Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Happy Medium (the flip side)

Maybe I'm just making excuses. It's not that I do not want to workout, I just want more time to work on my animation.

Since I didn't hear from Reel FX, I know I still have a lot of work to do on my reel. I am switching my focus from dialog shots and going to work on body mechanics. That is the one course that gave me trouble in school, so I know I have my work cut out for me. I've been in touch with the career services lady from AM and she gave me a listing of game studios here in Texas. A lot of them were in Austin. I then started doing research and seeing what they look for in demo reels. I saw a great video from an AM alum who works at a gaming studio. He gave a lot of tips and pointers as to what the recruiters look for. Here's a quick rundown of what he had to say:

•  Strong body mechanics
        ex. monkey bars, swimming, jumping over stuff
•  Bipedal action
•  Quadraped action is a plus
•  Nice run and walk cycles
•  Knock downs and get ups
•  Make it interesting. Give it a bit of a story
        ex. guy jumps over a car, leans against the car, starts to run away and trips and falls, then gets back up
             and runs away.
•  Avoid cliche scenes.
        ex. walk up to a boulder, push it, walk away
              walk up to a rock, pick it up, throw it and walk off screen
•  Do the animation geared towards the studio you're applying to. Know what type of games the studio
              makes, realistic or cartoony.

All great advice and things I can do. I have so many ideas running through my head right now it's difficult to find a starting point. Which one do I do first? Do I need to build any extra props? Which character rig am I going to use? Do I start sketching out ideas or just go for it and start blocking it out in Maya? My next day off is going to be dedicated to answering these questions.

Like I said, I want to add a new shot to my reel at least every two months. If I can do enough of these little bits, come next year I'll have a whole new reel to start shopping around.

Another tip I received from someone on the forum was to try some combat stuff. Anything from punches, kicks, swords and stuff like that. Gun recoils are a plus. Apparently a lot of the games out there now are combat oriented scenes like this can e more relevant that simple cycles. Also include at least a one hit combo and a two or three hit combo. He also suggested to stay away from using the AM rigs since they are not really great game style rigs. I can agree with him there because Bishop has a pretty big head and long fingers.

These tips have been some of the best. Now I have a whole NEW direction in which to focus my animation. Now I have to do "research" and start playing video games. WOOHOO!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

AT-AT Day Afternoon + The Making Of..

AT-AT day afternoon from Patrick Boivin on Vimeo.

Making of AT-AT day afternoon from Patrick Boivin on Vimeo.

I first saw this video and was cracking up! The AT-AT was one of my favorite toys. I, too, made a short film with it and my Star Wars and G.I. Joe figures. I'll admit I did cringe a bit when I saw how they made the film. He actually....(tear)....cut up the AT-AT!! HE TOOK IT ALL APART!!!! OH THE HORROR!!!

(gasp)....I'm ok.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Gruffalo + Making Of Documentary

I've never heard of this children's story, but this short film has been making the rounds on several animation blogs. I did see the documentary before first ever seeing the film. Apparently they made actual model sets then later added in the CG animation. It gives the film a similar texture the illustrator captured in the book. I recognize some of the celebrity voices, like Robbie Coltrane, Helena Bonham Carter, John Hurt and Tom Wilkinson.

"The Nation s Favourite bedtime story is being brought to life in an all star beautiful adaptation of the best-selling book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. The Guffalo debuts on BBC One this Christmas and comes to DVD in time for Easter 2010. The film's all-star voice cast features Robbie Coltrane as the Gruffalo; Helena Bonham Carter as the narrator; Rob Brydon as the Snake; James Corden as the Mouse; John Hurt as the Owl and Tom Wilkinson as the Fox. The Gruffalo tells the magical tale of a mouse who takes a walk through the woods in search of a nut. Encountering three predators who all wish to eat him a fox, an owl and a snake the plucky mouse has to use his wits to survive, creating an imaginary monster who then turns out to be only too real."

Sunday, January 16, 2011

And the Golden Globe goes to...

Congratulations to Lee Unkrich and the cast and crew of Toy Story 3!!

So for the first time in quite a while I did not watch the Golden Globes. Probably because I cannot stand the host Ricky Gervais at all! He insults everyone with a smile and never shuts up. I just don't like him.

But when I saw this clip of Lee's acceptance speech, I got very annoyed and here's why. They never left the camera on Lee for more than two seconds at a time!!! WTF?!?! They were showing the "reaction" from the audience who didn't seemed that moved at all!!!! The entire clip is 1:12 and Lee was only on screen for approximately 24 seconds!!! The only acceptance speech I wanted to see and it was ruined.

And apparently the director Chris Donovan did the same for everyone else. He didn't care about the winner's acceptance speech, he cared about the reaction of the audience. Well, a lot of them didn't even seem to care. Each one seemed to have a blank stare across their face like they wanted to be somewhere else, or thinking of the after party.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

My Demo Reel January 2011

My Demo Reel January 2011 from Rene Barrera on Vimeo.

Rene Barrera
Character Animator
Bishop, Brussels and Pawn rigs provided by Animation
Young Man, fishing pole and set provided by Killer Jellybean Productions

To bring characters to life through animation while continually challenging my artistic abilities.

Character Animator, September 2008 – present
Killerjellybean Animation, Boston, Ma.
Remote animator on multiple shots for an independent animated short film project. In the Fall of 2008, I volunteered to join director Dana Boadway on her project. Through video chats and e-mails, I regularly receive detailed critiques on my scenes and make the necessary adjustments.

Merchandising Manager, July 1996 – present
Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Corpus Christi, Texas
Opening and closing the store, in charge of merchandising the non-specialty departments
on the sales floor, responsible for counting down registers, daily bank deposits and
change drawer, responsible for overseeing the duties of 7-9 employees on a daily basis,
assists in interviewing and hiring new employees.

Autodesk Maya 2008, Quicktime Pro, Adobe Photoshop Elements 3.0, Adobe Audition,
Adobe Premiere Elements 7.0

Diploma in Advance Character Animation Studies, July 2009
Chris Chua C1: Basic Foundation Winter 2008
Mike Walling C2: Body Mechanics Spring 2008
Dana Boadway C3: Intro to Acting Summer 2008
Dana Boadway C4: Advanced Acting Fall 2008
Kenny Roy C5: Short Film Pre-Prod. Winter 2009
Kenny Roy C6: Short Film Production Spring 2009

Del Mar College
Associates in Art – Studio Art, July 1999

Available upon request

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Animated Resolutions for 2011

My animated resolutions for 2011 are pretty much the same as they were for 2010. I have not yet achieved my dream job, but I am still working towards it. I have not given up yet.

1) Last year I competed in the July competition of The 11 Second Club. I did pretty good considering it was my first time out. I learned a lot from that experience. For this year I would like to compete in at least two competitions. Speaking of which, it's time to vote for last month's competition. Plus, the selection for January sounds intriguing.

2) I want to keep adding to my demo reel. This is one resolution that needs to be completed in a matter of days. I am applying for an apprenticeship with Reel FX and the deadline is the end of business day on January 4th. I have already applied but I need to upload a new reel to YouTube and link it to my application before it is too late. But I don't want it to end there. I still have several ideas for other small dialog scenes that I would love to work on. I still have my "Bowfinger" scene sitting on the back burners. There are other clips from that movie that I also want to work on. I have a sound clip from "Inglorious Basterds" that I really want to work on. ("Bingo!!") Plus a few other physical actions that I've always wanted to animate. I want to do another one or two parkour scenes.

3) I want to get back into my sketchbook. I want to build up a portfolio of quick gesture drawings. I want to be able to draw just about anything at a moment's notice. I want to be able to express an emotion with a few simple lines. There was a time in my life when I really did love to draw. There's nothing quite like that feeling of being able to create that illusion of life with a simple piece of paper and a pencil. I would really like to do a Sketch Crawl here around town. I heard about this through another blog and it sounds like so much fun. It's where you get a group of people and you walk from one place to another, sketching anything and everything you see. I think it would be a lot of fun if I can get the local art scene involved. I would probably have to contact the Art Center of K Space.

4) Once I get my reel up and running, I would like to start applying to more studios. It's been a while since I've applied anywhere. It's because I have not updated my reel for the past six months. Once I have it all "nice and neat" I will feel more comfortable about shipping it out there. There are several studios here in Texas that I have my eye on. Then there are the big one's that I would love to work for.

5) Several friends have asked me to collaborate with some of their own creative projects. I've been asked to help out with a children's book and a logo for a blog. I've been wanting to do a music video for a friend's band. I have a few ideas laying about but have not really found the time to dedicate to any of these projects.

Right now, the most important thing for me is to get my reel up and running. Once I have that done then I can focus on these other projects. I will need to become adamant about this. Create a schedule and block out some serious time for development, pre-production if you will. I know what I want to do. If I can make this happen, it's going to be a very fun and animated year!

Cinema in 2010