My “Epic” Day (Part 2)

By Role Mommy Writer, Danielle Feigenbaum

Epic, the 3D CG adventure comedy hits theaters this Friday, May 24th! From the creators of ICE AGE and RIO (2 of my kid’s favorite movies) this film will please kids and adults of all ages! In case you missed my post from yesterday, I had the opportunity to attend the premiere of the new animated film, Epic, and then attend a press junket where we were able to ask questions to the stars of the movie!
What a fun day!
First off, we met the HILARIOUS duo, Aziz Ansari and Chris O’Dowd. They play a slug and a snail in the film, and in my opinion, they stole the show. Here is a taste of how our time with them began…
Mr. Aziz Ansari: Mommy Blogger Roundtable.
Mr. Chris O’Dowd: This is exciting. I’ve never done anything like this before.
Blogger: So, this is your first time at a Mommy Blogger Roundtable?
Mr. Chris O’Dowd: Yes, this is. This is my first Mommy Blogger Roundtable. This is great.
Blogger: So, just we ask questions randomly?
Mr. Chris O’Dowd: It would be good if they were about the movies and stuff.
Mr. Aziz Ansari: Has this ever existed before?
Blogger: I have a question from my daughter.
Mr. Aziz Ansari: Whoa.
Blogger: What was your favorite movie as a kid?
Mr. Chris O’Dowd: Oh, that’s a good question.
Mr. Aziz Ansari: That is a good question. That might be the first good question I’ve heard ever in my history of doing interviews.
What was your favorite movie?
Mr. Chris O’Dowd: I’m trying to think what I loved.
Mr. Aziz Ansari: Did they have kids movies in Ireland?
Mr. Chris O’Dowd: Yes, we had movies. What did I love? Jaws? Does that count?
Mr. Aziz Ansari: Jaws?
Mr. Chris O’Dowd: It’s not a kids movie.
Blogger: A child friendly movie.
Mr. Chris O’Dowd: A child friendly movie. Well, ET – loved ET.
Mr. Aziz Ansari: ET I think was the first movie I saw in the theaters. I’d just been born when ET came out, and I think my mom and dad took me to ET.
ET is great. What else did I see?
Mr. Chris O’Dowd: I guess that wasn’t a big animation time.
And here are my questions to them:
Role Mommy: How much of what you guys did in the film was improv? You have such a good rapport together.
Mr. Aziz Ansari: There are a few things here or there, but generally, what you see is a scripted.
Mr. Chris O’Dowd: Yes. You’re a tiny piece of this massive thing. People are drawing it just for so long, they don’t draw it any more probably. But I think by the time it gets down to it, you kind of just do your bit, which is mostly scripted.
Role Mommy: Were you together when you did the voices?
Mr. Aziz Ansari: This is something people are very interested about. We’ve been asked this a few times.
Mr. Chris O’Dowd: Yes, and what we were wearing.
Mr. Aziz Ansari: No, you went to the stock questions.
We did our first big session together, which was where we did like a lot of the stuff, and then he was shooting a film in Ireland, I believe.
Mr. Chris O’Dowd: That’s right.
Mr. Aziz Ansari: And I was filming in Los Angeles, so we were not in the same area. But, we were lucky enough to do the one major big session together, which was fun.
Mr. Chris O’Dowd: Yes, it was really good. And that kind of gave us the idea of what the chemistry would be and what the dynamic would be and all that kind of stuff. So, it was good but, I had to go back to Ireland and shoot something, and it was great. And Chris (the Director) was kind of enough to of come over and record some of my stuff there, which was fun.
Here is one of my favorite parts of the interview:

Blogger: What did you think when you first found out? Did they just say, would you like to play a snail, or would you like to play a slug, or did you kind of sign up for the film and then find out?
Mr. Chris O’Dowd: Well, I auditioned for the part of Queen Tara, and it wasn’t until a couple of weeks in that they recast, got Beyonce and decided to go a different direction.
Mr. Aziz Ansari: Sorry, Chris, they’re going in a slightly different direction.
Mr. Chris O’Dowd: Yes. I thought it was kind of a cool idea to play a snail because there aren’t enough on screen, you know?
Mr. Aziz Ansari: Snails are very under-represented.
Mr. Chris O’Dowd: Which is snailist, frankly.
Mr. Aziz Ansari: Yes.
Blogger: Snailist.
Mr. Chris O’Dowd: Don’t be snailist, yes.
Mr. Aziz Ansari: I mean, I watched Iron Man 3 the other day and there’s not one snail.
Mr. Chris O’Dowd: Not one, not one.
Mr. Aziz Ansari: Not one snail or slug in this world.
Mr. Chris O’Dowd: It’s a pretty snailist movie.
Mr. Aziz Ansari: You’ve just got to focus on the human characters. Star Trek – same thing.
Mr. Chris O’Dowd: Nothing, yes.
Mr. Aziz Ansari: It’s really a little discriminatory. That’s why it’s good EPIC gives snails and slugs a fair shake.
Mr. Chris O’Dowd: And you watch the way that the landscape will change. There’s going to be a lot of mucous based things.
Mr. Aziz Ansari: Iron Man 4, one of the characters is gonna be a snail, yes.
Mr. Chris O’Dowd: That’s right.
Blogger: A slug.
Blogger: Are you opposed to escargot?
Mr. Chris O’Dowd: Yes. Well, anywhere that we get mentioned, I don’t mind, even if it’s being eaten. That’s fine. I just want to get out there.
Mr. Aziz Ansari: A lot of pressure.
Mr. Chris O’Dowd: Nobody can stand up to the heat.
And here we are with two of the funniest guys I have ever met…

Next we had the pleasure of speaking to the Director of the film, Chris Wedge, and two of the main characters, Colin Farrell and Amanda Seyfried.
Role Mommy: When you’re creating the characters and you have the actors in there, how does that work as far as they don’t look like them, but you can tell that their facial expressions, there are things that you can say, oh, that looks like them!
Mr. Colin Farrell: Which scene, which number?
Blogger: I don’t know. I think you just look like them. Then, you have Beyonce, you can see their selves come through, the expressions.
Ms. Amanda Seyfried: Well, it’s the way the characters move. I mean, MK walks with her shoulders kind of slumped forward a little bit. And, I don’t know. There’s just a stride that everybody has.
Mr. Chris Wedge: The animated characters are collaborations. They come from a lot of different places. So, we write them, and we design them, and we have animators. But, we get voices from human beings that can create a performance for us.
Every time we record, there’s a little camera watching these guys, watching their faces as reference for our animators. But, often, the animators don’t ever look at it because so much of the performance comes through in what they hear.
Mr. Colin Farrell: Yes.
Mr. Chris Wedge: So, this part is just what you hear, really. But, it inspires a lot of what you see. I mean, we didn’t make these guys jump onto anything and ride it around or do anything crazy.
Ms. Amanda Seyfried: No.
Mr. Colin Farrell: I just rolled around in the forest before I went into work just to get in the mood.
Mr. Chris Wedge: It’s weird. His fingers were always dirty when he came in. But, you get all of it from performance.
Blogger: What was your favorite movie when you were a kid?
Mr. Colin Farrell: Star Wars for me. I had all the figures and collected all the figures and loved those films, yes, very much so.
Blogger: Still going strong.
Mr. Colin Farrell: Yes, yes.
Mr. Chris Wedge: Yes, I guess.
Ms. Amanda Seyfried: Sonic the Hedgehog.
Mr. Colin Farrell: Wow, wow.
Ms. Amanda Seyfried: And I was Sonic, so I got to fight evil myself, which is exciting.
Mr. Colin Farrell: Hey, is that fast food joint anything to do with that Hedgehog?
Ms. Amanda Seyfried: I don’t think so.
Mr. Colin Farrell: No?
Ms. Amanda Seyfried: Sonic Burger? No, probably not.
Blogger: How did you get the images to look like that? I haven’t seen 3D like that. You could tell from the very first scene it was going to be something different. It was beautiful imagery.
Mr. Chris Wedge: Well, thank you.
Blogger: The color was so saturated and it was just so beautiful. Is there something different that you did?
Mr. Chris Wedge: Well, a difference is in the technology that we use. We’ve been working on this stuff for 25 years, and so there are physicists at Blue Sky that work on the physics of light.
Ms. Amanda Seyfried: So crazy.
Mr. Chris Wedge: And a lot of it, I have to say, it comes from the art direction. The idea for this movie, I wanted to make a very romantic fantasy film. And so, I went back to the illustrations and paintings of NC Wyeth was the main one. He painted one single beautiful image for Treasure Island or Robin Hood or Sea Hawk, and that incredibly nuanced textured artwork is what I wanted it to look like a storybook.
Blogger: It’s beautiful. It grabs you from the second that it does come on the screen.
Mr. Chris Wedge: Well, thanks.
And here we are…

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So, as you can see it was a pretty “Epic” day! Stay tuned for my movie review with a sneak peak at the film.
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Watch Epic videos on YouTube
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Chef Marcela Valladolid Chats About The American Baking Competition Premiering May 29 on CBS

marcela_valladolid_cast-shot.jpg Role Mommy had the chance to chat with Chef Marcela, judge of the new show, The American Baking Competition which premieres May 29 on CBS.
Role Mommy: So let’s talk about first how you got involved with the show. How did you find out about it?
Marcela Valladolid: They reached out to me over the phone, but it wasn’t until I saw the British version that I was like “Wow…this is spectacular. This is amazing!” I love the format of the show, the fact that they focus solely on the food and the baking, and not the drama between the contestants. In a lot of reality shows they take you back to where they sleep and they put them all together in a small apartment because they want them to rip each other’s hair off. This show has nothing to do with that. It is just about the beauty of the bakes and the intensity of the bakers and those reveals, uncovering what this amateur baker had made and seeing something so beautiful. It was a refreshing proposal in comparison to what we have on television right now. When they called, I went up to L.A. and met with Paul Hollywood and we did our test, and they called a few days after that and said “you know you’re coming to Alpharetta, Georgia,” which is where we shot the show. So just a few days after that I was on a plane to Georgia.
RM: Did you bring your son out with you in Alpharetta at all or did he stay back?
MV: No I couldn’t leave him for the whole month of production. I left for ten days, and then he came the middle ten days, and then I stayed for ten more days so he wouldn’t feel like it was such a long break. When I did “The Apprentice” I left for two months.That was the longest time we’ve been apart. If it’s going to be a long trip, he comes with me. I don’t care if I have to pull him out of school, I’d rather him be with me.
RM: I know in terms of baking shows it’s really about racing against the clock. Are you going to have that same sense of urgency in The American Baking Competition?
MV: Oh my goodness, across the board with these guys, the number one challenge that they had was time management. It was a race against the clock every single time. And it was really frustrating to Paul and myself at times because we knew they were good at what they do. But with baking, as opposed to savories, you don’t know what’s going to happen until you open the oven at the very end. You just don’t know if the proportions were right, or if you mixed it properly. You have some visuals before you go into the oven, but the fact of the matter is, you don’t have an idea of how it’s going to come out and if it’s executed to perfection until you open that oven door. So yes, you’re certainly going to get that sense of urgency there were moments when the bell rang and their desserts just weren’t done. It was not cooked. It was raw. Very intense! Lots of drama!
RM: So did you find that they got better at time management as the episodes went on?
MV: Well, they certainly adapted to the environment. I’ve said this so many times, baking is one of those things where you just really need to be in a good place emotionally and mentally for you to be able to produce your best dish. You can certainly tell in the beginning that they were struggling. It was really cold outside which is really difficult for baking, especially for bread-making and for yeast and proofing. So it took a little bit of time for them to adapt, but once they did, it was so beautiful because their personalities came out and their faces and their attitudes changed. They certainly did need a couple of episodes to make those kitchens, those stations, their own.
RM: The British version took place in a tent was well. Were the weather conditions an intentional part of the challenge?
MV: It wasn’t a part of the equation at all. They actually thought we were going to get warm weather. Within the one month production period, we experienced every season in Alpharetta. One day it was got all the way up to 75 and a few days later it was snowing. So we had to adjust, but it definitely wasn’t something that they thought about to make it more challenging for the bakers. It made for really exciting TV.
RM: What’s your favorite pastry or dish that you love to bake?
MV: I love baking tarts. My mom used to make the most amazing strawberry tart made from the Mexican version of the English tea biscuit, which is called galleta Maria, and piloncillo, which is Mexican raw sugar, to make the crust. And the filling was so simple. It was sugar, cream cheese, sour cream, tons of strawberries, syrup, and a little bit of orange liqueur, and it was the most amazing thing! So I love different adaptations of those tarts. I’m also very much about anything that involves a beautiful presentation. To me, the beautiful thing about being a chef is that that it’s one of the few professions that tackles every single one of your senses. And visually, it’s what you get first, especially with desserts. It’s not like savories where you can smell the garlic. Sometimes with desserts it’s much harder. You have to get much closer to the dish to actually smell it. So for me, putting that visual arrangement together is something I love to do.
To see a sneak peek of the “American Baking Competition,” check out this Behind the Scenes Video!

My “Epic” Day (Part 1)

By Role Mommy Writer, Danielle Feigenbaum
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I have done the full-time-working-mom thing in corporate America and the full-time-stay-at-home-mom thing in the ‘burbs. A few years ago I found my happy medium, writing for Role Mommy and working in PR. I am able to work while the kids are in school, be home for them in the afternoons to help with homework and run them to their various activities. And, oh yeah – the perks of the job are awesome! Case in point, last weekend I attended the premiere of the new animated feature, Epic, with my 9 year old daughter, 6 year old son and hubby. What a fabulous experience! (I also attended the press junket where I met some of the amazing stars of the film… but more on that later!)
We drove into NYC Saturday morning and made our way to the famous Ziegfeld Theatre. On the way we explained to the kids the cultural significance and history of the theatre and all the fabulous events that have taken place there over there years. Then came one of the highlights of our day, we walked the “green” carpet. Once we stepped on the carpet we were transported to a fantasy forest and felt like celebrities with all the paparazzi. Here’s our pic on the “green” carpet… don’t we look like celebrities?
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I was totally prepared to answer any questions about “who I was wearing” (I was rocking my J Crew wedges), but sadly nobody stopped me to ask or scream out my name for an autograph. Maybe next time.
When we got into the theater we received complimentary popcorn, drinks, and of course our 3D glasses. Then there was this….
Tiny scrumptious cupcakes from Baked By Melissa spelling out “Epic”. Very cool, plus we all enjoyed a tasty bite after the movie. Stay tuned to Role Mommy for my Epic movie review…
But now onto the second part of my “Epic” day! My husband took the kids home and I went to the beautiful Mandarin Oriental Hotel at Columbus Circle and enjoyed a delicious lunch with some wonderful fellow bloggers. And then, the real fun began. We had the opportunity to ask questions to some of the fantastic actors who lent their voices to the movie, as well as the incredible director, Chris Wedge.
*Check back tomorrow to see who I had the chance to meet and what they had to say about this unbelievable movie. From the creators of ICE AGE and RIO, the 3D CG adventure comedy hits theaters on May 24th. Thanks so much to 20th Century Fox who provided everything for my “Epic” day!
Like Epic on Facebook
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Watch Epic videos on YouTube
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Amazing Kid’s Apps – Just in time for Summer Travel!

By Role Mommy Writer, Danielle Feigenbaum

Memorial Day Weekend kicks off summer travel for many people. You may be packing up the car for for a road trip, hopping on a train or getting ready to board a plane. Wherever you go and however you get there, you will want to make sure you are prepared with activities for your kids. Here is where Fingerprint comes in and saves the day.
There are over 25 educational apps to chose from with more on the way by the end of the year! The Fingerprint platform is a first-of-its-kind hub for learning and fun that offers multiplayer gaming features and enhanced safe social capabilities for children as young as 3 years old. The platform is a portal to Fingerprint’s expanding library of great educational games that promote early reading, character values, finance/money skills, music and so much more.
Fingerprint is a three time family choice award winner and 2013 iKids winner. With apps from your kids favorite TV shows such as Sid the Science Kid and more, you will be ok with letting your kids play away because they are learning and using their imagination.
Below are some of the apps that my kids loved (they are ages 9 and 6).
With Scribble My Story, kids can illustrate their own audio stories or create a book based on Fingerprint’s wildy popular Big Kid Life or Whole Wide World Adventure.
A collection of 4 Step-by-Story apps: The Goofy Gift, Thanks for the Franks, Larry’s Missing Music and I am the Hero!
There are new apps coming out all the time, all reasonably priced. It’s good, clean learning fun! So click here and start downloading right away! Happy Travels!