Monday, May 26, 2014

"Life" as a Graduate

I've been wrestling so many thoughts in the past week and a half. Graduation was the 16th, but work for the RAs continued for another week. In that week, more things happened in my life than I can even cope with right now.

I had my first ever interview for the industry, I moved out of the dorms (my home for four years) forever, I quit my summer job, I asked a guy out (big deal to me), and I entered one of the scariest times in my life...

Life as a Graduate and Alum.

For most people I just graduated with, that may not "frighten" them as it does me, but I have always been different. I came into CalArts with special circumstances, it seems only right that I should leave with them. As it has been slowly dawning on me, I had to admit this past week that I have officially put myself through CalArts. I made it through all four years at a college that my family once told me I would never be able to afford. And maybe I still can't actually "afford" it, but I never quit. When some people told me that I should, maybe I should "take a year off" (when I complained of how I couldn't pay my bills), maybe I should "quit some of (my) jobs" (when I couldn't finish all of my homework because I was working so much to pay for the classes)- I didn't quit. CalArts meant that much to me then- and it still means that much to me now.

I don't regret selling my car to buy my plane ticket to California. I don't regret selling my books, and DVDs, and cds, and clothes, and furniture to ship the stuff I had remaining to California. I don't regret missing my friends for four years. I don't regret my student loans. I don't regret all of the hard work I had to do. I don't regret the parties I missed because I had work the next morning. I don't regret all of the jobs I had. And I ~almost~ don't regret not finishing my films. All of it was just the price I had to pay to attend my dream school. And the REASON I don't regret any of it is because what I got OUT of CalArts.

I met some of the most wonderful people on the face of the planet. My classmates, my professors, the Character Animation staff, my mentor, my bosses- my friends. All of these people are now my new family. And whether I know them better than blood or barely at all, I love them. We all came from different places, situations, strengths, and backgrounds. Some bonded closer than others, but in the end, we all have CalArts.

I also met people in the industry. AMAZING people! I got to go to studios, and premiers, and events, and conventions, and galleries, and screenings that I NEVER had access to in Texas. I have "connections" now IN the animation industry! CalArts (and a bit of perseverance) gave me that. Some of those things are beyond value in dollar amount.

To make this post a bit shorter (because I could go on and on)- my time at CalArts has been PRICELESS. I will never be able to thank each person who helped me through CalArts personally, but they have my eternal gratitude. In whatever way- big or small- that they made my journey easier, I can never thank them enough.

The funny part is- this whole post was actually started because I thought about the title of my blog. It is called "Amanda Candler's CalArts Blog". Technically, I can no longer use this title, as it no longer truly applies. I find myself discovering this about much of my online presence. My LinkedIn, my Facebook, my blog- they all need to be updated. Seeing as how I am in the wind until I find my place in my new situation, I hardly know what to call any of it. It will be very final for me to delete all of my job titles, one I've had for four years, off of my Facebook. But from here on out- it's all about my new journey.

I think I am excited, even if I am a little bit scared... So here's looking to the Future!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Illusion of Time.

I went through this blog a while back and looked at some of my old posts and remembered that, for a time, I was titling them all something to do with "Illusion of..." as a homage to the blog's quote up there at the top. Seeing as how this will probably be my last post as a student at CalArts, I feel the need to go back to that...

On Wednesday night, I had my last ever class as a Character Animation student at California Institute of the Arts. It was my Film Workshop class with Chris Sonnenburg. It was one of the strangest classes I ever had. Mostly because it didn't FEEL like the last. I felt like we would be meeting again in a week, nothing would change. It STILL sort of feels that way. We watched some cool videos and in the middle of all this, I suddenly had this amazing feeling that I was exactly where I was supposed to be. I had absolutely not a single doubt in my mind that CalArts was the place I was destined to go and that animation was the field I was meant for. Now- that sentence coming out of MY mouth is a crazy feeling. As a child, not knowing what kind of artist she wanted to be- except, I knew for CERTAIN that I did not want to be a painter, starving on the streets of Paris (Like Jerry in An American in Paris... *sigh*)- I could never give anyone an answer! I DIDN'T KNOW! If I had known when I was a child, sitting on the couch every morning, watching cartoons until the certain show came on (was it Scooby Doo? the Smurfs?) when I knew I couldn't watch anymore or I would be late to school, if I had known that PEOPLE made those cartoons and that they were drawn and not magically just POOFED by Tinkerbell's WAND or some freaking thing... Maybe I would have been able to answer that question quicker.

Yeah... maybe I was a stupid child... Who sat too close to the TV... Whatever! Doesn't matter!

No one ever told me that animation was made that way. Granted... If I had known THEN that it took as many drawings as it does for a one second thing... I may have told you that you were CRAZY and gone back to climbing my tree or something. (Yes, I had my very own tree. Gumball tree, anyone?) OR- alternately... I may have been MORE intrigued and gone on to try going through them frame-by-frame like my classmates. Sadly however, not knowing that that was how they worked, if you HAD told me I could do that, I may have looked at you like you were crazy again. All I knew was that the TV was a magical box.

Why am I rambling about this?!
Oh yeah... because I am feeling a lost of nostalgia and mourning the end coming in less than a week. In about 6 days, I will walk across that stage and accept an empty envelope, while my friends, some of my family, and all of my peers look on. It is just the strangest feeling that it is all over. It doesn't FEEL like it should be over! How could four years have gone by so fast?! Where did that time go?

I am dealing with a lot of questions going through my head about these four years- Did I get everything out of CalArts that I wanted? Was it all worth it? Will I be able to make it out there once I leave? What will I do now?* They are all a part of this next phase I am moving into and while that frightens me- as I guess all big changes should?- I cannot help but feeling unbelievably EXCITED about it too! The change in these four years has been A-MA-ZING!

*- for the record, the answers are: Not really, YES!, I don't know, and no clue!

On an entirely different note- I am sad to announce that Joker is dead... He was killed in a freak melting Chavant accident... He will be dearly missed...

Okay, okay- I'm kidding! HAHA! I was rolling out sheets of Chavant for his clothes and I couldn't help myself!

He is coming along now. Not a whole lot more actual sculpting left to do- just details really. Then refining and PAINTING!

God, I cannot WAIT to put the two of them together! I am so freaking excited!!!! Sadly, it probably will not happen until after I graduate...