Artist of the Day: Lisa Keene

Frozen week continues on Cartoon Brew’s Artist of the Day. Lisa Keene could justifiably be called a Disney veteran. Her credits on Disney films date all the way back to 1985′s The Black Cauldron on which she was a background painter. On Frozen, Keene is credited as the film’s assistant art director.

Keene’s challenge in Frozen was to convey a full emotional range of color and light within an icy white setting. As any artist knows though, ice and snow are not uniformly white. Light refracts and reflects allowing for a wide range of possibilities. Add in blizzards and the Northern Lights, and a satisfyingly rich landscape emerges in a frosty environment.

See more of Keene’s work including her personal animal portraits on her portfolio website.

Lisa Keene

Lisa Keene

Lisa Keene

Lisa Keene

Lisa Keene

Listen to Lotte Reiniger and Rebecca Sugar Discuss Animation

For those of you still feeling sedentary after the holidays or just looking for some weekend inspiration, listen to these two interviews with Lotte Reiniger and Rebecca Sugar. They each have accomplished an important first in animation: Lotte Reiniger was the first woman to direct an animated feature, and Rebecca Sugar was the first solo woman creator of a TV series at Cartoon Network. These milestones are separated by 87 years, which says a lot about both how far animation has come and how far it still has to go.

Lotte Reiniger (1899–1981) is a German animation director who, between 1919 and 1979, made over 40 short films utilizing paper cut-out animation techniques. In this extremely rare interview, which was recorded in 1976 and recently made listenable through the USC Hugh M. Hefner Moving Image Archive website, she details her career leading up to and after the release of her animated feature The Adventures of Prince Achmed which was released in 1926—eleven years before Disney’s Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs.

Last week, Rebecca Sugar (b. 1987) took some time to discuss the creation and production of her new show, Steven Universe, during an interview on NPR’s On Point. Her accomplishment may not be as trailblazing as Reiniger’s, but she has nonetheless managed to do something that no other woman artist has done in Cartoon Network’s 21-year-history. In the interview, she delves into her thoughts on the animation industry, answers some call-in questions, and treats listeners to a live performance of some of the songs that she has written for the series.

“Frozen” Talkback

Frozen, Disney’s 53rd animated feature, directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, opened in the United States this week. The Rotten Tomatoes critics’ score currently stands at 84%, which trails Tangled’s 89%. The film is bolstered by a 91% Rotten Tomatoes audience rating which is higher than Tangled’s audience rating of 87%.

Critics have been kind to the movie, but in a backhanded way. Stephen Holden in the New York Times called the film’s characters unconventional, but he apparently didn’t think the same of the plot because he gave away Frozen’s plot twist in the first paragraph of his review. Holden went on to say that the story lacked “the purity and elemental power of a classic myth like Beauty and the Beast,” and that the film, “for all its innovations, is not fundamentally revolutionary. Its animated characters are the same familiar, blank-faced, big-eyed storybook figures.”

Peter Travers in Rolling Stone also damned the film with faint praise:

In a year of weak animated features, Frozen – loosely based on “The Snow Queen” – takes the lead by default. There’s not much flair in the story of princess sisters Anna and Elsa, divided by Elsa’s uncontrollable ability to turn things, even Anna, to ice. But the animation is pretty, the songs are tuneful, and Josh Gad gets big laughs as Olaf, a snowman with a sun fetish. It’s the holidays, people, work with it.

Now it’s time for the Internet’s most knowledgeable animation community to share their thoughts. After you see Frozen, report back here with your thoughts in the comments below. As always, this talkback is reserved for readers who have seen the film and wish to comment on it. General comments about the film, or commentary from those who have not seen the movie, will be deleted.

(Frozen billboard via Daily Billboard)

“Jerky Turkey” by Tex Avery

It’s Thanksgiving so let’s enjoy Jerky Turkey, a classic 1945 MGM short directed by the one and only Tex Avery. The guns and violence need no explanation; they are as relevant (and American) as ever. But if you’re under the age of 75, you might need a guide to the short’s World War II-specific humor. Anyone remember Franksgiving?

Artist of the Day: Bill Schwab

Bill Schwab

It’s Frozen week on Cartoon Brew’s Artist of the Day, and we’re continuing to feature artists who worked on Disney’s latest feature. Bill Schwab works as a character designer and visual development artist at Walt Disney Animation Studios. On Frozen he is credited as supervising the character design work.

Bill Schwab

Bill Schwab

His work contributed to several previous Disney features, including The Princess and the Frog:

Bill Schwab

He also contributed designs to Disney’s Christmas TV special Prep and Landing:

Bill drew this pin-striped beauty for an in-house art show at the studio:
Bill Schwab

You can see more of Bill’s personal and work drawings on his blog, including loads of cartoon doodles drawn with a sense of loose, goofy cartoon fun.

Bill Schwab

Bill Schwab

Bill Schwab

Watch Dean DeBlois Explain Motion Capture to President Obama

During President Barack Obama’s visit to DreamWorks Animation on Tuesday, How to Train Your Dragon 2 director Dean DeBlois offered a quick demonstration of how they use motion capture at DreamWorks:

It’s not clear if Obama actually visited any animators to get a more accurate understanding of the animation process, but Katzenberg did present him with a short clip of an alien character animated to Obama’s voice:

Artist of the Day: Brittney Lee

Brittney Lee

This week we continue looking at some of the talented artists whose efforts made possible the new Disney feature Frozen. Brittney Lee is credited on the film as a visual development artist.

A few of her character studies are below:

Brittney Lee

Brittney Lee

Brittney specializes in dimensional paper sculpture illustrations. She has created multiple images that relate to scenes in Disney pictures for various projects and group shows:

Brittney Lee

Brittney Lee

Brittney Lee

See more of Brittney’s drawings and paper creations on her blog. Those who browse all the way back to Brittney’s posts archived from 2005 will recognize her student film work that is featured prominently throughout Nancy Beiman’s excellent animation book, Prepare to Board!

Brittney Lee

Lee also illustrated the Frozen book tie-in A Sister More Like Me:

VFX Soldier Reveals Himself To Be Daniel Lay

The identity of the anonymous VFX Soldier blogger has been revealed to be technical director Daniel Lay. Lay, who has worked at DreamWorks Animation, Sony Pictures Imageworks, and Digital Domain, has spent the last three years chronicling issues that affect the visual effects industry.

Lay outed himself this morning while heading the visual effects demonstration outside of DreamWorks Animation. David S. Cohen of Variety spoke to the blogger about his reasons for coming out:

First, the movement he helped found to fight back against foreign tax incentives is becoming a formal organization, the Association of Digital Artists, Professionals and Technicians (ADAPT). Second, he said “people have been falsely accused of being VFX Soldier and have been blacklisted, so this is the time for me to come out. That got my blood boiling.”

LAIKA’s New “Box Trolls” Teaser is the Best Animation Trailer of 2013

How does a stop motion animation studio distinguish itself from the pack and avoid having its film labeled as yet another computer animated film? In their new teaser trailer for Box Trolls, LAIKA met that challenge, and then some.

Set to “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands,” the trailer opens with a full minute of behind-the-scenes puppet goodness: armature machining, sculpting, moldmaking, casting, fabrication, set design, you name it. Then, the payoff: 35 seconds of fantastic-looking footage from the film.

Is this the best way to sell an animated film? I don’t know…and frankly, I don’t care. But as an animation fan, I’m thrilled to see a studio take a stand and do something risky. This trailer proclaims: “Marvel at our artistry! We’re not just making this film to sell you shit. We’re going to tell you a story with the highest commitment to creativity and craftmanship! And we’re proud of it!” What a statement. Box Trolls, directed by Anthony Stacchi and Graham Annable, will open on September 26, 2014.

If the video below is unviewable, watch it on Apple’s website.

“Steven Universe” Recap: “Cat Fingers”

Remember last week when I was peeved about the lack of father-son time going on in Beach City and how “Light Canon” would’ve been a better fit with “Frybo?” Well I was wrong because this week was on point. “Light Canon” airing after “Cat Fingers” was perfection thanks to the common themes, recurring characters and bits – fry bits that is.

After a few weeks, Greg’s back for some bonding time with his son. Well, more like free child labor as he and Steven wash Mayor Dewey’s election wagon. The politician has been the most human looking figure in this town. We can assume the characters who stick out the most because of their differences are the ones we should mentally keep track of. Anyways, Amethyst shows up as a cat because we learned in “Together Breakfast” that she can shape shift. She then tells Steven that he can probably learn to do it. She was being coy because Pearl reveals all Gems have the ability to, but she dutifully warns Steven not to bite off more than he can chew. Surprisingly Amethyst agrees, and decides that Steven should start small and shape shift into a cat. 

Things don’t go exactly as planned. Only one of Steven’s fingers turned into a cat…a little, simple head with a long neck: no unnecessary limbs to bother with. Amethyst suggests Steven show off his kitty digit to his dad. Greg’s not amused at all, but the store clerk and stock boy cutie Lars’ interests are peaked but then Lars points out that solo cat has no friends like Steven. This leads to Steven’s whole hand being shifted into kitties. He then takes the show on the road to Petey’s fry shack for some bits (which Steven craves in “Light Canon”). By this time all 10 fingers are an array of colorful cats and they’re dining on the fry bits. As funny as it sounds, it was just as terrifying—where the heck were the bits going after the cat fingers swallowed?

It was cool at first, Steven learning a Gem trick, but things went from awesome to awkward fast as he figures out he can’t use his cat fingers as real fingers; they get pissed and hiss like crazy. The Gems are no help since they’re on a mission to fight a living island. As Steven tries to figure out how to solve his crisis, he overthinks and makes things so much worse. There are cats popping out of every part of Steven’s little pudgy body. After awhile he’s a self-proclaimed cat monster with nowhere to go for help except for his dad’s. 

Parental instincts aren’t Greg’s forte as Steven cries for help and he just stands there with his hose in hand, but that hose does inspire an idea in Steven – the super car wash. Cue the unexpected and over-the-top Hollywood-style score, which is used to dramatic effect. Obviously cats hate water (who knew?) so all is almost well once Greg agrees to let Steven endure the super wash. I say almost because one little kitty remains but is taken out thanks to Greg’s trusty hose.

When the Gems return from their latest quest to find Steven’s ok, Pearl is surprised but Garnet isn’t. She tells Pearl she should learn to have more faith in Steven. Who wants to bet that was a sign that “Cheeseburger Backpack” accompanies the new “Bubble Buddies” next week because of that little comment? 

We’re getting to the point where it’s easier to recall past characters and events like Amethyst’s previous shape shifting and the bits on Steven Universe, and the series is starting to shape into something we can care about on a weekly basis because of it.

“Cat Fingers” was written and storyboarded by Rebecca Sugar, Ian Jones-Quartey, Hilary Florido and Kat Morris.

New Mickey and Donald Commercial Animated by Eric Goldberg [UPDATED]

Classical hand-drawn animation lovers can’t be too choosy nowadays. We’ve got to get our fix wherever we can find it, so here’s an Eric Goldberg-animated spot for the “Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party” event at Walt Disney World. It would have been nice to see characters interacting with each other instead of parading in a row, but beggars can’t be choosers.

[UPDATE]: Here is a more complete list of animator credits for the spot:

Goofy: Frans Vischer
Parade Characters: Andreas Wessel-Therhorn
Donald: Russ Edmonds

(Thanks, Will Gay)

Will Obama Be Greeted by a Sea of Green at DreamWorks?

Tomorrow, President Obama will deliver a speech about the economy at DreamWorks Animation. It is, as far as we know, the first speech ever given by an American President inside of an animation studio.

Artists at the studio have been receiving invites to attend his speech, and some employees have posted their invites online:

Outside of the studio, members of the visual effects community will be demonstrating in green to draw attention to the tax breaks and foreign subsidies that have decimated the U.S. visual effects industry. The organizers of the demonstration, who are other artists working in the industry, have also paid thousands of dollars to obtain green T-shirts for DreamWorks employees. The goal is that hundreds of artists and technical crew will greet Obama with a sea of green.

“Our intent is to get the message to President Obama that our jobs have left the country, and VFX shops have gone bankrupt due to tax incentives,” artist Dave Rand told the Hollywood Reporter. “There is hardly any VFX work left in Los Angeles.”

For artists inside of the studio, contact DreamWorks employee (and Animation Guild President-elect) Nathan Loofbourrow to obtain a shirt. Visit VFX Soldier for demonstration details and a message to DreamWorks employees. Additional coverage in the LA Times.

Artist of the Day: Paul Briggs

Paul Briggs

Our Artist of the Day feature is extra-cool this week because we’re focusing on artists who contributed to Disney’s new film Frozen, which expands nationwide this week. It all begins with story so it’s fitting that our first featured Frozen artist is Paul Briggs, the story supervisor on the film.

Earlier this year a live reindeer visited the studio and shed its horns on the spot, and Paul got a few sketches in:

Paul Briggs

Paul Briggs

Paul shares a lot of his free-flowing doodle pages from meetings where the combination of a distracted mind and idle time often produce interesting results. See more on his PBCB Studios blog, and more recently, Tumblr.

Paul Briggs

If you ever wanted to attend Robert McKee’s story seminar, but couldn’t make it, just use Paul’s notes from it above as your cheat sheet.

Paul Briggs

Paul Briggs

Read interviews with Paul here and here where in which he discusses his role in storytelling on recent Disney feature films.

Paul Briggs

Paul Briggs

Paul Briggs

Paul Briggs

The Powerpuff Girls Turn 15

It’s hard to believe that Craig McCracken’s Powerpuff Girls turn fifteen years old this month. When the series premiered on Cartoon Network on November 18, 1998, it was the highest rated premiere in the network’s history at the time.

To celebrate the girls’ quinceañera, artist Chogrin has created this art blog tribute. It’s packed with not only drawn tributes, but an ambitious remake of the title sequence by Salba Combe:

“Ernest and Celestine” Finds U.S. Release Date

Indie animated feature distributor GKIDS has announced that the highly anticipated hand-drawn French film Ernest and Celestine will open in New York and Los Angeles on March 14, 2014. That will be followed by national expansion to all major US markets.

GKIDS has qualified Ernest and Celestine for the Academy Awards this year in the film’s original French language with subtitles. The American release, however, will be dubbed with a voice cast that includes Forest Whitaker, Lauren Bacall, Paul Giamatti, William H. Macy, Megan Mullally, and Nick Offerman. The small New York-based distributor has experienced fantastic success at the Oscars during the past five years by countering the big studios with quieter, more personal hand-drawn fare. They have earned nominations for three of their features: The Secret of Kells, A Cat in Paris, and Chico & Rita.

“Despicable Me 2,” “Room on the Broom,” “Adventure Time” Win BAFTAs

Although the BAFTA awards are generally touted as Britain’s equivalent to the Oscars, a key difference is that the BAFTAs are divided into multiple sets, amongst them film, television, video games and children’s entertainment. As would be expected, animation tends to be a force to be reckoned with in the last of these areas.

The 2013 British Academy Children’s Awards, held on Sunday, were no exception. The long list of winners included many animation properties:

ANIMATION: Room on the Broom (pictured above)
SHORT FORM: Share a Story
GAME: Skylanders Giants
WRITER: The writing team of The Amazing World of Gumball
BAFTA KIDS’ VOTE (VIDEO GAME): Despicable Me: Minion Rush

Though the BAFTA Children’s Awards won’t have much of an effect on AMPAS voters, it’s worth pointing out that the kids’ vote for best feature went to Despicable Me 2 which is contending for an Oscar this season. Also, best animation winner Room on the Broom is among the ten shorts currently shortlisted for the short subject Oscar.

In addition, the animation-heavy CBeebies was named Channel of the Year. A complete list of winners can be found on the BAFTA website.

Headless Produces Intro Cinematic for Hatch App

The new virtual pet app Hatch is being described as a Tamagotchi for iPhones. While that may not excite too many readers of this site—if readers are even old enough to remember what Tamagotchis are—the app’s intro cinematic merits a look. The piece was produced by Barcelona, Spain-based Headless. According to Headless’s Tumblr, they produced the piece a couple years ago (even though it was released only a few days ago), and Julien Bizat animated it.

Trailer for DreamWorks’ “Turbo: F.A.S.T.” Netflix Series

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again. That appears to be the DreamWorks motto for its property Turbo. After the film’s lackluster theatrical run (Antz and Flushed Away are the only DWA CGI feaures to gross less worldwide), Turbo will return next month as a TV series. Turbo: F.A.S.T. is part of DreamWorks’ massive content deal with Netflix and will be streamed exclusively online.

The series is produced by Titmouse Animation Studio, which also produced the recent car/racing-themed Disney XD series Motorcity. The translation from CG-to-Flash looks well done; perhaps drawings of racing snails will tickle the fancy of the viewing public in a way that fast CGI snails could not.

Artist of the Day: April Liu

April Liu

April Liu is a second year animation student at CalArts. Her blog is a mixture of personal and school work with drawings and animated studies from projects in progress, such as a short about a fellow with a sprout growing from the top of his head. According to her blog posts, April may have abandoned this film having concluded that she wants to move on to a new film that will challenge her more.

April Liu

April Liu

April Liu

On her blog, she concludes that at least the efforts on this film were worthwhile color studies:

April Liu

April Liu

April Liu

See more of April’s keenly observed and cartooned work on her Tumblr.

April Liu

Pixar Lays Off Dozens of Employees Due to “Good Dinosaur” Problems

Pixar has laid off dozens of employees due to its troubled film project The Good Dinosaur, a source told the LA Times. The layoffs reportedly affect less than 5% of the company’s staff of 1,200, which could mean anywhere up to 60 employees.

“At Pixar, we are constantly re-evaluating the creative and business needs of our studio,” a company representative said. “With the release date change of The Good Dinosaur, we have realigned our production and support priorities, which includes a small reduction in our staffing levels.”

Last August, the studio removed director Bob Peterson from the film, and a month later, they pushed back the film’s release date by 18 months. They have yet to announce a replacement director.

“Croods” Directors Kirk DeMicco and Chris Sanders on Making An Ensemble Film

When the server enters the drawing room of the Crosby Hotel, Kirk DeMicco’s eyes begin to dance. “Mini desserts are coming! Many, many mini desserts!” Both DeMicco (Racing Stripes, Space Chimps) and Chris Sanders (Lilo & Stitch, How to Train Your Dragon) are in New York to take part in a presentation on the making of The Croods, the animated film that they directed for Dreamworks earlier this year, which went on to gross nearly $600 million worldwide.

Taking a break from the Oscar race for best animated feature, they sat down with Cartoon Brew to marvel over the sweet potato crème brulee, chocolate cheesecake and pistachio plum cake… and of course, talk about how the film came to be.

“When we first started talking about this,” DeMicco begins, “Chris and I were saying we’re going to make the first Dreamworks film about a family.” The Croods, which features a clan of risk-averse cavepeople whose prehistoric world is literally changing around them, is unique in that the story and performances are not fueled by power-hungry bad guys or evil curses, but interpersonal dynamics between the characters—a close knit group of seven—who spend almost every sequence of the film together. DeMicco points out, “It’s probably the lowest population count of any animated film at Dreamworks ever, but it probably has the highest amount of animated characters on screen at the same time. Every shot.”

This sort of staging required the animators to come together to decide who’s going to lead the scene. “I always think of this shot, animated by Dave Weatherly, of when Grug is pushing his family away from the fire for the first time, and all that physical comedy, all that interaction,” DeMicco says. “We’ve seen a lot of characters walk and talk together but to have that choreographed dance, I thought he just brought everyone to life, and made it feel like these people live together.”

The story centers on the eldest daughter of the family, Eep, a teenage cavegirl who longs for more than the cautious, safe life her family has planned for her. Or does it? An argument could also be made that the film’s protagonist is Eep’s father, Grug, a traditional prehistoric man who has to make a few sacrifices if he wants his family to be both safe and happy. Or…should we be rooting for Guy? He’s a more evolved man-on-a-mission who meets the Croods for the first time and provides the audience a window into the offbeat family.

Well, the answer is all of the above; “There’s a triangular interplay between Grug, his daughter Eep and Guy,” says Sanders. “Grug leads it off; he’s the first character you see, so he’s going to take the lead. But after that, it’s a little game where Eep and Grug and Guy all toss the scenes back and forth between each other. [It’s] an utterly unique relationship in any animated film I’ve ever worked on and really ever seen, and for that reason, I think, it’s also a very, very relatable story.”

While the film revolves around these three principals, it still manages to deftly service the connections between the rest of the cast, back and forth from father-daughter, mother-son, husband-wife, brother-sister. “You’re constantly adjusting those dials of making sure that everyone has a perspective,” says DeMicco, “but you’re still carrying through a POV of a larger narrative.”

“Villains are very helpful when you’re writing,” says DeMicco. “It’s a lot harder when you have nothing to cut to. You have to make the A-story work because you’ve got no B-story.”

To keep the cast likeable, careful consideration went into casting and character motivation. Equally important was the development of their surroundings, which is a familiar-yet-fantastic world designed to surprise both the Croods and the audience. “Since the journey was one of a relationship, where they went physically was really up for grabs,” says Sanders. “We were looking for fresh new environments to challenge the Croods—to put them through ordeals that were designed to open their minds to a different aspect of life. Of all the films we ever worked on, more ideas came in from the other artists, not just from animators, but from our designers, our production designers, our art director. So, if somebody on the team created an environment that we felt was viable, we would write towards that one thing.”

What resulted was a lot of smart ideas and happy accidents that inspired their vision of the film further than they had originally anticipated. “We were incredibly stirred by the image of the caveman whose arms envelope the entire family. It was painted by one of our artists Margaret Wuller,” says DeMicco, referring to a drawing Grug paints on a cave wall in the film’s third act. “We just simply asked her to come up with some family-type icons that would go inside the cave. That was one of the ones that she showed us, and we both looked at each other and thought, ‘Omigosh, this is more than what we’ve asked for.’”

With plenty of ideas to choose from, the two directors had the difficult task of choosing the ones that best serviced the story they were trying to tell. “There was a lot of material we had to discard along the way,” says Sanders. And as they have just recently began to shape the story for a sequel, they’re planning on going back and putting some of those discarded ideas to good use. “There’s a half dozen things, at least, that we may pull out and use because we didn’t have time in the first film.” And considering that familial dynamics are in a neverending process of evolution, there’s still a lot for them to focus on. “There’s other characters to explore,” DeMicco says, “there’s other relationships in a family that we can really dig into.”

Film Festival Trailers by Emma De Swaef, Marc James Roels, Robert Loebel and Nicolas Ménard

It’s been a great fall season for film festival trailers. Last week, we posted
one by Joanna Quinn, and today, we have three more creative efforts by Emma De Swaef, Marc James Roels, Robert Loebel and Nicolas Ménard. These type of trailers typically don’t pay a lot of money, which provides an opportunity for the animator to let loose and do pretty much whatever they want. Enjoy!

Trailer: 2013 Festival National du Film d’Animation (France)
Directed by Emma De Swaef and Marc James Roels:

Trailer: Animated Dreams 15 (Estonia)
Directed by Robert Loebel:

Trailer for the Sommets du Cinéma d’Animation (Canada)
Directed by Nicolas Ménard:

Simpsons Couch Gag “Music Ville” Pays Homage to 1930s Disney Animation [UPDATED]

While the limited animation of The Simpsons is no match for the lush rubbery beauty of 1930s Disney theatrical shorts, the show’s opening couch gag this week is a fair homage to the extraordinary creative spirit of classic Hollywood animation. Dubbed a “Silly Simpsony,” Music Ville is a riff on the Disney “Silly Symphony” Music Land:

If the Simpsons opening manages to introduce a few more people to the original 1935 short, then it will all have been worth it:

[UPDATE]: Simpsons consulting producer David Silverman has posted some of his designs for the Music Ville opening on his Twitter account @Tubatron. Click to enlarge:

Artist of the Day: Thomas Gilbert

Thomas Gilbert

Thomas Gilbert is a comics writer and artist living in Brussels, Belgium.

Thomas Gilbert

Thomas Gilbert

Thomas’s work includes ink and pencil drawings colored with deep digital hues and watercolor washes that create dark moods to match the subject matter. Thomas has posted his recent experiments with drawing directly into a tablet which produces a similar result under his practiced control (also see the top drawing), but inevitably the digital inking has less of the grungy chaos of traditional drawing.

Thomas Gilbert

Thomas Gilbert

See more of Thomas’s work on his blog

Thomas Gilbert

Thomas Gilbert

Thomas Gilbert

Thomas Gilbert

Thomas Gilbert

President Obama Will Visit DreamWorks Animation [UPDATED]

The White House announced today that President Obama will speak on November 26th about the economy at DreamWorks Animation in Glendale. “The motion picture and television industry is a growing industry, and continues to create thousands of jobs across the country,” a White House official told Variety. The evening before his DreamWorks speech, Obama will attend a fundraiser at the home of Inspector Gadget theme song composer and billionaire Haim Saban.

[UPDATE]: It looks like the visual effects industry wants to make the most of President Obama’s visit to DreamWorks. Stay tuned to the VFX Soldier Twitter account. It would be even more amazing though if all the DWA artists on campus choose to wear green to work that day!