Monday, October 27, 2008

Last time on...

Last time on Ellen's blog....

On Columbus Day/Indigenous People's Day, I went to see Sita Sings the Blues at Redcat with some great upperclassman. The film was really interesting with the three storylines surrounded Ranma and Sita. I love how Nina Paley combined her own life with this myth. The animation is limited in its movement, but I really can't blame her since she made the whole movie by herself!
The best part of the night was a surprise encounter.

While we were waiting for the film to start, I looked back and thought I saw Craig McCracken (creator of Powerpuff Girls and Foster's) and Lauren Faust (worked on Iron Giant and Foster's). I learned about CalArts through an interview with Craig - on I think a PPG dvd. After the movie was over, he was standing off to the side. I nervously went up to him and shook his hand. All I could was that I was from CalArts. I didn't ask for a picture because I found out there is a unspoken code in L.A. to not be a fangirl. To tap off the night, we ate ramen in Little Tokyo. It was really good and had huge portions. This always reminds me of Tampopo. :D

My CalArts friend is now out of the hospital. He finally got out after two weeks! Now he is catching up and kicking ass.

We finally did Hobaica's silouhette project where we cut five scenes with exacto knives. A lot of people went all out with tiny miniscule details on balcony columns. I liked how mine turned out. It is not the best, but I had a lot of fun doing it.

I'm still struggling on storyboards. Now our teacher is allowing us to add cuts and angles to the scene. I must keep at it!

Trad. Animation is still magical. My timing is really slow still, but I still get excited when things move.

Our recent visiting artist was Mandrews aka Mark Andrews. He was the head of story on The Incredibles and Ratatouille. He is an extreme and funny man. He showed us the majestic qualities of the triangle and talked about what movies suck. I learned all good storyboard artists watch bad movies to learn why do these scenes fail and how to fix them. Michael Giacchino (wrote music scores for Lost, The Incredibles, and Ratatouille) tagged along for the lecture! It was a great lecture and I think he comes every year!

Sadly, I didn't do the 48 hour lockdown, where you animate a film with the picked word and make it in 48 hours. You do post production for one week and then turn it in. The word this year is "hair." I really wanted to do a dancing guinea pig, but the homework was too much for me. I promise you people, I will animate a dancing piggie someday!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Hourglass...sand is leaking

I have no idea how Jennifer Harlow updates her blog so frequently. She is a time management goddess!

I think I have been avoiding my blog because of the task of uploading and resizing I have decided to use this as a journal for the rest of the semester. I'll post pics once winter break comes along.

CalArts has been a whirlwind of busy late nights and work, work, work. This is wonderful but it has been really hard to keep in touch with my family and friends back in Colorado. I think I'll save all the sharing when I see them during break. You do give up four years to this place. A trade that is really worth it because I fee like I'm improving everyday.

My favorite class so far is Dan Hansen's Perspective and Traditional animation with Mike Nguyen. Perspective with characters is a lot of fun compared to the classical perspective taught in art school. I feel I'm improving the most in this class. Mike's animation class is great! I really want to intern with him over the summer to help with cleanup on My Little World. I asked him about this, but he bashfully said that I probably wanted to work at Disney or Pixar instead. He's too humble ;) He's also working on a really cool project with Robert Duncan called Land of Zi. It's a children show that teaches kids how to write Chinese characters. They're trying to find a distributor. Man, I would love to work on this show. I have the most fun animating. I still want to become an independent animator, but I do want to work at companies at the beginning to get more experience.

Speaking about career choices, I'm beginning to think I'm not going to head down the job of story or design. The idea of pitching just gets scarier. I don't have a tough skin. The process is not as spontaneous. You have to go through so many revisions and even the best version may be left on the cutting room floor. Character design is something I need to work on. For so long, I tried to capture realism in my drawings and accurate proportions. Now it is the complete opposite. You have to exaggerate and vary shapes in a character. I need to keep pushing it. Its very uncomfortable for me.

On another note, we had some great visiting artists already. One was Ben Balistreri who worked on Danny Phantom and Foster's. He gave us good advice and tricks on character turns and designs. Then, we had Lisa Keene who is the Art Director for Enchanted and Rapunzel. She showed how she morphed photo references into her layouts. Last night, Jeff Snow visited and talked about storyboarding. He worked on Tarzan and Over the Hedge.

We already had a health incident with one of my good friends. From what I hear, it is quite common for students to visit the hospital for carpal tunnel, pneumonia, and back problems because of stress. I have been visiting him at the hospital during my free time. I can't get any work done if I don't visit. He'll be out soon thankfully. :D My health has been normal. I had my first all niter this week for my Story for Animators class. I'm terrible at sitting down and writing on the computer. I saw the sun rise, which was really beautiful.

That's everything so far in a tiny nutshell. I've met some really amazing students here, and I can already tell I found some additional life-long friends.

Up ahead for me: I'm going to see Nina Paley's Sita Sings the Blues on Monday night. And work my butt off. :p