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The Mylar Balloon Movie

April 20, 2009

It took me a few weeks to make the transition to WordPress, but I believe all the cutting and pasting will be worth it, as this site allows me to get as close to a real website as I can possibly get.  The world premier of Mylar, the Unhappy Happy Birthday Film actually occurred a good two weeks ago, but I suppose it’s good to space out the premiers and retrospectives.  Maybe that way I can look busy all the time?

Mylar was a bit of an impulse movie.  I celebrated my birthday on March 11th, and the lovely mother that I have picked me up a  big shiny birthday balloon accompanied by several other non shiny balloons.  Apparently, the store people had just grabbed a bag of regular balloons off the shelf and filled those with helium, which turned out to be a bad idea.  The regular balloons were of such a cheap quality that they began to die immediately.  So, I had a big bright shiny birthday balloon surrounded by the corpses of balloons made of a lesser material.  My mom apologized/explained this to me saying that the Mylar balloon was of a sturdier material and would last longer.  Though I wasn’t in need of this explanation, I did appreciate being reminded of the Birthday balloons trade name.  I immediately wanted to make a movie about Mylar the Unhappy Happy Birthday Balloon.  Of course, he had to be unhappy, because I think everyone can relate to the sadness of having to watch the slow death of these celebratory balloons.

Two different takes were meshed together, so I could both enter the room and animate the balloon.

Two different shots were meshed together, so I could both enter the room and animate the balloon.

I know I never threw them out until they were lying on their backs with their legs crossed in front of them.  Having recently viewed the Up trailer, I figured the best way to start this film would be to have the Balloon watching the Up trailer and dreaming of traveling to exotic places.  I knew that I couldn’t carry the film with just the balloon, so I decided I would act as the balloon’s friend.

One of the "regular" balloons that didn't completely dies was used for this transition.

One of the "regular" balloons that didn't completely dies was used for this transition.

The beginning of the film was the first thing I shot, and probably my least favorite part.  My acting is not the greatest, and because of that, the pacing at the beginning of the film is really awkward.  In fact, this was the only part that was scripted.  I pretty much winged the rest of it, which ended up flowing a lot better.  Initially, I did not plan to have a montage of myself trying to boost the balloon into the world.  It was just going to be a toss and a run inside.  However, after viewing the two takes, I decided there was no way to put it all in.  I wish I could have redone the montage better, but those were the last shots that I took that day.  And I did not want to redo it a second time.  The biggest problem I had during the filming was feeling like a complete idiot.  I never knew if any of the stuff I was doing was coming out or not, the problem of working alone.  Plus, acting with a balloon makes one feel quite ridiculous.  I wanted to stop several times.

PDA with a Balloon not advisable.

PDA with a Balloon not advisable.

The bathroom scene is probably my favorite part.  I originally wanted to have the Balloon groom himself, as if he was getting ready for a date.  But after a few attempts of failing to get the balloon to successfully turn on the faucet, I realized there was no way I was going to accomplish this myself.  I decided to have my character help the Balloon clean himself.  This turned out to be a lot better, as it helped the film become more of a buddy film.  And it made sense after all, since my character came up with the plan.  It isn’t said, but I am hoping that it makes sense that my father’s upcoming birthday is important because there will be another birthday balloon, with the added assumption that it would be a girl balloon.

Like most my films, I often have trouble ending them.  The story had taken some turns, but I had liked where it had gotten.  I liked the idea of the balloon placed on top of stacked boxes just so that it could be on level with the balloon that it is attempting to court.

Mylar charms the new birthday balloon.

Mylar charms the new birthday balloon.

The problem that arose was of course, why would this young helium filled balloon like this dying balloon?  Additionally, how do I quickly create a relationship?  The only way i felt I could pull an ending together was to revisit the beginning and have Mylar offer to take the other balloon on a date to see Up.  Again, I like the idea that every balloon would want to see this movie.  So, hopefully the ending works, as it hints at the possibility of things working between the two balloons, and it shows the transformation of Mylar as a character.  He is no longer sad, and dares to “live the dream” no matter what the circumstance.

This was a fun project for editing, as I experimented with Tool Time like transitions.  I had a lot of fun with these, and enjoyed picking out the various images.  I don’t have much experience in Photoshop, so i just did it in Final Cut using several 8-point garbage mattes. I wanted to make the film uniquely colorful, and decided to do a soft edging of varying colors depending upon the scene.

Three images with a background tinge of varying color.

Three images with a background tinge of varying color.

The balloon voices were done just using a regular recorded voice, and then severely raising the pitch.

In reality, both the idea and the film were thrown together rather quick, but in the end, it turned out way better than I thought.  Hope you enjoyed it, and thanks for reading this far!

Also, I released a new CHUMAIO productions logo.


3 Comments leave one →
  1. May 12, 2009 11:42 pm

    I think this is my favorite movie you have made!

  2. May 12, 2009 11:42 pm

    Oops. that was really me but the computer automatically signed me in as Craig.

    • zachkeifer permalink
      May 18, 2009 3:34 pm

      Hey thanks MacKenzie! Glad you enjoyed it!

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