“She’s a happy homemaker from Sunnyvale who plays the oboe. Welcome, Courtney Mortimer!”
Hey, if someone told me I’d won the lottery I’d think I was dreaming but if a talking squirrel met me at the door to tell me the good news I’d think I was more than dreaming…
Yet that’s the story line in this funny California Lottery spot from BBDO West.
Our part in all this nuttiness was to create that talking squirrel making him as realistic as his real life counterpart. That we did by removing the head of the real little guy and replacing it with one of our own creation. We assure you no actual animals were hurt in the making of this spot but there were a few harnessed squirrels on the live action set along with their veritable unharnessed wranglers.
That cute squirrel was modeled and animated using Autodesk Maya by our illustrious creative director, Jerry van de Beek. Make Me A Millionaire! plays regionally and has an after life forever more on You Tube making Courtney Mortimer – famous!
Emru Townsend 1969-2008
Emru Townsend came into our lives back in 2003. We made a little animated short by the name of Au Petite Mort. Emru saw it at Siggraph that year and reviewed it on his site. I did not see that great review until months later but as soon as I did I wrote to thank him. I felt he truly understood the intent of the piece and was so happy he appreciated all the work that went into it. That moment of contact started a long, interesting and incredibly diverse friendship. Our conversations via email and Skype covered all sorts of topics from animation, the arts and the state of industry on any given day, we discoursed on culture and simulculture, we nattered on about friends, relationships, family ties and touched very lightly on our backgrounds. It was easy and casual. I sent him everything Jerry and I worked on and solicited his honest opinion with which he was generous.
Many moons passed and we arranged to do a podcast for Frames Per Second. Through a series of technological mishaps it turned into a weekly event of chitchat on the phone while being recorded. Many of those sessions failed to record or transcribe or simply vanished like a poof of smoke in a cosmic disappearing act. It was as strange and baffling as it was amazingly funny. But it kept us talking for weeks on end always starting with, “Now, where were we?” Somewhere along the line Emru got a cold that he couldn’t shake. We commiserated because I had one too that seemed to drag on for weeks. He said it was making him feel strange and was going to see the doctor if it didn’t shape up. The rest is history.
We followed everything Emru posted by the day and sent encouraging notes. And even when things seemed bad I refused to accept that he would not somehow just get better. There were so many highs and lows and even at the worst moments I found myself rocking with laughter at some of the things Emru wrote, said or described. When Emru’s sister Tamu wrote, “Game Over”, I couldn’t believe it. I almost still can’t… So, it’s taken me months to write this piece and also start writing the blog again.
Sometimes people come into your life for a short time only. They make a profound impact and when they depart the planet they leave a gaping black hole where once there was an outstanding human being. Emru Townsend was one such person. We are all richer for having known him and all poorer for our loss. Now become a donor and help save a life.
UK – Anthony Nolan Trust, African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust
USA – National Marrow Donor Program, DKMS Americas
Canada – Hema Quebec Stem Cell Registry, OneMatch Stem Cell Network