Due to lack of motivation and gaining thought capacity from my migrane, I opened up my dvd of Pixar shorts I got for Christmas. It was a great little way to spend time on the couch! I watched all the shorts and then rewatched them with the commentary on. Some still stand out to me as hilarious no matter how many times I watch them. I am a sucker for a good punchline, but it got me thinking about my short film. I really need to work it and exaggerate it for it to have a millionth of what these shorts have. Exaggeration is something I am still working on and getting comfortable the idea is good enough to push into something memorable. How can I be an artist if I am not struggling? lol.
So I can’t get through this post without mentioning my favourites and why they are so. Without a doubt For the Birds is my number one favourite Pixar short. It’s brilliant, witty and how could you not love a short where the characters’ voices are squeaky toys?! It completely reminds me of people in the town I grew up in. Little sleepy farming community where anything different needs to go away so not to disrupt things. I am the big goofy bird, in the way he laughs, misses things and how he’s treated. Avoiding a long winded story here, I didn’t fit the mould of my hometown so I was targeted. It was what it was and I learned how comedy is the great equalizer among people. I digress. I still break out laughing when the big bird joins in the countdown and then lose it when the birds are launched and the feathers are left behind. Such a clever idea and told in a simple manner. I totally want a minature wire with the birds on it for my desk!
Lifted is a close second. I love how it has that sci-fi Spielberg feel, but still feels like Pixar at the same time. It reminds me of great old comedy routines or some sketches from the Carol Burnett Show. Most of the comedy is in the straight man. If he didn’t hold together like a rock, then there is nothing to contrast the crazy against. Both the examinator and the abductee play the straight man in it and I crack up everytime they are shown completely unphased by what the little guy is doing. He goes through a great range of emotions himself and they executed it brilliantly. His helmet that lags behind is a great addition to his character. He is one the best examples of falling for a character the moment you see him. Within seconds you are him, going through everything. That is a sign of great story and acting. Listening to the commentary, I totally agree that hearing something as opposed to seeing it is genius. Our minds fill in the worst case scenario, like him going thru the tree or getting out of bed during the credits. It gets me everytime. Anyone in the theater in San Francisco that watched it with me could attest that I was skrieking like a banshee over it. I honestly thought that I would die laughing!
I like the rest, but one that doesn’t do much for me is Bounding. I dunno what it is about it that rubs me the wrong way. I get the whole inspirational message behind it, but something just doesn’t grab me. I know some people who think it’s their best short. Go figure lol. Maybe it’s the Jackelope that bothers me. I never really look at him when he is on screen. He reminds me of an odd Carebear. Even the sheep annoys me lol. Only char I really like is the owl lol. I guess Bounding is like Madagascar to me. It is fine and dandy and done well, it’s just not that memorable to me. Also, is secondary we-need-a-laugh characters that stick out to me and are what I remember. It is the owl and the penguins that made it interesting for me. Damn those penguins were funny. I will save my thoughts on them for another post lol.
I am glad that Pixar plans to make shorts to be released with their features. It keeps the art alive and us noobs striving to exercise our story muscles. Story is huge in anything animated. Cruising shorts on youtube really enforces that fact. There are a lot of student films that attempt to be epic and they feel empty because the story really goes nowhere because of it. I feel bad for them cause I know it’s a hell of a task to make a film. I know it’s supposed to be personal, but it should still make sense to the viewer. At the same time, it shouldn’t drag on. I watched a 4 min short that could have been summed up in 45 seconds max. So after being critical on others, I turn the same eye to mine. I need to take this puppy as far as I can in the next 3 months. It won’t be no Pixar short, but it will be the best that I can possibly do.
Thanks Pixar for continuing to raise the bar on shorts! It’s inspired me to raise the bar on mine!