Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Car Matchmaker

Back on July 16, 2014 I posted a picture, mentioning a TV shoot I had done.

Tonight, the episode of Car Matchmaker aired on the Esquire Network. The show is hosted by Spike Feresten. Here's the brief clip with me, R2 and the Droidmobile.

(Yes, they poke fun at me at the end, but I don't mind.)

This all started thanks to an interview I had done for the online magazine Jalopnik (seen here). The editor/writer of the article knew Car Matchmaker producer David DeAngelis, and David took an interest in the droid lift, since they were doing a show about loading large objects into vehicles. In this case, Jameson and Shanna were looking for a car that could handle their two large Rhodesian Ridgeback dogs. So they asked me to come down to the studio in West Los Angeles for an 11:00am call time.

I arrived and parked the Element in the studio garage. We positioned R2 so that when Spike entered the garage with Jameson and Shanna, he would be hidden for the big reveal.

This was a rare instance of doing a TV show were it was as at least as much about me and the Element as it was R2, so I did not have a chance to take pictures as the shoot was happening, since I was in the shoot itself. We probably shot 15 minutes worth of video, but only about one minute made the cut, which is fine with me. I did mention the R2 Builders Club, what the club does and how it works, and I also credited Mike Senna with coming up with the idea of the droid lift. But pretty much all of that got cut, since they had a lot more to squeeze into the show.

Here are some miscellaneous pictures from the day.

It was a fun and enjoyable day.

Tustin Ranch Elementary School Visit

Today R2 and I visited Tustin Ranch Elementary School, in Tustin, CA. I was invited out to show R2 to the 5th graders, and explain the basics of how he was built and how he works. I gave the presentation from 8:15am-9:15am, before work.

I asked interactive questions, and had a lot of participation from the students.

When it came time to demonstrate sounds, I had a volunteer come up and press one of the sound buttons, the scream sound of course. That got a good reaction.

Toward the end we did Questions and Answers.

We wrapped up with mobbing and group pictures.

It was a great visit, I'm really glad I was able to bring R2 out.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Make-A-Wish Star Wars Party for Aiden

Today R2 and about a dozen other Star Wars characters helped make a Star Wars birthday wish for young Aiden come true, via a Make-A-Wish event. Aiden in particular wanted to meet Darth Vader, so we were saving Vader and his Dark Side companions for later in the day.

Lunch was catered in part by an anthropomorphic pig ("Wilbur"), who was also serving his kind.

When Aiden and his family and friends arrived, all the Star Wars characters were lined up to greet them!

The characters mingled with the guests as they got their food. There was even a Darth Vader cake!

After lunch, Vader and his henchmen made their appearance!

All the kids got lightsabers, and got to participate in Jedi training. As did Wilbur.

Not only did Aiden graduate, he got his very own mini-Vader costume!

As we were wrapping up, everyone came out to see Obi-Shawn's Z Wing. (Although I think the limo Aiden arrived in and my Element are also cool.)

And just because... Sabine's helmet and Chopper Bear.

It was a long drive back (2.5 hours) but very worthwhile. I'm glad R2 and I were able to participate.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

FIRST Robotics Competition Visit

Today R2 was invited by my former coworker Antonio to come down to Chula Vista, CA (about 100 miles south of where I live, near the Mexican border) to help cheer on the FIRST Robotics team he is helping coach, Game of Gears.

The kids were excited to have him there!

Once we got indoors, all twelve competing teams wanted to take pictures with R2. One tike even drew R2 a portrait.

The competition got under way. The total score is based on execution of the robot, as well as interviews with the teams on subjects such as team building.

Once the competition was over, it was time for the judges to tally the scores and declare a champion. And the winning team was... Game of Gears!

Congratulations to them! They now move onto the regional competition, to be held at Legoland in Carlsbad, CA next month. Good luck team!

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Orange Public Library Presentation 2014

Today R2 and I joined Mike Senna and WALL•E for our presentation on droid engineering at the City of Orange Public Library, in Orange, CA.

Mike had another commitment with his robots later in the day, so he presented first and then had to take off. Mike explained the details of his WALL•E build and his philosophy to building in general. Mike took questions before he had to go.

Next, I presented on the R2 Builders club, and how I did my R2 build. I also demonstrated how to use and program the Arduino system, and showed a video of my droid's arm-wave from this past Fourth of July parade. I wrapped up with questions and answers.

The presentation was very well received, and we hope to be back again next year.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

All About that Base with Team Unicorn

Back on October 20, 2014 my droid joined several other Star Wars characters for the spoof video shoot of All About that Base with Team Unicorn. Given how little we shot with R2, I wasn't surprised that he only has about 2 seconds of screen time.

Here's the video:

The shoot took place at the Nerdist studios in Burbank, CA. Team Unicorn consists of members Rileah Vanderbilt, Clare Grant, Milynn Sarley and Alison Haislip.

I was running early, so I did what any sensible person would do... stopped for donuts.

I arrived at the studio around 10:30am, although shooting wasn't scheduled to start until 12:30pm or so. Chris Romines brought R2-A1, and Gordon Tarpley was acting as C-3PO, with Michael McMaster helping.

There is a lot of downtime between shooting.

Derek Mazer was the Royal Guard. In the video, they composited him in triplicate at times.

Gordon looked good as C-3PO!

Next was the segment with R2-D2 and R2-A1. We only shot a few seconds worth of material, and as seen in the video, only a couple seconds of that made the final cut. We were also worried the droids would do harm to the green-screen sheet on the floor, but it survived fine. Also, Chris' droid had to be "de-glossed" with hair spray to take some of the reflection off of it, so that it would not reflect green as well.

Stormtroopers were next!

Followed by the Emperor.

Chris' droid retook the set with Leanna.

A little more goofing around, and we wrapped up! It was a fun day and a fun shoot.