With my busy weekday schedule, it's good to finally have a weekend to relax after two hectic weekends spent at conventions (Sparks Animation Festival in Vancouver BC and Jet City Comic Show in Tacoma WA).
I'm taking the opportunity to read a stack of Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files graphic novels I recently received from England.
I bought the first volume at Forbidden Planet in London, back in August. Got home, read it, loved it, and ordered three more volumes.
Now, I'm almost done with vol. 4 and I'm a new fan. I never read any of 2000AD comics before and I feel like a 12 year old who just uncovered a treasure throve. At over 300 pages each, these books are jam-packed with goodness.
My next order for vol. 5-7 should be here any day now. Vol. 5 features The Apocalypse War which many consider a high point. I can't wait to read it! Praises to both, the art and the writing—Artists, Brian Bolland, Ron Smith, Mike McMaho, and writers, John Wagner and Alan Grant are blowing my mind.
On the work front, Battleborn's release has been delayed by three months. The game will now make its debut on May 3rd, 2016. They received a lot of feedback from the Closed Technical Tests they are conducting and are improving the game accordingly. This will result in a better experience, so I'm all for it. Hope that means we get more time to finesse the effects animation.
This weekend, I will be a guest at Jet City Comic Show in Tacoma, WA. Please come on by and say hi if you happen to be in the neighbourhood.
Click here to find out more about this exciting convention.
The Iron Giant panel last weekend at the Vancouver International Film Festival Theater went very well. It was great to hang out with people from the industry and meet new friends. Sparks CGS is a classy operation that treated us very well—Nice hotel and great food!
Here are a few pictures taken at the event:
Ken Duncan and I, with an Iron Giant bolt.
Peter de Seve, Keith Blackmore and I having a blast.
Since The Iron Giant Signature Edition has been released theatrically and on Digital Download, I thought it would be OK for me to put this on YouTube.
This is the raw FX Animation I did for The Iron Giant Dream Sequence from the Signature Edition. The assets were later composited at Duncan Studios, which handled the production of the Signature Edition additional scenes. I waited 15+ years to animate the FX in this sequence. It was nice to finally have closure.
Below are the preliminary effects designs I presented to Brad Bird before moving ahead with the animation.
Ken Duncan, Wendy Perdue, Dennis Venizelos, and myself will do a panel about The Iron Giant Signature Edition in Vancouver on Friday at 5:00pm, October 23rd at VIFF Vancity Theatre, 1181 Seymour St. (@ Davie). This will be followed by a screening of the newly remastered film at 7:00pm. For more information, go here.
On March 6th, I received an email from producer, John Walker, asking me to get in touch concerning The Iron Giant. Highly intrigued, I immediately called him, and was delighted to learn that Warner Brothers was not only planning on a re-release, but that they also wanted Brad Bird to finish the film the way he initially intended.
John stated that Brad wanted me to animate the special effects for the "Dream Sequence", something I had eagerly looked forward to doing back in 1999, before the rug was suddenly pulled from underneath our feet due to budgetary restrictions. Before I could fully commit though, I contacted Gearbox and asked if it would be OK for me to take a few weeks off Battleborn in order to do this. They agreed wholeheartedly.
So on the date of my birthday, April 7th, I flew to Los Angeles to meet with Brad Bird, Ken Duncan, John Walker (Producer) and the rest of the production team to discuss the project.
Left to Right: Ken Duncan, Myself and Brad Bird
While I was there, a lot of video footage was shot so you might end up seeing my face on some extras for an upcoming DVD or Bluray release, although that hasn't been confirmed yet. After the meeting, I flew back home, completely elated by the potential of the endeavor, and upon arrival, I secluded myself in my studio for an effects marathon unlike any I've done before.
Ken Duncan's Studio handled the production while I handled the special effects at my home studio in Bellingham, WA (minus tones and shadows, which were done at Duncan's). I'm delighted I finally got to work with Ken, a very gifted animator I went to school with back in the day. We've talked about working together for years and it's ironic that it took The Iron Giant to make it happen.
As a side note, two weeks ago while I was visiting Europe, I went to the Mytholmroyd station, in West Yorkshire, to take a train. I was surprised to see several panels around the station, showcasing the original story of The Iron Giant. I then learned that Mytholmroyd happens to be the town where Ted Hughes, author of the original novel, was born. I thought that was so cool that I just had to take a picture!
The Iron Giant Signature Edition is being released in U.S. theaters by Fathom Events on September 30th and October 4th. It will feature a brand new 4K remastering of the film as well as two new scenes. For more information and tickets, go here.
I'm back from Europe after taking a two week hiatus from working on Battleborn. Our first destination was Ghent, Belgium, where I spent time at Grid Animation, meeting face to face with the people involved in setting up the infrastructure for the production of The Saga of Rex feature film. It was great to see such enthusiasm from the production team. The process of setting this up is a lengthy one and requires much patience. The team is dedicated to creating a solid foundation that will allow me to make the film I envision with the quality I'm aiming for.
From left to right, Jesper Moller (Screenwriter), Peter Lories (Producer), Mark Mertens (Producer), Lilian Klage(Producer) and myself.
While in Ghent, we took the opportunity to do a lot of walking around the city. A lovely place. We look forward to our temporary relocation (for an 18 months period) in the near future.
While in Ghent, I came across a comic store called, Epic Comics, and was delighted to see that they had several of my books in stock. I took the opportunity to sign the books they had and my lovely bride snapped this picture of Jesper, the store owner and I.
After Belgium, we made a quick train hop to Paris, then back on the plane again to Scotland where we spent time visiting family, before driving down to Holmfirth, England to visit yet more family. We went to London for the last 4 days of our trip, where we saw an amazing musical (Matilda). We finally got back to Seattle on Sunday night, just in time for me to attend PAX on Monday where I hung out at the Battleborn booth talking to enthused gamers and game developers. Then, back to Bellingham on Monday night. A hectic two weeks to say the least. Now, back to work on Battleborn...