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Wednesday, December 03, 2003

My body is my enemy: it gets tired easily because it suffers of asthenia. I might look energetic the whole day… but, then, I know the price I pay every night when I’m going to bed.

My body isn’t elastic: No matter how hard I try, doing sport, ballets, and gymnastic…. I still can’t bend to touch my toes and my back is as rigid as a piece of wood.

My body has no endorphins: it is afraid of pain. Can’t stand the drill of the dentist and cries for a little wound.

I went to a rope course with my compelling communication class. They said I didn’t have to do things if I didn’t feel like doing them. It was okay… my good sense was telling me over and over:
“You know your health insurance doesn’t cover you if something happens here.” It doesn’t cover climbing, skydiving and skiing.
- it’s okay, I don’t have to do stuff.
The ropes were pretty high from the ground. I couldn’t say in feet but it was at least twenty meters. My good sense looked up, between the trees, and told me:
“Hey, you get vertigos just sitting on a barstool, remember? You had a bone fragment floating in your ear and hitting your labyrinth for months…. And you have no sense of balance whatsoever ever since.”
- it’s okay, I don’t have to do this.
It was fun to see Annely climbing on top of a log, challenging her fear of heights… and Grace? She is a hard-core girl! There’s nothing she won’t do if she decides so. The quietest people did the bravest things. The cool ones… didn’t look so cool anymore on top of a tree. It was fun, I got to watch, I didn’t have to do anything. I cheered. I cheered on top of my lungs.
My poor back was hacking for too much yelling…. Also because the guy instructor… was taller than me and made me do a stretching exercise with him. I’m not elastic… I couldn’t follow the movement and bones and muscles snapped.
The Burma Bridge didn’t look so difficult… everybody was doing it! Plus the zip at the end looked so much fun!
- me too! Me too!
My good sense laughed at me:
“You can’t. Back pain… remember? Health insurance, remember? Vertigos… remember? Hello? Hello out there!”
- Shut up… if I were to follow you all the time I’d be an accountant now. I’d be in Italy and probably sick or dead.
The view from the platform was beautiful. The trees had green barks, because the humidity and the fog caused microorganism of musk to grow enveloping the trunks. The ground was deep red orange. Damn’ color and design class… the first thing I thought was:
- Uhm…. Complementary colors: blue green and red orange.
The air was crisp and everything looked so sharp. I don’t remember how I got up there…. I remember I wanted to go down the zip at any cost. It looked like fun! The only thing I could think of was that at the end of the bridge there was the zip. Unfortunately… there was the platform too. Then and there my ear debris decided to tickle my labyrinth bone again… the platform was shrinking and I could feel the void under my feet. I swear I could see my shoes growing huge!
“Ha ha – laughed my good sense – you forgot you freaked out on the Eiffel Tower! Now what?”
Well there still was the zip. I smiled and jumped down. Okay, I still wish the guy in charge of the zip told me the rope wasn’t elastic…. The jump whipped my back and I was suddenly shouting from: Jeronimo…. To Painfuuuuul!
Man, I’m too old for these kinds of things. I barely walked back to the bus with my classmates. I went to bed with a cup of chamomile tea, that night.
Still I proved a little something to myself, that day. I’m not as brave as many other persons… if my life is not endangered. However, I can force my stupid body to do things it would never ever do. Mostly if there’s something awaiting at the end of the trial…. That is really really worth the try. It was like seeing a summary of my whole life: body weak, spirit strong, and mind lazy. I take forever to take a decision but when I do I never go back, no matter what the consequences. So I go along, dragging this stupid body of mine, fighting with the good common sense and choosing hard paths, maybe. I go to bed with a cup of chamomile tea most of the time. But, what the heck, I only have a life to live…. And you should see the smile on my face when I go to sleep.

My body is lazy: It doesn’t like to train for fitness nor for fun. But it can carry trays with six main courses on it, for need, and lift a 350-kg table for rage.

My body is the home of “me”: We can have some pretty good times together. We both are scared of pain… surprisingly not of dying…. More surprisingly we don’t fear living either. This is when we get to have the best time of our life!

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

By now one would be wondering why such a weird title for my blog....

The Mouse is, of course, The Mouse: Mickey Mouse.

I was obsessed with Disney most of my life... I worked in two Parks and a Disney Store and was truly happy for as long as it lasted. Disneyland Paris is a magnificent theme park, very elegant, nicely done, with a parade that has no rival : the most ambitious and fancy I've ever seen in a disney park. Believe me the parade in the other magic kingdom (DisneyWolrd and Disneyland California) don't compare.

Disneyworld was simply huge and there were so many things to do! One and a half year I worked for the parks and they brainwashed me good... or actually they did not need to cuz I was in it up to my neck! he he he...

I still say: the Mouse is my master... and fight against the Pooh party!
How can you prefer that evil bear to the master?

Of course my true love is Goofy, he is my ideal husband: tall, dark and handsome with large pants. Also what I like is... that nothing really touches him and he goes about life with no knowledge of pain: he is like a buddha!

Needless to say I went on the Disney Cruise Line too... he he he... and I did not want to leave the ship.

Of course the latest Disney movies have revealed themselves quite disappointing... I am a big fan of old stuff like: 101 dalmations, aristocats, jungle book, robin hood, sword in the stone.... Common denominator the director: Wolfgang (Woolie) Reitherman. Second coincidence... Reitherman... is Goofy (directed this charactr in many short and u can consider him his dad)! Of course he directed my beloved Sleeping Beauty that sweeps me off my feet everytime I see it and makes me wish I were the pretty princess with such a (can I say it? ) hot prince singing in my ear. Let's face it: Philip is the real thing!!!! He is the stuff real prince-charmings should be made of... as of today I can't think of a coolest guy in Disney animation: he knows what he wants, no doubt about it, and fight for it (he is the only one who killed a villain)! Am I wrong?

Except for Emperor's new groove that reminded me so much of those funny movies... and Lilo and Stich which I found very pretty but did not impress me (I only watched it once... when I like a movie I can watch it six times in a row: my record is still the Iron Giant, with a 17 consecutive times - thanks to cartoon network for the marathon!)... Mulan was adorable... but...

God what was the need for Treasure Planet where TItan A.E. had already failed with the same story? (let's avoid a discussion about Atlantis, please, spare me!)

The story is most important thing. No matter how good animation is, if the story sucks... animation won't save the movie. On the contrary a good story makes nice to watch a not very nicely animated film...

My oh my, after reading about what disney is going through right now I came to think: should I wash that mouse right out of my head? (this line is straight out of South Pacific he he)

Can you do that with true love?

Never etch in stone something you won't be sure about for the rest of your life. Although I felt hurt, I am not sure I can forget about my passion for the Big Cheese... I am very sorry and I hate what's going on... I am angry.... but I wish for the Mouse to rise again from his ashes... like a phoenix.

Uncle Walt, are you spinning in your grave under the Pirate of the Caribbean's attraction?

Oh, well, I guess I will wonder for a long time..... never etch in stone.... never say never....

Sunday, November 23, 2003

My friend Art wrote a story... as a profile for a dating site... I liked it so I put it up here. What I like of the narration is the rhythm and the switching from rigmarole to... rap like rhymes. Of course.... the Wink at the end refers to the wink you get in the website... how funny:

Once upon a time, there was a scarecrow named
Scarecrow. Just so you crows know, he was a
man-scarecrow. As far as scarecrows would go, he
wasn't your average joe. He was stuffed with premium
straw, he had an aluminum horseshoe for a jaw. His
eyes were checkers, one black, one red, he had a thick
sack of burlap for a head. A smile was stitched into
his face, it woulda been wider, but they ran out of
space. He sported a baseball cap that was clean,
because it was thrown away by some brat that didn't
like the team. To keep him warm, and to protect from
the weather, he wore an old letterman sweater, gloves
and boots of leather. His pants were old sweats, and
least I forget, the sweater's letter was A, the first
in line, what can I say? And to make it all complete,
he had hair from the tail of a pony, no baloney, tied
back to keep it neat. They hung Scarecrow up on an ol'
maypole, to guard a field of wheat, which grew for
acres beneath his feet. The farmer whispered him a
blessing when no one was looking, "Keep the crows
guessing, let no stalk end up tooken." And with that
for a year, Scarecrow did his job well, all the crows
fled in fear, as if under a spell. And every bright
day, Scarecrow gazed at the sky, one might say he was
lonely, though his head still was high. But deep in
the straw that stuffed his heart, he wished the crows
wouldn't just caw, then up and depart. Maybe, thought
he, just a few, two or three, or even just one would
stay, be his chum. He wanted to ask them so many
questions, did they really like wheat, did they take
flying lessons? If they didn't eat wheat, then what
did they poop, the big ugly splotch on the toe of his
boot? One night he heard from the beak of a bird, that
there was a party, to be thrown by the crows. So you
know how it goes, he climbed down off the maypole, on
quiet tip toes. For the first time in his life, he was
free to just flee, but the wide vast world was no
temptation for he.

So determined, so patient for the crow's destination,
he ran like a demon, inside he was screamin! So
excited to finally put a rest to his stress, to talk
to them only, he wouldn't be lonely, he'd share some
crow cake, conversations he'd make, and smoke some
crow dope, you know, some crow drugs! And if the
police came and poked, he'd give each cop a hug. Okay
fantasy's great, but one slight problem, fate stepped
in, like a mean old goblin. His sweat pants were
loose, and with each step that he took, the straw was
shook loose, though he stopped not to look. By the
time he had made it to the edge of the wheat, he had
no pants for his legs, no boots for his feet. In fact,
he found he had no legs at all, stumbling to the
ground, on his elbows he crawled. The once plump and
proud Scarecrow was thinning and saggy, dropping straw
from his sweater, now dusty and baggy. Till finally he
stopped, to use his head, "If I don't tie a knot,
pretty soon I'll be dead!" So he reached down to the
base of his sweater, but I'm sorry to say, that things
got no better. His gloves came loose, and there went
his hands, in a loose pile of straw and a few rubber
bands. And what happened next, what would you expect,
except that this head fell off from his neck. And
there, in pieces he lays to this day, barely traveled
a mile, but still stitched in the burlap is that
stubborn old smile. Oh Scarecrow, oh Scarecrow, how
can you still grin, you're mortally wounded, this game
you can't win? And what's my reply to such a skeptical
guy? Look up in the sky, the crows are nigh. They fly
to the wheat and their party's complete, with the
scarecrow gone, they can feast until the dawn. But
before they go, they thank me, you know. Of my
bountiful gift they smile and they think, to give my
spirits a lift, they fly to me and WINK. ;)

by Art Swensons (the 3rd)

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

I went back home to Italy... for a month in september.... ha ha ha.... funny, this is the email I wrote to my friends the first day I got there.

the flight went fine... until they tried to feed me.. dog poo... with spicy sauce and garlic... and I went
berserk on the plane and called the stewardess names... and they had to give me shots of coffee to
put me to sleep... (all true except the calling names part... hehehehe)...

for sure Delta used to be cooler... it was horrifying this time around.

when I landed... as soon as I got out of the plane... at the Fiumicino airport... I wanted to go back.. everybody with cell
phones... all these weird people speaking this funny "aò aò" language but all dressed up nicely like in a gap
catalog... the cultural shock was too much. I passed out.

anyway... before I could reach my way out of the airport.... I fell on my back... on my very heavy back pack like a
turtle... I was in the ladies room... I was spinning on my back like a dying turtle... yelling Help help...
a lady looked at me, got scared and ran away... I manage to survive.... and went to meet my dad...
who of course proposed (right away) for me to find a job in italy in a italian animation studios and make money here
(which is per se a contraddiction... cuz they would turn me into a hamster with pencil and feed me
sunflower seed - and not chocolate coated ones!).

but when I reached home it felt nice... I broke the shower (I pulled it down from the wall with an involuntairly strong yank) while trying to regulate the water.... ... my mum has decided to taked advantage of it and is going to redo the bathroom soon.

we went for groceries... and I faced realities... I met a few people who used to be really nasty to me
when I was a kid, talking nicely to me and remembering "cool stuff" about me, (as if it was my funeral and
everybody tries to say something nice)... about how much they liked me and how "different " I always
was... and of course I smiled and was really kind to them while inside of my head I was
thinking: you stink... you gave me a horrible adolescence... and now you are all nice to
me!!! so I would just say: really? I never realized you liked me (they never acted like they did)
That's what you get for saying: Oh, I dun live in italy anymore I live in San Francisco!
that's when I realized where I was... so I've decided to drown my infuriated self in a drink: I got me a
lemonsoda and five slices of pizza (that I paid like 80 cents each.... - die you guys!!! hehehehe)a gelato,
a huge buffalo mozzarella and another gelato.
now as my family watches a stupid Italian soap opera... and switch back and forth (during commercial)
with Star wars dubbed in italian... I am on the other tv watching futurama in italian... where bender sounds
like he is gay (no offense I mean... the fake gay, those very annoying ones)!!! and frie is way too intelligent...
oh... leela is... laala... duh!

it's too much, I'll have nightmare (also due to the ammount of food my dad won't stop putting in my plate)
you guys will be in it... and that will make me happier... now I have to go get watermelon... so I
will be sure I will not sleep... uh... jet lag is kickin innnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.


Tuesday, August 05, 2003


Interview with Brad Bird:

Q: How do you begin a story or approach a story in regards to plot, characters, and structure? What is your process?

A: No two stories are alike and therefore the journey of making any two stories is not the same. The [Ray Gunn] idea began while listening to a song that sounded like Peter Gunn, the theme song from the private detective show that Henry Mancini did. It starts out sounding like the B52's Planet Claire. My thought process when I first heard it was, this sounds like Peter Gunn and I thought, no, no it sounds like Ray Gunn because it's kind of futuristic. So then I started thinking Ray Gunn, that's cool. What would Ray Gunn be? Well, he's a private detective but it's the future. What would it be like if you made a film that was set in the future as seen from the 1930's? And then I started developing the story from there but that happened just listening to a song.
There are other times when you start with the ending. You might think, wow, a great ending would be [your idea] and you work backwards from the ending.
Then there are times where you think about character. First you think about the personality and then you think about what kind of situation would bring out this personality and you invent the story around that. To me stories are like snowflakes; no two are alike.

Q: It starts with one spark of your imagination and the rest just builds around that?

A: Yeah, it's kind of a series of decisions that you're constantly adding to and subtracting from, and you're always taking your best guess at to what it means. The majority of the time your guesses are wrong and you keep plucking stuff away; it's a series of adding and subtracting. Ultimately you end up with all the additions and subtractions equaling a story.
Some things seem vitally important when you start developing a story. For instance, there may be one scene that seems to be the most important at an early stage, but later on you find other scenes carry the same amount of weight as the one you thought of as indispensable, and you suddenly realize the story has outgrown that scene’s usefulness. It's weird because when you started, that scene may have been the reason that you did the film. But even as the film grows and changes, sometimes--not always--the first important thoughts stay in the film. Sometimes that scene ends up not being the point of the film. The film goes somewhere else and that scene you were used to thinking of as one of the corners of the building is now meaningless; it doesn't hold any weight at all. And you have to be awake to that; you cling to it and the scene may not be supported.
There are things that I threw out of Iron Giant that I loved and hung onto almost to ...the movie was clearly telling me I didn't need these scenes and I was like NO, you must have this scene because I want to see it! It's wonderful to be selfish about that but sometimes you have to cut off a pinky so the patient can survive.

Q: Along the same lines would be character development. Can a character grow from an idea alone?

A: Yes, those two things compliment each other. You try to find situations that bring out the most in a character and you're also trying to find a character that makes the most out of a given situation. For a while I was working on *Curious George and it became almost a film school problem-solving exercise. Here you have this thin book-- there's really not a lot to it-- it's charming but...who is the man in the yellow hat really? He's just a guy in a yellow hat. He doesn't have any personality or even a reason for being. So now you have to make this an hour-and-a-half, two hour-long movie. What do you do to make it interesting?
I started with the idea of curiosity, what is the opposite of curiosity? It's a guy who feels like he's figured it out; he's got everything solved, his life is going the way he thinks it should go, he's with the woman he thinks he should be with. And then you put a monkey that represents curiosity in there--because he's somebody who's not curious. You force him to deal with unpredictable stuff and if you force unpredictability upon a guy who's totally predictable--one of the first scenes I wrote for the movie was him coming into a restaurant to order and the waitress giving him crap because he orders the same thing every morning and he doesn't want to change it even though they have lots of other items on the menu. So he's a guy who's dictated by routine and then you put him together with something that's never does anything twice and it's completely running wild. That's a situation that you can build from. What kind of woman would that guy choose? And what kind of family would that woman have? You keep adding to the world.

* Curios George was a screenplay Brad wrote for a live action film. They opted to make it an animated movie and his script was never used.

Q: What do you think are the main differences between storytelling for a feature film and storytelling for television?

A: Ultimately it's the same thing but a better, or more relevant, question might be "what is the length of the piece?" There's not much difference between a two-hour TV movie and a Feature Film in terms of the story, art and characters. One is made for the small screen--there will be commercial breaks and you'll have to pick where the breaks should be had so they don’t disrupt the rhythm. It's the equivalent of a page-turner--like a Michael Crichton book--the last thing in a chapter is something like ‘and then he opened the door and was shocked by what he saw' and then you have to read the next page. That's what they do before a commercial break so the audience stays with you. The movies are filled with those moments; you just don't have commercials.

The bigger difference is between telling a story in a half hour, telling it in an hour and telling it in two hours. The rhythms become exponentially more complicated with the amount of time. A seven-minute cartoon usually is pretty simple, or a short film. Usually simplicity is the key. You get it to a half-hour and the rhythms become a little more complicated. You actually have the three-act structure but the acts are very simple. You get to hour-and-a-half, two-hour movies and it's much harder to figure out the rhythms.
When a rhythm is off, often times the solutions are more difficult to find. Sometimes an act will feel like it's too long and it may not be too long; it may be that the stuff before it isn't adequately setting it up but it feels too long because you don't know certain things you need to know in order to recognize it. In other words the problem is not always where it seems to be, where you find yourself fidgeting or something like that. It isn't always that the problem is the place where you start to feel the problem. The problem might be in Act I--there is a scene in the movie The Incredibles where two characters are having a fight and everyone found the scene harsh because a man and woman were fighting and the man was much bigger than the woman. So they kept saying, “You have to change the dialogue.” I kept looking at the dialogue going, “No, that's exactly what I want to say. “ I found out that there was a physical solution to the problem; if I had the woman not look like she was backing down from the fight, suddenly the problem evaporated and I didn't change one word of the dialogue.
Sometimes the problem is not where people think it is. Everyone was telling me the dialogue is too harsh there, but what was harsh was the characters physicality. If I changed that, then with the same dialogue and the same exact recording, it was fine. So it becomes: the larger the problem is, the more elusive the problem solving is.

Q: What in your opinion are the limitations in storytelling?

A: They mostly have to do with two things, one is length--you cannot spend as much time in movies as you can with written word--you know two hours is a short length to tell a story. Gone With the Wind is--I don't know how many pages long--and the movie is a long movie but at four hours they're leaving out a lot. So one of the main things is length. A lot of people are getting into doing things for television so they can tell longer stories in more detail. But the biggest problem--not limitation, problem--movies have that books don't in terms of story, is internal thoughts. Being able to deviate from the story line to tell a detail. You know Faulkner would sometimes stop and start describing the door for maybe a page or two and in a movie if you stop to describe the door people would think you were insane. You also can't do internal thoughts very well. You can do a voiceover but you still have to keep those--people generally frown on them because if you don't do them well their a really cheap device--you have to keep them very short. You can't go on and on and on, and ‘remember last Tuesday?’ and all this stuff. The problem is creating action, showing things instead of telling them, figuring out ways to show things and not tell them.

Q: Did you have a mentor? If yes, who was it and how did this person most influence your life/career.

A: I would say I've had several mentors and they were all different and they weren't all in art. One of them was a football coach I had. He was kind of a hippy and football is very sort of military. You know you do this, here's your formation and your objective is this and blah, blah, blah. This guy was a hippy who had a van with a bed in the back of it and I didn't ask but he was probably firing up at night.
He had an absolutely Zen approach to football which worked tremendously well for me. I had an unbelievably great season and it was because this guy thought outside of the box. He saw my natural stance was something besides the academically correct stance and instead of forcing me into the academic stance he looked at me and asked "What if you did this?" He made my natural way of doing it more effective.
That is something I've tried to bring into filmmaking as far as working with talent. Rather than forcing everyone to do it one-way, I try to look at what is working about what their doing and then how to make that more effective. I learn from that, too.

Another mentor was a Disney Master Animator named Milt Kahl. He is one of Disney's “nine old men” and he was known as being a very difficult, opinionated, vocal, cantankerous, egotistical, impossible guy and I got along great with him and have tremendous respect for him. He treated me seriously at an age where very few adults do. He taught me to set my standards really, really high and then not let go until I got close to them.
Another mentor was a drawing teacher in high school. His theory was that if something was working but it was a little out of control, to just let it happen. Again, he didn't force too much order into it; it was all about letting life pop up.
My mom was also tremendously supportive, not a mentor in the classical teaching a trade sense.

One of the most important things is having high standards and also understanding that things pop up--don't be blind to them, things that are unplanned pop up. Embrace unpredictability rather than fight it.

Isn't this what I keep repeating to people all the time? So why is that I am always so good at giving advices but never apply them to myself? Wow...

I am glad I did not chicken out on this... look at the results... I've had my own half an hour mentor... and although I never spoke to him I feel as if he knew I needed a boost or something... this is such a coincidence!

So it is true, after all, that nothing is not impossible if you really put yourself to it... I got it: Impossible is not English!!! hehehehe

Friday, July 25, 2003

Brad Bird... I took some notes on him from old interviews...:

- Adult... adult comicity in cartoons also for kids... I think ppl underestimate who goes to the movies and that adults are the one to bring kids in the movie teathers and they deserve to laugh as well.

- I think any innovations are accidental, rather than a result of trying to break new ground.

- Our generation is deathly afraid of being corny to the point where we're sarcastic about everything. It's much, much easier to maintain that distance from your heart. I don't think you can ever get to an audience on a certain level unless you roll the dice and risk looking really foolish. I think you've got to open your heart and basically risk being a fool.

- I'm interested in showing that animated films are films first, and animation second,We want to have something for adults, as well as children. Animation is storytelling. Storytelling can be anything.

- It's also like the old Walt Disney films, in that they had moments of quiet and moments that were very character-based. Slower-paced moments as well as faster-paced moments.

These are the things he said that impressed me the most... these are the questions I want to ask him:

What kind of studies he does of his characters. (does he do writing exercises, like stream of consciousness, psychological studies or does he base them on people he knows. Does he feel they should be likeable at all time to satisfy the public’s opinion?)

If he follows a structure pragmatically.

If chooses plot based stories over character based stories.

What does he think are the main differences between storytelling for film and animation (although I have a feeling he considers animated film as regular films first! Should a story work all the time? It must a story good enough for every media)

If he approaches writing a story for a short film and feature length in different ways.

Where does he think a limitation to “be out of the box” should be set and if he ever set limitations to his own being “out of the box”.
How different it is to write from TV and Film (except that on TV the characters are already set up, if he can sees other differences in the main structure)

Ultimately I’d like to know if he had a mentor… WHO WAS HIS MENTOR? How did he influence his life? His career? Is he still in touch with his mentor?

PLEASE ANSWER ME MR. BIRD!!! I am in a slope with my script now... I need to remember what I forgot!!!

I need a few magic words to put me back on track... somewhere between learning and applying myself I lost of sight my goal.

Something very funny happened to me. My my Screenwriting 2 teacher asked us to write about our favorite writers. So I just dropped a couple of lines about P.G. Wodehouse (to say it with the words of another writer I like: I dont' know if I read Wodehouse because I have sense of humore or if I have sense of humor because I read Wodehouse), then I put Alan Ball, screenwriter of American Beauty (whose structure I love beyond belief), of course I had to write about Brad Bird.

I did not put them in this order... of course Brad Bird came first. The week after my teacher told us to write a letter and send it to these 3 people to ask them to be our half an hour mentor. Well, Wodehouse is dead, Ball... I could not find his aaddress so, unlike many of my classmates, I only send one letter, this one:

Dear Mr. Bird,

I know you must be “incredibly” busy, at the moment, and I’ll try not to take too much of your time. My name I Deborha Daniele, I’m Italian and I came all the way to the United States to study storyboarding and screenwriting. That’s what I did for the past three years, I graduated in Spring but I;m left with my last class for this summer and as a requirement for this class, without which they will not let me graduate, I have to find me a mentor.

I’m aware the idea might sound a little “peculiar” to you but I’m asking you to be mine. When the instructor proposed the assignment I thought the heat got her bad, but then she told me that a few years earlier she managed to have Jane Campion mentoring her during the making of “Portrait of a lady” so I thought: why shouldn’t I get me a Brad Bird myself? Beside she said if I don’t do this she is going to whip me like cream, put me on an ice-cream and eat me without sprinkles on the top… now that’s another good incentive to me. The plus is: I want to graduate and I want to graduate alive.

Now getting serious: the reason why I chose you is a little funny. A few years ago I went to see a random movie with friends, I was late and entered the theater during a shark attack sequence. After yelling in horror for the following ten minutes, my friends were so kind to kick me out of there, since my legs wouldn’t move. I ended up sitting in another movie theater, and I didn’t leave until that late afternoon, after watching three consecutive shows of the same movie. The movie was: The Iron Giant.
Back then I didn’t know why you film moved me so much and felt so right… I only knew I wanted to be superman!

So many times in life people chose what I wanted to be… they chose. I was a chef, a swimming trainer, a restaurant hostess, a waitress, a musical director, a composer, a playwriter… but I never fit, I was like a piece of puzzle with a crocked corner. I don’t know if you’ve ever felt that way, I only know I had to make up the most incredible stories to get out those roles… and that’s how I started telling stories to people.

Today, if anybody asks me why I want to be a storyteller, I can only come up with one answer: I was a phenomenal liar! So here I am, now, to a point whereby I finally chose what I want to be… and I only need someone else to acknowledge it. In the past three years I’ve had a chance to learn and grow, produce my own stories, animate them. My last short film is a stop motion project called “Ugly Duck” and won the Academy of Art animation film festival as best stop motion film.

If you need any other background information about me you can ask Rob Gibbs, at Pixar, I was his student for two years (he knows me as Deda). He will tell you that, aside from the fact I have a thing for pirates and I wear a bandana all the time, I am a perfectly normal pizza loving Italian girl.

My request to you is very simple: all I need are three, ten-minutes phone call conversations with you by August 1st, 2003. Of course we can schedule this conversations at you convenience, according to your schedule, and I really hope this request of mine will not sound too inopportune to you.
Looking forward to your reply,

Yours truly,

Deborha Daniele

Well, funny enough his assistant called me a couple of days ago and asked me to prepare the questions I want to ask him...


What should I tell her? She is like the guardian to the treasure... if my reply to her is not good enough I will screw up this opportunity!
I want to talk to Brad Bird... yes... to ask him what? what the hell do I know?

"What do you want to aks to the person you want to talk the most Deda?"

I want to know so many things about story.... how did he come up with the script... how much of the script was in the book (for Iron Giant) and how much he decided to change?

I must read the book first.
let me go find it... I will take notes too....

Sunday, June 29, 2003


I am very fond of animation... all kind. I must confess I grew up watching the regular stuff on Tv: Anime and Disney.

In Italy anime arrived in the mid seventies... the most famous ones were about robots... or orphans.
I must confess when I talk about those series with my Japanese friend, they laugh at me, cuz I remember such obsolete stuff! Sugoi! he he he... Some of them don't even know what I am talking about because they weren't born yet!

Some of the anime main title songs were completely translated and adapted in Italian... it once happen to me to go Karaoke with my friend... and we ended up singing the same song: them in Japanese me in Italian. It's hilarious! Of course with time Italians built a whole industry around anime... and had their own composers and singers.... one of which is my idol Cristina D'Avena. There I said it: I love her! It's my trashy side, I like certain types of trash culture, it belongs to pop culture and is a sign of our times.

I would consider her as a popular culture icon. Most intelligent people despises her, children love her... I once was about to tell her: I grew up singing your songs... to soon realize she was not much older than me... or at least she did not look that old!!!

Anyway never say that to someone you like... I would never tell Harrison Ford, I had a crush on you when I was a child, that would make him feel old... and I still love my Indy very much.

Going back to anime, I was so otaku (big fan) of anime that my passion soon led me to reading manga. I collect manga more than any other kind of comics, I have over 255 titles in my archive, and over 1500 tankoboun in several languages! I sometimes prefer the "paper" version of a story than its animated version. If I really like a story under any circumstances I would have it in both formats... plus some extra stuff, I guess.

I like old manga and anime: on one hand they remind me of my childhood and on the other hand it is interesting how ideas are not etched in stones and that a whole society can think one thing and its exact opposite just in a matter of a few years. Take Osamu Tezuka, for example, some of his character would not be considered politically correct and he would use words like negro, yankee, and very offensive stereotypes of Frenchmen, Spaniards and Italians too. Nowadays, when they publish his works the publisher has to put a disclaimer or explain what was going through this man's mind at the time he was writing the story. Most people would find him offensive, I think it's amazing how mankind way of thinking about certain things change and set a standard for the times: we are now living in the age of echology, vegetarians, politically correct and so forth. When I was a child, recycling garbage was not even contemplated!!!!!

I love Tezuka, the way his characters are always so true to themselves, the way he describes how everyone is black and white, good and evil and no one is safe from tempations, mistakes, fall and selfdestruction. Most of his manga are as dense and heavy as a real book, with all the narrative elements in the right place. The 3 Adolf is paragonable to me to Art Spiegelman's Mauss (a comic who won the pulitzer price)... if you can give it a shot, try some of his manga... he is also very funny. Not to mention that Black Jack is absolutely amazing: you know something? Tezuka was a real doctor!!! Myabe he wanted to be Black Jack.

I will talk about my favorite mangaka (artists) in the future... and about anime too... now I need to write down a list of anime I want to download...

First of all I wanna finish d/l the rest of Slayers (which I already have in Italian but I wanna see in Japanese). After that I want to see if I can find really old anime...

slayer (try/ next)
sailor moon (five series)
ultra maniac
last exile... maybe
Himechan no ribon
versailles no bara
glass no kamen
majo no jouken (this is a tv show)

Kazaa is so slow... and I am not good with bit torren either.... uffi...

will update the list later!


Being myself a pure pirate... and the captain of this ship, a log is most required.

I am not the kind of person who keeps a log, actually, but navigation always requires some osrt of record of the journey, otherwise there would be no proof that navigation exists and lands have been discovered.
It is important for the journey to be smooth, that's wishful thinking I know, butthe waves or the bumps on the road should not stop us from following a star and find a new bay or a new harbor to dock our ship and rest before we sail again.

Well, enough with the sailing metaphors... the Journey is the destination.

I don't actually believe people would ever bother to go and read someone else's blog... then again there's always the nosy kind... (I am a curious person too). If you want to stick with this log you will learn a lot about me, my journey and my destination... oh I could so write a book about it.

Instead I will write a log.