Sunday, September 25, 2016
Hero of the Revolution Chris Wedge and his Adventure in Hollywood
In Hollywood, it is said, people are something that they are not. This is a joke that tries to make fun of the phenomenon that people are working in one area but say that they aspire to be working in another. There are many examples of this in real life, and that is one of the reasons that the joke exists. There are actors, writers, producers, etc, who want to direct. There are many waiters and real estate agents who want to act or write. There are many successful writers who are not satisfied with that and want to also be paid to write, direct and produce their own movies.
On the other hand, the fact is that a small percentage of people do get to achieve their dream. People who come to Los Angeles and work in food service or in computer animation, but actually are able to get acting roles in television and film. People who went to film school and become successful film editors. People who write screenplays for years and work at odd jobs who do become successful, working writers in television or film. Or who work mostly in advertising or trailers and make a good living and who are happy to do so. It certainly beats slinging burgers.
And why not? People are ambitious, people are also talented, and many people are not able to find a situation where they can demonstrate that talent. You must be dedicated, tireless, indefatiguable or you are guaranteed not to succeed. This is why we see so many successful people who are outliers when it comes to ambition, only the very ambitious have a chance.
The danger, the classical danger, of course is to know, or not know, when to stop. If Icarus had not flown so high, but stayed at a moderate altitude, then his flight would have been a complete success. When do you stop trying to recreate yourself, and just try to do as well as you can with what you have? If a writer, to write more great screenplays or novels. If an actor, to be a better actor. If an director of animated films, to direct more animated films.
One of the local heroes of the canon and revolution of 3D animation is Chris Wedge, who with his colleagues at Blue Sky in upstate New York, defied the odds and has become a recognzied and accomplished director of 3D animated feature films. Among other films, he has directed the Ice Age films, and he has also been a successful voice actor of many of his characters. But that is not enough, and he wants to direct live action films.
Chris Wedge Publicity Photo from his IMDB Page
The good news is that his first live action film, Monster Trucks (2017), is coming out soon. The bad news is that the studio that financed it has so little faith in it that it is taking a write-off on the film before it even comes out, something that is very unusual, and demonstrates to what extent the studio does not believe in the movie.
I am very proud of Chris for what he has accomplished and hope that this latest adventure will work out for him.
Monster Trucks (2017) on IMDB
Chris Wedge on IMDB