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”
Nice short Jonathan! Thought it was a lot of fun! So can you divulge any details about the alternate ending? 🙂
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.
Wow, so cool you worked on this. I seen this before, so funny. Merry Christmas