Thursday, November 17, 2005

That's a wrap

So, sitting here in the wee hours, being done with King Kong, at the end of my New Zealand time, about to move out of the Seatoun house... taking some time to ruminate on the experience, but too busy to lose time packing. To sum up the last few days in a laundry list : Friday passed on Steve Earle, to check Gramsci, a Kiwi act. Saturday was Dave Dobbyn, a Kiwi legend. Sunday was Burning Sheep, worked a lot (55 hours through Wednesday). Thursday running around for tasks, shopping at Real Groovy as well... Then back to the house, didn't even go out into town.

So, don't think I've announced my next project. I'm heading to PDI, to work on Shrek 3. Be interesting change of pace, getting away from visual FX, into feature animation. It'll be a rough commute from Berekeley to Redwood City, but it's work. I start there 28th Nov, maybe it's a bit crazy to take no holiday, but the opportunity came up at the right time.

Can't wait to get home, to Bonnie, put this all behind me. A matter of hours. Then I'll reflect...

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Touching nature

Had an awesome experience at the Wellington Zoo - 'encounters', you get to go into the pen and feed the animals. Tuesday did the Red Panda Encounter - didn't know much about them at all, but up close, they are potentially the cutest things ever. So mild - I've endured more surly housecats... Took 'em a little while to warm up to ya, but once they came down out of the trees (paws and claws curling up), they come right up to, climb into your lap, and eat pears and grapes out of your hands. And you can pet em all over, they don't care, they actually seem to love it. Fed 2 younger one (5-yo and 2-yo females), then the mom - a 9-year old one.

The next day was the coup de grace - giraffes! Such astounding beasts - they seem even more massive when you're standing at their feet. The way their heads swing around, then come right down to meet you, it's dizzying. I stood on a ladder, holding a paint bucket of pellets, carrots, and apples, they stuff their snout right in there and munch away. You can reach up and touch them, they get a little nervous, and raise their heads and give you the eye. (eyes about the size of a small melon. The calf was the most nervous at first, then the most calm and I got the most petting in on her. Reached under the head, down along the neck, all over the horns. Truly an opportunity I'll never forget, and so glad I did it, even in the last few days in New Zealand. I spread these pictures around Weta, and it sounds like there's 6 or 7 people who are definitely making a booking for one of them. Feels good, sending business to the zoo.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

No Sleep til Berkeley

Realizing I haven't updated since Halloween, other than the Trailer news. Anyone see it in the theatre, BTW? What movie is it attached to? Anyway, keeps getting busier - I topped 100 hours for the first time, and hopefully last time (though this week may get sky-high, too). It's good stuff I'm working on now - the end sequence with Kong in NYC (though that's about 1/4 of the movie). So, I could've taken it easy, and rode out the rest of my contract, but I didn't want to miss out on this sequence... The downside, of course, is running myself into the ground then hopping a plane, not having any time to hang out around town. I've been getting shorter and more infrequent trips to the gym, also. Can't do it all, I guess. Still making the time to get out socially/culturally, then often returning to work til the wee hours. And, of course, making the time to chat with Bonnie. Then getting up and getting in early, to get ready for dailies.

Saturday the 5th was Guy Fawkes Day - Inge & Mike had a '60's style party', and we got to watch the city fireworks from their yard. People were shooting fireworks all night, dodgy proposal, right next to the house. And some anonymous partygoer broke out a window. Fun party, though.

Lot of going-away events for people, Reynolds/Link was at Motel on Oct 28th, Jeff Unay on Monday 7th(@Genghis Khan), Chad (@Molly Malone's), 10th. Group dinner on the 2nd was "Hummingbird" (great tapas), and the 9th at "Kai in the City" , was a fun restaurant (family singalong), and good Maori fusion cuisine, but there were only 3 from the group! (Gambini, Gary Laurie, me). Thursday, Saw a screening at NZ Film Archive - a 'making of' the Synthesizer from 1970, and "Future Shock", hosted by Orson Welles (1973). Then drinks @ Molly Malone's for Chad's send-off, missed Mike Perry's b-day at Motel.

Friday, missed out on Steve Earle, to catch Gramsci at Bar Bodega. Pretty good show, like their style. Saturday, the SinkF69 was delayed due to weather, until Sunday. But went to check Dave Dobbyn at the Opera House. Not my favorite kind a music, but he put on an awesome show, rarely see such rapport with the audience.Stopped by Monsoon Poon for a departure dinner for some animator-types...

So, into the final few days (I fly out on Nov 18), so I'll have one more update for the weekend, then down to the final hours.

Friday, November 04, 2005

New Kong Trailer

So, the new King Kong trailer hit the world, and is in hot and heavy rotation, and all the Aint-it-cool-news shut-ins are acream with glee. It is pretty dang impressive - gives a sense of the depth of the story (honestly, only looking at my few seconds of footage, I have no idea how the whole movie will come together). Fine lookin work, too. Kong is King has a shot-by-shot analysis of it, complete with HD frame pulls. A lot of the same shots from the first trailer o so long agon, here are my shots that I comped wall, gate. These are trailer-only, they're not in the movie anywhere, so peep them while you can. If any non-VFX-worker ("civilian") wants to scrutinize and ask questions about any shot (within the boundaries of my NDA), fire away. You can get an inside glimpse of how the business works, and how closely some images are inspected! (known by the unofficial term "pixel-f***ing")

More updates when I can... I'm only here another 14 days!