Last weekend, the New York Times Sunday Magazine published a proile of the computer animation program at Brigham Young University. The school has gained a reputation in the last decade for its student films which are typically produced as group projects by the entire class, and thus exhibit high production values. (Some of these films have been featured on Cartoon Brew in the past.)
The focus of the article is the creative tension that exists between the students who attend the school and their Hollywood aspirations because Brigham Young is a Mormon-owned university run by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:
Students must regularly attend church services. No sex outside of marriage. (“Live a chaste and virtuous life.”) No alcohol or coffee. (There aren’t even caffeinated sodas in the vending machines.) No swearing. No deviations from the university’s meticulous grooming standards. (“If a yearly beard exception is granted, a new Student ID will be issued after the beard has been fully grown and must be renewed every year by repeating the process.”)
The director of B.Y.U.’s animation program, R. Brent Adams, says that the students who come out of the program have a different approach to filmmaking and life in general than the average fresh-out-of-school film industry pro: “Without being preachy about it, if we can add something to the culture that makes people think about being better human beings—more productive, more kind, more forgiving—that’s what we want to do.”
Curiously, the write-up mentions praise for the school from Disney Animation and Pixar president Ed Catmull, the highest-profile Mormon working in animation, but neglects to mention that he is a Mormon, too. The films that Catmull oversees, such as Wreck-It Ralph, get an ethical pass from at least one student interviewed for the piece:
It wasn’t simply a matter of avoiding sex and violence. (A few times, I heard even Shrek described disapprovingly: too many fart jokes, too much cynicism.) There was, instead, a fixation on whether you walked away from the movie feeling uplifted. That question superseded everything, even the usual genre and age-demographic lines. A senior, Megan Lloyd, told me: “I just saw The Dark Knight. It was wonderful, but it’s just so dark. I didn’t feel better about myself after I saw it. Instead, I felt like, I’m a horrible human being—like all human beings are. Now,” she went on, nearly in the same breath, “contrast that with a film like Wreck-It Ralph. That teaches you: Hey, you can be a better person. Here’s how!”
Thanks to all who entered my entry on the YA Blog Hop. What a great response! As promised, I will reveal the cover of Canticle Kingdom II, but I think I will opt to do it on Monday, as we have a few other things for today. Winner:
Congrats to Samara O Tye! You have won the drawing for a signed copy of "The Canticle Kingdom." If you didn't win this time, rest assured there will be plenty more blog hops to do.LDStorymakers
I wanted to let you all know about a great writer's conference happening in May that you should all go to if you live anywhere around Utah. It is called LDStorymakers and it has some of the best classes, workshops and agent pitch sessions in the West. Each year just keeps getting better.
You can also win a great VIP spot at the banquet there with author Kevin Anderson and others. All you have to do is help get the word out. Get the details here: http://ldstorymakerauthors.blogspot.com/2012/01/show-your-love-for-ldstorymakers.html
If you want to learn more, follow this link address: http://ldstorymakers.com/conferences/registration/
There are only a limited number of spots and many of them are filled. Sign up soon!Upcoming Appearances:
I've got two great appearances coming right up in the next week. On Saturday, Feb 4th, from 1pm - 4pm, I will be at the Sandy, UT Barnes and Noble signing both of my books as part of their semi-annual Authorpalooza. There will be tons of great authors there, so don't miss it!
I'm also presenting and signing at BYU's annual Life, the Universe, and Everything conference, being held at Utah Valley University. I will only be there on Feb the 9th, but have lots of events, such as the debut of my new presentation: "How to Avoid Cliche Like the Plague".
Library Journal announced last week that Brigham Young University had received a verbal okay from Amazon to start lending Kindles in their library. This week it appears that they’ve suspended the program until they can get written permission. While I totally understand the concerns on both sides here, I’d really like it if libraries sometimes erred on the side of continuing to do whatever it was that they were doing, in good faith, and let the vendors let them know if they’re not doing something correctly. It’s a little weird to me that Amazon has invested all this time and money into an ebook reader and has no policy about what the legal/copyright concerns are with using it in a library. Can someone please force this issue?
update: There is an interesting story making the blog rounds about just how much of the Kindle’s policies and DRM weirdnesses remain mysterious, even to the people who work at Amazon.
Class of 09 (New York Magazine interviews ten recent grads on facing a recession-era "real world" Thanks Andrea! Plus, more negative coverage of Facebook and academic achievement, as always, to be taken with a grain of salt, a.k.a. this analysis... Read the rest of this post
Via yedijoda, pictures of my old haunt , BYU. (I lived in Utah for 4 1/2 years, and finished my undergrad at BYU.) Apparently LJ featured provophoto on the front page today, and she caught it. I rarely go look at the LJ front page, so I'm glad she did, because this guy has some great shots. I'd love to have a digital camera to play with that kind of stuff. I mean, I can do a lot of that stuff with my film camera, but lately I'm just not patient enough for my film camera and I kind of feel like I'd be able to improve my shots if I could see them as I'm taking them.
At any rate, if you want a good idea of what Provo, Utah looks like, this LJ is a great place to see.
(This is where LTUE happened, actually, the conference I've been yammering about all week.)