So today I had the unique and exclusive chance of getting an insight in the world’s leading digital animation company, namely Dreamworks SKG (whereas SKG stands for Spielberg, Katzenberg and Geffen) through my friend Ryan, who works there as a storyboard artist. I met up with him directly at the studios right after school. since the entire food and beverages are free for DreamWorks employees we decided to have lunch there. right when i entered with my visitors tag i noticed that i am in a truly creative environment here. the studio is set in a more or less dead area named glendale, but when you enter the gates you physically step into a different world. i remember mentioning the word “oasis” more than once to ryan, because the whole studio buildings are connected through japanese-garden-like walks with koi ponds and springs in every corner. it was quiet, calm, yet refreshing and inspiring at the same time.

the probably most pragmatic way of describing this rich environment is the following:

The gates to our studio in Glendale, Calif., welcome nearly 1,000 employees and guests daily. Beyond lie six acres of landscaped grounds with fountains, a river, a lagoon, walking paths and courtyards, along with 325,000 square feet (30,192 m2) of office space.

The architecture and style of the studio take their inspiration from the Mediterranean — arches and towers finished in warm shades of ochre, russet and stone, silvery olive trees, lush bougainvillea and flowing water.

after having a great lunch with some other artists ryan showed me around the various sites within the campus. each branch in the process of movie making has its own building. since he is working in the visual production department i mainly got to see thousands of sketches, storyboards and artists currently working on upcoming dreamworks projects. one highlight was definitely seeing the original oscars they received for the production of “wallace & gromit” and obviously shrek.
ryan himself is working on shrek 3 now and although he wanted me not to mention too many things i saw some amazing future production ideas on the walls inside this building.

imagine slendering through a wide hallway. you look to the right and you see offices. stuffed with lamps, posters, wooden made puppets, tabloid pcs. you head on and look to the right: “oh lukas, see – that’s the office of the director of “the beauty and the beast”. fascinated by the things that surrounded me It was hard to “inhale” all the information, fun and joy i experienced and which was apparently carried out by ambitious people working there. you see people in their rooms drawing and trying out new figures and animation characters. there were numerous both recent and upcoming projects they were working on and the whole scenery was just impressive. i constantly thought of my rather depressive job venuee, a hospital.

to give you a short background information, there are currently around 800 people employed at DreamWorks, ranging from the CEO jeffrey katzenberg (who has just recently been in vienna promoting their now movie “over the hedge”) to adiministrative staff, progammers and visual animation researchers. DreamWorks was founded 11 years ago by the 3 people still having their regalia implementaed in the logo. acclaimed director steven spielberg, music mogul david geffen (who btw donated 200 mio dollars to the ucla medical school, why it is now called “the david geffen school of medicine” and working is way up starting with his own company “geffen records”, which e.g. published john lennon’s last album) and nowadays CEO and head of production jeffrey katzenberg. DreamWorks also produced a bunch of other non-animation films, however recently they sold they sold the live action department to another studio in order to emphasize on animations.

unfortunately there was absolutely no chance of taking pictures because they had reasonably high security standards there. however i managed to get a shot from the inside yard and the main entrance. there are also some high resolution pictures from the inside available directly at the DreamWorks website HERE

lastly a rather cool coincidence: some days ago we got another roommate, helen, from london who just moved to LA for a year to work for DreamWorks. she is an extremly talented person and is also in the creative department at DreamWorks. “fun” part of the story is that her dad owns “nick park filmstudios” which is, as some of you might know, the filmstudio which produced wallace & gromit and chicken run.

color change

since i simply can’t fall asleep i practiced some card magic and decided to upload my favorite pass , which i did a few minutes ago, to you tube. i acutally never thought of how easy this service makes public video sharing. this is my first actual video i uploaded by myself.

as mentioned i did this color change some minutes ago. i am using a plain bycicle poker deck, red. obviously no fake cards and no strings attached. sorry for the bad light conditions, it’s already 00:50 though…hope you enjoy this one…

rudi carrell and the death

I have never been in favour of the comdey of german showmaster and comedian rudi carrell. yet as some might of you have noticed rudi carrell died a couple of days ago at the age of 71 suffering from lung cancer. he has been diagnosed with this disease more than a year ago and has been treated palliatively (no cure to be achieved) since then.

the reason why i am mentioning this is beause i read one of his last interviews he gave the german renowned newspaper SZ

it’s an almost ridiculously straight and, in my point of view, very sad interview about how he approaches death. death is something constantly tabooed by society and although we are all aware of our finite being we don’t struggle with this notion in our head, which seems rather interesting to me. every human being is conscious about one’s death, yet it never comes into our mind unless something terrible happens. but still then, this “awarness” concerning death lasts ultimately days or weeks. the only researcher i know who ever dealt with this subject is elisabeht kuebler-ross, whom some of you probably know anyways. if not i highly recommend her book “interviews with dying people”, which is a collection of various interviews she had with people hours before they passed away.

here’s one paragraph of the interview, unfortunately in german:

Vor einem Jahr haben die Ärzte bei Ihnen Lungenkrebs festgestellt. Leiden Sie unter Schmerzen?

Nein.Ich habe nie Schmerzen gehabt. Meine Chemotherapie wirkt palliativ, dasheißt, die Ärzte haben versucht, mein Leben angenehm zu verlängern. Dasist gelungen, mehr darf und kann ich nicht erwarten. Der Tumor wirdallerdings immer größer. Leider.

Haben die Ärzte gesagt, wie viel Zeit Ihnen noch bleibt?

Nein,aber es ist absehbar. Vor einem Jahr haben sie das Gleiche zwar auchschon gesagt, aber da habe ich gedacht: »Noch einmal Frühling! Nocheinmal meine Bäume und Pflanzen blühen sehen!« Und dann verging einganzes Jahr. Aber jetzt haben die Ärzte es wieder gesagt. Mit einemnoch ernsteren Unterton. Und jetzt glaube ich es Ihnen. Ehrlich gesagt,ich fühle es sogar.

Dass Sie bald sterben werden?

Haben Sie Angst vor dem Tod?

Eigentlich nicht. Ich hatte früher immer nur Angst vor dem Sterben, weil ich dachte, es tut bestimmt wahnsinnig weh.

Haben Sie sich damals keine Gedanken über Ihre eigene Gesundheit gemacht? Ich habe mir immer wieder gesagt, Carrell, Carrell, pass doch auf! Vor drei Jahren war ich noch beim Arzt und habe mich von oben bis unten durchleuchten lassen. Da hatte ich noch nichts.

Woran haben Sie vor einem Jahr gemerkt, dass etwas nicht stimmt? Beim Husten habe ich ab und zu Blut drin gehabt. Daraufhin bin ich zum Arzt gegangen, der hat mich gründlich untersucht und mir mitgeteilt, dass ich Lungenkrebs habe. Ich war nicht überrascht. Es war etwas Selbstverständliches. Hätte ich eigentlich schon längst haben müssen! Ich habe immer fünf Tage vor einer Show so gut wie ohne Essen gearbeitet, nach einer Show nur Bier getrunken und mindestens sechzig Lord Extra am Tag geraucht. Ich wusste: Das geht irgendwann schief.

Haben Sie schon an Ihre Beerdigung gedacht? Ich habe zu meinen Kindern gesagt, dass ich keine öffentliche Beerdigung will. Aus Angst vor den »Jacob Sisters«! Mit ihren komischen Pudeln zerstören sie doch jede Atmosphäre. Die sind auch bei Moshammer aufgetaucht! Deshalb: keine öffentliche Beerdigung aus Angst vor den »Jacob Sisters«. Das können Sie ruhig schreiben.

Wo möchten Sie beerdigt werden? Ich lasse mich einäschern und dann sollen meine Kinder irgendwo einen Grabstein hinsetzen.

Nicht hier auf dem Grundstück neben Ihrer Frau Anke? Ich überlege noch, ob wir vielleicht ein gemeinsames Grab mit beiden Urnen nehmen, auf einem normalen Friedhof.

Sie sprechen so sachlich über all diese traurigen Angelegenheiten. Ich habe mich mit meinem Tod abgefunden. Was soll ich denn noch trauern? Ich muss dankbar sein. Ich habe so ein tolles Leben gehabt. Ende. Das Einzige, was mir noch Sorge macht, ist der Zeitpunkt der Veröffentlichung dieses Interviews. Das könnte schnell auch ein »In memoriam« werden, da es mit mir steil bergab geht. Ich habe aber nichts dagegen, wenn das Gespräch erst nach meinem Tod erscheint. So was kann man eben schlecht planen.

Galgenhumor? Natürlich, ich bleibe Profi – bis zum Schluss.

Gibt es einen Begriff, der Ihren gegenwärtigen Gemütszustand beschreibt? Sehr gelassen. Ich muss nicht mehr nach Köln – herrlich! Ich muss keine Gags mehr erfinden – wunderbar! Ich genieße Kleinigkeiten wie dieses Interview und gucke drei Kanäle holländisches Fernsehen. Vielleicht sehe ich noch etwas Neues, Inspirierendes. Aber ich habe aufgehört zu arbeiten.

Glauben Sie an ein Leben danach?

Nein. Dann ist es eben aus. Aber mein Leben war aufregend genug.

Citizen Smith

Last night Dorothy, Ben and I went to a newly opened Restaurant carrying the prestigous name “Citizen Smith” in Western Hollywood.
Located on the southern end of the Cahuenga Strip, this avant-garde eatery serves up modern American cuisine in an ornate, loft-inspired environment. Designed by Thomas Schoos (who also did the remarkable “Koi”), the space sends up bourgouise glamour with a central dining room of custom-made furnishings flanked by oversized booths. The restaurant includes a spacious patio sanctuary, ideal for smokers, and a more intimate back bar. The menu includes both delicious American Basics such as Angus Steaks and lighy Mediterrenian Styled Mozarella/Tomato Creations for adequate prices (Main Dishes from 10 – 17 $)

1602 N. Cahuenga Ave.
Hollywood, CA 90028