D.
Many students put a extraordinary amount of effort into their characters. They began with a base, built a wire armature, layered the supper sculpey around and there worked on the details and smoothing - before baking it in their ovens.
This endeavor was an excellent exercise for them since most were headed into 3D CG animation.
At a later time, I will show some layouts and model sheets.
While you wait for more details from the San Fran leg of the tour. Here’s some more pics to check out from Skywalker Ranch and Pixar, courtesy of Ron.
Ron and I snapped quite a few pictures during the San Fran leg of the tour. Here’s a gallery of some of the pics that Ron took. Keep checking back for more exclusive photos from the Oscar Tour.
We also got to see the foley stage where they were working on Clone Wars, but that too is top secret and we were foiled yet again at seeing something that no one else has seen before. We went down on the stage and talked with the foley artists.
After the screening the nominees received a nice gift bag with games and various other shwag as well as a chance to tour The Sims floor where many of the animators were hard at work in their cubicles, decorated with unique individual personality.
In talking about the making of the film, Mike told us that the home entertainment department at Fox funded No Time for Nuts as supplemental material for the Ice Age 2 DVD. Mike’s use of the term “noise” succinctly summed up the home entertainment division’s thoughts on supplemental material.
I’m excited to meet everyone and anxious to share the entire goings on with you as soon as I can. Check back for updates as the week progresses. Now off to San Fran — EA, PDI/DreamWorks, ILM, Pixar… and Skywalker Ranch await!
Allers, who wasn’t even awake when the nominations were announced, doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who makes films to win awards, however, I still wanted to find out what the Oscar experience has been like for him as well as his feelings about making Matchgirl and his other work.
I really enjoyed 9 and I look forward to seeing the feature, which looks to be something potential unique in the world of 3D animation. As for his Oscar experience, this is what the talented young animator had to say...
Of late, the plight of Africans has been providing ample inspiration for English language filmmakers. Along with African produced films like TSOTSI and YESTERDAY and documentaries like DARWIN'S NIGHTMARE, a great deal of light is being shed on the continent's dark past and bloody present. CATCH A FIRE tells a story set in Apartheid-era South Africa and delves into the blurry line between freedom fighter and terrorist.
Patrick Chamusso (Derek Luke, ANTWONE FISHER) is a mine foreman who doesn't want anything to do with rebels fighting the white government. He wants to live a simple life with his wife Precious (Bonnie Mbuli) and his two young daughters. Then when he plays hooky from work one day to couch his village's soccer team, a bomb is explodes at the mine. White investigator Nic Vos (Tim Robbins, MYSTIC RIVER) points suspicion toward Patrick, who is arrested and beaten. When his whereabouts seem to get even fishier, Vos brings in Precious and beats her. But when his story pans out, he and his wife are set free. Emboldened, the innocent man joins the rebels and sets out to bomb the mine he used to work at.
For the most part, DreamWorks animated features have been well animated and fun films, if not a bit disposable at times. OVER THE HEDGE keeps with that tradition.
RJ (Bruce Willis, LOOK WHO’S TALKING) is a raccoon who accidentally destroys Vincent the bear’s stash of food while in the process of trying to steal it. In the process, RJ wakes Vincent (Nick Nolte, THE HULK) from his hibernation. Vincent wants to kill RJ, however when the raccoon promises to replace at the food, the burly bear only gives him till the full moon to accomplish the task, which is about a week.
Verne the turtle (Garry Shandling, IT’S THE GARRY SHANDLING SHOW) has just awoken from hibernation with his family of various animals, which includes hyped-up squirrel Hammy (Steve Carell, LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE), skunk Stella (Wanda Sykes, MONSTER-IN-LAW), older, dramatic possum Ozzie (William Shatner, STAR TREK), Ozzie’s teenage daughter Heather (singer Avril Lavigne), Canadian porcupine couple Lou (Eugene Levy, AMERICAN PIE) and Penny (Catherine O’Hara, WAITING FOR GUFFMAN) and their three tech savvy sons Bucky (Sami Kirkpatrick), Spike (Shane Baumel, THE ANT BULLY) and Quillo (Madison Davenport). The mixed family of animals discovers that while they were asleep a huge strange object that stretches as far as the eye can see has popped up in their forest.
As a precursor to the tour, I had a chance to talk with Little Matchgirl producer Don Hahn about what the Oscar experience has been like thus far. He’s not an Oscar newbie by any stretch, having been nominated for producing Beauty and the Beast and the animated short Lorenzo. He was also behind mega-hits such as The Lion King and Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
This tragic drama is part character piece, part revenge tale, part redemption story. How those parts weave together and the directions in which they go is what makes this film so fascinating and original.
Elvis Valderez (Gael Garcia Bernal, Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN) comes to Corpus Christi, Texas after he is discharged from the military. He finds preacher David Sandow (William Hurt, A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE) and introduces himself in so many words as his illegitimate son that he has never met. The pastor, who now has a new family and life, doesn’t want anything to do with Elvis. The young man then goes about seducing his half sister Malerie (Pell James, BROKEN FLOWERS) and ultimately bringing ruin to David’s family, which includes his wife Twyla (Laura Harring, MULHOLLAND DR.) and 17-year-old son Paul (Paul Dano, LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE), who is pressed into being the dedicated gung-ho Christian when he seems to have more secular musical aspirations.
The Oscar award ceremony is exciting; but the build-up to that evening — the tour of studios and screenings of your films as organized by Ron Diamond — is one of the best parts of the whole experience.
Okay, okay, I’ll get off my obsession with Skywalker Ranch. However, I did want to share some pics from the San Fran leg of last year’s Oscar Tour. See whom they chatted with at lunch or who just happened to be at the Ranch when they arrived.
After you watch this film, you’ll wish there were a better way for the Academy to choose who gets nominated for the acting Oscars. Maggie Gyllenhaal (WORLD TRADE CENTER) elevates a fairly straight-forward drug drama to another level.
Sherry Swanson (Gyllenhaal) has just been released from prison where she was serving time for theft, which she committed to buy drugs. She moves into a halfway house and quickly gets in contact with her brother Bobby (Brad William Henke, ME AND YOU AND EVERYONE WE KNOW), who has been taking care of her young daughter Alexis (Ryan Simpkins, TV’s WONDER SHOWZEN). Bobby’s wife, Lynette (Bridget Barkan), who has become very close to Alexis, is reluctant to let recovering addict Sherry jump right back into her daughter’s life. Other key characters include Sherry’s dad (Sam Bottoms, THE OUTLAW JOSIE WALES), Sherry’s tough parole officer Hernandez (Giancarlo Esposito, DO THE RIGHT THING) and Dean Walker (Danny Trejo, FROM DUSK TILL DAWN), who Sherry meets at AA.
When any character is standing – an imaginary line runs vertically through to the feet. (fig. 1)
Because they are standing with their weight
equally on their two feet, the character is
centered or balanced
on those two feet.
The CENTER OF GRAVITY is that point that is also the center of the character’s weight. Most of the time the hips (or pelvis area ) usually carries the greatest amount of weight. (fig. 2)
Obviously, that CENTER point can be located either higher or lower in the character- depending on the body type. (fig. 3)
Notice above the differing center points on the body types.
Starting on Wednesday, Feb. 14, we’ll be flying up to San Fran and staying at the Hotel Sofitel. The participating nominees for the Bay area leg of the tour will meet up for dinner. It will be nice to meet the filmmakers in person and get some personal reflections about the whirlwind Oscar experience.