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Sunday, December 13, 2009
World Premier of Spot and Peanut in Lost at Sea!

About six weeks ago, Kym is away on a business trip for the weekend. Son, Taylor, now eight, asks if he can fill up the Jacuzzi tub in the master bedroom. In his hands is a "boat" - several pieces of wood from my workshop hot-glued together. Turns out, he wants to make a movie starring his guinea pigs, Spot and Peanut (aka, "the gigs"). He's written a story about them going on an adventure.

Now, you have to understand, Taylor has clearly inherited the wild imagination gene from his dad. He already has more ideas than he'll ever be able to actually execute on. So I end up both working to encourage his creativity and manage his expectations about what we can pull off. (A few weeks before this episode, he told me he wanted his own website so he could create games and post pictures of his inventions. We settled on a blog: http://robotboy2001.blogspot.com/.)

So when I see what he's up to, I didn't want to say, "No, T, you can't put your guinea pigs on a boat in the tub to make a movie." Instead, we talked about how we might make a movie in a way that was safer for the gigs using some movie magic - green screen. We spent the entire weekend in pre-production - working on the story, deciding on a budget, planning, etc. Over breakfast out, we talked about all the different movies we liked and what made Pixar so good at making amazing movies (it's all about the story). Taylor drew up storyboards for each scene. A few days later, I come home and he's typed out most of the script on our Mac.

Throughout the process, I've been very impressed that Taylor has finally come to understand that the idea is just the beginning of the process. He really got into learning how to use the editing tools and saw the value of working hard to make little changes to make things funnier or move along.

Our goal has been to get this project finished by Christmas so we can share it with the family. We got enough done this weekend, though, to post a cliffhanger of a first episode. I hope you enjoy watching it as much as we did making it. We still have a lot to learn about technique, but it's been great fun!

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