By Lia Abbate
Greetings from rainy Ottawa, cyber-festers ~
It’s Day Four and, as I’m told is the norm in Ottawa, the weather here has changed completely. The city is now dotted with umbrellas and bathed in a beautiful sheen of water. Humor me, we don’t get days like this in L.A. too often.
Lucky for us, today’s highlights were scheduled in the shelter of a former and quite grand Catholic church, St. Brigid’s, which has now been repurposed as a community arts center. Needless to say the environment inspired moments of wits and mystification from those onstage and off.
When I joined the proceedings, the Iron Developer was mid-challenge (I grabbed the first open spot I could find. And wouldn’t you know it, my “festival friend” Ron Kilbride was sitting right in front of me). The point of the exercise was to have two teams of one artist and one writer each pitch a story and address multiple iterations of notes from seasoned creatives and executives. As they were wrapping up, the judges reiterated these words of advice: address the note (sounds obvious but you’d be surprised), know when to put it down (sometimes you have to acknowledge that an idea just needs time to gestate), know your audience, and trends change (so remember to pick up the ideas you put down).
Eric Goldberg Masterclass
This second day of watching Eric discuss his craft did not disappoint. Downshooter, paper, pegs, and pen at the ready, Eric launched into a light-hearted yet lucent exploration of “What is Disney Appeal?” He contends that the key elements are character conception, character design, and movement & acting. Walking us through snippets of Disney classics, he pointed out how these principles guide our experience of the characters and then went on to demonstrate how he applies that to his own work. And honestly, can you think of anything better to do on a rainy day than watching, really watching these engaging scenes: Meeting the Seven Dwarves, Stromboli imprisoning Pinocchio, Meeting Cruella, Playing croquet with the Queen of Hearts, Goofy in Clockcleaners?
Career Fair & Book Signing
After the class, I ducked down into the basement to check out the tables for schools, studios, and writers. I was very happy to see Tom Sito signing copies of his book, “Moving Innovation: A History of Computer Animation.” Tom brought his CG history presentation to Sony for a “Crossing the Line” talk last month and it was a revelation. Did you know that the first computer generated elements to appear in a feature film were in Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo? He’ll be doing a one-on-one talk with Chris tomorrow.
Chris Robinson welcomed us to the Awards Ceremony with what else? more jokes. What goes sis boom bah? An exploding sheep. He then confessed that his jokes were not entirely of his own making and recognized Willem Dunham, Rebecca Fleming, and Dan Sarto as his joke writers. All of the names of the award categories and winners are available elsewhere on this website, so I’m not going to bore you with a laundry list. The bright spots were hearing that several of the awards were the first awards for the films and for the filmmakers themselves. They were so very appreciative of the recognition. Animated films that are experimental, that deal with deeper themes and the darker side of life are a struggle the entire way through. The duo from Norway who won for “But Milk is Important” didn’t even know if they were going to finish the film itself let alone think that there would be an international audience for it. Their joy and surprise were absolutely genuine.
Last night all of Ottawa, including St.Brigid’s, was abuzz with Nuit Blanche, a special night of the arts when all of the galleries stay open into the wee hours of the morning and the streets are full of life.
So here’s my confession: I ducked out of the rain to see a second screening of The Liar’s Autobiography and did not regret it.