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.