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VIEW 2009: Day 3: Kerlow, Entis, Guyett and Giacchino Highlight the Day

Day 3 of the View Conference was a fantastic day for me, highlighted by presentations from Isaac Kerlow, Glenn Entis, Roger Guyett and Michael Giacchino.

By Massimo Curatella

Finally I understood I am not indestructible so I have to decide to focus myself on highlights and to give the essence of the moment. This is how I proceeded to write this Day 3 Report for VIEW Conference 2009, in Turin.

Michael Giacchino

Michael Giacchino, great anchorman, entertained us with the Italian Wedding Party he ended up without being aware of it. People dancing, drinking and singing. He is an American soundtrack composer who has composed scores for movies, television series and video games.

During his workshop he shared an avalanche of background tips and techniques on his work. For instance: Michael writes the score for a scene very quickly, even in a day. Because he gets to see the entire movie before its completed and he can map each shot and satisfy the requirements.

Here is a nice design advice, which I find very useful in many other fields, Giacchino approaches a soundtrack writing job with this question: whats my feeling for this film if I have to reduce it to one chord? It is really a great way to distill the essence of a project.

While the Maestro drives the audience with questions and answers like if they were instrument players, frames of his films went on the big screen: Mission Impossible III, UP, Star Trek. I could feel the mood being created in the hall thanks to the music playing. He is right, some movies should have only music and no dialogues...

Because, also true, as he said, if the music is working well you are not conscious of it.

Michael Giacchino is a natural performer. He is a great storyteller and anchorman and I really liked the opportunity to know more about creating music for films.

The kind of talk that I like is the ones where you have insights, summaries and trends about a discipline, a movement or a craft. That's exactly what's Isaac Kerlow did in his “Storytelling Trends in Computer Animation”. A former member of Disney Animation Studios, Kerlow made a panoramic overview of where animation film-making is going in the different geographical and cultural regions of the world. The tone was straightforward and in-the-face and it was useful in supporting some quite strong critiques made to big animation blockbusters of Hollywood (Madagascar and others) and to poetical masterpieces like Miyazaki's works of art. This was useful in a larger context where VIEW's audience could have a complete overview of the field: techniques, tools and critique.

Isaac Kerlow

A question for him was: “How a wanna-be storyteller should go to get into the industry if companies like Pixar and the others will not accept any story submission?”

Isaac: “Make a short film. Make it good. Get it watched. Then you will have opportunities”.

Open your hears dear aspiring screenwriters and film-makers.

Glenn Entis

at the microphone again, moderated by Lorenzo Benussi of TOP-IX, talked about the process of financing start-ups in the digital media field as he always looking for solid business and innovation. Glenn brought up again the strong trend of “gamification” of media and identified it as a chance for new ways of making business and innovation.

The best part of this talk was in the Q & A. Somebody asked what is the best quality to have to be a creative start-up with a chance of being financed. Talking about people Glenn mentioned personal qualities as passion; interest in innovation and perseverance (since success comes after many many failures); high degree of integrity; sense of humor.

Success means also to not give up. It's funny how I was saying exactly this to somebody asking for advice on how to be a screenwriter.

As in every Glenn Entis' talks the audience got a great insight of key industry's mechanism.

Glenn is numero uno.

Glenn Entis

I had the opportunity of being part of a workshop on Open Source in the context of the round table on Open Teaching and Open Source Production. My friends Francesco Paglia and Lorenzo Pierfederici (Spark Digital Entertainment) collaborated with Fabrizio Valpreda (School of Industrial Design of Politecnico di Torino) to organize this session.

Since I felt so strong the urge to contribute, instead of asking for the microphone once more I have been invited on the stage to talk with the speakers and the audience.

Open source and free as in freedom are dear topics which I would like to be treated more and more by media and users. What I feared was the immediate sensation of attending a sect's meeting. A group of people strongly believing in some principles, willing to share knowledge and tools but, for me, too distant from the real World seen as an organic system. I tried to push the discussion by raising my concerns, maybe using a tone too harsh, and in spite of a well structured and animated reaction by a speaker, I found difficult to follow the exchanges. Open source is a technological and philosophical movement which can really change our way to build tools and to find information. This can render ourselves more savvy and more free but I suggest to approach this complex and delicate revolution with a more clear communication of goals.

This argument, of course, goes way beyond the computer graphics and the animation doable with tools as Blender or Cinelerra mentioned in the session.

Stereoscopic visualization for 3D cinema is the hot topic of the moment in cutting-edge technologies for film-making and Blue Sky Studios, as the others, is moving into this field. In the main hall of VIEW Conference, Jayme Wilkinson, Stereoscopic Supervisor of the studio, illustrated the entire animation production workflow with specific insights on 3D stereo.

This was a great occasion to see a nice making-of Ice Age 3 and its funny characters.

Roger Guyett

Barbara Robertson gave a grand introduction of Roger Guyett, Senior Visual Effects Supervisor of Industrial Light & Magic recently engaged in the latest installment of the Star Trek movie series.

As any other VFX walk-thru, Guyett explained to a very attentive audience the entire production process of the digital Visual Effects behind Star Trek [LINK; ] the movie. In this case I felt once again that feeling associated with a breakthrough in image-making for films. As in most of the works of ILM this film contains action scenes, images and environments taking the level of imaginative realism one step further. All aspects of the visual effects were curated to the highest artistic and technical levels, including: visual style research, creature design, space ships, pyro and destruction effects, lighting style (beautiful, dramatic, contrasty), details and props, use of real places for environments, matte painting and production paintings (astounding production art by James Clyne, Alex Yeager and others), environment color palettes, space jump sequences,

This session was the presentation of a milestone in VFX design and production by a member of an historical institution in the field.

To know more about Star Trek and ILM:

This was a special day since the events did not ended with the talks at the Conference Center. In fact, a free admission live concert has been directed by Michael Giacchino himself and performed by the Associazione Filarmonica Felettese di Feletto Canavese and his director Bruno Lampa. In a very crowded Teatro we had the opportunity to enjoy Giacchino's most famous compositions such as Star Trek, Up, Ratatouille and The Incredibles. Live! No interface between our ears and their instruments playing. It has been one of the most sensational event of the entire suite.

Let's meet again on these pages for the fourth day of VIEW Conference 2009.

Festival Director Maria Elena Gutierrez and me

In the meanwhile:

View my photos on VIEW:

Read my Twitter report:

Massimo Curatella has been involved in Computer Graphics in many ways during the last fifteen years. Some of them: writing, publishing, teaching, designing, visualizing, programming, producing, presenting.  

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Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.