Thursday, June 30, 2005

Don't Flush That!

this week has started off a little crazy, what else is new. on monday night when i came home my boyfriend told me that our water had been shut off due to a crack or clog or something. the people underneath us had the worst of the problem coming home to find a nasty little surprise all over their bathroom floor, eeww. so we have been staying in a hotel for a few days which was ok, but nothing like home. in fact i could not hook up to the internet i needed to view my crit from derek or the video lectures which i tend to watch obsessivly over and over. rats, i just had to relax and think of them as wasted days. now i will be playing catch up this weekend no doubt since derek gave me a super informative crit and i have tons of new ideas i want to improve upon. i think i need to go back to the reference and try out a few more variations on the walk and also start to think about arms and hands. like derek told me the walk i choose isn't going to have tons of crazy floppy overlap since the character is a more controlled seductive predatory prowler by nature, so it will take some creative thinking to find a way to show overlap, that is the point of the assignment. plus anticipation, we have to have our character begin the walk from a stopped position, adding blocking to the head of the shot. they say you will be contantly be asked to do this in a real job setting if the animation gods shine on us and we are lucky enough to be called animators one day. so i better get practicing now. i think these advanced blocking assignments are really helping, because in a way it is just another for of planning. we have to block out, get our crit, make tons of changes and add stuff to the front of the shot, this is great practice to work out the problems before getting into trouble w tangents and such.

on a different note, i have been cruising the campus for the body mechanics class and i second what aja has said in her blog. these people are all doing amazing work and it is really astounding how much we've learned even in this short period of time. i think it really is a testement to the animationmentor way of teaching. i think we are on the right track and if we all really stick to it we will definetely have a shot at this animation stuff. it looks like everyone has the talent and creative nature animators need, and AM is here to push us to improve to get to our best stuff as fast as possible. i'm really excited to see what else we can do this semester, go AM!

i started my first gnomon gesture drawing class on monday with ron husband as my teacher. he is awesome and a great draftsman. his sketch books were amazing, after drawing everyday for 30 years he has really built up an amazing amount of great sketches. we have a live model in the class and have varied times for quick gesture sketching. ron is teaching us about line of action, getting the force, foreshadowing, tons of great stuff that will help with my posing and animation. i think all of the students in the class are animators and i can see why it's a popular class. i have decided not to take the acting course i had planned to this semester. i feel like i may be spreading myself too thin and want to make sure i have enough time for my AM homework. i will pick up the acting stuff in september, i still very much want to learn about that side and see how it will help with my animations.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Sahsay, Shantay

This week's assignment is a personality walk with our new improved Stewie!! I can't wait to turn him into the barbie doll I never had. I have had so much stress over this project so far, and we haven't even gotten started yet! I mean, everyone wants more creative control, right?? I am finding it just so dang hard to come up w ideas to animate. I think some students may be loving the open ended nature of these semester 2 assignments as compared to semester 1. Most of the assignments say "be creative" and are also continued over a few weeks. While this gives us more room to stretch our creative story muscles, it also requires Way more planning.

Shawn has said over and over again that PLANNING is the #1 most important part of animation. I already read ahead in the syllabus and knew that next week we would have to add arms w all their follow through glory and also add the animation to the head of the shot. This requires a more complicated plan of action. OK, here's how you plan kids.. Spend the first 4 days thinking constantly about the 5 trillion different ways you could have stewie walk from a stopped position, cry in corner, and finally decide something, anything!

I have finally decided on a beautiful, sexy Russian spy walk, a la "I'm not bad.." ps thanks jessica

Since going to my first acting class yesterday and watching tons of scenes in class get worked through, I have also realized the importance of character and story. Yes story, even in a non-dialogue 5 second piece. I decided to create a back story to the character and also come up with the all important WHAT JUST HAPPENED RIGHT BEFORE THIS SCENE, and also what is going to happen right after. I hope this will help with my character development of feeling through the animation.

Character Analysis

OLGA (Personality Walk, Starting From a Stopped Position)

Olga was a pretty young girl, always a little strange and unusual. Her tall lanky body was the source of torment growing up but soon gave way to a beautiful statuesque young woman. Upon entering the modeling world at the tender age of 13, she witnessed many questionable acts. Her personality quickly matured and hardened. At an unusually ruckus fashion party, the champagne laden hostess falsely accused Olga of stealing her precious jewels. Since this pompous designer ruled the fashion world, Olga was shut out of the modeling industry. Alone and unable to find work she was forced to turn to the dark side. She met some shady characters who promptly trained her to become a Russian spy. Olga excelled at this, using her stunning looks to gain entrée into the finest soirees, there she seduced the dignitaries and stole important Intel.


Olga walks into a black tie event with the richest men in the world attending. She spots her mark, she’s in luck, and he’s already downed 3 martinis. It is easy to lure him upstairs where she secretly drugs him and awaits for him to pass out. She then will steal his security clearance card and it’s off to her next mission.

We will see if I can succeed in having all this planning match up to the animation. Onwards to Maya.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Roger, over

This Saturday I am super psyched about the video conference we are attempting to have. this idea is the brain child of the genius himself brian nicolucci!! mr "drink" himself!

since the LA AM students are planning on meeting up Saturday the 25th at 6pm, and the SanFran AM students are going over to Brian's house, we said, hey lets MSN CHAT w the whole Cali gang!! This is going to be great, if we can pull it off. I am bringing my boyfriend's labtop w cam to the meetup spot.

And Wait there's more...
Now the NYC Crew is going to join us too. Mike Stern, Gordanna and DaveBullerin are going to hook up w us too, live from NY.

Globally Speaking

o man, the global q and a last night w shawn, carlos and bobby rocked! it was amazing to see the enthusiasm and dedication of everyone involved, esp from the non-US members of AM, some who were up at all hours 4am, 5am, just to be involved. a global experience for sure. so many LOL moments, when brian nicolucci was on cam w his huge beer mug, drinking anytime anyone says "awesome". it was a technological feat to conference in w that many people, i don't know how we didn't crash the internet!! my cam went out a few times, when tom barret was on screen talking about how we need Tshirts so badly!! because when we AM'rs meet up in person, Tom brings a lifesife drawing of SPIKE with him!! he really does! that's the only way we can all recognise eachother, although Tom does look surprisingly like his avatar, that big kahuna!!


Friday, June 17, 2005


I am so completely thrilled, Becky from just told me that my new mentor is going to be the one, the only, the crazy hat wearing man himself Derek Freisenborg! I am super excited since some of my favorite students from last semester Aja B. and Brian N. were in his class. i am sad to see mark behm go though *sniffle*. i will miss him. i think mark and derek are kind of on the opposite sides of the spectrum personality wise so it will be cool adjusting to this new outlandish fellow. i can't wait for the first Q and A on Thursday at 8pm!!

The last Q and A we had with Mark last night was bittersweet. We got tons of info covered on many of the students clamoring for his final evaluations of us. I think it would defintely be better for the students and mentors to have fewer students in the class. Mark ran out of time and missed 2 of my favorite students from our class, Jeff K. and Matt K. For my end of semester crit Mark said I get the "Most Improved Award"!! Imagine that, little old me actually improving, i was so excited i could hardly stand it. I think he could really see a difference in my quality of work since I had quit my job at Psyop those many weeks ago. Since then I had more time to focus on AM and tweak my HW till my hearts content. All part of my master plan, mmwuhaahaa.

Which reminds me while we're on the subject. It was a tough choice to quit work and just do AM full time but it's what i KNEW i needed to do to improve. working and AM at the same time was getting me nowhere and all this knowledge was just whizzing by my already clogged up brain, unnoticed. something big had to change, and quick. I completely appreciate the opportunity AM has given me to learn animation, there is no other way like AM to learn this stuff so detailed from the best in the Biz! This semester I am also signing up for Gesture drawing at Gnomon school, another terrific CG school, although I think we all know where me loyalties lie. And I am still looking for an acting school as well, with no luck yet. Looks like things are going to get interesting.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Ollie Johnston is a Rockstar

last night i went to a screening of the newly restored digital version of BAMBI at the beautiful theatre of the academy of motion pictures arts and sciences, yes "the" academy. what an amazing job they had done, painstakingly taken out the years of atrophy and tiny scratches. it looked stunning, all of the emotion of the performance was there, and more clear than ever. As if that wasn't enough, getting to see the simple heartwrenching story as no one has ever seen before, so perfect i cried, even my boyfriend had "moist" eyes as bambi hopelessy searched for his mother. then they bring out the man himself OLLIE JOHNSTON. he is a legend, a rockstar, the ninja to end all ninjas and i couldn't believe i was seeing him with my own eyes, i felt like i was at a rock concert. it was so inspiring to hear him talk about giving life and emotion to the character with the same vigor i imagine him saying it 70 years ago. wow, an amazing part of history.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

deep thoughts, or something

breathe in...
ok, i've calmed down a little. i am just getting so ovewhelmed with how much i need to learn in this crazy animation world. eventhough i have learned so much in this short first semester of AM, i still have miles and miles to go. but trying to keep a steady pace and a clear head is all i can do.

first semester...
this first semester of AM is ending and i am so sad. i don't want a different mentor, i want to keep mark behm becasue he is the best mentor ever. i really can't see anyone being better than him, and our class rocked, i don't know how i feel about losing all this. but i guess i have to keep an open mind and make new friends in the next shuffing of the AM classes. i can hardly wait to find out who my new mentor is and who my new classmates are.

life in LA...
so far is going smoothly, there is just so much to do with all the unpacking and setting up furniture that it is way more distracting than being in my tiny NYC studio with nothing to distract me but brick walls. ok, need to concentrate. i think it will take a while to get into the new grove and i haven't exactly found my way yet. i think my assignments haven't been as good since i moved because of all the distractions and such. the next semester starts up right away without a break, i really wish we had a few weeks off to regroup and catch up on reading, and revisions. i could really use that extra time to get things together. plus i am stressing out because i sent my tuition payment more than a week ago and AM still hasn't received it yet. if that s lost i don't know what i am going to do.

i am definetely getting an "F"

what was i thinking?? this personality stuff is hard! why did i attempt a second walk when the first one is horrible too!!?? i don't know what to do, this is complex stuff. ok, relax, everything is ok, take a deep breath. ok, i know what to do, i simply have to start over from scratch.

Friday, June 03, 2005

They're Everywhere, these AM people

The day before I left NY to move to LA I was lucky enough to get a chance to meet up with a few NY AM students. Mike Stern, who I have met before, Tom Barret and Yogesh (Khubi). We had an amazing time and talked about animation and the AM program for hours and hours.

It is safe to say that we are all deep into the program and are fully obsessed with animation at this point. We could have stayed there all night. This got me thinking about animation communities. Overall, alot of the animation communities are online, especially in AM. I really miss the human contact of meeting in person also. Nothing will ever take the place of face to face contact. You can get so wrapped up in your projects and doing all your work at home that you really never have to leave the house to do the AM program. Sometimes I would get so into what I was doing that I wouldn't see other "live" people for days and let me tell you this is not a good way to work and I do not reccomend it.

I think wherever you are you should seek out your felow animators and AM students and meet up as often as you can to talk about all stuff animation, becasue it really is a great way to make contacts. It is also great to know that they are going through all the same things you are, the same setbacks and fustrations with their work. We are all in this together and trying to learn as much as we can from this great teaching tool called Animation Mentor. We are all in this together right Spike? LA!

I have finnally arrived in Los Angeles after much haphazard planning and packing. I have way more stuff than any person should be alowed to own. I was so excited to step off the plane and see my boyfriend there waiting for us, ready to wlcome us home. Our new home is in Venice beach and it is so pretty here. Way different from NY, and I am ajusting just fine. For my cat on the other hand it has taken much longer to get acclimated. Squishy hid behind the refridgerator for a few days but is now starting to get the hang of the laid back way of life here. I think she'll be alright.
How is this all going to affect AM?
This week has been crazy with the move, packing and unpacking, I have ended up behind on my AM HW. Personality walks are due this Sunday and I have no idea what I am going to do. I want to set up my video camera and do some reference of myself doing many many silly walks. This semester is almost over and I can't believe it! It's all gone by so fast. Animation Mentor has been great so far and I have learned so much from all the talented people here. I can't wait for the next semester to begin. But first... Oh, right, this weeks HW! Gotta get started!