Archive for June, 2012


Thursday, June 21st, 2012

I only spent a couple months working on Brave, which comes out this weekend, but I felt a particular connection to this movie. It’s a very personal story about a mother and a daughter and although I’m not either, the issues that come up in the movie are universal.

Well, okay, I haven’t had to fight many bears in my life or had to convince my parents not to force me into a marriage. But we’ve all had to come to terms with our identity and often, that means fighting expectations placed on us, which is what this movie is all about.

So go check it out: it’s got bears, it’s got magic, it’s got castles! Also … archery! If you’re wondering what I did for the movie, I worked on several of the wisp shots, including the last one in the movie before it cuts to the dedication and credits.

Father’s Day

Sunday, June 17th, 2012

My dad passed away years ago, over a decade before my own son born. And now that I’ve been a dad for a couple years, I find that there’s a lot of stuff that I wish I could ask my own father.

What was it like? How did it change things? Was it hard for him?

He was pretty taciturn, so I suspect he would have just said, “Mm, mm”. But now that I have a kid of my own, I think I would have understood what that meant.


Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

On Tuesday, June 5, 2012, Venus transited in front of the Sun for the last time this century. I hadn’t given it much thought. But at the last minute, I decided to check it out.

I was surprised at how moved I was by what I saw. It was just a tiny black dot on a white circle, seen through special sun-viewing glasses. But the enormity of it struck me. I was seeing another planet … in front of the Sun.

It was tangible evidence of the solar system, something I could see with my own eyes. It was as if I were gazing at tiny portion of the inner-workings of our universe. In my mind’s eye, I could see the dance of the Earth and Venus around the Sun and how, for this brief moment, they were aligned enough for us to observe it.

It will be over a century before it happens again. I thought about that, too. I will be long dead and it seems quite likely that every recognizable trace of my existence would be gone from this Earth. Everything that I have ever and will ever experience in life will be forgotten. I’m not even sure that I will have any descendants alive at that point.

But it didn’t make me sad. Instead, it made me realize how insignificant my problems and worries were in the face of such scale. And it made me realize how precious our very brief experiences are.

I felt very fortunate to have witnessed the transit and I hope that future transit viewers will feel a bit of kinship through the centuries with the other humans who gazed up into the Sun and saw the universe.

Writing Advice

Friday, June 1st, 2012

I’ve heard that comedy is born of pain. If so, then self-deprecating humor must come from self-doubt. And I have a lot of self-doubt because I know just enough about a whole slew of subjects to know how bad I am at them.

This is a very silly video, but the idea came from some things I really do struggle with. I actually did start writing a screenplay like the first idea in the video and my wife’s response was that it was “fraught”. And in the past, when I’d attempted to write something else serious, the feedback was “this would make a great comedy skit”.

So it got me thinking: “What if I just suck?” In a sense, that’s what these three split-screen videos have been about. What if I just suck at singing, acting, writing, etc.?

I’d like to think that I’d get better the more I practiced. But I recall a story about an acting teacher who told the class that the ones who become successful at acting are not the most talented, but the most stubborn. And that’s why you see so many famous actors who suck. Because they’re the ones who stuck with it. But they still suck.

So, what if that were me? What if, no matter how hard I worked at these things, I still sucked? Well … to be honest, I don’t know. I don’t know what to do beyond stubbornly trying again and again. Except … except that I do know how to make fun of it. And maybe some other people will find it funny, too.

They say that comedy is born of pain. But sometimes it helps ameliorate it, too.

A few things I learned from this one:

  • Asians age well
  • it’s a lot easier to memorize dialog that you’ve come up with yourself
  • in the future, everyone talks like Nic Cage

Also, I’ve noticed that I’m very strongly affected by caffeine because I’m up at 2:35am from having a couple pieces of chocolate and an iced coffee earlier in the afternoon.