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    May,April, March 2004

    :: 05.28.2004

    Long time no blogging ... been pretty swamped with too many projects going on at once. Good news is that Mia issue 2 is all done and ready! Check the photo if you don't believe me... X). It came out great, good printing and the cover, thanks to Dice Tsutsumi, looks great! Mia2 is in this month's (June) Previews for order, please let your comic book retailer know if you have a chance!

    With Mia 2 done, I am now focusing on a new fragment book. There's been a little change of plans with that. Ronnie has been busy finishing his wonderful Paper Biscuit2 (which is really amazing! you are gonna be soo blown away!) so we decided to slightly postpone Fragments2, in the meanwhile I am finishing a book on my own, called "fragments intermezzo". A little intermission between Fragments and fragments2, filled with figure drawings and some paintings. I am really working hard on that to be able to print it in time for San Diego Comicon. More on that soon.

    On an other note, we had a screening of Lorenzo (the Disney short) here at Pixar yesterday and we were all blown away! It's really a great short, amazing art direction and great simple fun story. I bet it'll win the oscar... anyway, I hear it's playing in front of "Raising Helen", that Kate Hudson Movie ... might be worth it, don't miss it!

    ok, later !



    :: they are here !

    Listening to: - Scatterbrain- RadioHead:: from Hail to the thief


    :: 04.11.2004

    I am back from my Japan trip... and quite jetlagged still. I go to sleep around 3am and wake up around noon ...

    What to say about the trip, it was quite amazing ...
    I have to write down as much as possible of it down now, before its details fade out.
    I took a ton of photos, which should help … I think I might just have to make a small photo gallery just for this trip.
    Where to begin: well I think I’ll start with the visit to Ghibli, that and my friend Justin's wedding day
    in Kyoto were just the most amazing experiences.

    April 1st was no fool day, but instead Ghibli Day!
    We arrived at the studio in Higashi Koganei (30 minutes from Shinjuku in Tokyo) a little before 11am.
    We then met with our super translator Rieko San, who proceeded taking us to meet Suzuki San
    (Producer and President at Ghibli) in his office.
    We had a great and interesting talk with him. He showed us a commercial Ghibli has done for Yomuri Shinbun
    (one of the most read newspapers in Japan) . A wonderful small commercial with shots of people from
    a hundred years ago Japan, all reading the newspaper, in a beautiful loose line and watercolor style,
    reminiscent of “My neighbors the Yamadas” . I saw the commercial air quite a few times during my stay, very cute.
    Suzuki San also told us that he sat with Miyazaki San last year and asked him regarding
    Howl’s moving Castle (the movie they are now finishing at Ghibli):
    “So Miya San, we have 100 minutes made and animated, now, how are you gonna end this movie?”
    and Miyazaki answered :”oh, I don’t know ...”
    In fact MiyaSan pretty much always starts his movies not exactly knowing where he's gonna end with it.
    This I think is one of the key elements that makes his movies so unique and entertaining.
    The most interesting thing was the explanation Suzuki San gave us regarding the way Miyazaki
    makes these movies. He told us about the way they’d build houses in the Edo period in Japan.
    Which in short was “from the inside out”: making first one room and really thinking through
    that single room in all the details, then only after finishing all that they'd start thinking about
    where to put a second room … and then perhaps after some time they'd figure they needed
    a small pantry and they would add it and then they'd decide to put a 4th room over in one corner
    and then a 5th and a 6th and so on (Suzuki San was drawing this house plan, as he was telling us).
    The resulting shape of a house in that period is pretty much a strange mess of a shape.
    A shape that would have most western architects completely puzzled:
    ”How did you think up such interesting and strange a shape ??”
    Well the answer was: they never quite did, it turned out this way, by way of addition…
    “So this is the way Miyazaki San makes his movies, Edo Style Movie making” Suzuki told us.
    He keeps on adding pieces to the puzzle till he’s satisfied he has the shape of the overall movie,
    and he adds in front and in the back and on the side, but
    (and this is where the western way of making film is totally different) he never scraps a room that is finished.
    Never wastes animated footage. I thought this explanation Suzuki San gave us
    is really awesome and insightful, coupled also with a charming and frank admission that this style of filmmaking can at times make
    his work as a producer pretty hard, Suzuki San pretty much won our hearts as a smart, honest and sweet man.
    Done with our time with the president of Studio Ghibli, we started a tour of the place and here photos come handy …
    We went to the little oasis of the rooftop garden and then we stopped by to see Miyazaki’s office,

    :: Miyazaki Sama's office

    where, we’re told he comes to take naps and where he storyboards mostly at night, since he works all day
    with the other animators now in another building, Studio Ghibli 2. His bookshelves were filled
    with treasures, wish I had more time to look at his books, like a week or two maybe.
    Throughout the studio there are all these beautiful fake windows paintings, in the best trompe loeil
    tradition, it was Miyazaki’s idea of course, he thought there were not enough windows in the studio.

    :: Ghibli trumpe loeil

    :: Stairs

    :: KoNekoBasu

    Our tour was then interrupted by a gathering of the whole studio in the café at the first floor,
    where, we were told there would be a small ceremony to welcome new interns starting at the studio that day.

    :: Ghibli meeting

    So we joined the gathering of all Ghibli’s employees and after a few minutes Miyazaki San
    and Suzuki San both gave a small speech to the new employees, who then one by one introduced
    themselves to the studio. After that, unexpectedly we were introduced as well,
    as the “Pixar visitors” and we were asked to give a small speech.
    I was pretty much pushed forth and heart in my throat I kind of came up with the best I could
    at a moment’s notice. It’s hard to remember exactly what I said but after saying Ohayo Gozaimasu
    and Hajimemashite and such, I said I’ve been watching Miyazaki Sama ‘s wonderful work for a long time,
    since I was a kid in Italy, from the times of Mirai Shonen Conan (Future Boy Conan), Rupan the 3rd and Sherlock Holmes.
    Interestingly Miyazaki San made a nod of acknowledgment and approval hearing I am Italian, he obviously has a soft spot for Italy … X)
    I mentioned what an inspiration and impact these works have had on me and that I was so thankful
    to be there to see how their Studio’s latest efforts are wonderfully coming together.
    I simply couldn’t wait to see Howl’s moving Castle.
    That was about it I think, it’s a bit of a blur now as I got quite nervous. Thinking about it later,
    there were sooo many more things I wish I mentioned, but my fellow Pixarians congratulated me,
    they thought I did great, probably they meant just by not choking to death in front of my idol. X)
    Anyway, party was over right after my speech and Miyazaki came to meet us,
    shook our hands and then briefly excused himself… lot’s of work to do.
    Adrenaline levels slowly lowering down … I was able to breath again a bit …phew, that was something. X)

    So we continued the tour with Rieko San (who has to be the nicest and best translator ever btw)
    and she took us to their head of CG (whose name I forget, sorry.)
    showing us a ton of shots from Howl’s…and man they looked awesome, I just can't wait for this movie,
    oh did I mention that? I cannot wait! X)
    Here's a little treat, Howl's moving Castle Poster, a little out of focus ... sorry.

    :: Howls

    Ok, enough for today, but more on the Ghibli Tour soon, in episode 2 of my Japan trip retelling.
    Ja nee !


    Listening to: - Summer rain- by Smokey and Miho :: from Smokey and Miho


    :: 03.16.2004

    So ... been a while ... been so busy ... X)
    And luckily pretty productive as well ...
    So many things ...
    Mia issue 2 is getting there ... it's really taking now 80% of my free time
    it's in good shape and I can't wait to show you more ...
    Haiku5-7-5 has been a lot of fun too, it's a little hard
    to find the time for it, but the nice response it's getting around the net
    it's really encouraging and inspiring ... Most of you seem to dig it. Good.
    Amid Amidi even put a little nice paragraph about it on his editorial AnimationBlast
    now actually on a new and promising site: Cartoonbrew
    Other than that, work has been darn intense but I just have 10 more days
    before a nice and needed 3 weeks break.
    In fact I am going to Kyoto for a friend's wedding for ten days.
    Should be awesome ... and I can't wait to put my camera to work over there.
    The rest of the break I am going to use to finalize the Mia book.
    Well, that's about it ...
    oh one last thing, I thought these few thoughts about Nemo winning an Oscar
    and storyboarding in general that friend and co-worker Ronnie del Carmen
    posted on his BLOG were quite interesting.
    Check them out, they are a bit down the page now.
    Ok then ... later !


    :: texture on tile

    Listening to: - Advice- The pillows :: from FURIKURI Original Soundtrack (I know I am a geek)


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