Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I Know What I Want To Do

I am going to be an animator. If I don't achieve my dream job anytime soon, as long as I can animate I will be happy. What caused this resurgence in my animation aspirations? I FINALLY saw the latest 2D animated film from Disney, The Princess and the Frog.

I could go on and on geeking out about the whole return of 2D, traditional, hand-drawn animation. Let me just saw that it was a breath of fresh air to see it up on the big screen. There are just some things that can only be done in hand-drawn animation. In 2D you can really push a pose on a character, stretch it out or squash it up as much as needed and not have to worry about "breaking the rig." If you can't get a pose just right, all you need to do is grab an eraser and fix it.

It was a great story that had me laughing out loud through the entire film. The other thing I love about Ron & John's movies is the cameos they throw in there. For starters I did see a caricatured appearance of both Ron Clements and John Musker. I think I also saw a caricature of another great Disney animator, Glen Keane. And as a throwback to Ron and John's first big hit, The Little Mermaid, I do believe I saw someone dressed up as Ariel at the big costume ball. I also saw a Mardi Gras parade float that looked very much like King Triton, also from The Little Mermaid. He can actually be seen in one of the recent trailers that has been showing on TV.

I definitely need to see it again. The first time I see an animated film I view it as a spectator. I love getting involved with the characters and being swept up by the story and its beautiful artwork. The next time I will be watching it through the eyes of an animator. That is when I will be picking apart different scenes and all the little nuances that go by in the blink of an eye. It could be a certain pose by a character, the transition from one pose to another, even something as simple as a small hand gesture or a simple eye dart. It's the little things I look for that really make the characters come alive. It's the little things I learn from the greats that I try to incorporate into my own work to breath life into my performances.

I am really looking forward to the DVD release. Hopefully, there will be plenty of featurettes talking not only about Disney's return to traditional animation, but also on the making of the whole thing. I love watching the early rough pencil tests by the animators. I remember reading somewhere that it is not the perfectly drawn line that fascinates us. We love looking at the early pencil tests because it is here where we can really see the passion the animators put into every single drawing. THAT is what I love to see. That is what fuels my love for animation.

Monday, December 28, 2009

My New Year "Animation" Resolution

I have declared to myself and a few others that this Christmas season is to be my last one in the retail business. I want to concentrate and really focus on my animation next year so I can get one step closer to achieving my lifetime dream of working in the animation industry. In no particular order, here are my resolutions for 2010:

Tighten up my demo reel. I received some notes from a few friends on how to tighten up the whole thing. I will be cleaning up a few scenes and reworking some others.

Finish up work on the scene's for Dana's short film. I have two new scenes to work on for my mentor Dana Boadway. This makes a total of four for the whole film. She didn't really give us a deadline for animation, but I need to make some progress at least every week.

Continue work on my Bowfinger scene. I have a scene from the movie Bowfinger that is still in the stepped blocking phase. The tough part is turning out to be the dialogue. One character is speaking so fast that it is going to be difficult to match up the mouth movements to make it seem natural.

Compete in at least one of the 11 Second Club monthly competitions. This is a great website that provides dialogue for animators to animate. At the beginning of the following month, everyone gets to vote on which ones that like the best. December's selection was really good. Even though the month is almost over, I still want to animate that piece.

E-mail Robin Linn and the recruiters at Reel FX. I had such a great meeting with Robin in San Francisco, that I was really expecting to hear from them rather soon. Nothing happened. I later see on their website they were actually hiring for animators. I quickly applied and am still waiting for a response. I will e-mail them soon to follow up. I do plan to sometime next year take a trip up to the Dallas / Fort Worth area. Not only to hopefully get a tour of the studio, but to visit some very dear friends that I have not seen in quite some time.

Keep checking the Animation Mentor job board. I haven't checked on it in a while, but when I last did there were several studios hiring. I did apply to a couple but, again, still waiting. There are a few other studios here in Texas that I would also like to follow up with.

Become more familiar with the Flipbook program. One of the programs I purchased when I first started Animation Mentor was a 2D animation program called Flipbook. It is an easy way to do a "pencil test" of your animation before going into full production in Maya. I have some ideas that I would like to try that I cannot yet do in the Maya 3D program.

Purchase animation paper to experiment again with traditional 2D animation. This is something I've wanted to do for a while. When I ran out of animation paper, I didn't know what to do. I have this really great lightbox here in the studio that is literally collecting dust all over it. I want to get back on there and get back the feeling of WHY I fell in love with animation in the first place. There was something about flipping the pages and seeing the drawings move that was simply magical. Out of all of these resolutions, I think this one is the one I am looking forward to the most.

Well, that's it. My 2010 New Year Animation Resolutions. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Rene Barrera Demo Reel

All animation done by me. Characters provided by animationmentor.com. All sets and props created by me unless otherwise noted. Shot 2 - dialogue from "Harry and the Hendersons" (1987). Shot 3 - door set provided by animationmentor.com. Shot 4 - Young Man character and set provided by Dana Boadway. Shot 7 - dialogue from "Flash Gordon" (1980).

Friday, June 19, 2009

Animation Mentor - THAT'S A WRAP!

My time here at Animation Mentor has come and gone. It has been an amazing 18 months. I have no idea what my life would have been like if I did not take that chance and apply to AM. I guess I would still be here trying to figure out what to do with the rest of my life. Now, I have so many options. The future just opened up for me. I now have the knowledge and know-how to finally achieve my dream of working in the animation field. It is so exciting and scary, but I'm more excited than anything.

After 18 months, here what I have to show for my work:

I have made so many great friends from all over the world. I am looking forward to finally being able to shake their hand come graduation July 11 in San Francisco.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Week 7 - First Third Polish

For week 7 we had to do our first polish pass at the first third of our film. Here's what I got:

I went over the e-critique from Week 4 and jotted down all the notes I could. I tried to change it up as much as possible.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Looking for Love - WIP

It's been a while since I've posted anything here. Well, here is the latest pass of my short film "Looking for Love."

This is week 6 of Class 6. I've gotten good critiques and bad critiques for the work so far, and that's ok. It will all get fixed. Trust me.

The darkened scenes are the ones I am not currently working on at the moment. The school only allows you to work on :30 seconds in Class 6, so I had to choose. No biggie. Eventually, time permitting, it will all get completed soon.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Class 6 - Week 2

For week 2, I am animating two scenes from the second third.

Class 6 - Week 1

Like I said, it has been a while since I have posted anything new so I am having to backtrack a little here. For week 1, I had to do the first pass at blocking for the first third of my film. According to my mentor, who is the same one I had last semester, the school only budgets us for :30 seconds of animation. Meaning that if our film is a minute long, we will only be able to animate :30 seconds of it. If the film is at or under :30 seconds, we should be fine. My film runs about 1:08 from start to finish. So I am only animating a few scenes for Class 6. If I have time by week 9, I will try to go back and finish the rest of them up. And it is not really that big a deal for me. I am animating the scenes that have the most action in them. The other scenes have very little if any movement at all.

Final Layout

It has been a while since I have updated this site. It has just been hell-a-busy lately what with working on my short film for Animation Mentor, and my previous mentor Dana's short film as well.

Well, here is my final pass at layout. This is what I am using for the production stage during Class 6.

There were a few modifications made. Most noteabley were the few extra frames at the beginning of scene 140.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I agree!

see more Lol Celebs

When a movie can not have dialogue in its first half an viewers can understand every word.
Then it wins an Oscar.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

First Complete Layout

Here is the first pass at the COMPLETE layout for my short film "Looking For Love."

This music is composed by my cousin David Barrera. The timing is off a bit because he went by the complete animatic from a few weeks ago. During the layout process, I had to trim a few frames here and there. In the end I was able to shave off about three seconds. I will be getting David a copy of the final layout soon to see if he can adjust the music accordingly.

As of now, I am still waiting for my E-critique from my mentor. After I view it, I will be making the changes and adjustments per his suggestions and comments. So this is not FINAL just yet.

For those not familiar with the layout process, this is how Animation Mentor defines layout:

"Layout is where you plan and execute the visual choreography of your film. Here you design the number of shots in your film, the content of each shot and it’s purpose in the film. At the end of the layout process you have an animatic reel that clearly (shows) the timing and relationship of each shot. From a visual perspective, the rhythm and choreography of film is functionally in place."

Layout is sort of the animatic come to life. It has gone from the 2D, hand drawn phase into the 3D world of the computer. You get your characters in order. You build the necessary sets and props that the characters will be interacting with. You move the characters around so you get a feel of where they are going to be in each shot. You then set up your cameras to get that perfect shot from just the right angle.

The animation does not have to flow perfectly. This is the template upon which the animation is built. From here we move on to the blocking phase. In blocking that is where you start to flesh out the animation. You make sure the characters are hitting the right key poses and the right facial expressions and emotions. That is when the fun REALLY begins. But enough about that for now. That will not begin for a couple of more weeks in Class 6: Short Film Production.

Monday, March 9, 2009

2nd 3rd

It's coming together. I completed the second third of my short film. Have a look:


Few of the comments I got from my mentor were concerning the framing of the first two new scenes (090 & 100). In scene 090, Bishop's head is chopped off at the top. Not a good shot, he was saying, if we're seeing him in this position for the first time. In scene 100, it appears that the frame is resting on the top of his head. Those can easily be fixed. He also said since scene 100 is her POV, I need a bit of camera movement to show that we are seeing what she is seeing. So the camera will be doing a slight pan from one eye to the other.

The other thing was something I asked him about. The timing from scene 130 to 140 seemed too quick. He suggested I hold on Bishop's expression in scene 130. Hold it for the entire scene. Maybe have the flower drop out of his mouth here instead of him spitting it out later. (I really like that idea because I don't think the second girl would have found "that" cute if she's been watching him this whole time.) I also needed to stress that we are seeing what the husband is seeing. He said the husband and baby should be in the scene, close to camera, and our camera looking over their shoulder. That's exactly what I was thinking a while back. Had I thrown that in, it would have been perfect. So I hold on his expression in S130 and then cut to S140 with him already in frame getting ready to sit down. This will help keep the second girl hidden until the end. Bishop also needs to keep looking forward as he enters, and the camera angles needs to change so we can see his eyes. They are at the very top of the frame and that is where the action is. I will be trying a few camera moves to see which one works better.

Finally, when Bishop enters in scene 140, the second girl should be typing away on her computer. She could have her head down, maybe looking up real quick, or vice-versa, and mover her arms to simulate typing.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Yesterday they released on DVD the latest animated film from DC Comics, Wonder Woman.

I saw it last night and I was just blown away. It comes with a PG-13 rating and I could definitely see why. It starts off with a huge battle between the Amazons and Ares, the god of war. It was pretty brutal. People are getting killed left and right. The scene that really wowwed me was when Diana's mother Hippolyta lassoed a flying creature and was being dragged along. She then threw her tiara, which later becomes her daughter's, and sliced off the creature's head. That was crazy! She then later chops off the head of her own son that was forced upon her by Ares!

And THEN, not to give too much away, but the final battle takes place in Washington, D.C. at the foot of The Lincoln Memorial. Those freakin' bad guys chopped off Lincoln's head!!! And, as you can see in the picture below, the big battle between Wonder Woman and Ares happens in the White House. That's THE White House that is all in ruins!

Like I said, it just blew me away!!

Layout for the first third

This is the rough layout for the first third of my film. This is the time where I get the characters into position, get the cameras set up just right, and try to really focus on the timing of the whole film.

This is sort of a rough blocking of the animation. I don't have to worry too much about the details, just make sure the characters are doing something remotely like what they will be doing in the final piece.

I got some good feedback from my mentor. The only thing I need to work on is the timing of scene 080. It is running a bit slow when he starts to groom himself. It needs to feel a bit more spontaneous and quickened up a bit. It needs to hit those internal beats, something like: "Wow! she sees me! Need to look my best. Dust off the shoulders, check the hair. Hey, a flower! I'll go give it to her. Then up and out of the scene with flower in hand.) Boom, boom, boom. Now it's boom, boom, ...uhm...uh....boom. That I can fix.

I am also trying to figure out this new application in Maya that organizes the camera into the shots I need. I tried to replace the camera in scene 040 withthe camera in scene 060, but it just was not doing it. I need to mess with it a bit more, or just get rid of all the cameras and start over. Either way, it is gonna be a chore!

And the last thing I need to work on is the flower. Right now it is just a sphere with a stem that was extruded from the bottom. I need it to bend and flow as it is being picked up and moved. I also need it to bend in an upcoming scene where it wilts in his mouth. As an experiment, I tried rigging a flower with joints so it would bend. It did bend but not from the points I wanted it to. It was bending from one of the ends when I need it to bend from the center. One of my classmates gave me a few suggestions so I will be trying them out later. We shall see.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

World Premiere

Here is the premiere of the music for my short film "Looking For Love." The music was composed by my very talented cousin David Barrera. When I first told him about this project about a year ago, he volunteered to do the music. How could I say no. And now the time has come and he has delivered.

This is just the scratch track. Also, the timing is not algned just perfectly. There is still some tweaking to be done on both our parts. Some of the notes I got from my last e-crit were to tighten up scene 080 and combine a few of our hero's actions.

So now it on to layout. That is the stage of the process where I finally get into the animation program and set things up. I am creating the sets with props from the school library. I'm getting the characters in place and setting up the cameras. I am also working on the costumes for my characters. Yes, I can give them a basic t-shirt, pants, or a skirt, but I'd like to come up with something that is interesting but not too distracting. I guess that's the struggle for any costume designer.

This week I have to only do the first third of the short. I will be submitting scene 010 to scene 080. I have the cameras set up and locked in place. Now I need to do a rough blocking with the characters. My mentor said I did not have to build the entire set. That was a load off my mind. I was going nuts trying to figure out how to design and build the cafe set. One thing I am having trouble with is the flower. I need the flower rig to bend and "wilt." I have tried creating the skeleton and attatching it to a simple tube, but it's not quite there yet. I need something by next week because it's needed in the following scenes.

So it's back to work I go! YEAH!!!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Trying stuff out

Here's a first attempt at the possible staging for Bishop. This is from shot 010. I was just experimenting and trying stuff out. The table, chair and book are from the school's library. I'm using the book for now as a stand-in for the laptop until I can make something more real.

I still need to work on the flower for the vase. Not sure how I'm going to do that yet.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Moving right along...

Here is the entire animatic for my short film "Looking For Love."

I still have not included scenes for the opening and end titles. I'll get to that later. I will probably be submitting this this Sunday "as is". I asked for comments from my class and Dana, my previous mentor. So, if they do not suggest any major changes, I will probably go "as is".

The whole short times out to about 1:07. That's :37 seconds longer that what they will allow from production next semester. This week I also need to come up with a production schedule for Class 6: Short Film Production. It has been said over and over that they are only allowing us a :30 second production schedule. Even my current mentor Kenny was stressing this a lot. The longer our shots are, the more time it will take to animate them.

I am hoping that I will be able to finish animating the entire film. High hopes indeed. The reason I say this is because a lot of my acting is from the waist up. Walk cycles are really difficult but I don't have any in my shots. I have Bishop getting up and down from his chair, but that's about it. And I remember everything Dana said in her e-critiques, "All the action start with the hips."

Now for the super cool part: My cousin, David Barrera, volunteered to do the music for my film. He came over the other night and picked up a DVD copy of my short film. Not this version, obviously, but the earlier version from the previous two weeks. He asked me what type of music I heard for the film, but I didn't really have anything specific in mind. We sort of settled on some light piano accompaniment that follows the changing moods of the film. Sort of like the music you hear with the silent movies of the past. Hopefully I will be meeting with him this weekend to go over what he has come up with so far. WOOHOO!!!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

"Looking For Love" - Storyreel

It's been a while since I've updated my site. I've been busy working on the storyboards and animatic for my short film "Looking For Love."

Here is part 1 which I turned in last week:

Sunday night I received an awesome critique from my mentor. Here are a few of the things he had to say: "Very nice." "You nailed it." "Honestly, some of the best boards I've seen all week." Well who couldn't help but get jazzed after comments like those. That night I got back to work and nearly completed the second half of the animatic.

So here it is:

Her e-mail reads: "It's too bad she didn't go for the flower. I thought it was rather cute...like you."

I completed it two nights ago. I uploaded it into my PR at school and e-mailed my mentor for an early critique before I have to turn it in on Sunday. I also came up with a few more ideas so I'll be working on those some more.

The only thing that is bothering me is the technical side of the film. I have a laptop that is supposed to have characters moving on the screen. I have camera angles that depend on depth and characters being in and out of focus. I will definitely need to read up on Maya to see how it can be done. I know it CAN be done, I just have no idea how to do it. I have a friend that is going to build me a laptop I can use in Maya. I also have a cousin that has volunteered his services to do the music for my film.

So here are both scenes put together into one:

I still have a few ideas on how to plus the ending. For instance, when we see the second girl's laptop, there will be a pop-up window that reads "1 e-mail sent" next to a picture of our hero. Also, when we see the husband's monitor, the flower will wilt in our hero's mouth first and THEN he will shrink under the table. Also, when we see the husband's monitor we will also see the husband and baby in the foreground. They will have their backs to the camera, naturally, but they will be close to camera and a bit out of focus to creat depth.

So that's what I've been up to.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

I've decided to go with...

After careful deliberation and listening to all the feedback from my classmates and friends, I have decided to go with "Looking For Love." I had recorded a pitch for "The Sleeper" and asked my classmates for feedback. They said it was a good story, but LFL was just that much better. One said TS was funny but LFL was a narrative that took the viewer along for the ride. There was a change in that Bishop as compared to the Bishop from "The Sleeper", who seemed to be a guy that stuff happens to.

So now it is time to start working on the storyboards, the set, layout design, and props. I need to start sketching all these things out so they will be ready when I start working in Maya.

By the way, here is my video pitch for "The Sleeper."

I was able to get both pitches in under a minute. I tried to keep the pitches to just the details that would be happening on the screen. That was some of the advice from my mentor. He also said the pitch is to be about as long as the short film will be. We'll see how it all pans out when I start working on the storyboards. For next week, I have to put the first half of the boards together into an animatic. It's basically the storyboards up on reel to see how it plays out.

Now comes the really fun part. The story will soon be locked down and I can start boarding it!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

"Her Morning Elegance" by Oren Lavie

I saw this video on Cartoon Brew and it just blew me away. It is so simple but very creative.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

"Looking For Love" Video Pitch - Take 2

Here is my second pitch for "Looking For Love". In tonight's Q&A I was put on the spot to pitch one of my stories. I decided to go with this one since I can definitely see a beginning, middle, and ending I really like. My mentor liked the first pitch but I had to get it down to the bare minimum. I was explaining a lot of unnecessary information. What he wanted was just the action happening on the screen. So I took out all the details about emotions and feeling and just pitched the animation. Also, I was able to get it under a minute. I'm not sure if it was of the story or that I was talking a bit fast. I also feel I "raised the stakes" since I now have the first girl actually making eye contact with Bishop, where as before she never noticed him at all.

Here is the story I pitched:

Bishop is in a Cafe viewing his personals page on his laptop. Zero matches and zero profile views. He looks over his laptop and sees a woman smiling in his direction. He smiles back. Now she is blowing kisses in his direction. He looks around and sees noone. He grabs the flower from his table (all Cafe tables have little vases with flowers), puts it in his mouth, gets up and walks over to her table. He sits down in front of her. She then looks him in the eye and spins her laptop around to reveal her husband and baby on the screen the whole time. The flower wilts in his mouth. He gets up and goes sit back at his table. He spits the flower out. Just then his laptop beeps with an instant message that reads, "I thought that was romantic." He looks around and sees noone. The girl that sent the instant message is sitting behind him working on her laptop. She gets up and sits at Bishop's table.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Class 1 - 4 Student Reel

In all these goings-ons, I forgot to upload one crucial thing, my complete student reel for classes 1 - 4:

You can also view my on-line portfolio on MyToons.

Update on Class 5 (it's a long one)

It is now week 4 of Class 5 and I am FINALLY updating my blog. As you may know, this is the short film pre-production. Here we create a story that we will work on until the end of class 6.

Week 2 we had to submit three story ideas. From the mentor's suggestions, we narrow it down to two stories for week 3. We also had to submit a video pitch of the two stories.

So here are the original three stories I came up with:


BISHOP is a bookseller working at a bookstore. He is putting some books back on the shelf and straightening them. He all of a sudden hears a loud snore. It startles him. He looks around a little trying to figure out where it came from. He goes back to putting away a large book when he hears it again. This time he realizes it is coming from behind him. Here we see OTTO asleep in a big comfy chair and snoring. Bishop gives a little chuckle at the sight of him snoring and decides to go wake him up. With the book in hand he pokes Otto on the shoulder. Otto does not move. Bishop is surprised that didn’t work so he pokes him a little harder this time. Otto only squirms a bit but is still asleep. Finally Bishop is determined to wake him, by any means necessary. He takes the large book in his hands and raises it up over his head. He then slams it down on the ground right behind Otto. It does nothing! Now Bishop is annoyed. He once again raises the book higher, and with all his might, slams it again on the floor behind Otto. He is STILL asleep! Bishop finally gives up and stomps away.


THEME: Man vs. Man - Determination
MORAL: Let nothing stand in your way, even if it’s a great nap.


BISHOP is moving into a new house. He is carrying a box and is walking through the hallway. He sees something out of the corner of his eye on the floor. He does a double take when he realizes it is a mouse. The mouse’s eyes are bright pink. The mouse is just sitting there watching him. Bishop is startled and drops the box. He quickly looks around the room and sees a broom resting on a nearby wall. He tiptoes back to get it, then raises it over his head getting ready to strike the mouse. As he gets nearer and is about to swing, the mouse runs away. He runs underneath the hall closet door. Bishop runs over to the door and prepares to open it. His hand grips the knob with his left hand, the broom is in his right hand ready to strike. He throws open the door and, at first, sees nothing. It is pitch black. He looks down and sees the pair of pink eyes from the mouse. Bishop is about to strike when he notices another pair of eyes pop up, then another, then another and another. There are now a lot of eyes stacking up to the top of the closet. Bishop, unable to believe what he sees, drops the brooms and runs out of the room.


THEME: Man vs. Nature - Fear of the unknown.
MORAL: There is strength in numbers.

--STORY #3--

BISHOP is in a library, studying and working on his laptop. His eyes glance up and he notices a beautiful woman (ROOK) a few tables away from him. She is also working on her laptop and facing Bishop. She then looks over the top of her screen and smiles. Bishop looks to see if there is anyone around him and realizes she is smiling at him. He then smiles back. Rook smiles and gives a little wave. Bishop sheepishly waves back. Rook is now pursing her lips and throwing kisses in his direction. Bishop cannot believe what she is doing. He is now smiling from ear to ear. He then decides to go talk to her. He gets up and slowly walks over to her. As he approaches, he is realizing that she is STILL looking at the screen and not at him. He continues past her and looks back over her shoulder at her laptop. On the screen we see her husband holding their baby in front of the webcam for her to see. This whole time she was making faces at the baby and NOT at Bishop. He quickly continues around her and, with his head down out of embarrassment, heads back to his table.


MORAL: You never know what is around the corner, but you still have to take a chance.

My mentor Kenny Roy decided to throw out the "Moving Day" story. So for week 3 I focused on "The Sleeper" and Story #3 which I later titled "Looking For Love." Here are the rewrites for the two stories:


Setting: Coffee Shop / Cafe
Time: Mid-day

We open in a coffee shop. We see our hero, Bishop, staring at his laptop. He is on the internet looking at his profile on a personals website. We see he has zero matches and zero profile views. He gives a big, sad sigh. Bishop looks to the side of his laptop and there are book on dating. A few possible titles are: "How To Talk To Women", "How To Pick Up Women" and "Dating for MORONS". He gives another big sigh of desparation. Just then he glances up over his laptop and sees Beth. She is a few tables away. She, too, is working on her laptop, and it appears she is smiling at Bishop. He gives a little smle and sheepishly looks away, but he quickly glances back at her. He then sees Beth waving at him with a big smile. She appears to be mouthing the word "hi." Bishop's eyes get real big and he sits straight up. He looks to his left to see if there is anyone behind him. He does not see anyone and realizes she MUST be waving at him. He then sees her vaving and blowing kisses in his direction. By now Bishop is getting nervous. His heart is pounding. He has a huge grin on his face and that dreamy looking in his eye. He then takes a moment to gather himself together. He looks at his profile. "0 Matches. 0 Provile Views." He looks over at the books. He decides he is going to take a chance. He closes the laptop, takes a deep breath, and gets up and starts to slowly walk over towards Beth. He is strutting with confidence. As he arrives right next to her he is finally going to say something, when all of a sudden we hear a baby's giggle. That freezes Bishop in his tracks. He looks at Beth and realizes she is not even looking at him but staring at her laptop. Bishop looks at her laptop and sees what she have been looking at the whole time. On her laptop, via a webcam, he her husband holding up their baby. Bishop is surprised. He now realizes she was NOT making those gesturs at him but at her baby. Bishop quickly turns around and returns to his seat. He feels a bit embarassed. When he returns to his table, he takes a moment to look at his books. He feels it was a stupid idea a pushes them away. Just then he hears a little giggle. He pops up and looks to his right. At the next table was Mary. She had been sitting there quietly, reading her book, and witnesses the whole thing. She thinks Bishop is kind of cute and gives him a little smile. Bishop smiles and scoots his chair closer to Mary.


Moral: Love is out there to be found, you just need to know where to look.


(quick recap)

Bishop is trying to wake up someone who has fallen asleep in the bookstore.
pokes once.
pokes twice.
third try, slams book on floor.


(1) The Sleeper opens his eyes, looks up at Bishop. Bishop angrily points as to say he has to leave NOW! The sleeper just rolls over and goes back to sleep. Bishop is furious and shakes in anger. The then reaches down, grabs the chair and flips it AND the Sleeper out of the scene. Bishop is standing there huffing and puffing.
(A) We then hear another snore off screen. Bishop snaps his glare in that direction and storms off. [FADE TO BLACK. WHATEVER SOUND EFFECT WAS USED FOR THE CHAIR FLIP, WE HEAR IT AGAIN.]
(B) Screen goes blurry and camera pans down. When it comes into focus, we see Bishop asleep with a huge grin on his face. He is asleep in the employee breakroom. We wakes up, checks his watch and realizes he has to go back to work.

(2) The Sleeper is severly startled by the loud noise. He grabs his ches and flips the chair on its back. All we see is the bottom of the chair and his legs sticking straight up. Bishop is shocked. Did he just kill this poor man?!

(3) The Sleeper is awake and he is not too happy. he stands up and it is obvious he is much larger than Bishop. Bishop starts to cower and shrink a bit. With his left hand, the Sleeper grabs Bishop by the neck and brings him nose to nose. The sleeper growls, Bishop's lower lip is quiverring, then WHAM!! The Sleeper punches Bishop right in the face which sends him flying back. We hear a crash and see Bishop in a pile of books.

The moral of #3: Let sleeping dogs lye.

I am still trying to figure out a good ending to "The Sleeper." The ending I went with is in my video pitch:

I was extremely nervous when I did these pitches. I tried to get in as much information as possible as quick as I could. However, I think that was the wrong approach. After viewing my e-critique, Kenny said I need to cut down on the extra info and just go for the story. He liked "Looking For Love", but he said the characters would be sitting down throughout the whole thing. If I could incorporate some broad gestures, that may help it out from an animation standpoing. He also liked "The Sleeper" but gave a few suggestions for the ending.

He also said "the stakes" need to be higher for both heroes in the shorts. In "Looking For Love" he suggested that when Bishop goes over to talk to the lady that he brings her a cup of coffee. He suggested that the lady DOES see Bishop and realizes what he was trying to do. She then shows him the laptop and what she was ACTUALLY doing. This increases the humiliation factor. For "The Sleeper" he wants Bishop to be more forceful on trying to get the big guy to stay awake. He did like that I said that the big guy happens to fall right back asleep after Bishop wakes him up. This suggests that he can fall asleep anywhere and at anytime. So when he gets up and is angry, he punches Bishop and knocks him out. The big guy then sits back down and falls back to sleep. Now that Bishop is knocked out, another bookseller comes to wake him up. He looks at him/her with sleepy eyes, the bookseller points to the sign, Bishop looks at the sign, can't believe what has happened and falls back asleep/unconcious.

I really like both stories and I can see both becoming something great. One thing I wanted to do in the short film was some more "cartoony" animation. My last two scenes had some subtle acting. There were a few broad gestures here and there, but nothing too crazy. So I am wanting to do the animation for "The Sleeper" but I really like the story of "Looking For Love." This week I need to decided which one I am going to do. Kenny said he leaves that decision up to the student.

As I was typing up the above paragraph on "Looking For Love" I came up with another idea on how to raise the stakes. Bishop will have his laptop, his coffee, no books, but there will be a small vase with a flower at his table. We will see the other tables with vases and flowers as well so it does not seem that out of the ordinary. When he decides to go talk to the lady, he picks up the flower and holds it in his teeth. When he sits down, he gives her that "Don Juan", dreamy look with his eyes. She sees him and seems a bit upset and turns her laptop around to reveal her husband and baby. The husbands face goes from happy to confusion then angry in a matter of seconds. The baby has no idea what's going on. Now Bishop is REALLY humiliated, goes back to his table, and then the other girl/waitress comes to his table. Happy ending.

That's a possiblilty. I just need to finalize these stories and I need to do that now.

Well, not right now but soon.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

2008 - In Review

Time has come and gone and now 2008 is behind us. As for me and animation, 2008 was my year. This was the year I started at Animation Mentor. That has to be one of the biggest things I have done in quite some time.

I have loved animation and cartoons all my life and have always dreamed of working in the field. I never felt that dream was attainable. I had heard of Animation Mentor when they first came on the scene a few years back. I have seen their student showcases and was amazed by the product these students were producing. Around November, 2007, I remember not having much motivation in life. I did not know where I was going or where my life was going to end up. On a whim, I decided to give Animation Mentor (AM) a try. Why not, right? What could it hurt to ask for more info and fill out the application. So I received the information packet in the mail and was getting more and more interested. I then filled out the application. There were a few sections that were short answer essay. I really took my time with those parts and really tried to get across my passion for the art form. Low and behold, I got in! Now came the time to apply for the loan. This was the part I was dreading. Whenever it comes to money and credit applications, I always get nervous. So I applied, and I got the loan!!! The tricky part was that when I applied, I applied very close to the deadline that I was afraid I was not going to make it. I was in constant contact with the loan lady with the school. She assured me that everything had gone through and I would be starting AM in January 2008!!

Flash forward to December, 2008, and I am done with Class 4 - Advanced Acting. The year seemed so long, especially when I had to keep track of what was going on every week of every month. There was always a project due on Sundays at 2:00 p.m. CST.

Now on January 5, 2009, it is on to Class 5 - Short Film Pre Production. It is just around the corner and I cannot wait to see who my new mentor will be and get started!!