Friday, February 28, 2014

"Life After Pi" Documentary

Must watch documentary about the fall of my wife's company Rhythm & Hues last year.  It's part of a larger film coming out soon about the mass exodus of work from Hollywood.  Check out the full site at

This is really well done, as well as heartbreaking.  Rhythm was the last bastion of hope for folks in VFX in this country that also wanted to raise a family and create a home.

It was a scary 2013.  Here's hoping the industry can set itself straight...and soon before it disappears completely from this country!

Monday, February 24, 2014

An Animation Family

Today my wife is starting a new job at Disney Feature Animation!  I couldn't be more proud or excited for her.  I think she's been stellar in live-action...working on Oscar winning VFX films, learning from the master matte painters that worked on all the 80s films we became obsessed with, getting the chance to work in New Zealand on the most profitable film in history.  But I know her heart has always been in animation, and I can't think of anyone who deserves to "work for the mouse" more than her!

Sunday, February 23, 2014


An article ran in today's LA Times about a Shrek attraction opening up in London in 2015.  The image accompanying the article was a fun blast from the past.  This crowd shot I worked on ended up as one of the main publicity stills from the movie...and it keeps popping up from time to time.

I'm really proud to have worked on a Shrek film.  For most folks, the big CG revolution to them was Toy Story.  Hate to admit it, but that movie never did much for me.  Shrek however...

In the summer of 2001 I worked the summer as part of the Walt Disney World College Program.  Specifically, I got to work the gift shops for Star Tours and the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular.  I was a theatre design major back then, and most of my colleagues were doing internships in summer Shakespeare and touring shows.  I wore Indy hats and fought little kids with lightsabers for minimum wage.  I was in heaven.  Now, I worked all day at the parks, had dinner with friends at Downtown Disney, and then went home to Disney owned apartments.  It was Disney day in and day out.  And everyone in the College Program are crazed Disney fans already.

Now, in the middle of this summer, Shrek was released.  I remember seeing it at the brand new all digital projection system at the big Downtown Disney cineplex.  Seeing this movie, digitally projected, blew me away.  And all the subtle and especially the not-so-subtle stabs at Disney was therapeutic after a long day working the "magic" in the parks.  I remember cheers in the audience as birds exploded and Shrek crashed through queue lines outside Duloc.  Not a single employee I met that summer hadn't seen it and had the same reaction.

So, when I began working up at PDI - the actual folks behind the first Shrek, it really felt like I had started to come full circle with the first true impression CG animation ever had on me.  In the lobby at PDI they have the original model of Shrek's swamp house.  Walking past that on orientation day really sent chills down my back.  So in 2008 my wife got an offer down in Los Angeles, where I knew they were ramping up production on Shrek Forever After (the poor PDI folks had worked on movies 1, 2, and 3 as well as a 4d attraction at Universal park and a christmas special in only six years - the Shrek spell had worn off).  I was the first crowds artist on the film (other than my awesome boss), and really got to own the first couple of sequences out of the gate.  One of which is the shot above.  "Shreks Perfect Day" was the sequence title.  I just loved getting to open a shot in our animation program and seeing good ol' Shrek staring back at me.  It'd be a long time coming....