Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Coraline Box #9 has surfaced!!!!

I got a freakin' CORALINE box.... do you HEAR me??!!??!?

This is amazing.... it feels like getting a Golden Ticket to get into Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory (the original one of course!)

This is by far one of the coolest marketing campaigns I've ever heard of.... and absolutely perfect for a stopmotion film where the props are small enough to easily be mailed. Why not? Instead of just chucking it all in the trash, send bits and pieces to people who will not only appreciate it, but blog about it and spread the viral love!!! Oh man... viral love... not even gonna go there.

So, with no further ado, here are the opening pics.









I love the old-fashioned tin and wood 3d viewer!!! No mirrors or anything, it's essentially the same kind of 3d images I posted on my blog back when I was all excited about 3d technology... you just have to learn to re-focus your eyes to see it. The viewer helps by framing things to block out everything beyond the border, and allowing you to slide the picture card backwards or forwards to get it in better focus and find your optimal viewing length. In a little while, when I'm past this rush of excitement and able to do things more coherently, I'll take some pics of the 3d images they sent... they should work on my blog.

But the most exciting thing for me is the Other Father arms.... I wonder if one is torn open deliberately to show the inner workings? It's wrapped-wire technology! The little tag next to the arms (which is lost in glare in the above pic) says O. Father Pumpkin Hands / Jointed / Wire / Silicon.... which I didn't understand until I looked very closely into that tantalizing tear in the wrist of the left arm. There's a tiny little ball-and-socket joint in there!! I guess that would help eliminate breakage at one of the high-stress areas. I can't believe I'm already thinking about this, but I know Im gonna have to slit that sucker open the rest of the way and take some detailed pics of its inner workings. The other arm is pristine. Heck... I think I'm gonna have to animate one of them too!

What an incredible treat this is!!! I've been all excited for the last few days, when I discovered I would be getting one of these (it's been extremely hard to keep my mouth shut, but it seemed prudent). It's made me into one of Coraline's 50 biggest fans.

Here's the text of the letter I was sent:

Since ancient times, strangers who work on feature films have sent strangers with great websites mysterious gifts in the hope that they can connect over a mutual interest and come to love each other. Some people think that recieving random gifts from strangers in the mail is illicit. Not when the gifts are awesome, right?

Inside this old box is a one-of-a-kind collection we've amassed and catalogued with you and you alone in mind.

Why? We at Laika are nearing completion of Coraline, our first full-length animated film. For the last three years, 351 of the world's oddest and most talented animators, artisans, and puppet fabricators have been hand-making one movie. Led by Henry Selick, the director of The Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach, this team has created the first stop-motion feature shot in 3D. Based on the beloved best-selling children's classic by Neil Gaiman, Coraline is a fairy-tale nightmare steeped in classic storytelling, craftsmanship, and the old-fashioned art of moviemaking magic. That means everything is handmade. Every leaf, drawer pull, and roast turkey. Even the rusty shower water.

The plain truth of the matter is, we are pretty obsessed with stop-motion. Like you. That's why we admire Darkmatter. It's artistic. It's wise. It's got an unconventional POV and you've got a voice worth hearing. Henry likes to say the magic of stop-motion is, it is a live performance. "You start someplace and know where you want to end but you can't say exactly how you'll get there." Please keep up the super work. We'll be reading.

Coraline is coming out this february. If we have guessed correctly that you are a curious person with access to the internet, perhaps you'll look for more cool things about this film. This is not a secret we hope you won't want to share. And so, we say thank you for your time. Enjoy, and hello.

The Coraline Team

Building movies by hand in Portland, Oregon
(983 miles from Hollywood)


I couldn't stop myself... I cut open the torn arm!!! It's pretty amazing all the technology I found in there... cloth and thread all wrapped tightly around wire, bound together with flexible adhesive, and that incredibly tiny balljoint, plus a tie-down in the hand.... Hey, why not have a look: Dissecting Father's Arm on Flickr.


Wow... this just in from Jeremy's Do Something Constructive blog - there's a new password for the website that unlocks all the previous movies plus a few more! Try OTHERWORLD. Word.


Shelley Noble said...

Man o man, I'm I ever glad you got this incredible Coraline box, Mike. This entire campaign of theirs was tailor made just for you. It would have been a crime against humanity to have it pass you by.

And you got a mega cool box as well. Perfectly chosen, what with your 3D interest and your hand and arms race last year.

Dude, congratulations on being given a piece of this stop motion creativity milestone.

gl. said...

my mouth is hanging open! congrats, mike!

Anonymous said...

Hey, too cool!
I can't think of anyone better to get this surprise package!
Damn, is this what comes of having a blog?
Essentially those arms are pretty much like the ones you built for the Radkins, aren't they?

Darkmatters said...

Pretty much, except my Radkin arms don't have incredibly tiny little B&S joints in the wrist, at the narrowest part of the arm!

I'm about to set up the Lumix on Macro mode and do a little dissecticatin'. I wants ta see what's inside the entire arm. There doesn't seem to be a joint at the elbow, and no bones anywhere... the entire arm is fully flexible.

Thanks Gretchin!!

And Shelley, you mkae me feel all warm and fuzzy all over!! Well, I mean, not like I need to shave or anything, but you know, more like warm and tingly....

jriggity said...

Dang dood!!!

Super freakin cool!!!

Well now posess a piece of stop mo history in you ands man.

so exciteing!


jriggity said...

in your Hands man!...ha!

excited fingers got the best of me.


j.spake said...

score one for the true believers, mike. awesome!

R.S.Cole said...

What a blast! What an honor! They said they are OBSESSED - now stop motion is a mighty good thing to be obsessed about! It's like a mini Coraline museum ya got there, and just because they like you! How sweet is THAT??? Congrats!

Paul (Vortex42) said...

Mike, if there is one person on the face of this planet who deserves this it is you! You have made a big part of your life teaching people about Stop-motion-animation, and I think you truly deserve this wonderful piece of stop-motion history!


Darkmatters said...

Thanks guys!!!

It hasn't completely sunk in yet. This is SO MUCH COOLER than if I had somehow randomly gotten a piece of any Hollywood production. The fact that it's stopmotion, and Henry Selick, and Anthony Scott, and Ralph Cordero slaved away in the Coraline fabrication pits... and my friend Jeremy got in.... Misha, and who knows how many others that I'm at least aware of or have conversated with online about our little obsession? I wonder if Phil Dale had a hand in this one? Kim Blanchette? Man... the mind begins to boggle!!!

I love that our little artform is so tightly-knit, such a small world, that something like this can happen!!!

UbaTuber said...

You lucky dawg you :)

What an awesome surprise, and like everyone else said, you are probably the most deserving of such a gift, considering the love and attention you give to SMA...


UbaTuber said...

Oh, and....

Thanks SO much for having the balls to gut that arm all the way, the inner workings of that hand are a thing of beauty!


Darkmatters said...

Hey Jeff.... there's really no way I could resist slicing that arm open!!! I swear, they sent me a torn one on purpose!!! Somebody KNEW I would feel the need to gut it.

Well, that or it was just random chance playing into our hands! The letter DID say "these are not secrets that we don't want you to share".... though I'm not sure they really intended any reverse engineering. And I gotta say... the dissection was definitely the best part of the whole experience for me.

UbaTuber said...

I don't know if I'd have been able to do it, not right away anyway....I probably wouldve stared at it for a couple of months before breaking down and taking an exacto to it :)

FleaCircusDirector said...

I'm reminded of the Wunderkabinets

Anonymous said...

That is really cool! I am friends with a few animators out there on Coraline, I'll ask if they know about these boxes.

I've passed this site on to my students at Animation Mentor, a lot of them really enjoy digging through here!

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for dissecting the arm! I've been so interested in how they're made and now I finally got to see inside!! Thanks!!!

Carl V. Anderson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carl V. Anderson said...

Sorry, left the wrong link before. As I said in my deleted comment, I am super excited for you and am thrilled to be a part of this special group of people. If you are interested, the images of my box are here:

Anonymous said...

Hey Strider,

Phil Dale did work on Coraline. I saw him in the front lobby talking about his cramped quarters!

MAN! The first thing I thought when you posted the 3D pics was, "I wish I could see these bigger". Then, I read the rest of the post where it said you can click on the picture, and BAM! Instantly bigger!!

Then, when I was looking at the pics of the box, I thought, "this is all cool, but I really wish I could see inside of that arm". Read the rest of the post, and BAM! Entire arm is dissected,and hanging by a "thread"!

Thanks for the in-depthness that is always present in your blog. You take things a step further than most people, and I was really pleased to see that your gift was tailored to your interests- those Radke arm techniques are so close to what was used in the O. Father, I wouldn't be surprised if someone on Coraline learned how to make the arms from your BLOG!

stephanie said...

This is so excellent! Congrats!

Thanks for sharing your dissection pictures, too... very interesting how they don't build joints into the arms or fingers! And those tiny fingers, all wrapped in thread... the skeleton is a work of art in itself.

What an amazing thing to receive!!!

Anonymous said...

Its cool they sent you a box Mike.

I have been really impressed with the internet campaign for Coraline. I hope it gets lots of bums on seats come February. (and by bums, I don't mean the hobo kind, although they are welcome too of course.)

It was a fantastic film to work on, a real joy, but I can't remember talking about cramped quarters!! The studio was massive.

Darkmatters said...

Thanks Pram.... to be honest though, the techniques I used for the Radke puppets are things I learned from Tennessee and Misha, who are part of the talent pool involved in everything from Nightmare on up to Coraline... so I'm sure they witnessed the techniques evolving along the way.

Stephanie - haven't commented on your blog recently, but I've been reading with my jaw hanging open!!! Your work is looking amazing!!! I'm in awe of your pro-looking lighting setup!!

And Phil - great to hear from you here! I'll bet there will be a lot of bums in those seats!!! I'll be one of them.

: )

Anonymous said...

Hey Phil,

Sorry, I must have you mixed up with someone else.

Whoever it was, was talking to the security guard about his stage being too small and full of C-stands and lights. He spoke with a British accent, had graying hair. At first, I thought he was John Ashlee, who I haven't seen in 16 years.

Definitely not him. Well, I guess whoever it was will remain a mystery. :P

stephanie said...

Aw, thanks Mike -- I'm miraculously lucky to have such help with the lighting... in fact I think the lighting is outshining the animation at the moment! But hopefully I can catch up...

Mahlon Bouldin said...

Congratulations!! Well deserved. And the letter which you received (not withstanding the box and contents itself) was a fantastic compliment to your intelligence and determination in keeping stop-motion dialogue alive on the net.


Lady Euphoria Deathwatch said...

Hi Darkmatters,

First I'm just green with envy. That said, I am very glad for you.

Now, I would like to see more of the stereograph pictures that you got in the box. I have a stereograph or stereoptigon myself and make my own stereograph pictures.

If you could find the time to post them I'd be ever so grateful.

Sincerely, Lady Euphoria

Darkmatters said...

Wow, love the name and love the blog!!!!

You must have found this entry through a link on one of the blogs collecting the Coraline box recipients, and I'm guessing it only shows you this particular post. If you click the blog title at the top of the page, it will take you to the entire blog, and the two posts directly above this one are dedicated entirely to the 3d pics.

Or... wait, you asked to see "more of" the stereo pics... so maybe you've already seen those? If so, then I'm afraid that's all there is. There were only 6 cards included. But they're beautiful images, and I can't wait for february to get here so I can see it all in motion!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm glad that you got this, because you always share!!!

You've helped me so much (without knowing it) on the project I'm working on (shhhhhhhh!) that now I wish *I* had some magical box to send you too!

Thanks for posting the 'dissection' pics! *rubs hands together and mumbles something about reverse engineering*.....

-Kathleen (crinklefish on SMA)

Anonymous said...

This may be of interest. ..

Coraline Feature on WK Radio: An interview with Henry Selick and Travis Knight. Friday, Feb. 6th 10am

Coraline, a new film directed by Henry Selick (James and the Giant Peach, The Nightmare before Christmas), opens Friday, Feb. 6th. It is the first animated feature film from Laika, the cutting edge collective of designers and filmmakers run by Travis Knight (son of Nike founder Phil Knight). Coraline is based on the popular children’s book by Neil Gaiman, a fairytale / nightmare story about a young girl who finds a passage way to an alternate reality in her home.

Ketzel Levine (of NPR) interviews Henry Selick and Travis Knight for WK Radio.

Tune in
Friday, Feb. 6th 10am