A Christmas video from me

This film was completed about 14 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. They believed it was 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.

3 thoughts on “A Christmas video from me”

    • 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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