Saturday, January 31, 2009

My 50th Birthday-- **** January 30th, 2009

What a nice day! Turned 50 years old. The morning started with a pancake breakfast then off to school next door, where i had my scheduled Friday visit to Mrs. Reid's (and Jack's) Second grade class. We are gearing up for a Shakespeare reading exercise, starting next week. We have been working with words and random associations, and today each child went home with a Kennedy 50 cent coin, as a momento and of course a random association story!

After watching a nice race from Santa Anita online, i licked my wounds with a pub lunch at
Ye Olde King's Head in downtown Santa Monica where my friend, and fellow actor, Raul Dourado (a Irish Spaniard) tends bar. I gave him one of the Kennedy half-dollars. The gals next door at the Store gave me a UK/US lapel pin for my birthday, thanks very much, then i rolled home for a coffee. After loading the family in the van, we headed south to Playa Vista for a 4:30 set visit and final prep for Tintin.

What an interesting, cool, stage. It's a big room, the size of a small high school gymnasium. On the floor is the set: actors, props, cameras. Courtside is the village-- and about 20 cameras all synched to the director's (Steven S.) handheld console. I don't understand how but, seemingly, all the angles are routed, in real time, to a single control and what appears on the monitor is an animated (enhanced) version of what the cameras see. For example, a cage holding black-suited actors Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis and Cary Elwes becomes a biplane with full suited characters.

My camera helmet was fitted, and my facemask marked with the motion capture dots which the camera recognizes and adjusts from--it's really the most marvellous technology, with all the digital information rendered as it goes by a bank of computer "engineers" sitting, looking thru the plexiglass to the set. At first glance, the places look is part sports competition and part bond trading floor. They wrapped around 5:30 with Steven saying "why don't we stop here." He drew the Friday night raffle prize of almost $600 which went to our greeter and minder, Cochet. That was a bit of luck, allright and kind of neat that he was the first guy we met on set. I gave him one of the Kennedy half-dollars. As Steven was leaving, i greeted him, thanked him and introduced Jack and Shelly to him. He was most warm and welcoming. Saw a couple of friends, Andrew the Stills Photographer (who commented that "this was a really big thing to be a part of" which was nice, and Larissa the sparky. An added treat was meeting Peter Jackson, Steven's partner on the project, who was flying back to New Zealand .

We were there until almost 7pm, when we joined our friends Elisa and Alec Rose for dinner at Casablanca. What a great family, friends and movie day. Thank you. Punch


Delgar said...

I don't speak english but, happy birthday.

elisamrose said...

Twas so much fun!!!