adventure and absurdity in making an animated short

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

lyrics to plan "b": the mars song

written by james g. dashe and jim capobianco

We'll follow you to Mars
Or wherever you people go...

We rats are right there down below.

We’ve travelled near and far,
With swamis, geisha, thugs and czars
In planes and boats and submarines,
We’ve sailed from Liverpool to Queens.
We’re even in Qatar, or wherever you people go...
We all adore François Truffaut.

Abandon musophobia
And embrace a new utopia:

Butterflies and puppy dogs
Summer evenings, crispy frogs

Imagine if you will a world
Where women, rats
And men and children
Live in peace and harmony,
We’re even holding hands.

We’re dancing through the streets
And singing cabaret songs, ooh la la la
Join with us we’ll make a Human/ratty wonderland.

We’ll help you tie your shoes
When you don’t feel like bending over
And perhaps you’ll take that trap
From out behind the pantry door

We’ll say “Bonjour” and “How’s the family”
When we pass each other on the street
And just like that we won’t be strangers anymore.

So here we go to Mars
With our stories intertwined
And although once you tried to kill us
Now we know that you won’t mind

We’ll journey through the stars
And whatever else may be...

We all hate that lousy flea...
That lousy flea...

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.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Tuesday, November 06, 2007

YFTR production photos

With "Your Friend the Rat" out on DVD today I thought I'd post some photos from the making of it.

The rata-two-dee animation corral. Teddy Newton, is at the light table. Located in story alley on the second floor of Pixar, you would walk by the corral and hear that aweome sound of pencils sharping and paper flipping. photo by michael johnson

Ahh paper, Teddy Newton flipping a shot from the end credits. Teddy led the end credits for the feature and then joined the short crew to handle character design and animation layout. I kept telling teddy to design the characters flatter and he told me he had never been given that direction before, to be more designy. photo by michael johnson

Scott Morse painting up a color key for one of the song shots. Scott, along with Nate and Teddy, was the third member of our art triumvirate. He handled backgrounds and helped Nate out with the color keys for the shots. He and Nate decided early on to paint the backgrounds with real media when ever possible. This gave the short a grounded feeling. Scott even used a pancake in one shot. See if you can find it in the short. photo by jim capobianco

Nate Wragg "cleaning up" the animation for the chalkboard shot. This shot was animated on paper by Sarah Mercy. Then we proected it onto a chalkboard, again to give the film a real textured feel. It took a day to do and I am so happy we did this. It came out beautiful and on blu-ray you can really see the dust. photo by jim capobianco

Myself and YFTR production designer Nate Wragg. This film is as much Nate's as it is mine. He really got to shine. When I first met Nate, about a year before this photo was taken, he was an intern working in the hallway. He didn't even have a cubicle to work in. We got to that scary place where we were finishing each others thoughts. The best thing about making the film was making it with Nate and everybody else. photo by krissy cababa

more photos to come...

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