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For the Birds

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For the Birds title card
Directed by: Ralph Eggleston
Written by: Ralph Eggleston
Release date: June 5, 2000
Running time: 3 minutes, 21 seconds

For the Birds is a short film written and directed by Ralph Eggleston. Its worldwide debut occurred at the Annecy Film Festival in France on June 5, 2000. It would later premiere in the United States at the 27th annual Siggraph conference on July 24 of that same year, and was attached to the theatrical release of Monsters, Inc. in 2001. It was re-released on December 19, 2012 with Monsters, Inc. in 3D. The film won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.

Plot

Fifteen blue birds land one-by-one on a power line, and soon they encounter a huge and goofy-looking bird. They mimic and tease him, but he goes on the cord anyway. The little birds start pecking on him. They successfully get him off, but when the big bird falls off, the birds are flung away into the sky. When they come back down, we see that they have all lost their feathers, making them the goofy-looking ones now. The short ends with the big bird laughing hysterically as the other birds hide behind him.

The first four small birds to land on the power line are named Bully, Chipper, Snob and Neurotic.[1]

Production

Ralph Eggleston had this to say about his inspiration for the short:

Probably visits to my aunt when I was a kid. She lived in the country and I spent long rides to her house peering out the car window at birds on a wire. Also, I did a project in my design class at CalArts that my friend, Ken Bruce, told me might make a good film. I boarded it out at CalArts, but frankly, I couldn’t imagine the difficulty of drawing all those birds. Little did I know it would be just as difficult on the computer!

Trivia

Nemoforthebirds

"For the Birds" boat in Finding Nemo

  • There is a boat in Finding Nemo called "For the Birds."
  • The background music in this short, titled "Big High Wire Hop," is performed by Riders in the Sky. It is included in the band's 2002 album, Monsters, Inc. Scream Factory Favorites.
  • Carsforthebirds

    The birds on the power line, in Cars

    The small birds on the power line make a cameo appearance in the movie Cars. Unlike many of the other "animals" in the films, the birds aren't car-ified.
  • The background is actually just painted.
  • This short originally started off as an idea for a student film by Ralph Eggleston but was never made because it would have taken forever to draw all of the birds.
  • The Big Bird resembles either a shoebill or a hammerkop, while Bully and his flock appear to be some sort of waxbill (even having the same squeaks).
  • This is Pixar's first attempt at animating both feathers and moving backgrounds.
  • At the end of the short, the words "the end" appear to be written on what appears to be bird feces splattered onto a black background.

References

  1. http://www.pixar.com/short_films/Theatrical-Shorts/For-the-Birds

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