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Disney's Wreck-It Ralph
When it comes to experiences and details, Disney spares no expense. Hence the opportunity they provided on a recent press trip for a group of bloggers, myself included, to meet Rich Moore and Clark Spencer, the director and producer of Wreck-It Ralph, respectively.

Wreck-It Ralph Director and Producer

While the conversation (below) was interesting and informative, I was even more excited about the setting for our interview. We actually got to sit in Roy Disney’s old office that is housed in the large sorcerer’s hat on the Walt Disney Animation Building. The story is that Roy Disney only used the office for a short period of time due to the vertical stripes painted along the interior of the round room (see above) — he complained that sitting in it made him feel like he was spinning, so he relocated elsewhere. These days the room is used primarily for photo ops and entertaining me, apparently.

Here is some of that aforementioned conversation with Rich Moore and Clark Spencer that I promised you:

Wreck-It Ralph Voice Work

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I recently had the incredible opportunity to visit the Walt Disney Animation Studios in Burbank to meet the Wreck-It Ralph filmmakers and try my hand, or in this case, mouth, at some of the Disney magic-making process.

Basically, I learned the hard way why animation is done after the voice work — matching one’s dialogue to existing images isn’t as easy as it looks. It was especially difficult for me in that I was stubborn and opted to voice Ralph despite the repeated warnings from storyboard artist Raymond Persi, who also performs the voices for Zombie and Ralph’s martini-swilling, fairly jerky neighbor Gene, respectively. Raymond is one in a long line of Disney and Pixar animators that did such a good job on the “scratch” audio take that they got the actual acting gig. That’s gotta feel good.

Raymond, and our man at the controls, Gabe Guy, both made it quite clear that voicing the first speaker in a scene was really hard. I showed them they were right. I think we all learned a lesson. Still, everyone else was doing Vanellope von Schweetz, and they were good at it. I didn’t need that kind of pressure.

Instead, I rolled the dice and made John C. Reilly very comfortable in his job security. There are two videos of the moment: The first video shows what it looks like to make the recording, and the second is the finished project.

Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce Wreck-It Whit:

Wreck-It RalphAs part of a blogger/press event for Disney’s next animated feature I was invited to tour the Disney Animation Building (the one with the hat) and learn about the making of Wreck-It Ralph. And then we made a mess.

This post is a quick overview of our day and a hint of posts to come. It’s like the Jacob Marley of Wreck-It Ralph posts.

First, the mess that I mentioned. One of the video games that plays a prominent role in Wreck-It Ralph is called Sugar Rush, in which cute, little racers with cute, little names make their own cute, little race carts and, you can probably see where this is going, race them. We were invited to create our own, and when they put us in front of a long table full of goodies it was every sweet tooth for itself. Please note, no cute, little racers were hurt in the process.

My friend Jim won the contest (and took the picture):

make sugar rush car

I first met Atticus Shaffer by accident. It was the premiere of Real Steal and I was with my son. The place was packed and he lost me in the crowd. I called his name.

“Atticus!” I shouted above the din of Hollywood chatter.

“Yes?”

I looked down and there was Atticus, just not my Atticus. It was only slightly awkward. I then spent the next few minutes (don’t worry, my son appeared, too) talking to his father about the name we both chose for our sons and the different responses that we get from people. For example, “Did you know that name is from a movie?” ranked high with both of us.

The answer, of course, is yes, an excellent movie, but we got the name from the book. Stay in school, kids!

This time, when I met Atticus Shaffer and his family it was in the quiet comfort of a hallway in the Loews Hollywood Hotel, and when I met his mother I had to recap the original tale. Still awkward.

However, Atticus was excited to see me again. He grabbed my hand for a surprisingly firm shake and asked, “How are you, Sir?” Then we chatted for a moment before I excused myself out of their family time. I’m not one to intrude.

I walked away thinking about the horror stories one hears about Hollywood and childhood, and it was nice to chalk one up for the good guys.

It turns out that the role Atticus plays in Tim Burton’s latest horror story homage Frankenweenie isn’t quite as nice. Edgar “E.” Gore is two parts laboratory assistant and one part Peter Lorre, and skews heavily toward the weaselly and sneaky. You know the type.

I was attending Disney’s premiere of the film in Hollywood, part of an invited group of bloggers, and prior to the screening we had the opportunity to sit down with Atticus and his Frankenweenie costars, Charlie Tahan (Victor) and Robert Capron (Bob). Here is some of that conversation:

Frankenweenie movie
I’ll cut to the chase, Tim Burton has done it again. Disney’s Frankenweenie, based on Burton’s previous short film of the same name, opens October 5, and it is a fantastical romp through the stresses, relationships, and learning curve of childhood. At the same time, the film serves as something of an homage to the classic horror film genre and Burton’s own distinguished career (but in a fun and modest way). Frankenweenie is a project of passion for Burton, and you can feel it.

Set in the modest town of New Holland, Frankenweenie tells the story of young Victor Frankenstein (Charlie Tahan) and his little dog Sparky. They are surrounded by a gallery of eccentric individuals full of small town pride, and, to a lesser extent, blissful ignorance (according to the wonderful speech by science teacher Mr. Rzykruski, voiced perfectly by Mr. Martin Landau).

Mr. Frankenstein urges his son, a science and film fanatic, to go outside and make friends via the team play of organized sport. Victor agrees, and momentarily excels — until the scene we all know is coming: Sparky dies.

Mickey’s Halloween Party invites guests, yes, that means adults and children, to dress up in costume and trick-or-treat for candy (and healthy treats) throughout Disneyland. It is a special ticketed event, meaning that Disneyland closes early to those visiting with a regular admission ticket. Guests that purchase a special event ticket can arrive before the party to “mix in” with regular Disneyland guests for three hours prior to the start of Mickey’s private bash. Basically, that means it is a much better deal to buy the ticket to Mickey’s Halloween Party and get there for the early hours — you get some quality park time and the fun festivities of the special event. It’s a win-win.

That isn’t to say those regular guests can’t partake in some seasonal adventure. Halloween Time at Disneyland Resort, to be frighteningly frank, is a lot of spooky fun. Well, it’s not that spooky, your kids will be fine, but it sure is festive, and the fun part is spot on. You don’t have to attend Mickey’s Halloween Party to enjoy the following:

Frankenweenie 3D

I wore new shoes down the white carpet layered like so much cotton upon Hollywood Boulevard because I refused to be the one responsible for soiling Tim Burton’s night. Everybody knows that new shoes don’t scuff. Look it up. Besides, there were plenty of dogs sniffing around (mostly alive from what I could tell), and I figured one of them would take the honors. It never happened. Not a single stain. That, my friends, is Disney magic.

It was the premiere of Tim Burton’s latest Disney feature, Frankenweenie, held at Disney’s El Capitan Theatre, and the night was spotless (although I did get some cupcake leavings on my freshly pressed pantsuit).

The premiere was a black and white affair, followed by a private party that was partially in color. Both were filled with the stars from the film, including Tim Burton:

Danny Jacob is the man behind the music of Disney Channel’s hit show Phineas and Ferb, and now you love him already. I’m sure he gets that a lot.

Jacob has performed on a number of award-winning projects (we’re talking Oscar, Emmy, and Grammy!) and is a three-time Emmy nominee as a composer. Some of his popular television works include the main title songs for shows Lilo and Stitch, The Emperor’s New School, and Jackie Chan’s Adventures.

Mom, Danny Jacob is performing the song for a title sequence.

Sorry about that.

I recently spoke with Danny Jacob over a pretty poor phone connection (curse you, spotty cell phone coverage!) and discussed the music of Phineas and Ferb as well as his own influences… Hey, where’s the interview?