It's Spring Break and this year it's especially nice because I've been home for a couple days--which never happened before because I was drowning in film-work(this year isn't too different, just that things have been falling into place so I'm right on schedule). Certainly wish I was staying longer, but this was a very welcome break. Tomorrow I start the usual 2-day drive back to Valencia. Film is moving along, certainly in a much better spot than I was last year. Animation is pretty much done and, oddly enough, I'm pretty happy with it(there are certain scenes I can still watch and not want to toss out!)--last week I actually completed my first "pass" on the entire film, and I'm now going back and making changes based on all the fantastic feedback I've received--this involves a little bit of new animation, but I think at the end of next week that should be "in the can!" Very excited to see it coming together, it's a big relief to see people respond the way I hoped they would to what's happening with the robot character. Sorry no sneak peeks quite yet---with 31 days left there's lots to do!
Updates with CalArts' in general: the past few weeks have been jam packed with amazing guest lectures. This whole semester has contained quite a number of really inspiring talks(Glen Keane, Brad Bird!). It's incredibly easy to fall into a "film marathon" after artists like James Baxter, Mark Henn, or Andrew Gordon(Pixar Spline Doctor!) visit. Hearing them talk about their approach to animating has been very helpful and keeps me from falling into some bad animation habits from last year. We've also had a visit from Andres Deja which he discussed how he developed characters like Jafar, Scar, Lilo, and most recently, Madame Odie from Princess and the Frog. There have been a couple more lectures as well and hopefully after films, I'll find some time to catch-up on posting the notes. Last Thursday night, the department was very lucky---a visit from Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois, who just finished directing the new Dreamworks' film, "How to Train your Dragon!" They talked about their careers, starting with their schooling to how they handled directing Lilo and Stitch. Very interesting talk and both of them approached their new film Dragons with what they learned from their previous films. I'm very excited to see the film on Friday.
Then, to wrap up last week, Ewan McGregor visited CalArts and gave a wonderful talk. While I'm still pretty new to his work(I'm currently making an effort to watch the various films he's been involved with---most recently: Shallow Grave. It was creepy, but very good), it was amazing hearing him talk about his way of thinking when it comes to acting/developing a new character. One of the things I picked up on is how passionate he is about acting, how much he enjoys injecting aspects of his own life into a character to help make them more believable. However, he's always very conscious about how his performance affects the other actors, how this one scene will fit into the bigger picture, how the camera affects his movements, etc. I definitely can appreciate what he discussed and overall, he was a completely cool, very entertaining, and thoughtful person. Definitely hope he comes back soon.
(I did not take this picture. I found this via the Film/Video website, so all credit is to them. Just thought I'd share it here.)
Anyways, to wrap things up here are some videos relating to the recent guest lecture with Chris and Dean:
The first one is the scene Chris Sanders storyboarded--Mufasa's ghost coming back to Simba:
This is a scene that Dean DeBlois storyboarded that really helped set the bar for the rest of Mulan:
And then a clip from Lilo and Stitch that involves both Andreas Deja(who animated the little girl, Lilo),Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois. It's a deleted scene, but it's such a beautiful little moment with the characters, that I had to post it, "Bedtime Story":
And of course, just incase someone hasn't seen this. The trailer for How to Train your Dragon. Friday can't come soon enough!