zaterdag 31 augustus 2013

Update: Embrace the meta-ness

Things have been crazy busy again and they are only gonna get busier. It's the reason I've been seriously lacking in the blogging department. But I did manage to finish reading Frozen Heat by Richard Castle. So, instead of a brand new blog, I decided to update my Frozen Heat section in the Embrace the meta-ness blog about Castle. Wanna know what the book is about or what references I found? Just follow the link ;-)

woensdag 21 augustus 2013

Torn in two

Everything you hold dear,
swept away in a second,
lost for all eternity

It strikes you
like thunder in a clear sky
like a slap in the face

No warning
no signs
no clue

That one word...
Who knew it could split you apart,
torn in two?

Your whole world turned upside down,
without logic
without sense

Sometimes you may forget
Just for a little while
and you're okay

It comes and goes
pain and devestation one moment
some enjoyment the next

Then it hits you again
the moment of truth
the reality you're living in

It's still there
and always will be
a never ending confrontation

you can't get a grip on it
it can't be processed
you're simply overcome by grief

You're left with one final question...
When this is what you are now,
a shattered person,
torn in two,
what are you supposed to do?

woensdag 7 augustus 2013

Art and technology: The Pixar Expo

On saturday the 13th of july it finally happened: I visited the Pixar Expo with my dad. Truth be told, I didn't think I'd seen that many Pixar movies and I wasn't at all familiar with the background story. So I mostly went out of curiosity, and to hopefully see some of the character 'dolls'. I wasn't expecting much, I mean, Pixar is an animation studio, so what could they have to show but pictures and drawings right? Boy, was I wrong. 

The origin story
When you first enter the expo, the chronological origin story of Pixar is told on the wall with a couple of pictures. Interesting, but not all that fascinating. On the other wall some general facts were explained, such as how they worked with lighting and adding sound on a movie. Again: Interesting, but nothing much that you wouldn't be able to Google for yourself. Since I studied film and television, this is also stuff that I pretty much knew by heart. Luckily Pixar really came alive in the next room.

The Expo
It was a bit chaotic at the expo. For the most part the expo was divided into sections per movie. But the sections weren't clearly divided, so sometimes it would just overlap with different movies. Just from a practical point of view, this wasn't very thought out in my opinion. But let's get to the main focus here, which is the studio and their movies. I loved that both the feature movies as well as their short movies were highlighted in the exposition. You could watch several short movies for yourself, which ordinarily wouldn't be shown in Netherlands (at least not to my knowledge). It really gave the chance to see some of these amazing works that you would have missed out on. 

What most people will know Pixar from is their feature movies, such as Toy Story (yes, I'm gonna bring his name up again: Joss Whedon, because he was also on the writing team that won the Oscar), Monsters Inc., Ratatouille, Cars, Finding Nemo, Up, and so on ;-). Unfortunatly we weren't allowed to take any pictures of the expo, but of course you can find some through Google. Some of the things that were shown, were drafts.... like character sketches. These were one of the things I really enjoyed, because you can see how much work goes into creating these characters. And you can see how different they could have been. Too me, this is truly fascinating. They had sketches/drawings in pastel, gouache, carylic, you name it. The ones I just named are the ones I like the most, because the colours really came out. Then there were the character 'dolls', sculptures, made from 'urethaanhars' (sorry I only know the Dutch word). Mostly they simply had one of several characters in grey, but then there was 'Remy in a jar' (from Ratatouille) and they also had about four with different expressions from Bob (The Incredibles). But one thing I wish I could have taken with me was a little sculpture/doll from Wall-E. He's just so darn cute!!

Another part of the expo was a sort of behind the scenes look about how characters were created and how their technology worked in videos. These short videos were able to strip down the magic of the movie and make it into something technological. In other words, they put it in reverse. People that work in Pixar make animated movies out of mathematical formulas/calculations and all we see is the end product. We never really stop and think about what the skeletons of these characters look like and in this expo, you finally find out. You could also see them working on how to make hair move of how they made muscle movement for a character.

This is pretty much the icing on the cake for a movie student. A zoetrope produces the illusion of movement or motion from a rapid succession of static pictures. It's a spinning wheel where you look through these slits and inside pictures are drawn. By spinning the wheel, the pictures start to move. They blur together. To explain, or should I say 'show', how animation works - namely showing 24 pictures/drawings per second - the expo made several 'dolls' of their characters and planted them on a disk, which makes them move around really fast. It's kinda hard to explain I guess, so just look at this little vid ;-).

Inside the Pixar Animation Studios
During the expo, they also showed a documentary. This documentary - The Pixar Story - gives you all the background you need. I think it would be a good thing, to start with this movie and then walk around the expo. Because it makes a lot more sense then. You hear everything from everyone involved, including John Lasseter, Brad Bird, George Lucas, Steve Jobs, and so on, about all the movies and what went on behind the scenes in making them and making Pixar come to life.

My watch list
As anyone might have guessed, going to an expo like this makes you wanna watch all these movies again. So here's a little list of Pixar movies:

Toy Story (1-3)
A Bug's Life
Monsters Inc.
Finding Nemo
The Incredibles
Cars (1-2 - though I've never seen them to be honest)

I've already rewatched Ratatouille and Monsters Inc and I can't wait to start watching all the others again, as well as all the new ones that just came out or are about to come out. Need me to name one in particular? Easy! That's Finding Dory!!!!! Can't wait to see more of Ellen Degeneres as the forgetful Dory <3.