Sunday, December 23, 2012

Don't Blink - part two

November was a blur...

Returning from Los Angels to Wellington just in time for all the premiere festivities...

Wellington has been very busy gearing up and decking the town out. The NZ Post building is adorned with the cast silhouettes and the Wellington airport installed a giant Gollum catching fish. Both were created by our talented coworkers at Weta Workshop as well as some great Dwarves statues at the Auckland airport. Even Air New Zealand at LAX got into the spirit. 

NZ Post Building

Wellington Airport

Auckland Airport

Los Angeles Airport

I got to see LAX first hand since I had squeezed in the quick trip back to LA in between AnimFX and The Hobbit premiere week. My flight back was very exciting. At the Air New Zealand check-in desk I found myself standing next to Frodo - Elijah Wood. And then in the Koru Lounge - the premiere lounge for Gold card members (frequent flyers) I walked in to spot Elijah Wood sitting in a remote corner with Andy Serkis and Marin Freeman. - Very Cool!

The Grove in Los Angeles had just installed a nice display promoting the film as well as some of the great merchandise that I have been working on.

And for the second time, I've been visiting in LA and the volcano blows. 
This time more substantially than the first. Lots of air travel was canceled or delayed.
This is the volcanoe that is Mordor in the Lord of the Rings films.

The Hobbit premiere was amazing! 

There was a Hobbit Artisans Market set up down by the waterfront with many of the local artists that had worked on the film selling their personal work/wares. There were makeup demos and our close friend Kim Beaton was doing a great sculpture demo.

They played all 3 LotR films in the park leading up to the Premiere

The Weta Cave, and Weta pop-up shop we're packed with fans. Plus the Window into Workshop opened. This is a small portion of the Workshop that has been opened to the public sharing some of the amazing things that Weta has done over the years. Also included are resident artist doing demonstrations.

A last minute Dr Grordbort's exhibit was installed on Cuba Street. Eric spent about 10 days setting this up with a small team and we had a delightful gallery opening party Tuesday night. 

Wednesday was the big day. It was a beautiful day in Wellington. and like I mentioned on my facebook page, I do believe that Sir Peter Jackson can control the weather in Wellington.  Eric was up early tasked with setting up the Trolls on the red carpet. 
I met him in town about 12:30 and we spent the rest of the day together. We were in heaven. We both had our cameras and we wandered taking it all in. The crowds, the costumes, the decorations, Eric had a special badge from setting up the trolls that allowed him to get onto the carpet and into areas I could not - up until 3:00 pm -  sooo jealous. But he took some great photos while I waited for him. Weta rented out the upstairs of the St  James theatre and threw a party. So once the red carpet procession started we headed up there and watched from above. There was even a fly by from the Air New Zealand plane. I cannot describe how amazing it was to be there and to have been a part of it all. 

These are the Trolls that Eric and crew set-up

Mmmm -Gandalf themed cupcake!

Fili - Dean O'Gorman and Kili - Aidan Turner

Frodo - Elijah Wood

Bilbo - Martin Freeman

Gollum - Andy Serkis

Richard Taylor - Weta Workshop

Peter Jackson

And then Friday morning we got to see the film. The cast and crew screening was at 10:30 am at the Embassy Theatre. We were so excited. And we were not disappointed. It was great and even at 3 hours, we didn't want it to end. It will be a long year to movie two. As for credits, have fun finding Eric' s name (Eric Heath) it's there!

Never a dull moment here...Dec 2nd - A freak storm shook the house and even registered on the seismic scale.

"Wellington's unusual rumbling thunder early Sunday morning certainly sounded like an earthquake - and may have even registered as an earthquake"

Haven't even caught our breath and I was off to China again on Sunday for ten days so missed the opening of the Hobbit. Eric and friends went to the midnight showing. And we are both looking forward to seeing it again over the holiday break. 

Eric is off and I will have have most of the week between Xmas and New Years off
And really looking forward to relaxing. 

We will be back in 2013 for more of our adventure. 

Happy Holidays!
Wishing you and your family good health, and great joy!

Stacy & Eric

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Don't blink - part one

And another 2 months has gone by....

It is amazing to me how quickly the time goes by and how much has gone on in the last few months.
I kept trying to get back to the blog and post, but I never managed to find the spare time. So much to share that this will be the first half of a two part post.

Since the last post I have been back to China - twice, back to Los Angeles, we have celebrated Myztyc's first birthday, Halloween and our 16th Wedding Anniversary, I saw Prince Charles, attended AnimFX, and we celebrated the Hobbit Premiere.

.. and now we are only 5 days away from Xmas!

For our 16th Anniversary we went to one of our favorite restaurants - Crazy Horse. We celebrated a few days late to be able to take advantage of the two for one steak dinners! It was delicious. And then we went over to Strawberry Faire for the best dessert in New Zealand - Chocolate Madness.

Halloween was fun. Weta Digital threw their annual bash. The theme was "ApocOlympics".
Eric and I went as the Transylvanian Ping Pong team. After the Apocalypse, ping pong became a blood sport. Overall the consumes, which are usually spectacular by the Weta folks, were not as good as last year. We attributed that to two things. 1. the party coincided with the "Born Project" show, which is a charity event held to raise money for the local neonatal unit. It is put on by Richard and Tania Taylor and many of the Weta folks are involved. And 2. many of the digital folk have been working away crazy hours to get The Hobbit movie finished in time for the World Premiere.

Then Prince Charles was to visit Wellington and Weta Workshop specifically. It was quite the scene. We were asked not to post photos so I won't - sorry. But it was really interesting having him here. He was very friendly. And very interested in talking with artists and hearing about how things were created. I just thought it was great to see both Peter Jackson and Richard Taylor together.

AnimFX 2012 - I took a day off to attend which was a much needed break. On top of everything else going on, work has been very busy as we are releasing new products almost daily in preparation for the launch of the movie! We are also planning to set-up another store down on the water front for the 5 days before the premiere as part of The Hobbit Artisan Market.

AnimFx is a small conference (mentioned in earlier posts) this was my 3rd, and it was great to see and catch up with old friends and co-workers. As well as meet some great new industry professionals.

It ended on Saturday the 17th. And on Sunday, I flew to Los Angeles for another quick visit with the family. I was hoping to spend some quality time with everyone over the week of Thanksgiving. Unfortunately my nephew Tanner went back into the hospital the night after I arrived. I did spend some nice time with family and friends, but not exactly what I had hoped for. It is a tough time for everyone.
And we can't help but feel helpless. But the hugs help and being able to hug in person makes all the difference.

We hope that you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with those you love.
There is always something to be thankful for.

Hugs to all,
Stacy & Eric

ps- part two to follow soon.