Bye Bye Spider-Man! Back on MLP Movie.
April 9th, 2017
My Little Pony: The Movie is going great, but the schedule has been extended beyond what we anticipated. I was initially supposed to end in February, and move on to Spider-Man: The Animated Movie in March.
When February came, the power at DHX (the studio responsible for creating the film) asked if it would be possible to extend my commitment until the summer. I would hate to leave half way through a production, so I agreed. And besides, I really enjoy working with the talented DHX team. I think people will be very surprised to see how good the film looks.
Sony, on the other hand, still wanted me to go on to Spider-Man starting in March. DHX agreed to let me go for three weeks so that I could help design/animate one of Spider-Man's key signature effect in the film, but come April, I had to return to MLP. Sony thanked me for my services and, since I'm no longer available for the immediate future, they decided to move on without me.
Unless someone at Sony Picture Animation unexpectedly comes calling after I finish MLP at the end of July, this was my last stint on Spider-Man. They seem happy with the material I created in the four months I was on the project in 2016/2017. Hopefully, I'll get a decent credit on the film.
These past three years working on big studio projects have taught me how important it is that I keep developing my more personal projects as well. After MLP, it's high time I start building The Saga of Rex Movie into a reality.
From Ponies to Spider
March 25th, 2017
This month, I'm back on the Spider-Man Animated Movie, after feverishly spending the last several months creating effects animation for My Little Pony: The Movie.
My second stint on Spider-Man is only a couple of weeks but in that short time, I need to try and figure out a crucial FX in the film. I will be resuming my work on My Little Pony: The Movie on April 3rd, and will stay on that production all the way to summer.
On Friday, March 17th, I spent the day at Sony Animation Pictures in Culver City, California, meeting with the two directors, the new art director, production designer, and several new members of the crew. I worked on Spidey from May to July 2016, and there's been a lot of new faces added to the production since then. It was great meeting everyone and getting a charge from all the creativity on display. This project has a lot of potential to be ground-breaking. Stoked to be a part of it!
After that, The Saga of Rex movie, I swear.
Some of my Iron Giant VFX for the Signature Edition
December 30th, 2016
Spending More Time with Ponies
December 4th, 2016
The work on the My Little Pony movie is moving along nicely.
I truly enjoy working on 2D animated features, as most animated films, nowadays, seem to be CG. Looks like 2D animation has been somewhat relegated to television—where some excellent work is being done, I must admit.
However, "feature films", are where animators can be a bit more indulgent and show off their chops. When a project comes my way, where I can put my 2D FX knowledge to maximum usage, it's always a treat.
I'm learning to work within the production pipeline which allows me greater flexibility and creative control. There is still much to do and I haven't even started on the big stuff yet. So much so, that Marcia (MLP Movie's producer) asked me if DHX could extend my contract by another two months.
I checked with Sony to make sure this would be OK with them (I'm scheduled to go on to the animated Spider-Man movie as soon as I finish work on the MLP movie) and they were fine with it. So, my new end date with DHX is now April 28th, 2017. I'm actually glad I'm going to be spending more time with the ponies. They're cute and the animation looks nice!
The Saga of Rex Update
October 23rd, 2016
Grid Animation (who currently hold the option for the movie) were not quite ready to start with production when my contract with Gearbox ended in March 2016, so I took on two other projects as VFX Stylist/VFX Lead on “My Little Pony: The Movie” and “Spider Man 2018” to cover the down time.
After I finish these two projects by Fall 2018, Rex will be my priority.
While Grid has been working on the financing and distribution, they also brought on board screenwriter, Jesper Møller, to help extend and consolidate the story into a 72-minute feature film. The result is glorious and needs to be properly handled. I’m signed as both, director and producer—this is my baby. The wait has been excruciating but I need to be patient so that I can make the film I want. In the meantime, I am working on two very cool features, and learning new things everyday.
Rex will have no dialogue. No stupid sidekick character. A visual symphony. It will be worth the wait.
Bellingham's Nik Gipe Joins Me on MLP Movie
October 9th, 2016
Nik Gipe has been pretty excited since getting hired as my assistant. He had never worked on an animated film before, so this is all new to him. After training him for several weeks earlier this year, I suggested Nik to DHX as my potential assistant on the film. DHX said yes, and three weeks ago, we sealed the deal. Nik has officially turned "pro", as he joins me on My Little Pony: The Movie crew!
Last week, Nik joined me for the production meeting in Vancouver where we met with the director, producer and several department heads as we brainstormed the movie's VFX and technical challenges.
I for one, am totally stoked. I've barely been on the project ten weeks, yet I can already see some exciting work emerging. Creating effects animation for a 2D animated feature is just so much fun. Here's a snapshot of the My Little Pony: The Movie's special effects crew.
What also excites me about working on the MLP Movie, is learning about the constant breakthroughs in digital 2D animation. My deepening knowledge of Toon Boom Harmony, while working on this project is going to be extremelly useful when I do my own animated epic, The Saga of Rex feature film.
Fun Time in Alhambra
September 28th, 2016
I got back from California on Sunday after taking part in The Art of The Iron Giant signing/panel event at Gallery Nucleus in Alhambra. It was great fun to hang out with my old animation buddies. Several members of the crew who weren't part of the panel were also in the audience which added to the excitment. The picture below features from left to right: Greg Manwaring, Me, Steve Lumley, Dennis Venizelos, Brian Gardner and Chris Sauvé.
The event was an amazing success with a huge turnout. People listened, laughed and cheered, and many books were signed and sold. I got some of my IG pals to sign my copy, but wasn't quick enough to get Teddy Newton's signatures as he seemed to spontaneously combust as we were approaching the end of the event.
The book itself is wonderful and brings back many memories. I used to see a lot of these images pinned up on large boards along the hallways of Warner Bros Feature Animation. I was also happy to see that some of my art and words made it in there. If you're into animation, you should definitely check it out.