Friday, December 31, 2010

The End of All Things- I mean 2010! Pt.4

MWA-HAHAHA! (continued from last post) *ahem* Okay, moving on...

The week of October 18th-22nd was weird, because a lot of our teachers were gone for the Ottawa Film festival.

Digital Methods was cool, even though Fran was in Ottawa, because Jeff Rowe- an AWESOME, albeit mildly intimidating 4th year, gave us a How-To from his film from last year in After Effects. He showed us stuff I hadn't even DREAMED were possible! I took notes. haha Color & Design was also canceled, as Brooke was in Canada too, so I did research for our MASSIVE Silhouettes project of DOOM! Steve was ALSO in Ottawa, so we had Life Drawing class that week in Jon Gomez's class in the Palace. He had two models who did a very Wizard of Oz theme (something he'd been doing all semester), I got crap out of it though... In CG Char. Anim. class, we turned in a 3D pinball game we were supposed to create. I had a HELL of a good time with mine and busted my @$$ all day that weekend to do it! And apparently, when I spend the time on CG class like I SHOULD, I do pretty good work! He showed it to the class later... *dies of embarassment*

That Friday, Shannon and Shane canceled, so we had no artist. I had more time to do homework, which was kicking my aforementioned @$$!!!!

The next week was FILLED with STUFF! Halloween (the infamous CalArts Halloween Party) was quickly approaching, and I had no costume. I'd mentioned to an amazingly awesome 4th year named Nicole that I had a costume idea in mind, but no sewing machine nor talent. I even put posters up all over school, begging for one of the costume majors to help me, but I didn't get a single phone call. In the end, she graciously agreed to borrow a sewing machine and make my costume. I convinced my friend Tammy to drive me to a Joann's on Monday after class and I bought her Golden Spoon yogurt in payment. I found the PERFECT color salmon fabric!

We made my costume in two nights- Monday night the 25th and Tuesday night the 26th. Nicole was AMAZING! (Her mom is a seamstress!) It came out PERFECT! Sadly, I have NO PHOTOS of it! I dressed up as Chihiro/Sen from Spirited Away.

In school news, our Silhouettes were due.

YES! I know I already posted it, but with as much time as I spent on it- I am ALLOWED!

My History of Character Animation midterm was Wednesday- and I did TERRIBLE! I ended up crying myself to sleep that night early because it was just all getting to be too much. There was more crying after Acting class on Thursday. I went to Robert with my Add/Drop slip in my hand, but never made him sign it. It wouldn't have solved the problems I was having anyway... Whatever! Moving on!

We found out on Friday, mere HOURS before the Halloween party, that Character Animators were expected to decorate the HUGE reams of black paper covering the walls of the main gallery where the party was. I tried to help, but I didn't know what to draw, so I took photos... haha!

Some pretty amazing drawings ensued, as did the costumes! Nicole went as Prince circa-Purple Rain- AWESOME! Charlotte went as Thelma from Scooby-Doo and looked SPOT-ON! I can't even sum up the amount of awesome that was the costumes that night! (Eusong, a 4th? year, went as Rufio from Hook! I nearly DIED of geekdom!) Basically the Halloween party was like a club... lots of booze (most ended up on the floor), very loud music (most of it too slow to dance to- WTH?!) and dancing. When the music finally picked up near the end of the night, I danced like mad. There was finally a BEAT! Oh... and two guys tried to have sex somewhere... whatever- it reminded me SO MUCH of clubs back in Houston! I found myself wishing that I'd been able to go to my friend Samus's Halloween party back in Houston... he always threw such EPIC parties!

On the actual DAY of Halloween, I spent most of it in my cube, but I made sure to recognize Halloween in a small way...

That day, I was also invited to a cafe across the freeway called Urbane Cafe with Louise, Bo, Theresa, and Brooke. Lots of fun (and admittedly, some stares) ensued.

The End of All Things- I mean 2010! Pt.3

Whoa... this is taking a long time, but it feels good!

The third week of classes was again, a lot of the same routine. My classmates and I were still meeting each other and learning names and getting to know one another. The routine of classes was settling finally, and I LOVED IT!

In 2D, we made a ball bounce across the page and started working on a blade of grass. CG Foundation was canceled that week, so I utilized that time as best I could. The entire freshman class was hammering out animatics still, because they were due the next week. We needed to use After Effects to make them and I didn't even know how to use the freaking program! So that was.... INTERESTING! But that Friday was my first Pay Day! YAY! Also, it was Visiting Artists night with the AMAZING MARK ANDREWS! (Aka- "Mandrews"... don't ask me why, I don't know!)

Yes, that is what you think it is... We honestly lost the true count...

Again- what he talked about, I am not at liberty to say, but my journal has everything ALLLLL WRITTEN DOWN! I will keep it forever, and it will keep me warm on cold nights! XD MWA-HAHAHA!!!!

That weekend, ALL I worked on was my animatic and Color & Design.
Here's the work I'd done so far.

The next week was kind of interesting though... On October 5th, we had a special guest come to CalArts- Jeffrey Katzenberg! Now, I should confess something... the ENTIRE department had their panties in a twist over this guy coming to see us... I just... didn't! I will admit, he used to be a big deal at Disney- and that's where I remember him from- all the mini-segments before Disney movies played on TV when I was a kid. But as for Jeffrey Katzenberg, the CEO or whatever of Dreamworks, I was not a twitter with excitement. That is not to say that I did not GO! HAHA! Unfortunately, you will not find any pictures of him on my blog, not me getting his autograph. It was strictly mentioned to us beforehand that he was coming in to speak to us, there would be no video-recording, cameras or autographs and he would be exiting without speaking to anyone... Well, way to win over the crowd!

So yeah... he talked about stuff at Dreamworks. One of our teachers- Ted Ty- the fourth year 2D Animation professor STILL works at Dreamworks during the day and teaches here at night apparently risked a lot to bring him there. So I guess it was a big deal. He didn't say much though to make me feel like I was very special... Again- can't talk about what he said- I could lose Ted Ty his job- both at CalArts AND Dreamworks. So no go!
We all went on to Story class afterward and Jennifer wanted to know all about what he talked about. It was also the night that our animatics were due! One of my classmates, Josh, had worked himself to the point of near INSANITY trying to finish his and never showed up to class! We learned later that he'd finished (I think), went to his room and PASSED OUT ON THE FLOOR! He never even made it to the bed. His roommate actually lifted him up and put him into bed. All that hard work for nothing! Mine went okay, but I was over the time limit of 90 seconds and was already trying to plan out a new story. Oh yeah, I actually talk about my own work here! WOW!

October 6th was the CalArts Film/Video School meeting in Langley. I skipped out of work during my "lunch" to go. All of the programs in the Film/Video school were there, including Character Animation. There was only about 4 students. We were REALLY nervous and we felt too awkward to say much! HAHA! But I did get to talk to Dan for a little bit.

That Thursday sucked for me because someone said something about me that I took really hard and I spent the rest of the day in a funk, until Tammy (one of the sweetest girls in the world) took me to McDonald's for some ice cream. Getting some one-on-one time with her was amazing.

That weekend (October 9th) was the 40th Reunion of CalArts! All the alumni showed up and ate and partied. I got to see lots of the stuff going on and bought a special edition shirt, but mostly I did my homework. haha! That Monday we had no classes because of Indigenous People's Day (Columbus Day to everyone else). Sadly, I pulled my first ever all-nighter on a HOLIDAY! I made it all the way to Color & Design, but made the mistake of laying down for a nap afterward "only for two hours"... and slept straight through most of Story class. I showed up for the last hour. I was told later that it was one of the best classes of the semester... FML!

That Wednesday, my flipbook for History of Character Animation was due. WHOA! I busted butt for it. I was later told that mine was one of the better ones, but I'll never know for sure because no one wanted theirs looked at!

And that Friday for Visiting Artists series, we had Shannon Tindle & Shane Prigmore from Coraline! It was supposed to be Part 1 of a 2 part visit, and they would return the following weekend, but something happened and we wouldn't see them again for weeks. Again- no details- MWA-HA! Woot! These posts are getting better, I think. Anyone want to kill me yet?

The End of All Things- I mean 2010! Pt.2

And now for the second half of classes!

Okay, so Thursday is a very long day! We have Life Drawing with Steve Brown, who has been teaching at CalArts for 10 years now! The class lasts from 9 AM until 4 PM!

Steve is kind of funny... When you first see this guy, you're like, "Wait... what?!" He looks like just a very friendly neighbor type older guy, only... he has earrings, he wears all black, basically all the time, and he likes rap and stuff! XD It's just very funny at first, but he is SO COOL! His approach to life drawing is very "conceptual", I guess, but the Administration or something determined that CalArts students needed more structure in their life drawing, so the first half of every class was dedicated to a part of the human anatomy. I LOVED IT! But the second half was very... "capture the essence" kind of stuff- which I utterly FAIL AT! So I struggled in his class... HEAVILY! So badly, in fact, that I was not getting anything good the very first class, so a classmate of mine (T- who is the most bad-ass guy you may ever meet in your LIFE!) and I DREW WITH OUR TOES!

That's right baby... We're in ART SCHOOL NOW! XD

None of my stuff was posted in the hallway, but seriously, after seeing some of the awesomeness that came out of that room, I was NOT surprised. It was the reminder to me in my first week at CalArts that I really WAS surrounded by some of the best artists in the world... A very humbling experience!

Immediately after Life drawing, I had Acting for Animators with Robert Duncan. For those of you who wanna know- Robert was the live-action reference model for Captain John Smith in Disney's Pocahontas! Talk about GEEK OUT! Wait... wait- WHUT?! OMFG!!!!!! I just found THIS! DUDE!!!! MY PROFESSOR WAS SETH IN STARGATE!!!!!! OMFG!!!!! *MAJOR GEEKOUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!*

*is still trying to recover from the epic geek-out* So, in Acting class we just learned how to REACT, NOT act! It put a lot of clarity into how characters in our films should be, and gave us an idea on how to react differently to the same situation. Honestly, the class turned fairly epic when we were the first class to get actual "scenes" to memorize and perform. It was SO HARD! But more on that later.

I had a quick one hour for dinner on Thursdays, then my last class of the week- CG Character Animation! ZOMG! My professor is Robert Domingo- ALSO an animator from Dreamworks. ALSO worked on How To Train Your Dragon... AND Shrek, Enchanted, Madagascar, Treasure Planet, Mulan, Tarzan, Hercules, Lion King, Pocahontas, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame! Holy COW! Yeah! Oh, and he was the animator for Yzma! I WISH I were kidding at how awesome this guy is! (Oh, and my mentor, Dan Hansen was the Artistic Coordinator for the same film... seeing the level of amazingness of awesome yet?) Anyway, this was our HEAVY CG (aka- Maya) class. HAAAAAARD!!!! But SO MUCH FREAKING FUN! And again, Robert is not ONLY one of the guys who SERIOUSLY knows what he is talking about, but he REALLY knows how to explain it to a point that you truly understand! It's a great way to finish off one HECK of a week!

So, that's my actual classes. Section 1 has Fridays off, but Section 2 has classes. So Fridays are usually spent by me doing homework until noon when I report back to the Registrar's office for my second day or work. I spent my second day at work helping people sort out Add/Drop of classes. I resolved to not drop a single class I was registered for- a resolution I KEPT despite some very hard times. A full 15.5 units!

After work, I'd go back to my cube and continue working on homework.


PAINTED! Okay, okay, so I only needed to paint my desk, the cube was a pretty calm blue and it had stars... I added more stars.

I typically spent the next 2 and a half days there. That first Friday, though I was invited to a party for the MFA's of Graphic Design. My awesome roomie, Kaoru invited me.

I didn't stay long as I felt kind of out-of-place, but they seemed like a great group. I went back to my cube, and later my room and wrote screenplays (a first for me!) Wow... wait, I just realized the lame-ness of that sentence... I left a party to go do homework... wow...
There was, however, one more party that weekend: Trevor Knapp-Jones's 21st Birthday!

If you will notice, it is made on animator's pegged paper... XD

And yes... to quell the rumors- we DID sing!

The first Sunday at school was spent in my cube, working. Boring, I know! But I animated a bouncing ball, so FEH! I enjoyed it!

The second week of school was pretty much, wash, rinse, repeat. But OMG! STILL AWESOME!!!! On Tuesday, the 21st, I was invited to Korean BBQ with s BUNCH of second years! Though, Melanie from my class went... I skipped out of Story class early to meet them. We went to BCD Tofu House- a 24 hour Korean place in LA.

I had never had one of these fish before. It was tasty, but very salty, and I had lots of bones in my teeth after... then my camera promptly DIED!

That Friday, I got a special personal one hour Maya tutorial with a GREAT student from Germany named Theresa who knows Maya REALLY WELL! We played around, but I learned a lot too. Then I had to run to work at the office. Add/Drops are INSANE! But one of my co-workers bought the whole office Golden Spoon yogurt, which was a really nice treat!

That night, we had our first (actually, I think it was second, but the first canceled on us) Visiting Artist in the Palace!
Let me explain- CalArts has animators, story artists, and other all-around AWESOME people in the industry VISIT US and talk to us about stuff! What could possibly be cooler than that?!
Well my first guy I got to see was John Kahrs- Not kidding, you guys- an animator at Pixar! (Incredibles, Bolt, Tangled, Ratatouille, A Bug's Life, Toy Story 2, etc.) What he talked about, I am not at liberty to say, sadly... MWA-HAHAHA!!!! Gotta get accepted and come to CalArts for that info! hehe The rest of the weekend, I did nothing but homework! End of Week 2- HAHAHAH! *breaks down and cries* Another entry...

The End of All Things- I mean 2010!

Okay, so my New Years resolution is to start off 2011 with an updated blog! I have NO IDEA how long this will take, but I am going to try! So here goes! MEGA-UPDATE 2010!!!!!

*looks back* Gawd, I didn't get much past Cube Sign-Ups! *gasp* I have a ****-ton to tell you! ACK!

Okay! *deep breath* I hope you guys are ready for this...

The first week of classes were UNBELIEVABLE! I STILL can't believe that we have such amazing teachers here! There are two sections of Freshmen- first half of the alphabet and the second. I am in the first. And I will tell you right now, I will never be able to live down the feeling that I will never get to know the second half as well as I will know my own... My only major beef- but as there are almost SIXTY of us, there is obviously no way that they could put us all in one class at one time. :(

My Monday starts off the best with 2D Character Animation (my favorite class!). Our teacher is Scott Wright. The guy used to work at Dreamworks! He's worked on some AWESOME films- including my new fav, How To Train Your Dragon! He completely changed the way I look at some of my oldest, favoritest films! Our first class all we really did was look at the basic principles and definitions of animation- keys, breakdowns, inbetweening, spacing, timing, timing charts (x-sheets), weight, arcs, anticipation (I think this is one of his favs...), straight-ahead and pose-to-pose. It was truly a clarifying experience! Stuff that I sorta knew about, I now felt like I had a real explanation of!

We broke for lunch... pushed our tables together (a Character Animation trait and tradition!) and went to our second class of the day. We have Digital Methods with Fran Krause. At first I didn't know what to think about Fran. But after a whole semester, I can clearly say that this guys KNOWS HIS ****! A couple of the classes were a little silly for me, since I knew Photoshop and how to scan stuff, etc. but a LOT of the information was nearly over my head! We covered stuff like Flash and After Effects. WHOA! Seriously! I think one of my favorite things about Fran's class is how he would show us fun videos. He would explain things you can do in the programs, which always led me to ask- "Now what would we USE this FOR?!" Fran is so awesome, he would actually answer me, every time! Even though it was probably a stupid question for most- I'VE never made a real film before! I want to know under what circumstances that I would need to know this stuff! It just really made his class that much more awesome as the semester went on. The very last class, he arranged for us to bring in a single drawing of a red cat with a squarish head and a green backpack. We drew numbers and learned we would be making a 20 second segment of a film. Our drawing was the starting point of our segment and we had to somehow end up at the first drawing of the person behind us. OMG! When we are done, we are going to have a 20 minute long film, done by 60 artists!!!! Needless to say, I am scared but HIGHLY excited about this project!

And that is pretty much my Mondays. We have the evenings off, but I usually spend it on homework. That first day was just dreamy! That night we had the cube sign-up, which I kind of already posted about. Basically, it was kind of awesome. I got to talk to a lot of kids that I can't even believe that I didn't know them then! We are so close now, it seems like a weird bad dream or something. We watched movies. I knit and read. Then people slept. I made it almost the whole night. I slept like 2 hours. At 8:30 AM-ish they handed out our number then it was time for Tuesday and we all ran to class! XD

I actually showered because I felt disgusting, so I was a smidge late to my first Tuesday class, CG Foundation with Andrew Bac. Again, at first I was a little unsure of Andrew. He's a very quiet man and if you don't listen 100%, you will MISS IT! But as the semester wore on, I realized that Andrew, too, knew his ****!!!!! I watched in AWE as this guy would create a 3D model of something in nothing FLAT! I blame my lack of progress in the class on my bad learning curve, as I'd never even TOUCHED Maya before his class.

Sadly, this picture is NOT from the first week, but rather November. He's actually drawing ON HIS HAND to show us how Maya works with joints. Talk about Dedication!

After lunch, Section 1 has Color & Design with Brooke Keesling. Brooke is not only a CalArts graduate, she won the Gold Medal at the Student Academy Awards for her film Boobie Girl. Yes- she is AWESOME! She currently works at New Deal Studios in special effects, I think. Basically, they make models and get to BLOW THEM UP! ZOMG!!!! XD She showed us not only her film, Boobie Girl, but her studios demo reel. WOW! Brooke took over from the Color & Design teacher from HELL- Leo Hobaica. I only say that because the incoming freshmen were well aware of his reputation for being HARD! His class was all gouache and required more time than almost all the other classes! When I heard he WASN'T teaching for fall semester, I was actually disappointed! I had pumped myself up and everything! But then he went to France on creative leave! WTH?! So we had Brooke- and Brooke was awesome! And just as if it HAD been Hobaica (who is coming back for Spring semester), Color & Design was where I spent most of my homework time... XD

GAH! And I just realized that Brooke is sitting directly underneath my self-portraits! *GASP!*

After dinner break until 7 PM, we have Story I class with Jennifer Skelly. Usually the Story class is taught by both Jennifer and her husband, David Skelly- a Pixar STORY ARTIST! Sadly, Sections 1 & 2 got one Skelly each. The upperclassmen (and eventually Section 2, since they nabbed them both for one class) say that the two of them together are a POWERHOUSE at Story, but separately, they are pretty good too. I just wish we could have them both. Story really kicked our butts for the first few weeks because we had the GARGANTUAN task of making an animatic in THREE WEEKS! Just 21 days! "You know, I've always liked that word... "gargantuan"... so rarely have an opportunity to use it in a sentence..."

Our very first night in class, we had to come up with a story to pitch to the class. I made four and pitched the worst one! XD And that is Tuesdays!

Wednesdays for me, start with History of Character Animation with Maureen Furniss.

Yes... that IS a movie theater inside my school- you may all be jealous now! XD

This class was AWESOME because not only did we get to be in a movie theater for 3 hours, we got to watch MOVIES! Our syllabus listed what we would be covering, the projects we would be doing (FLIPBOOKS FTW!) and it was just AWESOME! (And HARD!)

Wednesdays are a little funny, because most people have Critical Studies. I have Work Study. So immediately after Hist. of Character Animation, I ran to the Registrar's office for my first day of work study. The ladies in the office are SUPER nice and my work is really easy. Basically, I get to do fun office-stuff for 5 hours, twice a week and if I finish my work early (which I do a lot), they let me work on homework!

After dinner break, our Wednesday night class is Character Design with Rik Maki. Now, of all my teachers, Rik is the HARDEST! But let me just say this: His imdb page is the stuff of DREAMS! He's worked on things not just stuff that has come out recently, but stuff from my CHILDHOOD!!! This guy is the real thing! And even though he's REALLY hard on us, I think I learned the most from his class. I was CERTAINLY not in the top rung, but I feel like I made significant improvement. While many people got out of his class, I stayed late every night after class to hear him talk and ask questions and get input. I am even emailing him over Winter Break to get advice on my designs for my film.

Whew! Okay, there's the first half of my schedule. New blog entry.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Watercolor Christmas card set

The set is finally complete! The last cards have been painted and set out- I AM DONE!!!!

On to other things... And mega-update still coming soon.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

MEGA-Update Coming Soon!

School is out tomorrow. MEGA-Update coming forthwith! Prepare yourselves.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Possible opening of book (should I ever write one)

I wish I could tell you that Animation and I took to each other like a fish to water, that I was naturally good at it...

But it would be the biggest fucking lie I have ever told in my life.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Animator Vs. Film-goer

Okay, so I am REALLY over this thing at film school where people will ACTIVELY talk someone out of going to see a movie that they believe is not first-rate- even when the person TRULY wants to go see it! I believe if the person understands that the film is not going to change their life or something and they STILL want to see it, people should not deprive them of that opportunity!

Look, Despicable Me was NOT the best film on the face of the planet, but I liked it!
In fact, I like a LOT of really BAD movies! Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death, anyone? I LOVE! Rocky Horror? (Need I say more?) Krull? Army of Darkness? Planet of the Apes? Red Sonja? SOLARBABIES! The Beastmaster? Cherry 2000? (Seriously, I watch it every time I find it on!) Flash Gordon. Howard the Duck- yes, I said it... I LIKE IT! Lake Placid? (My sister will totally back me up on this!) The Forbidden Dance is Lambada- worst movie EVER! But it's hysterical! Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer. Mom and Dad Save the World (haven't seen it in a long time, but it makes me laugh) Spaced Invaders- a classic! The Transformers movie? No, not that one... the first one! You know, the cartoon?

These are BAD FILMS! But I LIKE them! Do you honestly think that Megamind was going to somehow be WORSE than these?!

I am VERY upset that I was told to not "waste my money" on a film just because people here think that it is beneath them. When did we get to the point where we can't even watch a movie anymore?! I appreciate the fact that I am able to keep the film-maker (wanna-be) and audience member of me separated so that I can still enjoy films that aren't brilliant. Someone still put a lot of time into making it and someone should watch it for them. Someone basically deprived them of an audience by telling me to not go... NOT COOL!

You know what? I am going to go watch a truly BAD movie now, just to prove my point.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Quotes to think about...

"See, the computer always tries to do everything symmetrical. Asymmetry is beauty. Symmetry is cold, and lifeless."

- Glen Keane