Saturday, May 31, 2008
A variety of topics are covered in the piece, from animation outsourcing by the John Lasseter-led DisneyToon Studios to Disney CEO Bob Iger's confidence that WALL-E will be a success.
Read it here.
So congratulations to everyone at Pixar (and Disney) who supported the film, and now it's on with the show!
*If you're a regular reader of The Pixar Blog this comes as no surprise; I reported on this back in March.
Friday, May 30, 2008
(A higher-resolution version should be forthcoming.)
Thanks to Frederic from French language Pixar news site Buzz & Cie for the tip.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Going off-topic here, I love Wal-Mart. Honestly, I spend about all my money there. Bought a bunch of stuff yesterday.
This cover features more actual information about the soundtrack, as well as a more artistic look, than the previous cover, which can be seen here.
(via Upcoming Pixar)
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
What exactly is shown in the Up display is not yet clear, but a first real look at Carl Fredricksen, the film's lead character, or perhaps a model of the flying house, held aloft by the bunch of balloons, would not be too much of a surprise.
I, for one, would like to see more pics of Carl Fredricksen, who, it is said, will bear a striking resemblance to billionaire investor Warren Buffett.
Be sure to stay tuned...
Friday, May 23, 2008
Also of note, the video, which runs for 2 minutes, 22 seconds, contains lots of shots of what appears to be Pixar's super-secret animation program Marionette in action.
(For more on Presto, see here.)
As it turns out, the film's design was heavily influenced by the style of the old Tom and Jerry cartoons of the '40s and '50s.
The competitors will choose which film to base their design on, and are allowed seven hours to make the cakes, which must meet the height requirement of 3 feet.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Nothing groundbreaking revealed, but a fun watch nonetheless, especially for those who may be unfamiliar with WALL-E's story.
Watch it here.
(via JV Pixar News)
Pixar seems to be hiring more and more these days. Not surprising, considering all the projects that are currently in the works.
Among the topics discussed in the interview are the game's storyline and features, and the designers' reaction to meeting sound designer Ben Burtt of Star Wars fame.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
The preview contains detailed descriptions of some of the game's many stages, based on the IGN team's experiences with an early test build.
Monday, May 19, 2008
(You may click to enlarge, the quality is not good, however.)
More shots are available here, at Pocket Gamer.
The toy seems to be a scaled-down version of the highly-anticipated 'Ultimate WALL-E', which will be sold starting later this year.
Not too many details on this product just yet though, only that it's made by Thinkway Toys. (Which, by the way, is headquartered about 35 minutes from where I live.)
Saturday, May 17, 2008
The Art of Pixar Short Films is written and compiled by Cartoon Brew's Amid Amidi, and will feature a foreword by John Lasseter. More information on the book, which will recount the history of Pixar's short films, is available here.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
The print issue contains more pics than what's available in the online preview, which you can view here.
The track titles are interesting in that they give away a tiny bit of WALL-E's story. (I love "spoilers".)
1. Put On Your Sunday Clothes (Performed by Michael Crawford)
2. 2815 A.D.
4. The Spaceship
7. Bubble Wrap
8. La Vie En Rose (Performed by Louis Armstrong)
9. Eye Surgery
10. Worry Wait
11. First Date
12. EVE Retrieve
13. The Axiom
15. Foreign Contaminant
16. Repair Ward
17. 72 Degrees and Sunny
18. Typing Bot
21. WALL-E's Pod Adventure
22. Define Dancing
23. No Splashing No Diving
24. All That Love's About
26. Directive A-113
28. Fixing WALL-E
29. Rogue Robots
30. March of the Gels
32. The Holo-Detector
34. Desperate EVE
36. It Only Takes a Moment (Performed by Michael Crawford)
37. Down to Earth (Performed by Peter Gabriel)
38. Horizon 12.2
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Monday, May 12, 2008
(via JV Pixar News)
(Slightly cropped all three to remove an unsightly watermark.)
It's hard to see, but if you look closely at the top image, you'll notice at that WALL-E is letting go of what appears to be the mysterious plant growing in the boot. EVE is somehow responding to seeing the plant. After all, that's what her type of robot was designed to do –search for plant life.
Can't wait till June 27!
It's been known for some time that there was co-operation between the two sister companies for WALL-E, but these are really the first details about the relationship. Fortune calls EVE the result of "the first design collaboration within Steve Jobs' culture-shaping Apple-Pixar-Disney axis."
Even Ive's consulting at Pixar had its limits. Stanton tells Fortune that he "couldn't even really allude to where the future of technology was going..." A bit surprising, considering Jobs' trust for the folks at Pixar. But then again, not that surprising.
So definitely expect to see Ive listed in the Special Thanks section of the WALL-E end credits.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Just before I forget, I'd like to thank Mr. Price here for taking the time to talk to me, and also Lena at Knopf/Random House for helping to set everything up. Thanks, guys!
A. After hanging out in the early 1600’s for around five years, I was ready to spend a while in my own century. I was attracted to the idea of writing Pixar’s history because I enjoy the films and it’s an important story from an artistic, business, and technological perspective. I also felt I had some of the tools with which to approach the subject since I’d been writing about business and I’d studied computer science.
Q. What similarities do you see between Jamestown and Pixar?
A. The stories are both about journeys into unexplored territory. Also, they’re both about start-up companies.
Q. What level of support did you receive from Pixar as you were researching the facts for the book? Also, what was the most challenging part of your research?
A. Pixar didn’t assist me at the corporate level, although some individual employees did. A lot of former employees also cooperated with the project.
It might sound counter-intuitive, but for me, books are less challenging to research than shorter pieces because they come with the luxury of time. In researching The Pixar Touch, if I wrote someone asking for an interview and then heard back from him six months later, which actually happened in one case, I could still use the interview. What’s really hard is having an article due in X number of days and not knowing whether the key people are going to return your phone calls. So the challenge with the book wasn’t so much in doing the research as it was in organizing the research I had.
Q. Changing topics, in the book, you go very easy on Jeffrey Katzenberg, a real-life "Syndrome". Why is that?
A. I don’t believe I go easy on Jeffrey Katzenberg. But why do you say he’s a "real-life Syndrome"?
My response: ...For his actions with Antz, stealing an idea, and such. He hit Pixar at the very worst time. Oh, come on, you know!
A. He didn’t handle A Bug’s Life vs. Antz the same way you or I would have. I’m with you there. But the situation was also a little bit more complicated than the way you’re setting it up. It was more that DreamWorks and Disney were shooting at each other and Pixar was caught in the crossfire.
The other thing to remember, I think, is that Jeffrey Katzenberg played an important role in driving the original Toy Story deal when he was at Disney. There’s a misleading mythology that has grown around this. The reality is that he brought in Pixar over the objections of others at Disney, and at a time when Pixar was getting turned down by other studios. Universal turned Pixar down. Columbia turned them down. Paramount turned them down. Jeffrey Katzenberg was able to recognize the value of John Lasseter’s talent and the potential of computer animation in feature films.
So I agree, he shouldn’t get a free ride, but I also don’t believe in vilifying him the way some other people have.
My response: Let's agree to disagree on that!
Q. Bob sends in this question, “[Do you] have any take on how much Disney has changed Pixar after the merger?”
A. With a few exceptions, my reporting ended around a year after the acquisition, so I don’t have a lot of insight into whatever changes Disney may have brought about since then. There are a few things that have seemed like departures. One of those was Disney announcing two Pixar features for 2011, Newt and The Bear and the Bow. It was an accomplishment for Pixar to get to one release per year, let alone two.
Another surprise was the announcement of Cars 2, considering the other Pixar films that were ripe for sequels. Not that I’m second-guessing their decision. My 10-year-old son was very pleased to hear about Cars 2.
Q. One last question: Are you a fan? What’s your favorite Pixar feature? Be honest.
A. I’ve been a fan since the shorts of the 1980’s. I still remember the excitement of reading in 1991 that Pixar had made a feature-film deal with Disney. In writing the book, I tried to show my respect for Pixar’s body of work by telling the story as accurately as I could. My favorite Pixar feature is Toy Story, followed by The Incredibles.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Tickets to the event are $125 ($100 for SFFS members) for regular seating, $250 for VIPs. Regular tickets include a reception, which starts at 6:00 PM. VIPs will get reserved seating and a special 5:30 PM reception with WALL-E producer Jim Morris (Andrew Stanton may also attend).
This is not the only event of its kind. Five days later, on June 12, Pixar will host an even larger event, that one in support of local Emeryville, California schools.
Correction: This post has been edited to correct two errors. The screening will be held on Saturday, June 7 (as the post now reads) not June 6, as previously reported. Also, Andrew Stanton may attend, as opposed to "is expected to".
(Updated May 14)
How does this involve Pixar, you ask? Well, according the article, which was written by Variety's Middle East correspondent, there are rumours currently circulating around Dubai that claim that "officials there are holding talks with Disney execs about the possibility of establishing a multimedia fund that will include making [funds] available for Pixar features based on Middle Eastern-themed stories."
This is one rumour that sounds bogus to the hilt. Perhaps it's that I don't think that Pixar or Disney would —what's the word?— stoop so low as to develop a film as a result of a financial offer from a third party. Also, unlike other major entertainment companies, Disney has so far stayed out of the region when it comes to theme parks and resorts*.
On the flip side, investment in Dubai is obviously a huge fad in business right now, and so The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) may be wanting a piece of the action, without having to expose the company to the risk and expense of building an attraction there.
*To my relief –I'm a shareholder. I wouldn't think building a theme park in the middle of the World's Most Dangerous Neighbourhood would qualify as a good idea.
(Photo source: Wikipedia)
Friday, May 9, 2008
The photos, which feature concept art and rendered film images from Up, Newt, and The Bear and the Bow, were discovered today at a French-language special effects website, Effets-Speciaux.info.
As with yesterday's bunch of images from WALL-E, click to enjoy at full size.
Jobs' beard was described as "sparse", while Catmull's suggested "I know more math than you."
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
During the webcast, Disney CEO Bob Iger spoke briefly about Pixar, mentioning that he has seen WALL-E and it was "great". Also, Iger told listeners that Pixar's winter 2011 feature The Bear and the Bow will be incorporated into the Disney Princess franchise. (Boo!)
The market responded well to today's report, sending Disney's stock to its highest point in six months, during after-hours trading.
Monday, May 5, 2008
(via Pixar Planet Forums)
Sunday, May 4, 2008
(via Upcoming Pixar)
Update: /Film has removed the images at the request of Disney.
Saturday, May 3, 2008
In the piece, Stanton discusses everything from his morning routine to his favorite drinks to his womanlike obsession with jackets.
Read it here.
Upon first hearing about The Pixar Touch, I was interested by the concept but not particularly thrilled, for the reasons above. Also, there is already in print an excellent authorised resource dealing with Pixar’s history, To Infinity and Beyond!: The Story of Pixar Animation Studios, written by Pixar associate Karen Paik, who authored The Art of Ratatouille book.
When I received my advance copy of Touch in the mail last week, I didn’t know what to expect. I soon found out. The Pixar Touch is a very informative book, even for a person knowledgeable in the subject. Having finished reading the book, I can say that I came away better informed on many aspects of Pixar’s roots, this due to the inclusion of various previously unpublished anecdotes. Most would find an even greater amount of the facts contained in the book to be new to them.
Touch delves deeply into the company’s history, providing a great amount of detail, even more so than To Infinity and Beyond!. Also, it is unrivalled when it comes to recounting the various feuds from Pixar’s past. From Steve Jobs’ near fistfight with co-founder Alvy Ray Smith (who left the company in 1991) to Roy E. Disney’s apt description of former Disney CEO Michael Eisner, the book did not fail to fill my large appetite for info on the nasty.
Thus, as much as I hate sounding like those talk show hosts who plug a book or movie or whatever, I would certainly recommend that anyone with an interest in Pixar –especially the corporate or really behind-the-scenes side of things– read this book.
However, Touch does have it’s faults. For one, I would have liked to see some humour throughout the book, or at least a greater number of humorous stories. That would have contrasted well with the more serious aspects of the book. Also, at times, Price speaks sympathetically about Pixar nemesis Jeffrey Katzenberg of DreamWorks Animation, a known jerk. He writes: “The studio’s treatment of Katzenberg in the book [To Infinity and Beyond!] was perhaps ungracious considering his role in giving Pixar its entry into feature animation.” Yeah, right. Poor Katzenberg, what a victim.
Nevertheless, all things considered, I do regard The Pixar Touch to be an enjoyable, very engrossing and different read. Just another key to the Pixar puzzle.
Be sure to check back soon for my long-awaited Q&A with the book’s author, David A. Price.
Friday, May 2, 2008
Of note, Reuters quotes a source familiar with the case as saying that, if sued, Mather will point the finger at "Pixar's board, outside lawyers and auditors" as having "approved backdating long before she was hired".
(To clarify: The types of charges that Mather is said to be facing would be civil, not criminal, charges. Thus, the SEC action would come in the form of a lawsuit.)
Knowing the markets, this is not good news for anybody...
While the site currently has little in the way of content (really only the trailer we got this past Monday), there are some very interesting features labeled "coming soon". Eventually, the site will feature game info and screenshots, profiles of the various robots, a downloadable trial version of the game, and more.
Will be checking back frequently...
It's mostly about Gordon's teaching career and general animation-industry topics, but we do get to read about Gordon's directorial ambitions. He says: "I definitely do have to admit that I aspire to direct my own work one day, like a short, or make my own content."
Hmm, very interesting. Perhaps something is already in the works.
Read the complete interview here.
Thursday, May 1, 2008
The theme, which was designed by London-based marketing agency Digital Outlook, has the futuristic, dark colours look of the WALL-E logo and posters. Currently it is available only for Windows.