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Lansing State Journal Feature
March 23, 2006

Published March 23, 2006

ELFF spotlight: Mike Blum

By Mike Hughes | Lansing State Journal

Mike Blum spends his days in the high-stakes world of Disney animation.

From the 1995 "Pocohantas" to the current "Chicken Little," he's had supervisory jobs. Still, he also wanted to make his own little film.

"It's a very personal way of expressing my creativity," Blum said. "My Disney work is creative, too, but this is in a different way."

He created "The Zit," a five-minute epic about a teen's worst fear - a pimple appearing on the day of a big date. "We just take that to its extreme," he said. It's part of Short Film Program I at 7 p.m. Friday and it also shows with "(Four-letter word)" at 9 p.m. Saturday.

Getting there takes time, Blum said. "Literally, this has been three years of work."

This is computer animation, which is quicker than hand-drawn - but maybe not by much.

"Computers don't do anything," Blum said, "You still have to do the work."

At various times, he said, 70 Disney animators worked on "The Zit" in their spare time. He obsessed on it.

"I promised my wife this would be it," Blum said. "I've been working on it from 6 to 11 every night."

It has paid off in awards and praise. Real Detroit Weekly wrote: "The finished effort is gorgeous to look at and sick enough to make the cut at 'Spike & Mike.' "

The "gorgeous" was a goal, Blum said. "We wanted it to look like a studio film."

The "sick," however, was just a happy bonus.

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