adventure and absurdity in making an animated short

Friday, November 23, 2007

music and song in Your Friend the Rat

The score for Your Friend the Rat was written and preformed by Alex Mandel. Although we did record about seven cues with a real orchestra, Alex did all the rest at his home after hours from his day job at Pixar managing artists like me. You can download some of the cues from his blog. Check out "Why Rats are Cool" with false start and all, I just love it. The music was written as we developed the story reel. I wanted to have original music early on, as opposed to temporary music from other films, so we could animate more closely to it and use it to enhance the sound effects like the old Warner Looney Tunes. Alex did a fantastic job. I would recommend just listening to the short sometime. There is a lot of humor and fun to the music alone. Alex always impressed me with his ideas and his flexibility with my nutty ideas. It was great fun working together.

Alex and one of the cows at Skywalker Ranch. I just love this photo, who knew George had cows.

That's more like it. Alex at the scoreing session.

Jennifer Hammond, Michael Giacchino, myself, Alex Mandel on the Skywalker recording stage. Man was that place beautiful.

song writer james dashe and krissy cababa, who also worked on the film. krissy was probably more instrumental in moving the film through the machine then any of us. we'd still be making the film if it weren't for krissy

plan "b"; the mars song. was written by mr. james g. dashe and the lyrics are by james and myself. james also works at pixar as a mac admin. but unbeknownst to most, well not any more, he is a brilliant pianist and composer. when i first set out with the idea i thought this is educational I have to put a song in here like school house rock. i truthfully never thought it would survive and told james as much when we started, but we both thought, whatever, lets just have fun and do it. neither of us had written a song before and i had no idea if Pete (the voice of emile) or Patton (the voice of remy) could sing. i felt that as long as they could carry a tune then we would be okay. the rattier the better. two brothers just singing away. if it didn't work out i would come up with something else but it did and everyone especially patton and pete gave it their all. i hope they will speak to me again someday. the great Michael Giacchino and his arranger Jennifer Hammond came in toward the end to give the song a final polish and we recorded at Skywalker with an orchestra. i am still pinching myself that i got to do this.

Here I am pinching myself.


Blogger Jenny said...

Hey Jim!
First thing when my buddy Dave brought the Rat DVD back to work we popped it in pronto to watch the short. Loved it.
Then someone else came into the office, and we watched it again. Then I got home to find my own copy had just arrived from Amazon--and watched it again-and then again when some friends came over. All this repeat viewing-without a thought of getting to the feature presentation! In other words...great job!

But the song! Icing on the cake(food analogy quite by accident). Totally charming and so perfect for the thing-and the characters. I was agape when I saw your name on the lyrics, on top of all else. Boy, what a wonderful thing to be proud of(and the feature work goes without saying). Here's to you, man!

8:18 PM  
Blogger JmC said...

Jenny - Well your comment was one hecka nice christmas present. The short was a lot of fun to make and was really a chance for me to show my stuff. to let loose. the song was a complete shot in the dark if we (james dashe and myself) could pull it off. but i realized while making the short that this is what making good stuff is all about. jumpjng in the deep end.

10:08 PM  
Anonymous christopher said...

is there a location where the mars song is on mp3 for purchase or for free. either. or the lyrics written out. It's a great song, i can only remember the beggining but i hum it all the time.

"we hate the flea" ha ha.


9:42 AM  
Anonymous Christopher said...

ha ha i just found that you posted the lyrics on a different blog. thanks for a wonderful piece.

12:23 PM  
Blogger JmC said...

christopher - no mp3 yet. thanks for checking out the blog and glad you found the lyrics.

9:37 PM  

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