Friday, May 29, 2009

What are you doing?

If you are reading this, you obviously have time that would be better spent watching "Up"! Still here? Watch it again!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Famous Family Members

As you know, "UP" comes out on May 29. As part of the marketing, the Movie Surfers from the Disney Channel did some promo clips about it. For one of them, they wanted to see how kids would react to a talking dog (because there is a talking dog in Up - but not your everyday, run of the mill, animated talking dog - he's way cooler). Anyway, Mia was one of dozens of kids who got to meet a real life dog that could talk. It's really quick, but you can see her on the Disney Channel during a random commercial break. An easier way is to go to the Movie Surfer's website HERE. Click on the link called "Blaine learns the mind of Dug". You will see Mia at about 1:26. I suggest you watch the whole clip, but if you are only interested in Mia, here she is. Oh yeah, Val, Xander and I are there for a second too.

About a week ago, there were a bunch of people from the press at Pixar for a screening. They also got to take a ride in a chair hanging from helium balloons. Here are some pictures I took.

One of the marketing things they're doing is advertising on this huge dirigible that flies all over the bay area. A dirigible is not a blimp - it has an inner frame that gives it it's shape. A blimp is basically a giant helium balloon. This picture was taken by a pilot friend of one of my coworkers.

On Sunday we had dinner with a family from church. They have a Model T Ford that still works. The kids and I got to ride around town in it.

One last thing, do you remember this?

It's the Academy Award that Wall-e won. Well, I just found out that Pajama Gladiator won a student Academy Award! Only 2 other BYU shorts have won that award, so this is super huge! And to answer everybodys questions: The award goes to the Director, Glenn Harmon (and it's about time he gets recognized for his awesome work!). We don't know which place we won (1st, 2nd, 3rd), that will be revealed at the awards ceremony in June. The trophy is not a golden Oscar statuette, it is usually a nice, heavy block thing with a medallion on it featuring a carving of the Oscar. One other interesting thing is that the other 2 winners are the same 2 films that won the student Emmy with us! That's weird! Oh - and that means that one of them is "Kites", also a BYU short! I'm happy for the Kites folks, but I hope we beat them this time (they beat us in the Emmys)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Wrap It "Up"!

So last week was the wrap party for "Up". Everyone looks forward for years to the wrap party, and they never disappoint. Everyone dresses up in their most elegant clothes, we watch the finished film together, and spend the rest of the night (into the wee hours) dancing and partying. Here are some photos of our evening, compliments of Mia.

This is Valerie and me in our nice clothes getting ready to go to the party.

Here is an actual scene from the film. You can see all the main characters.

This is the crowd of people going to the "Ball" - which could only happen in a castle (but actually happened in a couple of beautifully restored art-deco theaters).

If you want to see some photos I took, let me know and I'll send you the link. For the sake of privacy, I don't want to post them for the general public.

In order to go to the wrap party, Val and I had to miss a dessert auction fundraiser at the church. We still participated though. Val made homemade oreos and I decorated them with an "Up" theme (Val added the balloons - which was genius). The dish apparently went for quite a sum.

Valerie mentioned on her blog that I wore an ugly tie to the party. Well, that was my intention, but I came across an interesting phenomenon. Before I get into that, let me explain my reasoning behind the ugly tie. In the movie there is a sequence where I shaded 11 different ties - most of which were pretty ugly. I thought it would be appropriate to wear my own. If I would have thought about it earlier, I bet I could have found much closer matches to the ties I made in the movie, but I only thought about it last minute, so I ran to the thrift store and bought the 5 ugliest ties I could find - for a buck a piece.

Have you ever heard of the uncanny valley? It's a concept that applies to robots and computer graphics. The idea is that if you have a circle with dots for eyes and a simple line for a smile, we fully accept it as a person. You can add more and more detail and the person gets more appealing and we have no problem accepting them as a person. Eventually you get more and more realistic, but just before you get perfectly realistic, there is this valley where suddenly the character seems like a zombie. They become extremely offensive to our senses and basically make you feel really oogy (think Polar Express). So basically, at some point they become so realistic that you would expect them to be fully believable, but instead, our subconcious pics up on all the things that make them not real, and accentuates them. Eventually, things get so realistic that you cross the valley and fully accept the character as a person again.

I explain this because I experienced something similar with ugly ties. I found 5 very ugly ties, but, it turns out, that at some point they reach a point of ugliness where we don't see them as ugly anymore. I'm sure, if they got uglier they would suddenly cross this uncanny valley and be ugly again. Anyway, you be the judge. The second tie from the right is a tie I bought years ago, thinking I was buying an ugly tie (I mean look at the colors!), but it has become one of my favorites.