Monday, December 10, 2012

My Dream Trip To DreamWorks: Part 1
(The Intro, The Introductions & The Invitation)

An Unnecessary Intro To A Two Week-Long Recap Of A Single Afternoon:

I had two secret wishes when I started this blog. One was to meet Chris Sanders and tell him how much his films have meant to me. The other was to get a signed sketch of Stitch from him. Back then, neither of these wishes seemed particularly practical, so I kept them to myself. Why court mockery-based memes by publicly proclaiming my blue sky dreams? I'm a thin-skinned shut-in, and far too fragile for the internet's special brand of digital disdain.

Still, I held on tightly to those two wishes. I used them as fuel for my blogging. They kept me typing on the days when I didn't feel particularly inspired, and the weeks when the only new Croods news was some slightly altered soda cup art. I never really believed that my two secret wishes would come true. Yet I found myself constantly contemplating their fulfillment just the same.

I guess I'm the type of atheist who prays that he's wrong.

An Extended Introduction To Our Tour Guides, Daniel & Kristen:
(Or: Santa & My Fairy Godmother Are Real, And They Work at DreamWorks)

Starting with this next sentence, Daniel (a.k.a. Santa) shall be the envy of every reader of this blog. Homeboy is the assistant to The Croods' directors, Chris Sanders and Kirk De Micco. As if that wasn't impressive enough, Daniel is also a fount of factoids, knows everyone and everything there is to know at DreamWorks, and could -- should he ever decide to use his knowledge and natural charm for evil -- easily take over not just the studio, but Hollywood as a whole. (Come to think of it, that might not be such a bad thing.)

Kristen (a.k.a. My Fairy Godmother) works in online marketing at DreamWorks. You know all of the 'official' DW stuff that you see on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr? A lot of that's Kristen's handiwork. But she's not just the behind-the-scenes benefactor to fandom's online factions. She's a kindred spirit, too. People's exhibit A: She has a sketch of Toothless that Chris Sanders drew for her hanging in her cubicle. (Yes, I am jealous.) People's exhibit B: Kristen's Tumblr, yes, please. It's a hot bed of hot links for the discriminating animation geek. (If you've yet to see her photo of the How To Train Your Dragon beer stein, HUNT IT DOWN!)

I was first contacted by Kristen and Daniel back in September, after I reblogged a Croods-related inner-office memo that I'd stumbled across on Tumblr. Within minutes of posting it, they had both emailed me (separately), asking me to please take it down and explaining their reasons for not wanting it to go public. Better bloggers might've bemoaned this as Big Brother-style censorship or a bit of the ol' studio strong arm. But me? I was just flattered they'd noticed. I was on DreamWorks' radar! This new found knowledge delighted me. (Although it was a little weird to think that my having likened losing my virginity to awaiting The Croods might've somehow made its way back to Mr. Sanders.)

Shortly after that initial email exchange, Kristen and Daniel revealed their magical alter-egos to me. Daniel (a.k.a. Santa) sent me one of those beautiful, limited edition, Comic-Com Croods posters. Kristen (a.k.a. My Fairy Godmother) began emailing me countless links to trailers, posters and press releases, not to mention some very kind words of encouragement.

But was finding out that I had a small, semi-regular readership at DreamWorks enough to make me think that maybe -- just maybe -- one or two of my secret dreams might be a little closer to coming true?

I'm embarrassed to admit it, but yeah, kinda. I mean, other than THIS (gestures to all of me), it was becoming harder and harder for my irrational mind to think of rational reasons why they wouldn't. Or couldn't. Or shouldn't.

(Therapist's Note: Although Ju-osh has an unusually low self-esteem, he seems to balance this out with an equally out-of-proportion sense of entitlement. It's the worst of both worlds, really!)

(Wait, what's my imaginary therapist doing here? I thought I blocked her from my mind after that whole 'conquer your fears' fiasco back in '90. I mean, what sort of Freudian figment pushes a young, nerdy skateboarder to suddenly serenade the angry, aggressive, punk rock girl of his dreams in the middle of the high school cafeteria? With a Prince song no less?? A sick and sadistic figment, that's who. But I digress...)

Ah, At Last...The Invitation:
(Or: Couldn't We Have Just Started Here And Saved Ourselves A Lord of The Rings-Length Prologue?)

Have you ever had one of those moments where you just KNEW that your life was about to change for the better? Over the years, I've had a few. Meeting my gal, Mishka, was a HUGE one. Buying into the used record store that I'd worked at for years was another. Then there was this email from Kristen:

Do you live in the area? I was thinking maybe you could come visit [DreamWorks] sometime if you do! We're looking at lunch + stuff afterwards :)

WOW. Pretty amazing, right? When I first read it, I was so excited that I forgot all about Dream 1 and Dream 2. It was as if being offered the opportunity to visit the studio was such an unexpected thrill that my mind immediately deleted any and all extraneous wishes. Au revoir to my dream of talking to Chris Sanders. Adieu to the autographed sketch of Stitch.


In Part 2's Exciting Installment:
My arrival at DreamWorks! Face to face with Daniel and Kristen! A personal tour of the studio! Lots and lots of awkward, unintentional, awe-inspired silences -- all of 'em mine!

See you Wednesday!


  1. Awesome News!

    I'm so glad you got this opportunity and I'm looking forward to hearing all about the DreamWorks visit.

    1. As you will soon see, I was ill-prepared for my own excitement at being there. While I was sure that I would love it all, I had NO IDEA to what extent. Wednesday's installment goes a long way towards describing my mental brain-freeze, but wait'll we get to Friday. That's when Chris Sanders enters the story and I get REALLY inept!

    2. I haven't visited your blog in awhile, so I'll need to read these posts later on.

      Though you're not the first person to become a babbling idiot.

      I did it in front of John Lasseter at the World Premiere of 'Cars' on the red carpet. I asked John my '1 question' that his handler said I only had time to do, and John gave me that big smile of his as if to say, 'anymore questions?'

      And...I just started to babble, before squeaking out, 'can I get a picture with you?'

    3. Hey, man! Good to hear from you again. I actually re-read your Pixar trip report while preparing to write this. I was really unsure about how to cover my visit (cold and professional? brief and succinct?), and your highly personalized approach inspired me to do likewise.

      (In other words: You're to blame for this rambling mess! You! YOU!!!)


    btw i love your writing xD