Posts Tagged ‘dodge college’

Shots from a shoot

July 16, 2014

I worked background (as a film extra) last night, on a feature film shooting night for day in an LA coffeeshop. Now anyone who’s ever worked as cast on a film set knows you spend most of your time waiting to be called to set, and we were stationed on the sidewalk to make space for the shooting and setups inside. So I divided my energy between wandering around taking pictures of what I could find in a 30 foot radius, and reading a novel called Jamesland (pretty good, if you like stories about messed up women) on my kindle.

The great thing about Beverly Blvd is it’s paradise for sign-bloggers. Stenciling has taken off, and is very hard to remove from pavements. Obscure alterations dot traffic signs. And there’s always someone with a lost dog or something weird to sell you or tell you.

A stencil on the ground shows a guy reading a book, but it looks like he's peeing. In the background, a member of the cast takes a break.

A stencil on the ground shows a guy reading a book, but it looks like he’s peeing. In the background, a member of the cast takes a break.


Stingers curled around a cool stencil saying “Publish Enemies”. It’s a viral (probably illegal, but I’d bet the fine is less than doing it legally) campaign for a comics / TV brand you can follow on Twitter as @publishenemies


“Sheep needs a facelift. Draw here.” I think personally, I’d rather be a live sheep than a dead crosswalk activist. But I’ve seen mothers using their kids and babies in strollers as human shields to jay-walk, so perhaps I’m just not as trendy as they are.



I am convinced this is a joke. But in Hollywood, you really never know. All I can say is that if this dog is “like their child” I hope we never have to watch the live birth video of its exit from the vaginal canal, because that would be gross.


Found another day, just up the road. I actually spotted this guy (without any dogs) a few days later.

Found another day, just up the road. I actually spotted this guy (without any dogs) a few days later. He looks happy, but not like the type to wear pearls or care about cash.



Grumpy Cat says more money should go towards providing shelters for homeless animals, but Republican cats think this will only encourage more cats to be homeless. Snapped on La Brea on the way home from set at 6am.

As massive as LA is, as huge a hub as it is for the film business, I was struck by how small it was when I arrived on set to discover that half the crew (including the Cinematographer) were from Chapman too, and the producer was South African. You can always tell when a set is full of Chapman alumni because of the singing and friendliness that comes with the hard work and long hours. And despite any gripes I may have against the school, I say that with some pride in my former film school.

LA: How is this is not as good as it gets?

March 3, 2011

I drove to LA for a meeting yesterday morning. I felt like a real screenwriter. You know, driving to LA with a pitch to meet a director in a coffeeshop. On too little sleep. Let’s just say it – it felt real and unreal.

I feel a rising excitement as I get closer to LA, as the grafitti and wall art gets more sophisticated, as the drivers get ruder and the smog gets thicker.

The thrill is still not quite gone.

And sure, it might not work out (thought the meeting went well) but I’m just enjoying this. This is the time when, even if I’m consumed by panic, there’s still time to dream. Everything could still be perfect. And LA is a wonderful place to dream because in LA, a dreamer is never alone, although not every dreamer can afford the coffee.

"I promise you are not just a waitress" - a poster stuck to an electricity box opposite a french bistro staffed by suspiciously attractive waitrons who are probably, actually, actors.

I sat next to two old guys. They were discussing something one of them had written. On the left, two women gave each other notes on a screenplay. A few tables down, two Americans had an intelligent political discussion about Libya. Then went back to discussing a movie they’d like to make. Dreams, dreams, dreams, everywhere here.

If I’ve learned anything in the last four years is that nothing – no matter how wonderful or how terrible – is impossible. I could… find love? Maybe when I’m not looking for it, cause like, I need it like I need a hole in the head. Another hole in the head. It’s possible.

My fellow-blogger Dorothy Black ( collects pictures of "random hearts". Here's one I photographed. Spotted on the floor of a coffeeshop in Vermont Ave., Hollywood.

Or I could wind up a struggling screenwriter, working somewhere, writing something, living in a small but beautiful apartment in an area with really good fish tacos within walking distance.

I could live here. I'm a single.

Or they might send me home to South Africa, where I could… write that movie nobody here ever sees. Or that movie that wins a foreign movie Oscar. Same thing really – except then South Africans won’t watch it either.

Or... they say the sky's the limit. What was once in that building that's now leased as storage? Who's the latest porno superstar at Adultcon? And where are all these cars going to? What new building is that orange cement mixing truck mixing cement for?

I guess I hung around for a while. I bought three different colors of nail laquer so that I could paint all my nails different colours. Then I left. And on the way, I passed this writing on the wall: THIS IS NOT AS GOOD AS IT GETS.

Right now, just being near this alleyway leading to a dumpster excites me.

Lost among the headshots on a film school notice board – someone’s famous secret

February 25, 2011

As all great acting teachers will tell you, doing nothing is serious business. I struggle with these 10-minute breaks they give us at film school. Ten minutes isn’t enough time to actually do anything or go anywhere. But it’s just enough time to wonder whether you should be being productive. I guess people need to pee, and get coffee from the machine, but I don’t see why we all have to do it at the same time.

Any case, I was doing nothing earlier today, in the Actor/Director class interval… Interval! It’s exactly like in interval at the theatre, in which you always just enough time to queue in the insufferable crush of overly-perfumed ladies and pontificating trendies to order a coffee and not enough time to drink it. Except now it’s undergrad directors, who’re always, always short a quarter at the vending machine. Why? Why not a dollar? Or a dime? Always a quarter.

What do you do when you have nothing to do at a party? You stare at the bookshelves. Well there aren’t any in the Dodge College Film School corridors. So instead, I read the notice boards. And tonight, something caught my eye.

I'm like this, except with boyfriends.

Hidden amid the headshots from actors hoping to break in or built their reel, the out-of-date posters for extra expensive courses like the trip to Cannes, the ads for rooms to let and cars to buy… a famous secret, on a postcard. If you turn it over, you get this.

Actors... they're everywhere here in California, but unfortunately not all of them are real. The event happened in December and I could kick myself for missing it.

Turns out it was also an out of date advert. But there was something about seeing it when I’d just come from an acting class, and while surrounded by pictures of actors. The weirdest thing I’ve learned about acting is not how hard it is (it’s really hard) or how much I now respect actors (I really do). The weirdest thing I’ve learned is that though it’s all about portraying other people, most great actors find out how to do this by knowing themselves better. A painful process. And it takes a lot more than a haircut to make it look natural. It takes rediscovering your own experiences and yes, your own secrets, and using them to make feelings for others.

Go to for more – it’s one of my favourite blogs, full of great ideas for short films, and a place where everybody gets their five minutes of infamy without ever getting found out.

The professor I’m learning the little I know about acting from is the awesome Tony Spiridakis.

Some final films of the fall semester at Dodge College, Chapman

December 18, 2010

The pros and cons of movie making… what I learned from the last month of filming all our final projects.

How many filmmakers does it take to change a light bulb? Depends on the gaffer, I guess.

Well let’s start with the cons: You can never control the results as much as you’d like to. The hours are long, and always longer than you expect. You don’t get to sleep. Creative egos are bound to lead to clashes. And technical stuff will always trip you up at the very last minute. So, nothing I’m not used to from working as a journalist!

The pros make all the cons worth it: The end result of what you made with other people is better than anything you could do alone. It doesn’t matter how long filming or editing or writing takes, because you love every minute of it. Sleep is overrated, unless you have nothing better to do. Creative egos challenge you to do your best. Technology allows amazing new things to be done every day, reviving that sense of wonder you had as a kid.

I took a whole bunch of photos of signs, but I’m sure you’d rather watch movies than look at photos. So I’ll post links to those I was involved with. And a few I just happen to think are really good, too.

Mine – Steal My Heart
I wrote, directed, edited and produced this – on a $30 budget. But I could not have done that without the help of my amazing cinematographers, actors, and everyone else who helped me out – all credited. Not bad for a 4.5 hour total shoot time. The editing took a little longer!

John Nodorft – Rifle Ave.
We talked about it a lot, and I co-wrote the screenplay with him. He did what every writer dreams of having done – he made it happen even better than I could have imagined. He is now my hero forever.

Ezra Lunel – Lucky Guys
Very much a work in progress. But I love what he’s doing with this so far. He and I workshopped his initial idea in a over coffee. Then he let me go mad writing, gave me frequent and fast feedback, and made me star in the movie at the end. It was great working with him – the actors will back me up here. And the movie was shot by John Nodorft – so it looks fantastic. Designed to be watched full screen.

John McKay – Punchline
Suspect you’ll only be able to watch this if you are his friend on Facebook. I helped write the screenplay, and learned a lot about how collaboration works in the process. Sometimes you got to just let go, and let the director make the final decisions. The results may surprise you.

That’s what I can find. I guess I’ll add others as they show up.

I had nothing to do with these, but I like them

Kennedy Phillips – Autopilot

Daniel McDonald – Sorry I Forgot Our Anniversary

Mike Fitzgerald – Niko and Claudia

Nikolas Passaris

Also liked but can’t embed vimeo on stupid wordpress.

Sarah Wilson Thacker – Freeze Dance

Windsor Yuan – The Day After

Charles J. Gibson – First day

Bruce Meyers – Cousins

Speed, freaks and the thrill of the chase

November 11, 2010

Lights! Camera! Action! Kink! Hot rods! Babes! Elephants! Oscars! Five out of seven ain’t bad.

Shopping for this shit was a mission. Then I still had to sit and sew stuff. The result? Relatively convincing, for a student production. Mrs Bleach, I finally found a use for all the stuff you taught me, although I have to inform you that your washing of my mouth out with soap for swearing was a 100% fucking failure.

It’s the same, every week. I arrive in production class sure that this time I’ve gotten this damn film-making thing right. Usually a couple of people have had a look and given me feedback, which I’ve then implemented in the edit. I’ve tried to avoid the mistakes I made in the past, like making my own puppets, zooming, appearing naked in my own videos or taking instructions literally.

For the chase sequence assignment, I even got real people to act. Vanessa Wolf (a theatre student at Chapman) has quite a lot of experience on films. Whatever’s wrong with my work is nothing to do with her.

Jennifer Wolf is great to work with. I hope she'll let me use her for something again. For the final shot, I said I wanted it to be funny and porno, and asked her to play it straight. And she did it perfectly - without losing dignity.

Ed Moore, a second year director who has helped me more than once before, put me on to her. Then Josh Sheets (yes, his real name) has done some acting and modeling here and there. I met him at the sort-of-wrap-party for Wilt. I thank the power of tequila for the fact that I thought he needed to star in one of my films and asked for his number. Remind me: Who said drugs were bad?

Anyhow, it’s short, but we had under two hours to shoot it and chases are heavy on set-ups, particularly at night when you need to light stuff. Those who’ve wanted to see my car: it is in the movie.

Twisted – Jean Barker
Fixed version – updated 5.28pm on Nov 12.

Apart from directing my own chase, in which I only kind of appear (as the driver of my own Mustang, Sally) I also agreed to act in quite a few. I starred as a Concerned Citizen, A Thief, and a Large Breasted Woman. In the two where I have to run, it’s kinda scary just how much bouncing goes on. This has made me realise I need to lose a few pounds. Not for health reasons – my BMI is fine – but because I’m vain. Why lie about it?

The assignment was different from class to class. In most classes only directing and cine students needed to do the chase, and shot it on 16mm. But in ours we were all made to do it, though the writers, producers and other floozies of film were only required to shoot on digital. This means I’ll probably post another story with the directors’ and cine’s work, as their stuff’s mostly still at Kodak. The videos I appear in have not been posted online… yet.


Andrew Kappel – Jerkins
A cute, sweet, sad, cringe-inducing film about a pre-teen looking for somewhere private to get intimate with a Victoria’s Secret catalogue. John Nodorft – a cine, and someone I hope I get to work with more – shot this one for him. The kid is pretty much a professional actor.

John Nodorft – Mondays are Hell
John shot this awesome battle between the devil and Jesus in both digital and on film. I’ll post the film cut next week. My favourite bit is the last shot… A little behind the scenes info: both actors were extremely hung over. I know this because we were all at the same pre-halloween Halloween party the night before.

I see dreaming people – part III

October 27, 2010

Patrick Bosworth’s video, in which I starred as both a girl crying and a hat with hands, is now live here… I can’t get it to embed properly. But here is the facebook link – take a look. It’s made on the camera I want to buy, which costs much less than it would in South Africa… or, as I see it, the same as the average social smoker spends on cigarettes in a year. Or 20 takeout meals.
You might need to be his friend to watch the video – try though

Many other great ones. But I’m just going to stick to the ones I can embed. So only YouTube… pity vimeo insists on failing to embed on wordpress, and facebook (which people use for privacy reasons, even though they’re signing over rights when they do) is hopeless too.

So that’s just one or two.

Wendy Tzeng’s dream sequence
Wendy was the first person I spoke to at a social event at Chapman – during Dodge College’s various Mixer events. Mixers are parties where you kind of speed date, but without the sex. Usually.

Bethany Burr’s dream sequence
A late addition – some classes did things in a different order. Easily one of the best though. Bethany isĀ  a screenwriter. She and her boyfriend work as a team, with him editing. Gorgeous photography too, by Oliver. District is a bar in Chapman. Popular with undergrads and people who sleep with them.

And previous installments in this series:
i see dreaming people II
i have a dream… you don’t wanna know

Halloween in America: first blud

October 22, 2010

As I cycled home from an early Halloween party tonight, the wind of my speedy traveling made a woooooh woooooh woooooh noise in my ears.

I dressed up as broccoli. It was the scariest thing I could think of. And the cheapest.

Orange, CA… I think I’m falling in love with this nerd of a town. It’s so pretty and quiet. And yet, at certain times of year, it’s the scariest thing in the world. It’s like this one guy I was in love with for a few years. Impossibly beautiful. With a very dark side.

Reminds me of my childhood home. Without the "asylum" part perhaps.

Pretty. Weird. Like goth wedding decor.

Somehow this house is freakier in daytime with the American flag flying next to the ghoul.

I got lost and found this... I kept peddling.

My favourite one of all. This must be made by a film graduate... it's so well done.

In America, pumpkins are scary. Actually Halloween was originally a harvest festival, and people probably actually ate the pumpkin meat. Now apparently it all gets thrown away, which I find more disturbing than any halloween lawn.

Who needs ADT when you got... ME!

The best one I've seen. Not the most elaborate, but it just works so well.

Since Chapman Dodge College film studios students will all be filming their chase sequences soon, I suspect a lot of them will be halloween themed. I know I’d like mine to be. If only I can find a few kids, and drastically improve my broccoli costume… let me know if you have a child going spare.


Walk a mile in her shoes? I’d rather not…

October 17, 2010


I would rather not... other events organised by Chapman include the Underwear Run, in which the undergrads (mostly) run a mile in underwear. I guess it's a good way to figure out who you want to "bone" without having to have a pesky conversation. That's why I didn't go.


One thing I admit about Orange, CA is that although I find it a bit like a large, stuffy closet filled with hamburgers and Republicans at times, I am loving feeling really safe, physically, all the time. Of course, I’ve managed to find ways not to be safe. I would go crazy otherwise – but more about that when I post my next video assignment…

In the meantime, I really appreciate being safe. “Appreciate”, for those of you who don’t yet speak American, is the exact opposite of “I don’t appreciate” which basically means “I would like to stick a heat seeking missile up your ass to check if you have a pulse, you verminous scum, prepare to die”.

If any American you meet, especially a valley girl, says “I really don’t appreciate…” don’t wait for the end of the sentence. Just start running right away.

But aside from this threat, Orange is so safe that when a female student was goosed by a guy of unknown origin – wait for this… a guy on a bicycle with one leg in a splint – campus security sent out a mail to every single student on campus to warn them about the danger of this sexual harassment. I think this is awesome, by the way. This is how it should be. But that guy is really lucky he didn’t try that with me. I’m not saying the girl shouldn’t have been upset, or that she did the wrong thing, but with my sheltered middle class South African background? He’d have been toast. I would have pulled him off his bike, stolen his clothes, made him learn some poetry, and THEN called the cops. Either that, or I would have been dating him for some reason I would later have been unable to fathom.

So to build awareness of the difficulties that modern women face and to fight the burgeoning rate of bike-by fondling in America’s streets, Campus organises a yearly event in which guys have to walk a mile in girls’ shoes. I am glad I’m not a guy, because you couldn’t pay me to walk a mile in those torture devices.

The signs are up all around campus. For a while, I thought actually, this would be cool to do in South Africa. And then I thought uh… no. In Cape Town there are way too many guys going this already (the only reason I can walk in heels is cause a dude taught me). In Joburg you don’t want the guys to find out how hard it is to run away in those things, or to develop a taste for taking yours. And in Durban, nobody would bother to show up.


Yes, this is what you think it is - a piece of the Berlin Wall. I can just hear them: We'll BUY your communist wall!" Actually, it's pretty cool. At first I didn't realise what it was. Then someone mentioned it while giving directions to the hot dog stand. I said "Aha". It was that kinda moment.


Crash, burn, learn, or fly? Taking on Terrible Tuesdays

October 6, 2010

Tuesdays have always been my unlucky day of the week. Mondays could be awful but you expected that. Tuesdays was usually when all hell broke loose. By Wednesday most people give up and break out the beers, or other vice, if they didn’t already foolishly do that Monday. In Cape Town Wednesday is called Kleinvrydag – Small Friday. Then again, Tuesdays are Tequila Tuesdays and Thursdays are phuza Thursdays. And Fridays and Saturdays are also phuza. Actually South Africans are pretty big on the phuza thing. The only nation that drinks more per capita are the Aussies – one thing they always beat us at. Well, that, and that they have even more depressing feminists. The two things may not be unrelated.

Broken telephone... what's the bet this conversation took place on a Tuesday?

Turns out I’m not alone on the Tuesday blues. Perhaps because Tuesday alliterates perfectly with Terrible, or perhaps because this day of the week actually is cursed, musicians agree. Karma, for instance says Fear like this is only made on /Tuesday afternoon. Adam Green was losing on a Tuesday afternoon (the only day on which he wasn’t swearing it seems) and the Moody Blues ruined my entire argument by being all happy on a Tuesday Afternoon – so much for double setup and punchline, arseholes. I guess I could have used 911… That was a Tuesday.

Anyhow, Tuesdays are now the scariest days of my week. This means they’re either the best, or the worst, the day on which I feel like a complete failure, or the day when I feel like maybe, maybe, just maybe, it’s not too late for me to rise and shine. I never know which it’s going to be until I actually lie down and go to sleep. I can’t control how I feel – I’m just too new in town to know how to.

But when that Tuesday in a million works out, I feel the manic high that manic-depressives speak whistfully of, after they get medicated.
And which I deny I’ve ever felt without resorting to drugs I’d never dream of trying not even once, of course. I feel like I can fly. It’s that feeling, that nothing will ever be wrong again, that nothing ever hurt me. Tonight I cycled home in the dark so full of hope that I was singing.

On Tuesdays I have to A) Make it on time to a 10am class, which is hard when your last class finished exactly 12 hours before. My brain takes about four hours to wind down. B) And this is probably actually A), B), and C) be ready for a terrifying, exhilarating, exciting, embarrassing, humiliating, inspiring, and always productive hour one on one with Randal Kleiser, who’s helping me figure out the problems with a screenplay and solve them. He is amazing, but I have nightmares in which he just yawns, and yawns and yawns, until I cry and run out of the room. C) And this is the part that’s always awesome: watch a movie or attend a workshop for the course attached to the Randal Kleiser scholarship thing, called Industry Insiders.

I'm such a dork. A happy dork, though.

Tonight one of the reason why I was whooping while I peddled my red bike home at high speed through the rainy and shiny-black streets of Orange was that I got to watch one of my favourite childhood movies, Flight of the Navigator, on a big screen, and then get a picture taken with the director (who actually knows my name). With the model of the ship! Damn. I’m not the kind of person who has pictures of themselves taken with celebrities. Not because I don’t admire some of them, but because I don’t believe fame rubs off. But this was different. I would never have forgiven myself for missing this chance.

I think I saw this when the person at the ticket office wouldn't let my friend and I into something with an age restriction. It was awesome.

Also the screenplay I’ve been struggling with (and when I say struggling, I mean I shout at the characters: “What the FUCK you do you want, you stupid $%^&!” until they tell me) is suddenly revealing its meaning to me, thanks to the help I’ve had from James Dutcher and class, and the intensive time with Randal Kleiser. And sleepless nights. I’m nowhere near there yet; I can’t tell the story in 30 seconds, but I’m close.

I can almost touch the truth that’s in there, the way you can almost remember a dream, or how to solve a maths puzzle, or yes, I’ll say it, how to fly. I’m convinced all of us think we can when we’re born. After all, we were all weightless in the womb. We spend the rest of our lives either compromising, or finding another way.

(PS, added 10/10/10: While doing my weekly assignment for this class, I discovered that Disney – who dominated the production of the original, specially towards the second half, are remaking the movie – something the blogger who I read wasn’t happy to hear. I am not sure remakes are all bad. Shakespeare’s been remade a stack and everyone thinks that’s kinda cool. Brad Copeland (Arrested Development) is slated two rewrite a bit. But what does worry me is the potential for overuse of CGI. Give me some glue and a handpuppet anyday. How are actors supposed to talk to things that don’t even exist? Just sucks. Let’s hope Disney keep a light hand on that. But I doubt they will.)

Wonderful, Wall-E and… Wankeriffic

October 1, 2010

I’m becoming used to seeing limousines dropping guest speakers at Chapman. But Ralph Eggleston from Pixar blew my mind and made my brain want to bound again. You’ve probably seen his Oscar-winning short, For the Birds, right? How about Toy Story, or The Incredibles (the short on that, Bounding, is brilliant too but not his), or maybe Wall-E?

Presentation at Chapman by Ralph Eggleston

There was no way I was missing this. Still upcoming in the next seven days: A presentation by someone involved win Avatar, someone from Dreamworks, and the Directors Guild lunch in LA, another Randal Kleiser session, and a screening of his film "It's My Party". Plus so many deadlines I am quivering in terror right now.

Yeah. Him. And like all really successful people, he’s generous with his fame, mentioning by name the various animators, artists, directors, art directors and influences involved in every scene. It’s amazing the contrast between people like him and the less experienced, who through nerves or insecurity don’t remember give credit to the screenwriter or cinematographer on their thesis film, referring to them simply as “The screenwriter” – if at all. When I was still a journalist, I dreaded interviewing a new band, because they’d always be the most annoying and arrogant, while an international icon like Dave Matthews didn’t take himself seriously at all. Ralph spent most of the presentation talking about old movies like Gone with the Wind, and other groundbreakers, and not about how they’d flashed their art, but how they’d used the production design to make a story better for the audience.

Dealing with the topic of Production design, Eggleton kept coming back to the fact that you need to work from the inside out. From the heart of the characters and their driving emotional needs, to the story and the setting. He calls the new Star Wars movies “wankerific” – an all big budget show and no meaning. No, he’s not against experimentation, but like the new Pepsi logos it can be pretty interesting and “…a complete failure”.

Innovative, but useless, like those owls.

As someone who recently had endure almost two hours of owl-on-owl action in 3D, I couldn’t agree more. I don’t care how good your feathers look. We have feathers in the real world. Tell me a story, or I won’t give a hoot.

And then a bit of insider stuff about Wall-E, a production that he described as “the most difficult thing I have ever done” mostly because the story kept changing. For instance, the humans were originally written as aliens. At some point they became translucent, so you could see their stomachs, but “then we were going to have to deal with the other half of their organs, so we stopped.” In the end the Wall-E Humans were modeled more on the guy in the IKEA instructions. Their movement was based on two factors: 1. the scientific knowledge that the real reason we don’t send a human to mars is that bone density decreases with every week spent in space, and 2. the way jello mixed with vinegar to give it more “hold”, wobbles.

The result, after more than 7000 drawings? Big fat babies who could no longer walk unaided and lived their lives in space age lazyboys on wheels. Ralph shows us a character in motion: “This is what we spanked jello for”, he says glumly. “We didn’t know what they were or even why they were there for most of the time.”

Because it’s hard for a robot to show emotion, Wall-E’s and Eve’s feelings were conveyed using romantic (as in emotionally intense) lighting and shots of them suspended in a huge, dead world alone with one another. But as the focus moved onto the romance between them and more of the movie was set in the ship, the need to spend money and time on locations (and reworking the whole story) meant that mood lighting was sacrificed for this setting’s sake. Actually, I did feel the movie lost some pace because of this. The joke of the space ship (a giant perennial cruise ship that exposed the denial of America’s class system with its various cabins) lost it’s appeal pretty quickly. I found the dark beginning of the movie much more intriguing. This is all easy to say NOW of course.

Imagination is a collaborative process of borrowing, as Steven Johnson says in different words in this Ted Talk, Where do good ideas come from?

Great artists know this, and so they do their research by going to real places to learn how they work. This is cool if you’re shooting Blue Lagoon. Less cool if you’re making Wall-E. “The folks working on Rattatouille got to go to Paris. We got to go to the dump,” Ralph says. But only once, because a week after their first visit a guy was killed when he fell into the shredder, so visitors were no longer permitted.

Inspiring. The Swedish guys you really DON'T want to sleep with, no matter how quickly they can assemble a bed.

What else? Apple didn’t design Eve. The dude from Apple merely approved her. The old show-tune at the beginning was used because Wall-E Director Andrew Stanton (who also pretty much rewrote Jim Reardon‘s original screenplay around the love story) had appeared in a production that featured it. And a waterfall was cut out of the space ship because “Water? Money. No.”

My brain feels alive again. Like a muscle that’s just remembered how it works and what it was designed to do. I always love the first three minutes of a 3D film, but only Toy Story really kept me excited the whole way through. Writers love Pixar, and I think the reason why is obvious.

More about pixar? Try

Wall-E's early humans' space suits.

Wall-E's early human helmets

Movies to look out for, in Ralph Eggleton’s opinion? Well his favourite recent film is Let the Right One In, so you can trust him. He hasn’t seen the US remake but says the production design is similar. Then he recommends Black Swan (a Natalie Portman show set in the world of ballet, which I nearly went to a preview of on Wednesday, but didn’t as entrance wasn’t guaranteed and I didn’t have time to stand in line). And he says an upcoming Pixar production titled Brave will “blow your socks off.”.