Sunday, April 15, 2012

Post No. 300!!

The other day I saw something that really surprised me. I was coming up on my 300th post for "My so-called Animated Life"! I never realized I had so many posts. I completely flew by 100 and 200 without even realizing it.

So for this post I wanted to take a look back and see how far I've come and how much further I can go. But first I wanted to share something from way back when. Long before I even heard of Animation Mentor my life still revolved around animation. I was doing as much studying on my own. I would buy all the books and watch as many movies as I could. I remember watching the first trailer for "Toy Story" in 1995, and realizing that the field of animation was changing. I only had a pencil and some paper. There was no way I would be able to do computer animation like that. And when they announced the shut down of the Disney 2D animation studio in 2002, I knew there was no way I could become a computer animator without some serious schooling. So I switched my thinking to get into storyboarding. I was reading books by Mark Simon on how to get into the storyboarding business. I even e-mailed him about it. He gave me a few tips but told me to hang on for a few more months because his new book was coming out soon. Needless to say it is now in my library. I even went as far as applying to Pixar for a story artist position. I was so excited. I had no idea what I was doing but I was excited. I put some sketches together. I put a VHS copy of my "demo reel" which was basically the animatic for my short film idea "Bitter Sweet". I put everything in a big manila envelope and mailed it off UPS. I was really hoping to catch their eye with the storyboards I drew on the back telling the story of how I would come to work for Pixar. I did some digging around on my external hard drive and found them. Keep in mind these are the rough sketches.

Here I am drawing away in the middle of the night

Now I'm putting everything together on my iMac

I take the package to FedEx Kinkos to mail off to...

...Emeryville, California...

...straight to the Pixar studio...

And directly into the hands of John Lasseter and Andrew Stanton
(notice they are wearing nice "Hawaiian" shirts)

John loves it so much he calls me on the phone!

Now I am one of them!!!

That was the longest few weeks of my life, waiting and waiting to hear from them. I even tracked the package. I saw that it DID arrive at the studio. So I waited....and waited. I finally called the studio and asked to speak to someone in Human Resources about the storyartist position. The receptionist was very kind and asked if I had applied online first. Apparently I forgot that very important step. If I didn't apply online first, they would not be on the lookout for my submission. If they did not know it was coming then NO ONE would look at my work. So my envelope is out there somewhere. I would like to believe someone liked it and held onto it rather than it ending up in some landfill somewhere. So that was my first "rejection" from Pixar.

But I did not give up hope! I still wanted to be an animator! I started following blogs and podcasts. One podcast I really liked was AnimWatch. It was a great show that would showcase different short films and animators. Plus it would have a bunch of motivational tips. They often held an AnimWatch challenge. It was similar to what is now The 11 Second Club. He would provided a line of dialog and anyone could animate it any way they wanted. So I took the challenge and sent in my submission. The good news was that I came in fourth. The bad news there was only six entries. Looking back now I see TONS of mistakes. Plenty of room for improvement. But hey, up to this point I had NO formal training.

Then everything changed in the Fall of 2007. I started hearing more and more about this new online school called Animation Mentor. I remember hearing about it a while back but didn't really think much of it. My computer at the time was a piece of junk. But in the Summer of 2007 I got a NEW computer which was faster and tons more memory (Flash forward to the present - it is now my NEW piece of junk) AND it could run the software needed for the school. So I took a shot and applied. Much to my surprise I got in!! I was so excited that I was FINALLY going to have a fighting chance in living out my dream of becoming an animator. Nothing could have been more exciting than that first day of school.

This is when the posts started coming up on a regular basis. I was posting all my work from school: sketches, poses, blocking shots, blocking plus shots, polishing shots, video reference and finals. Those 18 months just flew by! I had so much fun and met so many people from all over the world. A few of them I got to meet at graduation in July of 2009.

Since then my posts have been of a different nature. They have mainly been re-posts of things I've seen over the internet that really caught my eye. A lot of them have been trailers and clips from upcoming films and video games. Others have been inspirational talks and videos to help get me motivated. And others have been short films and demo reels that blew me away and I wanted a quick spot to find them. But lately I've started showcasing some of my favorite cartoons from the past in my Cartoon Round-up series. I started posting them because I had been wanting to see more cartoons lately and I just can't find them in one easily available place online. Well, nothing with a huge variety. So I find them on YouTube and put them all in one place. I then post the blog on my facebook page for all my friends to enjoy. My blog traffic has increased dramatically ever since.

It has been a long while since I have posted any new work. I'm not allowed to post my work from the short film I'm working on now which is understandably so. Let me just say that it was been a true delight to work with one of my mentors from Animation Mentor on her own personal short film. I have been learning so much from her that I cannot thank her enough. I am now seeing flaws in my previous work that I was completely satisfied with before. So now when I work on a new scene of my own I know what to look for.

Over the next several posts I hope to start including some NEW work of my own. There are a few new rigs I have been wanting to try out. I want to do more body mechanics work. I want to add a new dialog scene to my demo reel. I also have a couple of short film ideas I get back into production, a couple of old one and a few new ones. The one thing I would really love to get back into production is my short film from Class 5 & 6 of Animation Mentor, "Looking for Love".

So please forgive me if I am not very social over the next few months. You can take comfort in knowing that I plan to use my time wisely here in the studio.

1 comment:

Jennifer M. said...

Love it! And, hey, you have a SAMPLE Press sticker on that drawing board thingy (I don't know the lingo). Cool!
Also, I let out an audible "D'oh!" when I read that you had forgotten to fill out the online Pixar application. My family looked at me funny. ;)