Thursday, December 20, 2007

A Chance to Deliver

Last week I took some time out from my latest project at R&H to pay a holiday visit to a local L.A. school. Rhythm has been sponsoring an annual toy drive for the 66th street school in Los Angeles every year for the last four or five years now. I had the chance to go deliver those toys with a group of people from the studio. We had a blast. The kids did a rendition of a Christmas song and we got to participate in some crafts projects. Donating to a drive like this is one thing, but actually interacting with the kids who were so excited to be the recipients of the toys was even better. What a great way to start your day. To see more pictures from the day, click here. All photos by Phil Holland.

I'm off to Chicago tomorrow morning and then on to Detroit to visit family for Christmas. I'll be back in LA for New Years. Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Who is the real critic?



Early last week, the reviews started coming in for Alvin and the Chipmunks. Now I will admit that the film is nothing groundbreaking. It is however, made for a specific target audience. An audience I think it reached.
The film took in an estimated 45 million dollars at the box office this weekend. Its a very strong showing for a film most figured would only gross half of that in total.
I'm glad to have had a part in this film. Seeing it in the theater with a hundred screaming kids was great! They loved it. It felt good to know that someone was enjoying all the hard work put into this film. That was rewarding. Thats why I love animation! It reaches people. It doesnt matter to me if those people happen to be 3 year olds.
The film is actually better than you would expect. Like I said, its nothing spectacular to be sure, but give it a chance before you bash it. You might be surprised.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

First time for everything

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So I finally "finished" my first ever hand drawn, 2D animation. I took advantage of the 11 second club contest as a motivation and produced this little piece of work over a couple weeks last month. It was quite a challenge. My final score for the contest wasnt as high as I had hoped, but it was my first time entering the contest too. It was a good learning experience and I got to draw alot. I am thinking about continuing work on it sometime in the future to make it good enough to put on my new reel.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Download my creatures

So I had all of last week off from work. That gave me just enough time to do a few things that I've been meaning to do. One of those things was laundry. Another one of those things was to share some of my creature rigs online. There is a Quadrupedal creature and a deer (for the creature to eat of course). Check them out on Highend3D.com. Let me know if you enjoy them, and send me animations if you make some with them!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

What is Animation?

This seems like a pretty staight forward question. Thanks to newer technology, many people are having a hard time definig just what qualifies as an "animated" film. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is having the same troubles, especially when it comes to nominating films in this year's animated category. This article in Variety describes the truly difficult question of what defines an animated film these days.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Mise en Scene

This show is a must see in my opinion. Saw it this past weekend with Melissa. Cameron was my animation supervisor at Luma Pictures for a while and he's a great artist and animator. This show is a good example of that. The concept all the way down to the execution is phenomenal. The paintings are mosaics of tiny individual paintings which form a larger painting when assembled. Truly amazing to see. Now showing at the Robert Berman Gallery.


Thursday, October 11, 2007

We are... YOUR FRIENDS!!

Tuesday Melissa and I went to check out Justice at the Fonda in Hollywood. Not the best show to see on a Tuesday night, but oh well. The show was great but I felt a little underwhelmed as I was walking out. These guys came all the way out here from France and didnt even play the full version of D.A.N.C.E.? I wouldnt want to hear it exactly the way it is on the cd, but at least let the bass drop at some point. We had a great time anyway. I found this link of Justice "performing" D.A.N.C.E. on Kimmel before the show at the Fonda on Tuesday. Awesome!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

In Rainbows

On their official blog, Radiohead has announced the release of their new album entitled "In Rainbows". This in itself is cool, but the method in which they are releasing it may change the music industry drastically. The album will be available for digital download only from the band's website. No record label, no middle men. And the price? Its up to you. For the first time, you choose any amount to pay for the album. Any amount, even zero is acceptable. You can pre-order it here: www.inrainbows.com

Great Flash Tutorials


















One of the guys I work with at R&H just recently posted a series of great flash animation tutorials on his blog. These are pure gold and Hayk is a great animator so they are definitely worth checking out. The site is www.moolt.com

Into the Wild: Review


So last Friday, desperate to make something of a weekend which I had to work the entirety of, Melissa and I decided to check out the new film from Sean Penn called into the wild. The trailer and website looked great, and the story seemed interesting. The basic plot revolves around a guy named Chris who gets fed up with the materialistic society he lives in and drops everything to hitchhike across the country, ultimately landing in Alaska. Halfway through I realized that this is was the story about what my dad had talked about doing for years - just going into the woods and living alone amongst nature.
With a running time of almost 3 hours, this picture began to drag right after it becomes obvious that there is no real conflict in the film. The main character, although based on real life events was hard to sympathize with. Just like a roman candle that shoots sparkles and dies, this movie traveled in a pretty straight line to the end where I felt a little enlightened, but also really tired. I think this one is better as a rental. Interesting philosophy but dry entertainment. I'd give it 2/5 stars, that is if I had a rating system of my own.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Watchmen

I just started reading Alan Moore's graphic novel "Watchmen" in anticipation of the upcoming film. I know I am a little behind the times because I've never been into graphic novels that much, but this one is great. The film adaptation has been in the works for some time now, but with Zach Snyder aboard to direct, it now has a 2009 release date.

More Financial Theories

Keith Lango has posted a great blog about the financial aspect of movie making over on his website. This kind of information is great and worth the read. Check it out here.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Traditional Blocking Pass 1

This is a little experiment I've been working on. I've been trying to learn more about traditional animtion. This project is something I've been working on in the small amount of free time I've had recently. Hopefully the end product will be a fully animated piece. This is a rough pass to figure out key poses.

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Teaser

So heres the trailer to Alvin and the Chipmunks, my current project. I know the humor is a little, um .. stupid, and the film follws in a long trend of 80's cartoon murders, but it has been really fun to work on. As an animator, this is a great project for me, and honestly I see more and more good shots being started on this show every day. It might actually be cute.

Urban Exploration

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My friend Alex sent me this flickr photoset this morning with a bunch of great photos he took in and around the LA river. I have an affinity for the beautifully destroyed. Take a look!

Hollywood Strikes Back

So the word on the street here is that there will most likely be a writes and actors guild strike in the near future. I will save my own editorial comments about the situation for another post, because this one is all about Hollywood's reaction to this work stoppage. Here is a list of films the studios are trying to push through before the possible strike deadline sometime next year. This should be interesting.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

My First Time

So I decided to venture into the blogging world since my website is never updated. Theres always a ton of stuff I want to share, but never really have the time to do it. Basically this blog will be all about my life and experiences as a visual effects artist and animator in Los Angeles. I'm currently in the thick of my second major film project this year as an animator on "Alvin and the Chipmunks". It has been fun project for me despite its pitfalls. The trailer has been released as well as the poster, so I'll link them here soon. Hopefully people will enjoy this little piece of web debris as I share a few of my experiences, lessons, heartbreaks and run-ins with blood thirsty creatures in one of the most surreal cities on the planet.