Don't be jealous, but today Jim and I took my niece and her friend to tour Laika animation studio where the movie Coraline is being made! Our friend Rachel works there building trees and stuff for the movie sets, and she got us in and took us around. We had to sign nondisclosure agreements, so I can't tell you anything -- which is fun to say, as if we're in on some sneaky secrets -- but there's really nothing I could tell you anyway except that it is awesome, the puppets are gorgeous, the sets are spectacular, the amount of work that goes into making a feature-length stop-motion movie is astonishing. I can't wait to see the movie!!!
The whole time I was dying to take pictures, which of course was a big no-no (didn't even bring my camera), and then on the way out I felt like there should have been a gift-shop like at a museum so we could buy a "Making of Coraline" book or some action figures! But there was nothing -- we came away with empty hands and full brains. The work and creativity that goes into this sort of a movie!
It's directed by Henry Selick, the same guy who directed Nightmare Before Christmas -- when you saw that, did you watch the "making of" section of the DVD? If not, rent it again and watch that. It's very cool. Did you know there are 24 "frames" for 1 single second of film. Can you believe that? They aim for 90 seconds of movie per week. Ack! The patience those animators have to have.
Anyway, it was crazy-cool, and having seen the individual elements, the puppet parts, the sets, it is going to be that much cooler to see the movie, whenever it comes out. Here are some of the puppets (images pulled from various bloggers who saw them at Comicon):
Click on this one to enlarge, and you can see different face pieces showing different expressions. We saw pieces like this sitting around in various stages of painting.
Lastly, HERE is a link to some footage. Remember: 24 frames per second. Enjoy!
Oh, this is random and apropos of nothing, but the other day, Jim & I were planning to make vegetable soup, when I realized I'd forgotten to buy onions. Frig! Can't make vegetable soup without onion. So, not long thereafter, Jim took Leroy out for his walk, and block over from our house, a guy called out from his porch, "This might be a random question, but do you want an onion?" To which Jim said something like, "Why yes, in fact I do want an onion." And he came home carrying a just-picked onion by its long green top.
This really happened! Like, the Universe was listening, but it was only sort of paying attention, and of all the things it could have given us, it settled on an onion. Gee, thanks, Universe. But perhaps the Universe wasn't involved at all. Today, a different person on the dogwalk route offered Jim a crab apple, and we had not been having any conversations about needing a crab apple. So I guess it's just chance.
P.S. If you're not familiar with Coraline, check out the book. It rocks.