Friday, December 31, 2010

2010-TOY STORY 3


2010 was a big year for me. As most of you know, I was fortunate to work on Toy Story 3 as a story artist, a film I'm incredibly proud of. I spent almost three years on it, giving everything I could as often as I could to a project I believed in and was deeply committed to. The reception for the film has been overwhelming, really, and recently Disney has started stumping for the film to be considered for Best Picture at the academy awards. In that effort, they've begun to run a series of one sheets to garner support for the film, and to my surprise an image from a sequence I worked on was chosen to represent the film.
As 2010 comes to a close, I'd like to again thank everyone who made it all possible for me you all know who you are. If working at Pixar the last 4 years has taught me anything, it's that you're only as good as the team you're on, the friends you make, and the people you depend on, and that can depend on you - story, life is truly a team endeavor.

2010 Movies- List

As the year comes to a close, here's a look back at the films I got excited about in 2010; best films I saw this year.

Having not seen everything this year, this list is not a complete best of. It's a list of films that inspired me to make movies of my own, to pursue loftier goals in my Pixar work, made me wish I had made them. The jealousy barometer is the one I most closely trust nowadays, so here goes. The 'I wish I did that' list of 2010, in no particular order.


Social Network
A movie about greed, ambition, and the cost of their pursuit using YOUR favorite social networking app as the medium for it's exploration. Fincher and Sorkin knock it out of the park here. I love 'relationships as plot' films and this is one of the best examples I can think of. The film functions as a social commentary, a historical document and an astute observation of the human condition and it's paradoxes. It's talking about real stuff here. There have been disputes about it's factual accuracy, but that is hardly the point, demonstrating once again the difference between fact and truth. A movie I love, respect and admire. David Fincher's best film IMO.


Black Swan
I'm a huge Darren Aronofsky fan. I saw Pi in college, it blew my mind and my thesis film from that year wears it's influence on it's sleeve. Black Swan is his most accessible film so far, despite being set in the notoriously insular world of modern ballet. The ideas at work are very similar to The Wrestler- how far are you willing to go to pursue your art?, where the Wrestler wins over Swan, is the Wrestler screenplay answers in very definite terms WHY, whereas Swan is content to shorthand that a bit. Despite some issues I've heard and can agree with in relation to the script, I think Aronofsky's inspired and brilliant direction more than makes up for them, and in some cases turns the potential weaknesses into strengths. The opening scene HAD me, and the film never let me go. Natalie Portman is staggeringly good in this film, giving one of the best performances I've seen in a while. Aronofsky is a modern American master director and one of the original voices working in film today.


True Grit
If you were to make a list of stuff I like in movies, The Coen Brothers, Westerns and revenge movies would figure prominently. So...yeah. Loved it. It isn't what I expected AT ALL; I figured I was in for 'No Country for... Young...Women" or something, and I got the Big Lebowski in western gear. Which...is awesome by me. The Coens are the best filmmakers working today, bar none.


Winter's Bone
Another film featuring a tough,driven female heroine taking on a traditionally male role and nailing it to the wall. This is the film I think I most admire this year, all things considered. Brilliant and authentic, gritty but from a uniquely female perspective that gives the movie a really unique and refreshing quality. The 'you'll have to kill me to stop me' trope so often infused with simple macho bravado in lesser movies operates with such real, deep pathos and peril in Winter's Bone, that it takes a potentially standard chase, investigation film and turns it into exploration of identity, family, responsibility and personal sacrifice. A film about what we give up to become whole. Loved it.


How To Train Your Dragon
Great film, beautifully made, and well told. Elevated pretty well trod subject matters and themes with great visuals, interesting character dynamics, sublime animation and brilliant filmmaking. The film earns so much love from me for really taking it's time to build the relationship, and invest us in it.
The best film Dreamworks has made.


Toy Story 3
Super biased for this, but bear with me. More than anything, I always respected the ambition of the film to speak plainly and honestly about accepting one's mortality, and that to love fully means sometimes saying goodbye. These themes are at the heart of the conceit's central analogy and are absolutely universal; one of- if not the main- criteria I use to think about films. We ALL die, we ALL lose loved ones. What do we do about it? That's what Ts3 is shooting at.

I should say haven't seen the kings speech, 127 hours, blue valentine and a few others people are going nuts over.

I should also say that I loved Tangled and Inception for honorable mentions.

All in all. Great year for movies I thought.
What did you see/like/love?

IPad-003

IPaD-002

IPad//xpost


I'll do a few cross posts of Ipad sketches for fun, as my analog sketching has been pretty anemic lately.
Enjoy,
James

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Sequel

As those that have been following my Twitter feeds know, I have been doing most of my recent sketches on the IPad. I was looking for a way to post them here on blogger, but it seems that IPad and blogger don't play nice. SO. I started a new blog to collect those IPad stuffs. Not feeling creative, it's called 'The Iron Scythe two." I switched to Tumblr which allows me update from my Phone/Pad so hopefully it'll mean more frequent posts. I'll still be updating here with more traditional work, and some more work/life related stuff.
Here's a sample of what I've been up to!
Check HERE for the new thing.

Best,
James


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sketchoholic interview


Last Sunday, I sat down with Bobby Chiu, a pal and former classmate of mine, and spoke about story, TS3 and a bit about myself. It was really fun and inspiring to do.
The interview is up HERE ,if you are so inclined.
Alongside the interview was an art contest where the winner received an original drawing from me based on the theme 'flight'. The artwork I chose out of a field for 80 odd amazing entries was submitted by Stevie Lewis, a talented artist, and a student at Ringling.
Here's what she'll be getting.

Thanks to Bobby for getting it going, and huge thanks to everyone who submitted to the contest.
Best,
James



Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sketchoholic interview w/ Bobby Chiu


Just wanted to let everyone know I'll be doing an interview this Sunday November the 14th at 2pm PT streaming live on his sketchoholic site. I don't know exactly what I'll be talking about, but if anyone has questions, I think they be asked live via chat, or if left in the comments section of this post, I'll try to cover it.
I'll also be making a drawing this week to give away during the interview based on the theme "Flight". Here are the details...
See you on Sunday...

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Ts3/Nucleus/TheTalk

As per my previous post, a few weekends ago I was invited to speak in LA at Gallery Nucleus about my role storyboarding on Toy Story 3. Though I was terribly nervous, I think the event and the talk Robert and I prepared went well. I hadn't really done anything like that before, and Robert really stepped up to help get me through it.
For those that couldn't be there, Robert and I spoke about our roles creating the dump sequence at the end of the film, in terms of art and story respectively, and tried to give an in depth overview of the process, start to finish. Tons of fun.
My thanks to those that attended and spoke with us after, you guys made it so amazing for us.
Thanks to Gallery Nucleus for having us and being fantastic hosts.
I swear, every time I visit LA I have the best time. I have to go back soon.
Here are a few photos of the event courtesy of Nucleus. (link)





Tuesday, September 07, 2010

TS3/Nucleus

This Sunday, September, 12th, I'll be joining Art Director extraordinaire Robert Kondo to do a book signing/panel discussion of Toy Story 3 at Gallery Nucleus in Alahambra, CA.
I'll be speaking primarily about my role storyboarding on the film, and signing books.
Stop by and say hi!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Monday, August 02, 2010

Friday, July 16, 2010

Ritual/MoleskineReporter/Mornings/Pencil




I'm off to Europe! See you all in two weeks!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

TS3-002

Buzz and Woody ride again-story boards taken from The Art of Ts3

TS3 landed, and is doing wonderfully. I am super proud of everyone, and thrilled with the reaction the film is getting. It was a real joy to work with these guys, and it was hard to put them down, and move on to the next thing. What an amazing ride.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

TS3-001


This Friday, June 18th, Toy Story 3 hits theaters. For those that don't know, I spent almost 3 years in the trenches on this film with the finest story/editorial team ever. I'm intensely proud of everyone who worked on it, as I believe we accomplished something truly great.
I'll save speaking about my role on the film for later, if at all, but suffice to say I got to contribute more than I ever thought I would to this beautiful film alongside a story crew I now count each and every member of as a dear friend. It was a profound experience to say the least, making this film, one that I will undoubtedly count as a highlight in my life.
My deepest appreciation goes to Lee Unkrich, Darla Anderson, Jason Katz, and Rachel Raffael for giving me a shot; and my dear friends Adrian Molina and Erik Benson for being the best, most inspiring guys one could get lucky enough to work with. To Michael Arndt, for being a genius. Thanks to Dan Scanlon, Chris Roman, Matthew Luhn, John Sanford and Ken Bruce for holding it down. To Jeff Pigeon, for being one of my favorite people here, and to our brother in arms, Justin Wright, who we all miss dearly.
Thanks to the love of my life Dani, for sticking with me on this long, wonderful journey.
It's crazy to think that 4 years ago, in my apartment in Toronto, this was all just a daydream.

See you all on Friday.

james

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Saturday, January 30, 2010

FieldNotes/4Barrel/Ritual/KuruToga/Saturday

Saturday sketching. Back to graphite after a brief flirt with thin ink lines. Field Notes books really hold pencil well, so it works out.
Also, I've put a link to my twitter page on the sidebar. I plan to use it to talk about film, writing, and other things that bear out it short form, and feel inappropriate here.
Check it out, if so inclined.







Monday, January 18, 2010

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

2010-001

back with some things, more to come.