A Christmas video from me

This film was com­pleted about 12 years ago.  It started a few years before that when I was work­ing at Duck Soup Pro­duck­ions, now just called “Duck”. The own­ers pro­posed doing a short CG film, and solicited con­cepts.  In about two days I cre­ated a sto­ry­board for a film about a snow­man who gets abducted by half-witted aliens who mis­take it for an earth­ling.  Believ­ing it held immo­bile by their “freeze ray.”  We began work on it between com­mer­cial projects.  After a few years of that, we hadn’t even got­ten into ani­ma­tion, and I got an offer to go work at Indus­trial Light & Magic.  I handed over the direct­ing to Lane Naka­mura, and two years later he phoned me up and told me it was done.  How­ever, they did change the end­ing con­sid­er­ably, and I wasn’t happy about that.  Still, it achieved some suc­cess, show­ing in the Sig­graph Elec­tronic The­ater, and was on the long list for Oscar nom­i­na­tion.  I got a story credit. I designed the aliens, the snow­man, and the space­ship interior.

I’ll be enjoy­ing my hol­i­day, and I hope you do too!

The Snow­man from Jonathan Lyons on Vimeo.

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3 Responses to A Christmas video from me

  1. Bryon says:

    Nice short Jonathan! Thought it was a lot of fun! So can you divulge any details about the alter­nate end­ing? :)

    • Jonathan Lyons says:

      I sure can, Bryon. In the orig­i­nal, the space­ship arrives just after the boy walks away, but he sees it abduct the snow­man. What hap­pens inside the ship is what I had planned, but it inter­cuts with the boy get­ting angry about the theft. As the chain reac­tion of explo­sions is hap­pen­ing inside, the boy packs a snow­ball and throws it at the ship. The snow­ball hits it just as the entire space­craft goes up in a fire­ball. The boy is hur­tled back­ward. When he gets up, he believes his snow­ball destroyed it. Orig­i­nally I had him fright­ened by that, but I think I would have adjusted it to him leap­ing tri­umphantly into the air.

      The pro­duc­ers changed the story on the advice of a major stu­dio that sug­gested they keep the aliens alive, in case they wanted to develop them later. As if the entire race of aliens wasn’t equally idiotic.

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