Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Good Dinosaur Review

Spoiler Free

Saturday I had the opportunity to see an early screening of Disney/Pixar's "The Good Dinosaur" through ASIFA,

I had mixed feelings about the film.

Story: Without giving anything away, the plot of this film was a bit bland for me. There were several moments that took me out of the movie where I thought, oh, this is Lion King, and oh, this is Homeward Bound. I didn't quite understand what the feelings behind the movie were supposed to be. Then there were the few moments where the plot decided to hit us over the head with things. Telling us what we should be thinking, rather than crafting a strong enough premise to ensure we come up with that ourselves. Also, I felt there was a great opportunity at the end of the film that they did not act on. However, there were several moments within the film that I loved. Some fairly moving, some pretty funny. Yet sadly, good moments does not make a great film.

Characters: The voice acting is something I want to immediately address. The choices they made to have very accent heavy voices was difficult for me. Every time the dad (with a strong southern farmer twang) spoke, all I could think of was a baked beans commercial. The main characters, Spot and Arlo, have a great connection and their relationship successfully imitated a boy and dog scenario. The supporting characters were pretty weak (with exception to the dad trex, he was great). If you don't know, I'm a huge villain fan. This was a let down of the film for me. There was no real villain in the traditional sense and I felt that lack of tension. Classic "man" vs Nature film.

Visuals: The juxtaposition of styles has been the reason behind a lot of my hesitancy for seeing this film since the first teaser. The hyper-realistic background design with the cartoony dinosaurs is just weird to me. It didn't mesh in my brain. After watching the film, my assumption as to why they did that is so that the characters would stand out against the lush environments. I get it. I didn't personally care for it. And hats off to the Pixar Shading and Sims teams. There were some shots in the beginning that looked like live action film and the water sims were just insane. The animation itself was gorgeous. There were moments I would watch the dinosaurs move and see how amazing the rigging was to allow for all these minute muscle movements.

After mulling on the film over the weekend, my overall feeling is good, but not great. Maybe its because this film is coming from Pixar and I have such high expectations of them, but I would rank it in the middle of their franchises (underneath WallE and Monsters Inc, above Cars and Brave). Definitely worth seeing, especially as an animation-holic, but don't expect to leave with your mind blown.


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

La Noria IndieGoGo

La Noria holds a special place in my heart for me. I started doing texture/shading work on this as soon as I graduated from Art Institute and I was so excited (that was over 4 years ago now!). I was blown away to be working remotely with so much talent and on a great concept.

Carlos Baena was a huge name to me. He animated Spanish Buzz Lightyear, and was a very loud voice in the animation community. I was jazzed to be helping. I also met some crazy talented fellow artists that I've kept in touch with.

I worked on a few props and set pieces, but it was so much fun and wish I could do it all over again.

Please check out and support La Noria.

Indiegogo Campaign

The Social Media Problem

 I have a love/hate relationship with social media.

 I love the ability to be inspired by artists all over the world. To instantly see what has been happening in the lives of my friends and loved ones. To peek into the lives of people I look up to and see all the amazing things they create and do. It can be great motivation to push myself harder and to start creating better work of my own.

 Yet, the downfall with social media is its one-sided. I never really see when my favorite artist tries to do a drawing and decides to start over. Instead, its just the magical perfect finished art piece. The process is lost. This leaves me to assume that everything comes easy for them, for everyone. Each person who's life I'm looking at through social media is only made up of the experiences they show.... and that's the lie. THAT is my issue with social media.

 We only see the successes, never really the process or the failures.

 Everyone wants to show off what they are proud of, and brush under the rug, or ignore, the things that they didn't do that well. The constant bombardment of only the success leaves me to feel like I am the only one struggling. I'm the only one who doesn't get their dream job right away, or who spends hours doing a sketch only to delete it in frustration. I look at my friends and their jobs and their lives. I see how much they travel, the fact they buy a new home or a new car, and I feel like the accomplishments I may have aren't nearly as cool or substantial. I feel like my life is a failure by comparison.

 Social media is dangerous for that reason. It can end up being a deep pit where all you do is compare your art and your lives to others. It can quickly get unhealthy.

 Instead one must remember that it only shows the good. These people you are comparing yourself to also got plenty of rejection letters, have to redraw things many times, and make mistakes in general.

 Glen Keane frequently says that he has to do many many bad drawings and "get them out" before he can start creating anything good.

 I always go back to that statement because its the truth. Its a reminder that nothing is easy for anyone. That there is so much more that goes into anyone's success. It's time, practice, perseverance, and effort. Behind the curtain of social media, everyone has failed at times.