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I’ve been tagged!

16 Apr

I just got tagged to play a game on WordPress!  The positively wonderful blogger over at Manicmation decided to include me in all the fun!  If you haven’t seen her blog you should really check it out.  It’s a pretty spectacular site about animation and the love of it.  I know.  It sounds like heaven right?

You just answer 10 questions that your tagger asked and then ask 10 new ones about anything you want and then tag a few other bloggers that you admire and respect.  It’s a great way to get around the community and actually talk a little with the bloggers you follow.

So here goes!

1. If you could date any super hero, who would it be?

I would so date either Superman (well really Clark Kent) or Captain America.  They are so good and wholesome I just love it!  When I was little my dad and I watched the old Superman movie with Christopher Reeve and and I would play with my toys and ignore the TV when Superman was on, but when that nerdy, adorably awkward Clark Kent was on screen I was glued to the TV.  I have pretty much always had a soft spot for the quiet and nerdy ones.  I have to admit, though, Enrique “The Husband” has this sexy superman hair curl over his forehead that drives me crazy, and he is pretty much a goody two shoes, so I think that I married the real Clark Kent.  He even dressed up as Clark Kent one year for Halloween.  I can’t decide if he was sexier that day or on our wedding day when he wore a James Bond Tuxedo.  It might be a tie.

Yeah… Talk nerdy to me.

As for Captain America, he’s a gorgeous gentleman in a uniform who fights Nazis for ‘Merica!  What is there NOT to love about that man?  ~Swoon~

God bless ‘Merica!

 2. Have you ever cried during an Animated Movie?

All the time.  Here’s a list of some that I cry when I watch.

Up: If you don’t cry almost through the entire movie then you have no heart and I think that you should probably see a doctor about that because you might have a serious condition.

Lion King: It gets me every single time.

Mulan: As a girl who is very close to her family, the idea of wanting to make my dad proud is something that I can really relate to and seeing that scene at the end of the movie where father and daughter are reunited makes me think about how much I love my daddy.  (Yes, I know that I am 25 and still refer to my father as daddy.  I can’t help it.)

*Sniffle*

The Little Mermaid: I used to watch this with my daddy when I was little and he used to say that I was going to leave him and run off with some prince one day too.  I cry at the end because it reminds me of the exchange I had with my dad on my wedding day and what a beautiful father daughter moment it was.

Monsters Inc.: “Kitty, don’t go!”

Toy Story 3:  It made me feel nostalgic and miss being a kid.  Then I went a dug up some old toys I’ve kept and I played with them.

Dumbo: When Mrs. Jumbo is in jail and she sings to Dumbo and rocks him and sings “Baby of Mine” I lose it.  Especially when Dumbo starts crying…  Oh no.  I am crying just thinking about it.

I love you Mom!

Bambi: Seriously.

Fox and the Hound:  They just want to be friends!  Why can’t they be friends?!  Racism sucks, that’s why.

Beauty and the Beast:  It’s my favorite movie ever and I just find the whole thing so beautiful but the main reason I always cry is because it takes me back to when I was a kid and I get nostalgic remember how awesome my childhood was.

Paperman: I wrote about it here.

Essentially it happens a lot.  I am a big softie and sentimental and it doesn’t take much for me tear up.  I like to at least think that it’s a graceful little cry.

3. Would you rather star in a Western or a Sci Fi Film?

Western!  There is something super intimidating about walking down a dusty road with spurs and watching everyone scatter.  Oh!  It could be both ever like Firefly!  I’d be so down with that.

4. Which language do you wish you were fluent in?

I used to be pretty fluent in German but over the years of not using it I have lost quite a bit of it.  I wish that I hadn’t.  It would be neat to visit the mother land someday.

5. How is a Raven like a Writing Desk?

They both produce a few notes, all very flat, and are almost never turned the wrong way front.

6. What’s one quote that really inspires you?

“It is hard to fail, but it worse never to have tried to succeed.”  – Theodore Roosevelt

(I kind of have a love for all things Teddy.)

7. How many States in the United States have you been to?

I am going to guess about 13(ish).

8. Which Disney character are you most like?

I think that I am the most like Belle.  Now whether that’s because I was obsessed with her from a young age and became like her or if it’s because I am naturally like Belle is up for debate.  “The Husband” seems to think that I willed myself to be like her because I think she’s the bee’s knees.

Like a boss.

We’re both avid readers that love adventure and want more than a small town life.  We are considered the odd balls in our home towns.   We both fell in love with men who are can get very grumpy but are excellent dancers.

9. What is the cheesiest movie you’ve ever seen?

Cry Baby.  I cannot take that movie seriously.   It is just too much.  I watched it at a slumber party and I regret it.  She drinks her own tears for goodness sake!  It wasn’t even the good kind of cheesy.

10. If you could be a bird, which bird would you be?

I’d be a bald eagle.  They are just so majestic!

11. What is one job that you’d be terrible at?

Professional Football player…  That was the first thing I could think of and I think it rings pretty true.

This is what would happen.

Now for my questions!  Muahahahaha!

1.  What is your biggest pet peeve?

2.  What is your favorite movie of all time?

3.  What is your favorite song of all time?

4.  What is the best memory from your childhood?

5.  What internet meme are you most like?

6.  If you could learn any new hobby what would you choose?

7.  What is your oddest yet most endearing quirk?

8.  If you could have dinner with 3 people (living or dead) who would you invite?

9.  If you had a time machine (or a tardis) what period in time would you most want to visit or live?

10.  What is the absolute perfect day out?

And I tag all of you!  I would love to get to know more people and share the love of animation and food and essentially all things awesome.  I can’t wait to hear from you!

 

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Paperman

7 Feb

Hi everyone.  I know it’s been a while since I posted, but I promise it’s been for good reasons; excessive business being the biggest one.  I want to try to get back into the groove of things and dedicate more time to my blog so I thought that I would post about something I love – Paperman.

I don’t know if you know this about me but I am animator.  I am currently back in school to learn more so that I can get a better / dream job.  The dream is to be a feature animator, and I am working my way there.  Keep your fingers crossed.

One thing that is really amazing about animation is you either love doing it or you hate doing it, so if you meet an animator they are almost %100 guaranteed to be completely OBSESSED with animation.

In November I got the chance to a professional conference for animators.  I met a lot of amazing people, saw a lot of incredible lectures, and geek out all the time.  I even got to meet a few of my heroes.  One of my favorite talks from the expo was a panel with the creators of Paperman.  If you have not seen Disney’s Paperman you really need to.  Disney just posted the full short on Youtube this week.

I’m about to get all animation geek on you here for a minute.  The first time I saw Paperman I was at the movies with “The Husband” to see Wreck-It-Ralph (which is also pretty amazing).  I sat there in awe at the sheer beauty of it.  It really is just gorgeous to look at and the story warms the heart.  Another thing that really amazed me was that looking at it I could not (for the life of me) tell if it was hand drawn or computer animation, which is rare for me.  When you work with CGI you can usually spot it anywhere.  The style, the animation, the story, the music, everything about this short had me amazed.  It has a nostalgic feel to it that made me feel like a kid again.  It was something exciting and new.   I imagine I felt exactly how animators must have felt in 1995 when they first saw Toy Story.   It moved me to tears.

I needed a bit of inspiration in my life to give me that boost to get me through to graduation in June.  I was in a bit of a sophomore slump.  Paperman gave me a brand new love and excitement for animation.

What makes Paperman so special?

Paperman uses a multitude of new techniques that give it a very unique and beautiful look.  Computer animation has a lot of capabilities that really can’t be done efficiently in hand drawn animation, but there is just something beautiful and nostalgic about hand drawn that makes us all feel like kids again.  This new process combines everything that makes each technique great.

Here’s another great video that explains the process of the creating Paperman.

I really can’t say enough good things about this short.  It’s the boost I needed to keep me going.  I hope all of you like it too.

Ellie the Animator

11 Nov

Image

For the past couple of weeks I have been prepping for a big trip out to California for an animation conference called, the CTN Expo.  It’s a whole weekend of animation lectures, workshops, and networking cocktail hours.  This will be my first year going and I am about to burst with excitement!  

I’ve been working on building a professional site where I can post my demo reel and other animation related wonders and I am finally finished.  (I think.)

Anyway, I couldn’t think of a better bunch of people to share it with than the few of you who read my blog.  This will be the proof that I am not always cracking jokes and being silly.  I would have said “being awesome” too, but I can’t shut that off.

Without further ado I present to you Ellie the Animator!

Weekend Movie Review – Paranorman

28 Aug

Image Copyright Laika Studios

This weekend I did something that I am prone to do every now and then.  I kidnapped my husband.  The ransom for his release was dinner and a movie.  Alfonso “The Husband” is a great man and can be romantic at times. The night he proposed was amazingly thoughtful and romantic. Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem to need that spark of romance as often as I do. I have a nagging suspicion that he’s been slowly training me to think that ordering a pizza and watching a movie while sitting on separate couches is romance.  It worries me slightly.  So occasionally I get all spiffy and tell him to get his shoes on because we are going on an adventure.  He spends the drive trying to guess where I am taking him while simultaneously pleading that it’s just Chipotle and not shopping or something equally girlie.

Sunday I got all dolled up with my new hair do to go to a bridal shower for my twin brother’s fiance.  It was an amazingly elegant and beautiful shower!  They did a great job.  On my way home I couldn’t help but think that I should take advantage of all the work I had already put in to make myself look like a total babe.  So I walked in the house, gave “The Husband” a kiss and told him that we’re going out.  Then I sashayed to the door leaving him to drool behind me.

The adventure and ransom for this week was dinner and ParaNorman.

I am going to try my best to keep the spoilers at a minimum for this, but I will just state for the record that this does contain a couple spoilers.

The both of us enjoyed this movie.  The animation is great.  Who doesn’t love a good stop motion flick?  Honestly, I think that would be an awesome job to have.  If I was more confident about my skills as an animator, I would apply to Laika.  I would get to play with dolls all day!  How awesome would that be?  Seriously.  Think about it.

I dare you to say this doesn’t look like the most fun you’ll ever get paid for.

It was a really sweet movie about daring to be yourself but it was surprisingly and extremely disturbing at points.  It’s a children’s movie and they kept throwing around words like “murder” and “burn em'”.  They weren’t talking about the zombies in the movie either.  They were talking about Norman.

One thing you need to know about this town is that they are obsessed with this spooky tale of a witch from centuries past in a way that is akin to Salem, Massachusetts.  This mean, old, ugly witch was sentenced to death for being a witch by 7 townsfolk, and when she died she laid a curse on the town that on the anniversary of her death the dead will rise and destroy the town.

The movie starts out with Norman and his family.  They really don’t appear to approve or like him much in varying degrees.  His dad is a real hard-ass and his sister is a teenage diva.  His mom is the only one that really doesn’t give him too much of a hard time.  Kind of not being supportive, but also not being mean about it.  In fact, the only member of his family who is really on the “YAY NORMAN!” train is his grandmother, who is dead, because he can talk to dead people.   On top of the lack of support at home, when Norman goes to school and gets bullied and picked on.  This kid really can’t get a break.

He’s smiling because he’s secretly called Peter Venkman when she was taking a nap.

Here’s where the spoilers start.

After the first day of school, he starts bonding (rather reluctantly) with Neil, the token fat kid with all the heart.  Neil is sweet and laid back like every kid in junior high should be but isn’t.  When Norman asks him why the bullies don’t seem to bother him, Neil responds that bullying is the natural order of things and that if Norman were bigger he would probably do the same thing.

My reaction to that comment exactly.

Wait…  What?

Now, part of me really admires that the kid being bullied is shrugging it off as if it’s no big thing.  Bravo, kid!  The only thing is, that this isn’t a real kid.  And sad as it is, people do get a lot of their opinions about the world from movies.  Even children’s movies.  Shouldn’t the message be “Bullying is bad.” and not “Meh.  It happens.”?

Now, in my pessimistic mind, I am thinking that Norman is going to go home and start pumping iron and working on making himself bigger so that he can be the bully.  His buddy says it’s cool so it’s okay, right?

Thankfully the movie does not go that route.  It kind of just glides over that comment of Neil’s entirely.

Norman starts to see visions about a curse that a witch cast centuries ago and getting warnings that the dead are coming.  He even gets this visit from a crazy uncle telling him that he has to stop the curse by reading a fairy tale.  Norman brushes him off until his ghost pops out of a toilet and tells him this crap is for real.  (I take full credit for that beautiful pun.)

No need to be ashamed, Norman. There’s one in every family.

Procrastinating like a boss, Norman heads out at the very last second to complete this task, and surprise!  He’s a little too late and hi jinx ensue.

Zombies bust out of the ground like daisies and start looking for him.  On his way into town he runs into his sister, Neil, and Neil’s brother who were out looking for him.  Of course he didn’t tell anyone that he was just going for a stroll to save the world.

Zombies chase.  People scream.  It’s funny and a little scary actually.  It’s great fun.

Then the twist!

The Zombies corner Norman while he’s searching for the answer to stop the zombies.  Because he can talk to the dead zombie “Mwahheeheh”s are no problem for him.  He soon discovers the reason these zombies were cursed.  You know that witch story the town is obsessed with?  Turns out it’s true, only with a few details missing.  Instead of the witch being old and ugly, she was actually a pretty little girl with a gift identical to Norman’s.  The zombies were her accusers and in her last moment she cursed them so that they would return to be hated and feared and punished like she was.  The accusers are remorseful and see the error of their ways and need help to end the curse.

Que Norman.

Norman tries to lead the zombies to safety so that he can talk the witch out of being mean.  In the mean time, the angry townsfolk have gathered their torches and pitchforks and are shouting for murder.  They want blood and they want it bad.

We shot Old Yeller when he started foaming from the mouth! It’s only the humane thing to do.

Obviously they did not kill Norman.  With a very passionate speech about doing what’s right and being different is okay, they all realize their mistake.  Including his dad, who gathers Norman, his sister, and the ring leader of the zombie gang into the car so they can go talk the witch out of all this madness.

When Norman gets to talk to the witch she has completely forgotten herself and is consumed by her revenge.  Norman then gives another compassionate speech while trying not to die from the lightning shooting out of her eyes and hair.  He somehow gets her to remember herself and that she was a kind little girl who was wronged.  The whole message of the speech is that people get bullied and it’s bad but that we have to be better than that and not sink to their level.  We need to be better than our bullies and not turn around and become a bully.  The little girl is finally ready to let go of her grudge and her ghost passes on.  The curse is broken and the zombies pass on too, leaving the town in peace.

Everything is hunky dory.  The town accepts Norman for who he is and he even being considered a cool kid.  His family accepts him and even his Dad tries to talk to the ghost of his mother.  It’s a sweet moment.

My thoughts on the movie.

I think, on the whole the messages, of this movie are great.  The three that stand out the most to me are:

  • Being different isn’t a bad thing, and you shouldn’t be ashamed of who you are.
  • Just because you are afraid of something doesn’t always make it bad.  You should learn the facts before you make that call.
  • Bullying happens, and if you are bullied the best thing you can do is rise above it, and not sink to your bully’s level by becoming one yourself.

Notice how I didn’t say “Bullying is wrong”?  It’s because it isn’t really a message of the story.  Sure, the people who bullied (the zombies) are punished by the person that they wronged (the witch), but movie pretty much says that she was in the wrong for retaliating.  There is a brief scene where Norman is horrified by what they did to the little girl, but the zombies look sad and say they know they were bad, and all is okay again.  They are vilified for maybe 87 seconds.  Also, I keep going back to Neil’s comment towards the beginning of the movie about how bullying is natural.  He even says it’s human nature and survival of the fittest.  It feels like a shrug off.  Bullying is just a way of life.  Not “Stop Bullying” or “Bullying is Bad”, just “Meh.  It happens.”

Don’t get me wrong.  I think all of these messages are awesome and I applaud the creators for tackling some pretty heavy subject matter.  I personally feel like it would have been stronger without the “bullying is natural” bit.  Yes, everyone gets bullied at least once in their lives.  Yes, we shouldn’t respond.  But giving bullies a free pass and kind of an excuse, makes the whole thing seem a little hollow.  In a society where bullying is a big issue, I think we should still be saying it’s not cool to be mean to someone.

Maybe the next time I get someone gettin’ all up in my grill, instead of cursing them to an eternity of zombiedom I’ll just steal all their toilet paper when they aren’t looking and make some art.

What am I going to use to wipe my ass now?

But don’t just take my word for it.  Go see it for yourself and let me know what you think.  It really is a great movie worth seeing.

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