I wanted to post this yesterday, but I was so exhausted that I needed to pass out. Plus, I am still trying to put my thoughts together on this subject.
Last night was the 2016 CalArts Character Animation Producers' Show. It was a night of many emotions. Our amazing, stupendous Martha Baxton announced her retirement, effective at the end of the year. The department will never be the same without her! There were tears, a standing ovation, and a general sense of "What will we ever do without her?" Martha is the chocolate-loving faerie godmother of Character Animation. Many of her long-time coworkers are absolutely in a state of denial.
On top of this, I realized that it has been two years since I graduated from CalArts and, while I have recently been able to share one of the biggest things that has ever happened to me, I am still not where I wish to be in the general terms of my life and position. I won't say I am ashamed of my current situation- on the contrary, I am exceedingly honored that I have found so many friends to help support me out here when all else fails- but as a fiercely independent woman (and a stubborn-headed Southern one, to boot!), there are things that I want in my life that have not yet been attained. My loving and supporting family's response to this period of trial in my life is to suggest that I return to Texas- an option that I have staunchly refused. However, in recent days, the option has been gaining ground.
Then, last night happened. Our guest of honor was Rich Moore, the Emmy Award-winning, Annie recipient, and Academy Award nominee and co-director of Zootopia. His speech was brief and fun. He kept it loose and light, even when dealing with a very deep topic. He spoke to the graduating animators- warning them that life was about to get very rough. And to the students not graduating, he warned that life would be tough for them in a few years, too. He told about how when he first graduated, he struggled and clawed and wasn't seeming to "make it" in the industry. Then, slowly, bit by bit, he got little jobs that led to other jobs, that led to others, and now here he is!
Sitting in that dark theater, thinking about my current situation, I felt that he was speaking directly to me. And he told us to not give up. He had a friend that had given up after just a few years and returned home, but Rich endured and because he stuck it out, he got the opportunity to work on the Simpsons (another strange coincidence, n'es pas?). He said it had such an effect on him. I felt that, to my very core. Because I was in a rough spot two years ago, I was offered a chance to drive for Eric Goldberg. Because I drove Eric, I was offered the chance to work with him on the Simpsons Couch Gag. And because I refuse to leave California and Los Angeles, I was in that theater last night and I heard Rich Moore tell us to stick it out.
Other people have told me almost the exact same thing, but for some reason, it had a significant power coming from someone like Rich. Perhaps it is because he doesn't know me. Perhaps because he is a complete stranger, I don't feel like he is just telling me things to make me feel better.
This blog has been a very strange documentation of these past few years of my life. When I've read my first posts in the past, the naivete and optimism I possessed is embarrassing! I had the highest hopes! I had huge dreams! The most of which did not come true. (And for a blog called Making Dreams Come True, that is a painful admission.) But then I can look at all the crazy things that HAVE happened to me! I've gone places and done things that I would have never dreamed. If you'd ever told the old me that I would work on a Simpsons opening with Eric Goldberg, I would have thought you completely out of your mind. And while it sometimes still seems like a crazy alternate reality for the real me, I am immensely proud for my part in the Couch Gag. It is one of the biggest highlights of my life. So far...
So to anyone still reading this blog: Life may not turn out as you plan. Life may deal you blows that you think you will never survive. Life may give you more than just lemons. But you have to not just look at that. You need to look at the positives in your life, too! You need to see that though you aren't where you wanted, maybe you're where you NEED to be so that other great things can happen to you. And you have to GRAB THEM! When those opportunities come at you, you must be ready! You must follow that dream. Be strong.