McFarland Featurette

McFarland Featurette

McFarland Featurette

It seems like just yesterday I sat down with Kevin Costner, Jim White and the Real life Diaz Brothers as well as the 7 main characters of the film. McFarland USA is one of my all time favorite Kevin Costner films and it will be a classic in now time! The Sports Movie legend brought to life the story of McFarland, California in this amazing movie! If you haven’t seen it, I strongly suggest you do, because you will be truly inspired when you leave the theater!

While on our trip we even got to see the Posters designed by acclaimed artist Fernando Reza! 
posters designed by acclaimed artist Fernando Reza

  • “McFarland, USA” is inspired by a 1987 true story, in which an unlikely band of inexperienced, under-equipped, young Latino runners with exceptional determination rise to become cross-country state champions under the leadership of their coach, Jim White. Over the years since then, the McFarland High School cross-country teams have won nine state championships and the small school is considered a powerhouse in the sport.


McFarland USA

  • Coach Jim White is retired now, but if you go to McFarland, chances are you will see him out there on his bike, keeping up with the kids every evening with a lot of his original team running alongside as well. White retired in 2002 after teaching in McFarland schools for 40 years and coaching for 25 years.


  • A number of the original runners on the championship 1987 cross-country team became educators in the McFarland school district. The former teammates are not only working in their hometown, but also raising their families there and actively supporting the cross-country teams of today by coaching, helping out with the meets and practices and donating goods or money so the teams have what they need.


  • Three out of the seven young actors on the team in the movie are from the McFarland area—Sergio Avelar who plays Victor Puentes and Michael Aguero, cast as Damacio Diaz, are actual runners and Ramiro Rodriguez, as Danny Diaz, was a champion soccer player.


  • Prior to the start of principal photography, director Niki Caro organized an informal gathering for the on-screen White clan that proved insightful for her and the actors. In pre-production she assembled the actors together—Kevin Costner, Maria Bello, Morgan Saylor and Elsie Fisher—and had them play Monopoly as a family unit. The interesting exercise kick-started a family dynamic that lasted for the entire shoot.

Crafts and Recipes Inspired by Tinkerbell Legend of the Neverbeast

Crafts and Recipes Inspired by Tinkerbell Legend of the Neverbeast


Download Sweet & Crafty Fairy Creations
Crafts and Recipes Inspired by Tinkerbell Legend of the Neverbeast! This amazing movie that will hit DVD on 3/3 and kids everywhere will be  going fairy crazy! Fawn is an inspiration and animal lover like no other! But the Neverbeast is a magical character that is there to save Pixie Hollow, but it doesn’t seem that way at first! 

Gruff Love

Singer/songwriter/musician KT Tunstall heads to Pixie Hollow to help bring animal fairy Fawn’s story to life in “Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast.” Tunstall performs three new songs in the film, including “Float,” “Strange Sight” and “1000 Years.”


“KT is a celebrated songwriter and musician,” says director Steve Loter. “She reminds me of Fawn in a way with her big heart and this amazing voice that has a little bit of edge and a tremendous amount of appeal.”


The all-new Tinker Bell film is about the relationship that develops between Fawn, a compassionate animal fairy who thinks with her heart, and Gruff, a massive beast with glowing green eyes who seems to be on a mission. “It’s a real action-adventure movie,” says Tunstall. “The characters are so cool. I was over the moon to take part. Disney Animation has such an incredible heritage of work, spanning decades, and it’s really special to be part of that.”


Tunstall had fun channeling the film’s heroine. “‘Float’ is Fawn’s opening theme,” she says. “It’s fantastic how she spends her days looking after all the animals around Pixie Hollow. The song says, ‘I’ll just float.’ She doesn’t have to have a reason, she just really loves having a pair of wings, so she’s going out for a fly, getting into trouble and mischief.”


Paper Flowers
The artist also helped introduce the NeverBeast. “‘Strange Sight’ is heard when Fawn discovers this beast living in the woods near Pixie Hollow,” says Tunstall. “He’s a huge, scary-looking guy, but she isn’t afraid. She wants to help him and make friends with him, but can’t work out what he is or what he’s doing with the rocks he’s collecting.”
Bird Feeder Craft
The third song in Tunstall’s lineup, which she sings with singer/songwriter Bleu, is an emotional song that can be heard during the film’s end credits.
 Baked Berry Baskets


Tunstall has recorded five studio albums and received multiple Brit Award nominations including a win for female solo artist and a 2007 Grammy® nom for the song “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree.” Her hit “Suddenly I See” was featured in the motion picture “The Devil Wears Prada,” which led her to her interest in composing for film including “The Kid,” “Winter’s Tale” and a collaboration with A.R. Rahman on the song “We Could Be Kings” for Disney’s “Million Dollar Arm.”


“Float” – music and lyrics by Bleu

“Strange Sight” – music and lyrics by Rob Cantor

“1000 Years” – music and lyrics by Bleu


Scott Adsit Voice of Baymax

Scott Adsit Voice of Baymax

 *Disclosure: I received an all expenses paid trip to Los Angeles for the coverage of several press events for Disney. All opinions are 100% my own.



Scott Adsit Voice of Baymax 

Scott Adsit who is the man behind the character Baymax in BigHero6 was a joy to sit down and chat with.  He was super friendly, gave us a lot of insight on what it took to become Baymax and bring the character to life.  If you haven’t seen Big Hero 6 yet, I strongly suggest you do, because it recently received an Oscar for animation! 

Challenges With Baymax

Bringing Baymax to life, of course was a little on the challenging order, but they decided that he would invite the emotions to flood in from the audience. There is a lot of inferring on the audience’s part as well as projection.  But it was a challenge not to go too far off that line, but still communicate something emotionally.  It was all in the programming essentially, but his emotional life is apparent in the movie. 

Baymax’s voice is a very unique voice and when Scott auditioned for the movie, he wasn’t sure if it would be a typical robotic voice. But when he saw a picture of the character design he knew that a soft huggable, benign bedside manner voice was going to be the winner! He found his Baymax voice pretty early in the audition, and then the big change was somewhere in the middle of the process, they decided to give him another, facet, which is when he loses power and becomes, for lack of a better word, drunk.  They even tried to enhance it, but decided that Scott’s voice acting drunk was the best and so the “drunk robot voice” was born! 


Big Hero 6 Coloring Sheets  Baymax Coloring Sheets

Baymax voice Video:

Working on Big Hero 6 was a very collaborative process for everyone involved.  Scott comes from an acting background and improv, so he used a few of his creations in addition to the scrip.  There was play, structure, and great scenes that lent themselves to his own character so to speak. He created the fist bump noise, and other small changes.  But voicing Baymax was a very emotional job but one that was the perfect job for Scott Adsit. 

 Scott says”I have the Best job in the world and the best part about being Baymax is that it is bigger than me. I know that I’m a small part of what makes Baymax, Baymax and so loveable, because Baymax is this diamond with every facet being a different person. I see the value in just entertaining without needing to feed my own ego. 

 Meet the Cuddly Avenger




  *Disclosure: I received an all expenses paid trip to Los Angeles for the coverage of several press events for Disney. All opinions are 100% my own.


Leap Frog Letter Factory

Leap Frog Letter Factory


Leap Frog Letter Factory


Lovable Frogs And New Friends Discover The Joys Of Building Words In New Animated Film Arriving On DVD, Digital HD And On Demand March 3rd ! My nephews Silas will be counting and knowing his letters soon with the help of Leap Frog! 


SANTA MONICA, CA (December 22, 2014) – From LeapFrog’s #1 selling animated series ‘Letter Factory Adventures’ comes the latest installment in the franchise, LeapFrog Letter Factory Adventures: Amazing Word Explorers, arriving on DVD (plus Digital), Digital HD and On Demand March 3rd  from Lionsgate Home Entertainment and LeapFrog, the leader in educational entertainment. The energetic, Dove Family Approved animated adventure teaches children the building blocks of rhyming, word building and story structure.

Explore the joys of building words and creating stories as Leap, Tad, Lily and friends go on a camping adventure to see a meteor shower! Follow along as they learn to rhyme in song, and then build words and develop amazing stories in a super-fun game with picture and letter cards. Join the LeapFrog friends as they discover stories can come from anywhere—all you need is imagination!


From the creators of the award-winning “Letter Factory” DVD, which has sold more than 2.5MM DVDs to date, LeapFrog Letter Factory Adventures: Amazing Word Explorers features stunning CGI and is loaded with entertaining extras, including three all-new original learning songs, as well as curriculum commentary for parents. The Letter Factory Adventures franchise is also supported with new apps, books and toys.  LeapFrog Letter Factory Adventures: Amazing Word Explorers will be available on DVD for the suggested retail price of $14.98.



  • Rhyming
  • Storytelling
  • Word Building



  • Sing-A-Long Videos
  • Curriculum Commentary for Parents

*Subject to change



Year of Production: 2014

Title Copyright: TM & © 2015 LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved. Package Design and Summary: © 2015 Lions Gate Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Type: Home Entertainment Premiere

Rating: Not Rated

Genre: Children, Family

Closed Captioned: English


Subtitles: NA

Feature Run Time: 37 minutes

DVD Format: 16×9 Widescreen (1.78:1)

DVD Audio: 5.1 Dolby Digital




Lionsgate, home to The Hunger Games, Twilight and Divergent franchises, is a premier next generation global content leader with a strong and diversified presence in motion picture production and distribution, television programming and syndication, home entertainment, digital distribution, new channel platforms and international distribution and sales. Lionsgate currently has more than 30 television shows on over 20 different networks spanning its primetime production, distribution and syndication businesses, including such critically-acclaimed hits as the multiple Emmy Award-winning Mad Men and Nurse Jackie, the comedy Anger Management, the broadcast network series Nashville, the syndication success The Wendy Williams Show and the critically-acclaimed hit series Orange is the New Black.


Its feature film business has been fueled by such recent successes as the blockbuster first two installments of The Hunger Games franchise, The Hunger Games and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, the first installment of the Divergent franchise, Now You See Me, John Wick, Warm Bodies, The Possession, Sinister, Roadside Attractions’ A Most Wanted Man, Lionsgate/Codeblack Films’ Addicted and Pantelion Films’ Instructions Not Included, the highest-grossing Spanish-language film ever released in the U.S.

Lionsgate’s home entertainment business is an industry leader in box office-to-DVD and box office-to-VOD revenue conversion rate. Lionsgate handles a prestigious and prolific library of approximately 16,000 motion picture and television titles that is an important source of recurring revenue and serves as the foundation for the growth of the Company’s core businesses. The Lionsgate and Summit brands remain synonymous with original, daring, quality entertainment in markets around the world.

For additional information

 The product in this post was given to me in exchange for my review/opinion by Lionsgate.   Even though this product was provided to me at no cost, I only personally recommend products that I think will be good for myself and readers. Thanks to Lionsgate or allowing me to review this great product.

Interviewing Ryan Green and Mike Greenholt

Interviewing Ryan Green and Mike Greenholt

 *Disclosure: I received an all expenses paid trip to Los Angeles for the coverage of several press events for Disney. All opinions are 100% my own.

Being able to sit down and learn about the behind the scenes animation of Disney movies is always very informative. On the last trip to LA we got to sit down with Story Artist Ryan Green and Animation Supervisor Mike Greenholt who worked on Tinkerbell and The Legend of the Neverbeast.  They were just a few of the people that worked on Gruff and brought him to life in the animation world and the big screen.  Seeing Gruff in action is magical to say the least and being able to see the behind the scenes things was absolutely amazing.  

A Story Artist

A Story Artist


A Story Artist works with the Director, the Writer, the Head of the Story and throw around story ideas and try and figure out where we want to take the story. Then the time is set, the Story Artists then draw up a bunch of panels and then we bring them back together and cut them in a reel and kind of like the upper left hand corner of picture.  Then they cut them in a reel and look at them, change them and do it all again.  Before they get to the finished film, they usually do 4-5 full movies before the final movie is released to the public.   

Interviewing Ryan Green and Mike Greenholt

Creating Gruff

Creating Gruff was hard, but they said he transformed and progressed from the beginning.  The first image they had of Gruff included horns, but no tail, and they didn’t know what he looked like from the front or the back.   So they went to work on underneath the fur which included the first skeletal overlay with muscles and so on.  Then they started to draw with the hump on his back, like a bison, then they made him a Herbivore so he could have a solid base.  They went to the LA Zoo and watched the animals, and that is how Gruff’s moves came into play.  He is patterned after a Hippo and Rhino both when it comes to how he moves! 

His legs are more of a hippo/cat leg so he could move, run and not look silly shuffling along.  But then they decided he needed a tail that became an appendage a lot like an opossum tail. So that Gruff had the ability to curl it up and wrap onto things like rocks, and drop them on the ground when he was building towers and more. 

The third most important part were Gruff’s eyes because he just saw reflections of Fawn.  They were emotionless which is a lot like a cow’s eye but he has mannerisms that tell the viewers that he is “scary”. He has molars, rows of teeth and a chameleon tongue that allows him to chew and spit Snog Grass Sap. 


Animation Factors

The biggest challenge the animators had to face was that Gruff had to seem believable as well as a living breathing animal.  But as well as making him a Fantasy Creature as well.  Getting Gruff Animated took a lot of exploration and when he runs he runs almost like a puppy loping after its master and very playful. But he couldn’t just be playful, he had to be dangerous move like an animal, so his facial expressions controlled a lot of his actions.  They made him change body language to fit the scene which allowed Gruff and Fawn to have non-verbal communications. 

Because the tail was an important part of the story so it was controlled by lots of movements a lot like a wrist or arm would have been.  It allowed them to be able to have it move smooth, and graceful as well as do everything a hand would do.It took them three and a half years from start to finish to finish all of the sequence to make a movie including production, story process as well as animation.  But it was a challenge that they accepted and worked hard at and the finished product is amazing.  

Gruff was the most challenging thing that he has every animated, but he was also the most rewarding because he was one of the most fun, too because he doesn’t speak, his whole performance is Animation and so the Animator is, making him perform instead of speak which is a challenge in and of itself. 

Gruff does really make the movie and to see him work in animation form is truly magical! All in all making Tinkerbell and the Legend of the Neaverbeast was a lot of fun, hard-work and of course bringing real life stories to the big screen. This is a must own movie on DVD on 3/3! 

  *Disclosure: I received an all expenses paid trip to Los Angeles for the coverage of several press events for Disney. All opinions are 100% my own.