Monday, May 09, 2011

About creative people

More than anything, creative people seem obsessive about details. From New Yorker about "Hayao Miyazaki", a Japanese animator who is the inspirational auteur Pixar folks look up to:

Pixar’s chief creative officer, John Lasseter, is an ardent fan of the work of the Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki, who was profiled by Margaret Talbot in 2005. Lasseter told Talbot that when animators at Pixar get stuck on a project, they go into a screening room and watch a Miyazaki film. Though Miyazki has rejected the computerized path favored by Pixar, he shares with Pixar’s animators an intense focus on the tiniest specifics of his movies. Talbot describes a documentary film in which Miyazaki gives instruction to the young staff working on “Spirited Away”:

“The dragon is supposed to fall from down the air vent, but, being a dragon, it doesn’t land on the ground,” Miyazaki says. “It attaches itself to the wall, like a gecko. And then—ow!—it falls—thud!—it should fall like a serpent. Have you ever seen a snake fall out of a tree?” He explains that it “doesn’t slither, but holds its position.” He looks around at the animators, most of whom appear to be in their twenties and early thirties. They are taking notes, looking grave: nobody has seen a snake fall out of a tree. Miyazaki goes on to describe how the dragon—a protean creature named Haku, who sometimes takes this form—struggles when he is pinned down. “This will be tricky,” Miyazaki says, smiling. “If you want to get an idea, go to an eel restaurant and see how an eel is gutted.” The director wriggles around in his seat, imitating the action of a recalcitrant eel. “Have you ever seen an eel resisting?” Miyazaki asks.

“No, actually,” admits a young man with hipster glasses, an orange sweatshirt, and an indoor pallor.

Miyazaki groans. “Japanese culture is doomed!” he says.

Read more

A similar piece about Walt Disney:

Disney … was a tightener from the first, incessantly churning out gags, pulling apart and fixing the gags of others, and pained by the sloppy and the slack. “Snow White” was finished in a panic, and years later Disney was still fretting over the shortcomings of his heroine—not her ethical decision to hang out with a large group of small men, but the wobbles in her construction. “The bridge on her nose floats all over her face,” he said. He became an industry, but the one thing that links the industrialist, whatever the product, with the auteur, whatever the form, is obsessive pedantry—the will to get things right, whatever the cost may be.

Read more

Monday, June 01, 2009

And that's what marriage is!

From American Dad: "You laugh at his stupid jokes, he tells you your bad dinner tastes good. That's what marriage is!".

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Evil tearjerker

From "American Dad's" TearJerker episode:

The evil tearjerker, after having failed in his first attempt, lays out his diabolical dreams for the next attempt:

"When I build my next lair, I'm going to do a lot of things differently. More quick sand, more death beams and a bench in the shower, 'coz sometimes I like to sit down".

Sigh... so many things about Family Guy and American Dad are priceless. Some of the most crisp comedic writing since Simpsons!

Monday, October 13, 2008

On social conversation

I found this chance comment by George Soros very interesting: a whole society may be contemplating something profoundly irrational - and you don't realize the absurdity of it all until you step out and question the basic premise!

From an interview on PBS with Bill Moyers:

Well sometimes we get carried away. I mean, you know, let's say in the Middle Ages, people were religious. And so they had tremendous discussions about how many angels can dance on the eye of a needle. Now, if you believe that angels can dance then that's a legitimate question. And this is exactly what has happened here. You thought that you could slice and dice and engage in this kind of financial engineering. And it became very, very sophisticated and got carried away.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Marfan syndrome (and a touching comment!)

Kids often say the most innocent, touching things.

From NPR story on new drug for Marfan syndrome:

(Note: The kid mentioned in the passage here, Blake Althaus, is 5.5 years old).

"After a few years of taking Losartan, Blake is doing well. He runs with the other kids, though not quite as fast. His mom says that one morning he asked if maybe new shoes would help him go faster.

"I ended up crying that whole afternoon while he was at school," Anita says. It was hard, she says, watching him realize he was a little different.

Then when she picked him up from school, she recalls, "he said 'Mom can you take me shopping so I can get new tennis shoes so I can run fast? I'm always the slowest guy.'" Anita told him that Marfan syndrome made his ankles a little loose, so running would be hard. But she also told him he was the best fisherman she had met in her entire life. "I am?" he asked, his face lighting up."

Sunday, October 21, 2007

On Crisis vs Catastrophe

From NYT article on "The Future is Drying UP"

“A crisis is an interesting thing,” he said. In his view, a crisis is a point in a story, a moment in a narrative, that presents an opportunity for characters to think their way through a problem. A catastrophe, on the other hand, is something different: it is one of several possible outcomes that follow from a crisis. “We’re at the point of crisis on the Colorado,” Pulwarty concluded. “And it’s at this point that we decide, O.K., which way are we going to go?”

Monday, July 16, 2007

New home page!

I created a new home page, on a new domain! See the homepage of Anand Shukla here.