Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Adventures of an Animation Tumbleweed

So next week I am moving to San Francisco, California!

I am sitting in a Starbucks in Vancouver right now. I think that Starbucks deliberately has a lot of hard wooden chairs to encourage patronage to tame the length of their visits. But it's more comfortable to sit on and have a table for my laptop than hunch over a cardboard box in my apartment. The shortlist of furniture that Steve and I have right now is a fold up sofa bed (purchased second hand), 2 bar stools, 2 office chairs and 3 end tables. All of the chairs are covered in various belongings and thus are un-sit-able-on, and besides, we don't have any tables. We arrived in Vancouver on October 18 and had a glorious time staying at Level Furnished Living for two weeks while living out of our suitcases. I even made raspberry pancakes on the weekend. Since moving into our teeny tiny new apartment just over 2 weeks ago, our shipment of belongings from our storage unit in Mississauga arrived and most of the space is now taken up by boxes of junk. Not having had access to the items in these boxes for over a year, it's very strange to remember all the crap that you owned that you didn't really need anyway.

Going through the items is both fun and sad. It's fun to rediscover tokens of childhood, old college projects and the boxes of cards and lovenotes I've kept. And have my collection of sparkly shoes and sweaters back that I left behind when we moved to Australia. It's sad to think about getting rid of some items and finding homes for many. I don't want to put everything in a dumpster. We're going to try to sell, donate and give away as much as we can. That in itself is a job and an exhausting one.

So if all goes according to plan next week, in just over two months I will have lived in 4 homes in 3 countries. It's kind of nuts... but I'm pretty used to moving around a lot. Steve and I tend to live with the mindset of "let's not aquire too much stuff or big items since we don't know where we'll be in a year". We destroyed that mantra while still in Toronto by buying the awesome-ist sofa, a big TV on a big glass TV stand with surround sound speakers, a massive bookshelf to store our books and DVDs, 2 bikes and way too many items for the kitchen. We have since sold the sofa, TV, speakers and stand to my parents. We are ripping all our DVD's and selling the original discs and getting digital copies of our books. We're debating what to do with the bikes. My wedding dress is in a keepsake box at my parents house, probably under a pile of cake tins or antique cameras or something. It does feel good to have very little stuff. It's also strange... getting rid of all the things you aquired almost feels like getting rid of a tiny piece of your self. Somehow.

So as for San Francisco; it's all Adriana's fault. Way back in June or July she tweeted that Atomic Cartoons was hiring. At the time I was living it up as an unpaid indie filmmaker. While in Oz I storyboarded, created a leica, drew layouts, painted backgrounds and animated about 0.001 seconds of Pickled. I haven't been able to work on it since about July but I fully intend to get back on track with it. My office was 10 feel from my bed and office attire not required by my boss. (Me!) So I saw Adri's tweet and basically thought; I worked at Atomic before and it was fun!! I could so totally get hired there again. So I applied. Then I applied to a heap of other studios, mostly in Vancouver. I applied not just for animation positions but for storyboarding positions as well. I'd love to do some storyboarding and ended up spending a big chunk of time preparing a storyboarding portfolio. I didn't get any bites. I don't get applying for jobs (at animation studios) these days. You basically send off your resume to the digital internets void and then... what? I worry that my resume will even be looked at or arrive. Not even the studio (Big Bad Boo) that hired me on the spot when I visited my old studio manager in Vancouver called me. I would have started work a week or two earlier if they had looked at my resume and demo reel.

Well I did get one bite. While still in Australia I heard back from a studio called Kabam and did an animation test for them. I've known about this company for about a year since a friend of mine has been working there about that long. At that time in Sydney I also had no furniture. Not even one chair. Steve and I had sold everything before leaving Australia and I did that animation test with my little old laptop propped on a cardboard box while sitting on the floor. Legs going numb and back murdering me and all. The test led to interviews on 2 different days with 9 people in total and covering about 2.5 hours. After a couple weeks had passed and I had yet to hear back from Kabam, I started to have sad dreams. Which is kind of crazy. I was never so excited about a job prospect before. I was very intrigued by the idea of moving to the States and being in the biggest animation hotspot in the world. The more that I had learned about the company through my contact with them the more hungry I was to be a part of it.

While I first arrived in Vancouver, I was spending my spare time tweaking my demo reel and redesigning the logo on my resume. I was prepared to launch a job applying assault on Vancouver when I went to visit Big Bad Boo Studios in Yaletown. I was hired on the spot as a Harmony animator. I used to used Harmony... three and a half years ago!!! On my first day I had to ask my director how to set a keyframe. I bet he was scared. I didn't get a heck of a lot of work done while there as I spending about half my waking hours running around dealing with moving into a new home, which included the hellish adventure of dealing with a cross-country shipping company and forgetting (our second) 7D Canon camera at the hotel and aquiring all the documentation needed to apply for a TN visa. (We got the camera back.)

So I did hear back from Kabam! I keep getting off track here. Like I said Adriana's fault. Thanks Adriana :) I had honestly not felt any urge to jobhunt while plugging away on my film. Now I have this great opportunity ahead of me. More adventures to come. And photos!

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Simpsons Couch Gag by John Kricfalusi

John K has created a new couch gag sequence for the opening credits of The Simpsons. I love it.
I found a nice online full version of it here, BUT! For some reason the vocals are missing!!!!
Watch a crappy version where someone has filmed the sequence on their TV with a shaky camera with the vocal track here! It's good to watch both. I didn't get it at first without the sound.


There is a long interview between John K and Amid on Cartoonbrew that has work in progress, an animatic and production artwork. Check it out here!

Monday, September 05, 2011

My Storyboard Portfolio is Ready!

So I've recently finished putting together my storyboard portfolio! Woo! I've put it online on my Behance site. Please check it out here! Creating the storyboards for my short film was fun, addictive and creatively satisfying. I would like to do some more storyboarding, in a professional environment.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

the best gesture drawing session!

One day this week I headed out to the snazzy cafeteria in a mall near my house with a big sketchbook to do some gesture drawing. I discovered that going at 4:30 in the evening was a dull time to draw there. It's ca-ray-see busy there on the weekends and much busier later in the evenings but at 4:30 on a Monday, no so much. I found a few interesting opportunities and finally settled on sketching the Luxe bar/cafe right next to me and any people in and around it. Then a young dad strolled his very young son in a stroller to the table RIGHT in front of me and between me and the bar.

There's this sort of stigma associated with the public drawer at times... at least among artists... I know that some people enjoy being drawn but some don't and I imagine that lots of people don't like it when you're looking at them and studying their image without their knowledge or permission, especially when you are so close to them. It's like you're not giving them any privacy. So I stood up and went over the dad, who's name I found out is Denson and just flipped through a few pages in my sketchbook to show him what I was doing and asked him if he would mind me drawing him and his son. He said no he wouldn't mind! I was surprised that he was actually pretty happy to let me sit right next to his son in the stroller and sketch away for about 40 minutes. Denson mentioned he would go get another drink (he was eating his dinner in the cafeteria) and I could keep drawing and watch his son. The son got a bit antsy and started crying a bit so I offered to get Denson his drink.
I do feel a little strange posting the baby's name and too many personal details. For me, posting things online about children (or personal details about people's lives) is not something you want to do without forethought and consideration. I wouldn't assume I could just treat that sort of situation without respect which is the very reason I asked just to draw him.

I've been doing a good amount of life and gesture drawing while in Oz but I never post my drawings!! I really should. I want to... I get so wrapped up in my work and it took ripping these pages out of my sketchbook to be able to scan them them in multiple parts on my little scanner. It's kind of a pain... I guess I could take photos of my sketches...

Monday, May 09, 2011

Larra Skye: Indie Jazz Singer Songwriter Extraordinaire

I've been very busy working on layouts and colour guides recently. I finally tweaked all the colours to my liking, they are final! And I am learning to maneuver around in Corel Painter which I recently purchased.

Right now I want to plug the amazing Larra Skye, indie Canadian jazz singer/songwriter. I got to work with Larra last year on music for my animated short; Pickled. She was an absolute pleasure to work with from the first meeting to the last. I am so grateful for her passion and dedication. I know she has been working really hard on her second album, (when not touring around North America to play gigs). I got to listen to a rough cut of one of her demos; Pull Me In last year at our first meeting in August. Now you can listen to that and Grain of Sand on her facebook page. I hope you do. Her music is sultry, jazzy and smooth.

Please check Larra's webpage and her donation page. I believe May 24 is the deadline for her donation goal.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Birthday Birds

Some birthday birds for friends! In the kookaburra card, I forgot to include an "R" so Steve sketched up a tasmanian devil and helped me out.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

swimming at Bronte Beach


When the 40 degrees plus week long heat wave finally got blown away by a lovely breeze, we went for a dip at Bronte Beach. It was the best.

Friday, January 28, 2011

food in Australia... all homemade!

tamago (sweet omlette) and shitake mushroom sushi
candied orange, chocolate chips, meringue, whipped cream
candied orange slices
honey lemon lamb meatballs with rocket salad
eggs baked in tomatoes, garlic tomatoe toast, spinach salad
ninjabread men!
more ninjabread men!
bread by Steve - baguettes
bread by Steve - challa
blueberry muffins

Sunday, January 09, 2011

walk to Tamarama Beach

These photos were taken on the way from Bondi Beach to Tamarama Beach. We didn't cover much ground since we spent so much time taking photos!