So, there I was, holed up in the Alamo with a bunch of… religion writers. Okay, it may not make a great movie, but it's all true. I was in San Antonio a few weeks ago to help Big Idea, Inc. promote the Pirate movie at the National Religion Writers Convention. Did you know there was such a thing? Well, there is. It was at a very old, historic hotel, right next to the Alamo. ("Religion writers" are reporters that cover religion, by the way.)
Big Idea, Inc., the new owners of VeggieTales, sponsored a screening of the Pirate movie for all the religion writers and asked me to come down for a Q&A session. There was a reception for the group at the Alamo itself, and I had two minutes to get up in front to announce the screening that night after the evening session. (First I told them the evening's film would be a 4-hour documentary on the life of St. Catherine of Sienna. I thought that might be the kind of joke religion writers would find amusing. That may have been a miscalculation.)
The screening went well, though many of the religion writers were too tired from their day of meetings to attend. (Apparently they aren't a late-night 'party' sort of group.) The ones that showed up seemed to like it just fine… though the first question I got in the Q&A time, from a female reporter in the front row after watching Mr. Lunt, Larry the Cucumber and Pa Grape become heroes, was "So are you saying only men can be heroes?"
I quickly ran back to the Alamo and locked myself inside until the natives calmed down.
Things I learned about the Alamo while in San Antonio:
- The Alamo isn't very big.
- Texans take the Alamo very seriously.
- Don't laugh or smile while inside the Alamo.
- Do not, under any circumstance, forget point #2.
There ya go. That's what I learned.
I also just got back from San Diego, where I spoke at the National Youthworkers Convention, telling the story of VeggieTales and Big Idea (the same story you can read in Me, Myself & Bob. You have read it, right? Right?)
The conference was great… David Crowder warmed up the crowd of some 3,000 youth workers before my talk. (I think I'll have David warm up ALL the crowds before my talks from no on. He's awfully good at that. Check out his music on iTunes if you aren't familiar with him.) It's always fun to talk to youth workers and children's pastors, since so many are big veggie fans.
And finally… my favorite animated film of the year just came out on DVD. And, no, it wasn't Ratatoullie (apologies to all my friends at Pixar). Ratatoullie was good, but this film, for me, felt fresher and more… hmm… more original. And, amazingly, visually more stunning. What film am I talking about? Aren't you dying to know?
Yes, that penguin surfing movie that no one went to see. My kids and I just loved it. I just bought it on DVD and Blu-Ray disk. (And I don't even have a Blu-Ray player yet!) The animation is simply incredible, the "mockumentary" format is consistently enertaining (particularly if you, like me, are a Christopher Guest fan), the relationship between Shia Labeouf's and Jeff Bridges's characters is honestly touching. And did I mention the animation? Wow. It even has a nice message about doing things because we love them, not because we want to be better than everyone else. (It isn't exactly a Bible story, but in our ESPN-addled culture, it's a really good message.)
It has an element or two that may not be appropriate for younger kids (when the 'mean' surfer starts talking about his 'ladies', just fast forward), but I think it is the freshiest animated film of the year.
There you go. Gotta get back to work now…