Ethereality News & Weblog

October 31, 2006

All-nighters

NEWS:
ImagineFX magazine’s posted on their website the interview they did with me, originally printed in the first issue of the magazine. For those of you that missed it when it was in circulation, you can now read it here

Spectrum 13 has shipped, and one of my paintings was accepted this year. (For those of you that don’t know, Spectrum is the most prestigious annual publication in the field of sci-fi/fantasy art.) You can find out more from these links:

About Spectrum, the annual sci-fi/fantasy art publication

About Spectrum 13, the latest in the series

You can purchase the book by clicking on the image:
BLAH

I’m still in the Bay Area at the moment. I have no idea when the studio wants me to move down to Burbank, and I’ll remain busy freelancing for them in the foreseeable future–until I get snatched up by another studio, that is. If that were to happen it would be too bad, because I like the guys there and my tour of the studio gave me a good impression of the place.

Been a long time since I updated Kitty Cat Diary. Not that I stopped shooting, just that I’ve been too busy to prepare the images for the web. I took a couple of days off this weekend and got caught up though. You can see the latest entries here:
BLAH

WEBLOG:
I used to pull all-nighters a lot when I was in the comic book industry, writing and illustrating comics for a living (if you can call the laughable money I made “a living”). When I defected to video games, I’ve only had to do an all-nighter once in three years and five shipped games (the all-nighter was for a Playstation game called “Pastrana VS. McGrath Freestyle Motorcross,” and I actually got to design the level as well as texture it–it’s the level with cherry blossoms, taiko drums, shrines, and lots of snow). In CG animation, I never had to pull an all-nighter–maybe really late nights, but never seeing the sun come up. In the last week, I had to pull three all-nighters straight on Spiderman 3 and Surf’s Up, with roughly two to three hours of sleep between each day. I took a caffein pill on the first day, and Elena boiled up a pot of jinseng–they helped to keep me awake and alert. The second and third day I did without any caffein pills and just drank the jinseng. I didn’t really feel any difference, so I’ll do without the caffein pills the next time I pull an all-nighter.

One thing I don’t like about using WordPress for blogging is that although I have full control over everything (CSS coding), can host it myself, add plugins for more features, and make my own backups, I don’t have all the nifty features of communities like Livejournal and MySpace (they’re the ones that most of my friends use). So I figured out a way to implement it–a simple link to my own Livejournal/MySpace pages, which will then be linked to all of my friends, and also linked back to my site. Those links are now implemented into the menu on the left.

Here are some quickie movie reivews of the stuff I’ve watched lately:

Brick – I was excited to watch this, as the guys at Filmspotting (one of the best film review podcasts on the internet) raved about it, but the film didn’t live up to expectations. I understand what the director tried to do–bending the noir genre by setting it in a high school with teenagers, but the whole thing felt more like an exercise in style than something that’s truly heartfelt. I can’t help but think if the film had been shot in a more realisitc manner with natural dialogues, instead of the hardcore noir dialogues and David Lynch-esque scene setups, it would’ve resonated more emotionally. There’s something inherently fake about teenagers playing grownups–something that writers do occassionally, but rarely do it well enough to be forgiven. Teenagers without any trace of what makes that age group unique, are not teenagers anymore, and I think that’s essentially what’s wrong with writers trying to push inexistent maturity upon characters that just aren’t ready for it yet.

Spanglish – I was afraid it would be one of those mindless and patronizing romantic comedies that plagues mainstream Hollywood, but Elena and I ended up really enjoying the film. The dialogues were unpredictable, and although it was light on serious social commentary (which isn’t the point of the film at all) about racial or cultural issues, it packed enough great moments to hold our interest–it even got some big laughs out of us.

And oh yeah, Paz Vega is quite something in that movie. There’s a scene of Adam Sandler yelling at her to get out of the wind because he was being distracted by the view of her being back-lit by the moonlight, with her dress clinging to her, revealing all kinds of curves. It was quite a vision. There’s a Chinese phrase the describes curaceous women as “Protudes in the front, sticks up in the back.” Quite fitting in this case. Strangely enough, I’ve also seen her in Sex and Lucia (from the director of Lovers of the Arctic Circle), and in the nude she isn’t that curvaceous at all. It just goes to show you how much clothes can shape a woman’s figure.

Battle Star Galactica Season 3 – Still one of the best shows on TV (although I don’t really have time to watch TV at all, so I’m not exactly up to date on other shows out there besides Lost). I’m so happy to see Sharon reinstated as an officer, although I found it hard to swallow that Adama would be that careless. I mean, everyone still remember that Cylons can be mind-controlled to do things, right? What’s to stop Sharon from another murderous episode, or worse, an evil betrayal? I’ve only watched up to Exodus part 1, and I hear part 2 was a mind-blower. Can’t wait to see it.

Poseidon – I can’t believe this is from the same director of Das Boot. It’s probably the most typical mainstream action/thriller film I’ve seen in a long time–totally predictable, by the numbers, and without any trace of creative passion from the people behind the lens.

Eight Below – As much as I love dogs and as cute as the ones in the movie were, I kept thinking the dogs were way too human-like in the movie–then I remembered it’s supposed to be a Disney film.

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants – A pretty good chick flick for teenage girls. I would watch anything Alexis Bledel is in, because she’s such a rare mix of angelic grace, shyness, and natural beauty.

X-Men 3: The Last Stand – It’s no Brian Singer, but it wasn’t a disaster either. On the other hand, it would’ve taken a really terrible director to wreck the standard set by the previous two films. Even a hack director can simply ape the vibe of the previous two films and end up with a half-way decent sequel.

It’s interesting to see the previous generation of cute teenage actresses getting older and losing some of their fresh-faced appeal. I used to think Anna Paquin’s a total cutie, now she’s starting to look a little strange to me. But Kitty Pryde–meeeeow!

October 5, 2006

Drawing Venom from Akihabara into Burbank

Filed under: Art & CG,Comics,Film/TV/Animation,My Life/Musings,News,Writing — Rob Chang @ 4:51 am

News:
I’ve wrapped up my contract for Surf’s Up, and now I’m working on the next project, which I sort of mentioned before (although not by name). Now that I’ve actually started work on it, I can tell you it’s Spiderman 3. I’ve enjoyed the previous two Spiderman films, so I was looking forward to doing work on the sequel. I’m working on the character Venom at the moment (hence the glaringly obvious pun of this blog entry), and it’s interesting to go back to my comic book roots.

It looks like I might be moving to Burbank, CA soon for a new job. I’ve been offered a position by a studio down there, and as soon as we work out the nitty gritty, Elena and I will be relocating. It kinda sucks that we had just moved back to the Bay Area where all of my family and friends are, and will now have to move away again. If any of you reading this can offer some great advice regarding living in the Burbank area (or nearby cities withing a quick drive), please do.

I was invited to write a treatment on spec for an animated TV series called Akihabara@Deep for Polygon Pictures and Nickelodeon Television recently. I had met Polygon’s CEO, Shuzo Shiota, during CG Overdrive 2006 in Singapore, and he expressed an interest in my take on Akihabara@Deep (which is already an established I.P. that was originally a manga, then made into a feature film, and now will be made into a children’s animated TV series for Nickelodeon) and invited me to submit a treatment. The premise of the original didn’t lend itself too well to a children’s show since it had a more mature theme, so Polygon Pictures wanted a rewrite of the premise. I essentially reworked the premise, changed some of the characters, added some new characters, and had a blast recreating the A@D universe. I just got an email from Polygon Pictures regarding my treatment, and their reply was both good and bad. The good is that they told me out of all the submissions by different writers, they thought mine was the most exciting and powerful. The bad is that as much as they liked my treatment, they felt it was still a bit too mature for the 6~11 yr-old demographic and went with another writer whoes submission was more children-friendly.

I guess at least I should be happy that Polygon liked my writing the best out of all the submissions. It would’ve been nice to get the gig though.

You can find out more about Akihabara@Deep from these links:
Article about Nickelodeon’s collaboration with Polygon Pictures on original Japanese content for the English-speaking market

Another article about the same subject

Akihabara@Deep feature film official website

Another Akihabara@Deep feature film website

Akihabara@Deep wiki entry

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