First entry of the 2nd semester:
It's great to be back for a second year at Calarts. I almost forgot how inspired I can get here. When you're around so many people who are passionate about animation, it rubs off on you. I can't wait to start on my film. Gotta think of an idea first, though. D'oh!
In the Swing of things again:
I can't believe I'm already half way through the second week. I realized that I haven't posted an entry for a while so I thought I'd do a quick update. Time flies here at Calarts once you get used to the routine. Everything is going great so far but I've been slammed with a crap load of work. At least it's work that I actually enjoy doing though.
Design and Concept class is KILLING me! I've just finished a 5 second animation of a circus flee balancing on a rope (I'll post it when I get a chance) for a 1 minute film we're assigned to work on with a group. On top of that, we have to paint guoache (sp?) self portraits every day of the week. I just can't wait till we get into the character design stuff.
Story for Animators is turning out to be a really cool class. It's fairly reading intensive which isn't all that bad since we're reading Harry Potter to analyze story structure and a book called "How to Write for Animation". We're talking about how to come up with story ideas and creat "turns" or "beats" which will keep audiences interested. I need all the help I can get with story because I suck at it. I just can't seem to come up with interesting ideas as well as some ppl can. Damn.
Story Development is another class that I'm sure will help my story skills this year. We had to come up with three "what if" ideas and draw a story sketch illustrating one of the ideas. My illustration was way to complicated and unreadable from a distance. It was a cool exercise though. For next week, we need to come up with a character and place him in different situations. I can't seem to come up with an interesting idea for this just yet but I'll work on it this weekend. It's a really good assignment.
Animation 2 is sweet. For the most part, Shane Prigmore is just reviewing a bunch of stuff we should already be familiar with. Our first assignment will be an acting test of someone coming up to a mailbox and putting an envelope inside. With acting, our job is to make clear what is in the envelope. I have a pretty cool idea and I'm DAMN excited to start on it! I love animating.
Wednesdays are crazy. I don't actually have a class on this day but I end up sitting in on the figure drawing workshop in the morning and then the character design class with Rick Maki at night. I LOVE the character design class so far. It's an advanced level class (juniors and seniors only) but I stay for the lectures anyhow. There are so many friggin talented designers at this school. It's intimidating as hell but at the same time inspiring. I plan on taking this class for the rest of my time at Calarts. Hopefully I'll be a good designer by the end of it.
I learned a lot from our first layout lecture. Dan Hansen went over some basics on design and about composing a layout which helped me understand the whole thing a lot better. He had us design a jungle scene with one girl placed in it somewhere. Our job is to somehow design it in an interesting way and lead the eye towards the girl. On top of that, we had to draw a street corner sketch and compose it well.
Figure Drawing is on Fridays this year. I've improved over the summer, somehow, but I still suck so I need to hit that life drawing class pretty hard. It's fun. Our models dress up in the coolest costumes.
Second year is more intense than the first year so far but I'm lovin' every minute of it. I don't have a social life though so that sucks. Oh well, I think I got the partying out of the way in summer. It's about 2 in the morning right now so I'll stop rambling.
Spring Break update - March 20, 05:
It took a brutal month and a half to get a rough pass through animation for my second year film . I'm finishing up the last three scenes this weekend and then I'll go back and flesh out the scenes some more. I'm kind of relieved that I got through the film but at the same time, a lot of the scenes are extremely rough or they look like crap and need to be redone. We have about five weeks till the deadline. It's officially crunch time. I love animating this film but I just wish I would have started way earlier because there is so much stress involved with the thought of not finishing or just not having enough time to do the little tweaks that make a big difference.
This year's producer's show is going to be extremely competitive and awesome! I've been looking at some of the films that my friends have been working on and it makes me feel like I suck! I just can't believe how amazing everyone is. They constantly keep me motivated.
I think my film is going OK. I'm learning a lot and it's looking a lot better than last year's film but getting into the Producer's Show this year is going to be near impossible. So yea, I'm not expecting it. There are just too many amazing films being made. This is why I wanted to come to Calarts.
I'm doing a three minute film this year instead of a 90 second one this year. What was I thinking! Just so you know, don't try to animate three minutes in three months. You'll lose all of your hair.
I've been a slacker with my site lately because my film has consumed 100 percent of my life for the last month and a half. I finally got an email the other day from someone who reads this journal telling me to update! So I'm finally getting around to it.
This year is going very well so far but time is just going by way too fast. I can't believe that I only have five weeks left to finish the film! I need to find a way to relax! Yea, so maybe writing this journal will help me to relax. No it won't because I'm still thinking about my film. Damn. Ok. Just so you know, it's not easy to make a short film. You'll go crazy and your friends and family will hate you because you'll never call them. When you do, all you talk about is animation and they'll hang up midway through the conversation.
By the way, the Incredibles DVD is out so go get it! Don't forget to buy the remastered Bambi DVD, too. I heard that it's awesome.
James Baxtor came in a few weeks ago for an artist lecture. He's considered to be one of the best animators living today. He animated Rafiki, the Hunchback, Shrek and tons more. This IS a huge deal but like I said, I was a slacker and didn't post anything about it. He animated a 3 second scene of a little girl throwing a temper tantrum for us! I learned soooo much from watching the work in progress. I learned alot about timing a scene and just a better way to approach animation. He starts really rough, keeping only the motion in mind. He worries more about the motion/timing at first. Once he's done with that, he'll start fleshing out the actual drawing and begin to worry about putting the character on model. Alot of student animators (me included) try to make pretty drawings before we get the performance down. This is the wrong way to do it. You should be thinking about the performance a lot more than making nice drawings. The picture on the left is of James Baxtor as he animates a scene for us.
Oh, at the end of Baxtor's lecture, He was nice enough to draw thHunchback character in my sketchbook! James Baxtor is awesome.
Andreas Deja visited Calarts a couple of days ago for a lecture. This is an extremely big deal, too. He's always been cast to animate the villains for Disney films. He animated Gaston, Jafar, Scar and others for Disney's features. He's the only one left at the studio who is still doing traditional animation. He's currently working on Mickey Mouse shorts.
He lectured a bit about Mickey's history because tha'ts what he's been studying recently for the shorts. He showed us old model sheets and some of the classic shorts. He also talked about acting and showed us some clips of his favorite performances. The lecture was really interesting. Andreas is one of those artists who dedicates everything to his artform. I'm blown away by how passionate he is about animation. He's an inspiration to us all. Next year, he told us he'd animate a scene for us like Baxtor did a month ago. I can't wait!
Ok, gotta get back to the cubes......
Day 2 of Spring Break:
I've finally finished the first pass of animation for my film. I plane on making my final pass through the easier scenes this weekend and then work on layouts over the weekdays. This time of year is nice because the cubes are very lively. Everyone is cranking on their films nonstop. It's a crazy race till the end to make the best film you can. I find myself doubting my film a lot but it's probably becuase I've been running this damn thing through my mind so many times over the past few months. I'm so ready to finish this film but I don't want to lose steam too early. I have some juicy scenes to flesh out over the next three weeks so I'll work endlessly to make sure that it'll be the best animation I can possible do. We'll see. I'll need a lot of coffee.
Being a student at this school can be pretty frustrating because the minute you start thinking that you're actually any good, you see something five times more amazing from one of your buddies. I can't believe how many good artists there are at this school this year. It seems like EVERYBODY has gotten soooo good. It's hard to keep your head on straight when everyone is so good but it's really the only way to become the best. This is exactly why there are so many talented people who come out of Calarts and kick ass in the industry. Shall I mention any names? Brad Bird? Incredibles? I gotta get the DVD. How do I NOT have it yet? I'm ashamed.
Ok, back to the cubes.....this break has been way too long.
12 days left till deadline:
As you can probably already imagine, most of the character animation students here at Calarts are losing all of their hair right now from crunch time stress. I've lost way too much muscle mass. I used to be an animal but now I'm a scrawny malnourished animation geek. Bah! I've been too lazy to cut my hair for a while now. If I could grow facial hair I'd probably look like some sort of starving caveman or something. So no pictures till the Open Show. I don't want to scare children. 12 more days till I can pump iron again! whoo hoo! Oh, and sleep. Can't wait for that, too.
As for the film, it's coming along. The good news is that I will definitely have a three minute film to hand in on April 26th unless I get screwed over somehow transferring the film to beta tape. I can't promise how good the film will be in comparison with the other fantastic films that I've seen from other people. I feel like crap whenever I look at other's animation (because it's so awesome!) but at the same time, I've never been more inspired to work my ass off. I'm already planning my summer. I don't want to have a job at all, ideally. I just want to sit my ass in my room and animate all summer. I really NEED to spend that time wisely at this point because graduation isn't too far off. I need to be able to compete with pros when I get out of here. I'm nowhere near that level yet. I can't believe I'm almost half-way done with college!
Anyway, back to films. From what I'm seeing so far, this year's Open Show should be one of the best ever! Seriously, I can't believe my eyes. Everything looks so friggin amazing. I can't wait to see everybody's films! I thought last year's show was going to be amazing too but it didn't end up as great as I anticipated because a ton of people just didn't finish their films. This year's Open Show will have tons of two/three year films that'll blow shit up. It's so inspiring. I'll probably be so overwhelmed the night of the show that my drunk ass will just hop back in the cube and start animating again. I just don't want to stop!
Oh yea, one more thing. I just found out that Libby Hux, film/video counselor at Calarts has the same birthday as me! June 25! I've never met anyone with the same birthday as me! On top of that, the director of admissions, Carol Kim is expecting a baby on the 25th of June! Howabout dat!
Um, now that you all know my birthday, I expect to see loads of money, Incredibles toys, and uh, money in my mailbox. Thank you.
FILM IS FINALLY DONE!!!
Holy Crap! I'm finally done with my film and since I have a bunch of extra time that I don't know what to do with, I figured that I should update this journal. Whooo hoo! It's hard to put the feeling of finishing such a huge project into words. It feels two time more satifying than last year's film because this film was two times the amount of work and I had the same amount of time for production (3 months). Believe me, I was extremely stressed out over the idea of not finishing this film. It was a possibility and I nearly killed myself the last month finishing it. The film turned out OK but unfortunately, I had to rush the animation way too much so I don't think that I improved in that department very much. I'm very pissed off about that. I plan on animating a lot over the summer to compensate. As far as the storytelling goes, I think it's better than last year's film so that's a plus. Story IS very important. I have to keep reminding this to myself because I get frustrated everytime I think about how I spent 5 months working out the story and left only three months for animation. Stupid, stupid move, Mario. So I'm going to try really hard to work out my third year's story and have it nearly done by the time I get back in September. I want to animate like an animal next year. I need it. Bad. I only have two years till I graduate and I'll be competing with industry pros over jobs by then. I have to be really good.
So I'll talk a little about my "Hell Day", which was the day of the deadline, Tuesday, April 26th. 2005. It was a very strange day because it was the worst day of my life and the best day of my life all rolled up into 24 hours. I had about 2 hours of sleep that night. I finished my film at about 11 am or so and then started burning the final quicktime movies onto cds. I work on my laptop computer because it's faster then the Macs at school and it's more comfortable to work in a quiet dorm room instead of the hectic labs. So when I finally went down to the labs to export my film to beta SP, I found out that there was something wrong with the Mac that I was using. On top of that, the cds that I burned didn't work right either. For some reason, they were unreadable and kept crashing the computers that I used. It was nearly impossible to get help because the entire lab was filled with stressed out animation students. Everyone needed help that day. It was chaotic! After a few hours in the lab, and as the deadline was approaching, I pretty much lost all hopes of finishing on time and just decided to take a deep breath and take things slowly. 5pm past (the deadline) and I was still trying to figure things out with my computer. One of my friends told me that my after effects settings were messed up. So I fixed it and the final file turned out to be about 1/6th of the size that my previous version was. I thought, "what the hell!" I could have been done hours ago if I knew the correct settings. I wouldn't have needed all of those cds to transfer. One of my other buddies let me use his firewire drive. It took a couple of minutes to do what I tried to get done all day. I finally got my film in the mac and recorded it onto beta SP by 8:30. The deadline was extended because many people were still trying to finish thier films so I didn't miss it! I dropped the film off at the character animation office and voila! I officially finished my second year film! I feel like I can physically breath a lot better! It's like dropping a huge weight off your shoulders that you've been carrying for a year. Best feeling ever!
So now I await the Open Show. It's only a day away now and I can't wait! From what I've seen so far, this is going to be an awesome Show. Almost everyone that Iknow is doing something delicious. I've seen a couple of AMAZING third and fourth year films already. I managed to catch a bit of Jen Haga'rs film in the lab while she was exporting on Tuesday. AMAZING! Jen did "Lights' Out" last year. There are several films this year on that calibur...at least I think so. We'll find out on Friday, the 29th. OPEN SHOW!!!!!!!!!
THE OPEN SHOW (APRIL 29, 2005) -
This years Open Show was one of the best in many many years, in my opinion. Actually, lots of people thought so. There were so many awesome films that put my work to shame! It makes me feel like crap but at the same time, I'm very inspired and greatful to be here. It was pretty fun to see my work up on a big screen in front of an audience again. I got more laughs than I did last year so that's a plus. But I've seen my film play over and over so many times that it disgusts me to look at it anymore. I think a lot of people get to feel that way about their films after they're done.
Some of my favorite films were done by Jen Hagar, Adrian Molina, Justin Hunt, Sam Marin, Austin Madison, Alex Hirsh's, and some others. I just can't remember all of my favorites because there were so freakin many of them. This was an outstanding year! I'm glad I have something to show for it! Judging for the Producer's Show is tomorrow, the 30th. The teachers gather in the "palace" and watch the 8 hour show. Ouch! I heard that they're fed lots and lots of donuts. Mmmmm....donuts.....and coffee....mmmmm...
The picture above is from the Open Show. Frank Terry, director of our program started the show with a quick speech.
THE PRODUCER'S SHOW LINEUP -
The Producer's Show list was put up on Monday so I thought I'd post the selected films.
Brigette Barrager ....Duck and Robot
Nick Butera ............A Friend be-headed this way
Chris Choy .............The Possum
Dave Creek..............Frency, Bob and the Hat
Eric Favela..............The Fruit Tree of Galilee
Mario Furmanczyk.....For Giving
Jen Hagar..................Sky Bound
Steve Hawkins..........Someday Never
Alex Hirsch...............On a Roll
Justin Hunt...............Catch of the Day
Sean Jimenez...........Asleep at the Wheel
Ed Juan....................Ghost Ship
Shiyoon Kim..............Leash Boy
Court Lomax............Feline Faux Pas
Wenchung Lu...........The Shoes
Steve Macleod..........My Little Obsessive Compulsive Friend
Austin Madison.........Ah, L'Amour!
Same Marin...............Ghouls and Dolls
Julian Narino..............The Grosse Hunger
Bertrand Piocelle.........The Red Memory
JG Quintel................The Naive Man from Lolliland
Dave Quion............The Bastard
Chris Song .................Jurassic Chef
Nate Wragg..............Cat Food
As you see, I got in again! Whoo hoo! This year's Open Show was extremely competitive and I find myself questioning how my film got into the show when Adrian Molina or Ant Ward's films didn't get in. I could only imagine how difficult it was to judge this year's show because of the quality that was produced.
I'm really excited that I have the opportunity to be in the show again but I'm not looking forward to the moment that my film will be played that night. It's embarrassing. I wish I could do the animation over again. It looks so bad to me!
Anyway, the year is just about over at this point. All we really have is the Producer's Show (which will be awesome). After that, I'll be flying my ass back to Chicago for the summer. I'll miss school a lot. Wow, can't believe I got into this show!
Job Fair - May 12, 2005:
Just when we thought that we were done with our crazy all nighters, job fair snuck up behind us and slapped us around a bit. The computer labs were jam packed the night before job fair. I was done with my portfolio by then but was helping my girlfriend, Ophir, with hers.
Lemme just explain what job fair is all about so there isn't any confusion. Calarts has always had this annual event on campus where studios from all over the world come to view student portfolios to either offer jobs, internships or just to let certain students know that they're interested and tracking their progress. The job fair is held in the main gallery area. Rows and rows of tables are set up to accomodate about 160 character animation portfolios and some experimental and alumni portfolios. In general, it's a great opportunity to get some exposure and it's also a great way to learn how to construct a portfolio. One of the best things about Job Fair is that most of the top studios around like Pixar, Dreamworks, Warner Bros, Nicklodean,and many more send representatives to go over our portfolios.
One of the most exciting additions to the list of studios coming this year was James Baxtor's new traditional animation studio. Yes, I said traditional animation. 2-d, baby. Hand drawn magic is coming back and he's looking to hire but unfortunately it's not Mr. Mario. Damn! He didn't call me back but it's Ok. I have a loooooooooong way to go before I could be remotely confident to show him my animation and feel sort of good about it. But surprisingly, I had a couple of really sweet call-backs. Pixar called me back again!! I couldn't believe it though because I thought my animation sucked this year but they said nice things when I met with them later that day. There were about 4 or 5 reps this year instead of only 2 last year. This is because they're looking for story people as well as animators. They divided their callback lists according to their needs. Four animators were called back and 4 story people had call backs. Although, Mr. Justin (badass) Hunt was considered for both story and animation. Awesome.
The meeting with Pixar went very well. They're such nice people at Pixar! Gosh! It's no wonder why they have so much fun doing what they do and why their films are so great. Pixar talked to me about a possible internship opportunity. They asked if I was interested. I'm surprised they even asked! I was drooling the whole time! Anyway, I said YES!....but they have tons of others they're considering including three other amazing animators they called back from Calarts. Two of them are upper classman. I'm really greatful for their interest in me.
The other callback I recieved was from Disney feature animation. It was a quick meeting. They had so many callbacks on their list. I was surprised they remembered me! I guess I might be in the running for an internship or something.
Above is a picture of my portfolio as it was presented for Job Fair. The picture on the left shows a bunch of us anxiously reading the callback lists. The picture on the right is Pixar's callback list. It's hard to make the names out because they're a bit blurry but I'm the second from the top. I'm one lucky dude!
Overall, Job Fair was pretty cool. My sister flew in from Chicago to visit me on that day. I picked her up in my pimped out rental car. I can't wait for the Producer's Show! Pixar said that they're bringing 12 reps to the show! I can't wait to talk about animation all night!
PRODUCER'S SHOW!!!! May 12, 2005:
The first half of the day was spent at Six Flags Magic Mountain with my little sister who visited from Chicago for the week. The freshman class is always in charge of putting the show together and breaking it down afterwards. It was kinda nice not having to worry about that this year. Although my girlfriend, Ophir, is a first year so she couldn't join us at Six Flags.
I arrived at the Academy Plaza Theater (where the Emmy's are held) about an hour before the show started. The theater is so gorgeous! I still can't believe that our show is held there! Anyway, I was nervous as hell to see my film on the big screen. Nervous and ashamed. I started thinking about how crappy my film was and how embarrassing it will be to show it to the geniuses sitting in the audience. My sister slapped me a few times and I think I got a grip of myself until I saw Ollie Johnston sitting in the back of the theater! OLLIE JOHNSTON! YES! One of the Nine Old Men was sitting in the same theater that would soon show my film! I was freaking out.
I owe a lot to Ollie and the Nine Old Men. They are the reason why I'm studying animation in the first place. Just as the show started, Andreas Deja (the host of the show) acknowledged Ollie and the crowd gave him a standing ovation. I can't believe Ollie was there! I wish I would have gotten a picture with him or something but there was a crowd around him and I didn't feel like being a nuisance.
Anyway, one of my forum participants, Mel or better known around here by her alias, "Potatograph" just happened to be sitting right next to my sister. How bout that! She'll be a first year next year. She seemed really excited about the show. Everyone was excited about the show. You could just feel it in the air. That theater was packed with people who trully LOVE animation. A lot of big names were there. James Baxtor, Pixar, Dreamworks and oh my God the list is so long I can't recall everyone right now.
So yea, the show started with intros from the director of our program, Frank Terry and Steve Anker. Andreas Deja presented the "Woody" to Court Lomax for his awesome film "Feline Faux Pas". Then the "Peer's Pick" was awarded to Alex Hirsch for his film "On a Roll" (unbelievable film done in Flash). The show started and each film had great responses from the audience. My film was to be shown 8th overall. My heart was racing as time drew nearer. I cringed once I saw the first scene of my film on the huge projection screen. I shut my eyes and tried to burry myself in my chair until I heard some chuckles from the crowd. From that point on, I opened my eyes and watched my film up on the screen and observed the audience reactions. There were a few laughs here and there but once the film ended, I feel like I got a positive applaud from the crowd. It's hard to explain the experience but wow, it's amazing. I just thought of all the hard months it took me to make that film. It's amazing how everyone in that audience took three minutes out of their lives to see my film up on that big screen. When I was in the middle of making the film, it was just so hard to imagine that an audience would one day see it. It's an exciting experience but I was relieved to have it over with because my nerves were about to kill me at that point. I relaxed and enjoyed the rest of the show. Like I said, I feel that this year's showcase was one of the strongest in years. I felt so proud of every one of my buddies who worked their asses off to make this show as good as it was. And I'm so thankful for all the effort the teachers put in this year.
Anyway, back to the show. It ended with Chris Choy's "The Possum". If you ask me, it was a great way to end a show because his film was awesome. Everyone congregated towards the food outside of the theater afterwards and that’s when I put on my mingling hat. I wanted to talk to everyone! I was oozing with excitement over the show and it felt so great when I received positive feedback from artists whom I admire. I introduced myself to all the Pixar representatives. I recognized some of them from last year so that made it easier for me. Matt Nolte and Dan Holland, whom I visited at Pixar earlier in the semester, came to the show, too. Things seem to be going really well for the both of them. Everyone from Pixar was anxious to talk with us about the films. I talked to Pete Sohn for a bit and he actually took my name and said he wanted to recommend me for the internship this summer. I almost fainted on the spot.
Later that night, I had a chance to introduce myself to James Baxtor. I couldn't really think of anything to say because my mind went blank so I sounded like a mumbling idiot. He gave me card though and invited me to visit his new studio!
After an hour or two, most of us moved over to Pixar's after party at the Castaway restaurant. It was at the same place as last year's after party. The Castaway is on top of a mountain overlooking all of Hollywood. The view was breathtaking and there was also an open bar. I took advantage and treated myself to a "Tequila Sunrise" with Patron (sp?). My buddy, Jules Soto, told me that this particular drink was badass.
Anyway, I mingled some more at the after party. I just couldn't keep my mouth from rambling on about animation and the Incredibles. I actually talked with several animators who worked on the Incredibles. I had a pretty long conversation with Angus Mclaine about some of his scenes. He gave me some tips on animation and about starting next year’s film. Awesome! I talked to Micheal Wu about his scene I got a chance to meet a lot of other people too. I met the director for James Baxtor's studio and several other people from Dreamworks and other studios. I caught up with JJ Villaird who works at Dreamworks as a story artist. He graduated last year and said Dreamworks likes my stuff! I said, "sweet!" and ordered my last drink. ( I had to drive)
After Castaway, the party continued at Bob's Big Boy restaurant in L.A. You wouldn't believe who sat in my table! A few classmates of mine, my girlfriend, sister, animation teacher (Shane Prigmore), and a few Pixar guys, Pete Sohn, Mark Walsh and Pete Doctor!!! I couldn't believe it! I just sat quietly as they chatted amongst each other. They reminded me of the typical animator at Calarts! But soon enough, I was beginning to fall asleep right then and there so we had to go. I regretted not taking a photo or something. I must have been delusional. Damn.
Overall, it turned out to be a really fun night. I still can't believe who I got the opportunity to chat with.
Internships and Studio visits - (last week of school):
There hasn't been much going on this last week of school. Classes are finished so I'm just packing stuff for the summer. This last week is usually when we find out about internships. There are some really juicy internship opportunities that have been filled in the last few days. James Baxtor, (one of the most amazing animators living today) opened up his own 2d studio in Pasadena and was looking for a few interns to help him over the summer. Three of my buddies got the internships. One of them, Steve Macloed, is my roommate. (He animated the train and fire in my second year film). The other two are Nate Wragg (amazing character desiner) and Sam Marin (brilliant animator). You wouldn't believe how AWESOME this internship is! Steve told me a few things about it already. It's literally a dream come true. They'll be animating TRADITIONALLY all summer under the supervision of James Baxtor. Oh my. I'm so jealous. I guess their first assignment will be to choose any previous Disney character and do a dialogue test with it. I'm going to copy that assignment once I step foot in Chicago. I really need to animate ALOT this summer. I feel like I'm way behind right now because I only animated 3 months this year and spent the rest of the time in story.
I'm actually in the running for the Pixar internship this summer! They have 2 positions open and are still trying to figure out who to pick. I heard that they're looking through about 900 applications so I don't have high hopes on getting in. But I'm really greatful to be in consideration! I still can't believe I got a callback from them at job fair. That is definitely the other dream internship opportunity of the year. I predict that Justin Hunt and Austin Madison will get picked this year. Or, they might actually pick only one from Calarts and the other from Ringling because that way, one intern can help the other with CG and the other can help with 2d principles. That's what Pixar did last year. All I can do is speculate though. It woud be a sweeeeeeeet internship!
Studio's usually invite some of us over on the last week of school for a visit based on what they liked in the Producer's Show. Some of my friends had meetings with Blue Sky studios, Fox, Nickolodean, Rythm and Hue's,July Films and Dreamworks. Fortunately, I was invited to check out Dreamworks on Tuesday along with several other buddies. Dreamworks also invited students from Art Center and one from UCLA (Shane Acker). Jeffrey Katzenberg said hello to us before the studio tour began. That was the first time I ever saw him. After that, they took us around the studio and showed us some of the stuff they were working on. I won't say anything more because I don't want to get sued. It was an awesome opportunity to see how a big studio like Dreamworks functions. Some of their upcoming projects look sweet! That's the only studio that I got the chance to visit this week partially because my sister visited and wanted nothing to do with hanging around an animation studio. She things I'm a dork.
Response to an email I received from Portugal about Calarts:
I thought that this email would be a great thing to put into this journal since Edgar and Sergio asked some pretty practical questions. They're really random questions which make them hilarious, too. But yea, I figured that other people could benefit from reading this.
We're from portugal (a small country at the begining of europe that maybe you have never heard about!! lol) and would love to get into the animation industry! Therefore we wish we could get to study at Calarts! Like i said, you helped us with some dougts, but could you PLEASE answer some more questions:
1: How are the dorms, do you share your room?
Yea I shared a room with Steve Macloed, (awesome artist who is working for James Baxtor this summer!!!). Typically, Calarts students share a double in the main dorm on campus. There are a few single rooms available but are almost impossible to get. There are a few triples available, too. Upper classman are allowed to apply for a spot in Ahmanson, which is another dorm on campus that offers apartment style accomodations.
Calarts is a pretty liberal school so they don't mind if you choose to share a room with someone of the opposite sex. Next year, since my roommate is getting married (Congrats Steve!), I'll be sharing a room with my beautiful girlfriend, Ophir.
2: How is the laundry, where do you wash your clothes?
We have several laundry rooms scattered throughout the dorm. It's pretty conveniant.
3: How do you get your meals, do you eat at a cantine or cook your own food?!
We have a cafeteria located in the main building but the food isn't that great so yea, I usually cook something in my room. We also have pantries at the end of each hall that have everything you need to cook your own meals. I usually go grocery shopping at Vons once a week and try to eat as healthy as possible even though it's difficult to do that when you're really busy making your film.
4: Where do you spare your free time , is there a bar where you can go wih your colleges to rest and talk?
There usually isn't much freetime during the year but when I do have time, I spend it somewhere on campus. Usually in my room or with my girlfriend. The weather is usually nice so it's fun to just hang out by the pool or somewhere on the grass. Don't count on nightlife in Valencia, though. It's the safest, most boring suburban town on the planet. It's great when you need to focus on school. Oh, we have art openings every Thursday with free alcohol and snacks. That's the extent of my social life at Calarts but I'm not complaining.
5: where do you buy your stuff, like shampoo and stuff that i don't remenber now but that you need everyday!
I buy everything I need from Vons or Walmart. They're grocery stores near Calarts. Walking distance. I don't have a car and I have no problem with getting food.
6: since we're foreign people (and even Knowing you're not), could you tell us how the school deals with it, do you konw anyone wich is foreign how does he/she deals with that
My girlfriend, Ophir, is an International student from Isreal. I don't really think there is too much of a difference in how the school deals with international students. I know that they offer special English classes for non native people. There are tons of international students at the school and it seems to go pretty smooth for them. The hardest part of being an international student is that they don't receive financial help from our government but of course, Calarts can give you scholarships.
7: And last, how is our english? ; P ( don't need to answer this one)
Your English is fine. Don't worry too much about talking Portuguese, though. I have a few Brazilian buddies that you can talk to.
: ( Sorry for so many questions , but while we were writing, some new questions were apearing in our mind! Hope you have the time to answer!
Once again, It's great that someone is doing what your doing, congratulations on your work!
Edgar and Sergio
The End! - May 25, 2005-
I can't believe how fast my first two years at Calarts have gone by. I feel like I just started yesterday *tear*. I have a feeling that this entry is going to be kinda long because I have tons to write about.
First of all, I'd like to say that I'm so greatful for some of the guest lecturers that have come by this year. There weren't too many but the ones that did come were amazing. Freakin' Ed Catmul from Pixar, Brad Bird, Mark Andrews, James Baxtor, Andreas Deja and Ralph Eggleston, art director for Finding Nemo and Incredibles! AWESOME! And I just want to reflect back on that whole Frank Thomas memorial. What an amazing experience! He's literally one the biggest reasons why I'm here at Calarts right now. And Ollie! Freakin' Ollie Johnston! I can't believe he was at the Producer's Show this year! My God! It was such an honor to have him see my work!
Getting back to the Ralph Eggleston lecture, I should have covered it earlier. He talked about his career a bit and how he got into Pixar. He's a Calarts Grad and actually worked at the film library at Calarts just like me! I feel special. Anyway, he talked a bit about his process of working. He's basically responsible for creating the look of the film and to create the film language and tone based on the storyline. He draws beautiful little pastel pieces of every shot in the film. You can find a lot of his stuff in the Finding Nemo book. He's also the director/creator of the hilarious Pixar short, "For the Bird's". I went up to him after his lecture to get my Art of Incredibles and Finding Nemo books signed. So now I have Mark Andrews, Ralph Eggleston and Brad Bird's autographs for my Incredibles book. Sweet! It would have been cool if I somehow stuffed my Monster's inc book in my pants during the Producer's Show so I could get it signed by Pete Doctor (director of Monster's Inc and Calarts grad).
Another extremely important thing I wanted to elaborate more on is how awesome some of my teachers were this year! I'm specifically greatful to have had Dan Hansen as my layout coach this year, Shane Prigmore for animation and Bruce Morris for story. These are the guys that stood out. I didn't think that I'd ever have a better animation teacher than Mike Disa after my first year but then Shane came along and blew shit up! First of all, he knows his stuff. One can come to him with any problem regarding animation or even character design or story and get awesome feedback. Second, he's such an inspiration! He's made me even more excited about animation than I was before his class! Can you imagine? I'm about to explode! He's a great storyteller and one of the most passionate teachers I've ever known. Bruce Morris was a phenomonal story teacher! He worked on Finding Nemo, by the way. A lot of people enjoyed my story this year and I'd have to give a lot of credit to Bruce for guiding me through it. I learned sooo much about story this year in his class. If you ever have the chance to take his class, holy crap, you better take it!
About the Pixar internship, I didn't get it but one of my good buddies, Austin Madison did! It's great because I've never known anybody who's more obssessed with Pixar than Austin. He's going to have an INCREDIBLE time this summer! *wink* haha....get it? Incredible? Soooo here's the scoop on the internship. I've heard bits and pieces about what the interns go through from various people. They let you sit in on "Daily's" which is where the animators show the director or supervisor their scenes and get feedback. I could only dream about how awesome that would be. Also, they'll teach Austin CG, which is something he's been meaning to learn for a while now. The first test they do is with Luxo (the lamp). Then, Buzz Lightyear and last, one of the main characters of their current production. I think Matt Nolte, last year's intern animated freakin' Mr. Incredible and said the rig was amaaaaaazing to work with. This info is all rumor, though. I hope it's true because it's any animation student's dream come true. Pixar's awesome.
But yea, I didn't get the internship but i did receive a couple of emails today from Pixar! I almost crapped myself! One of the emails was from the senior recruiter, Dawn. She told me that there were over 1000 submissions for the 2 internships this year and my film made it to the final 20! I couldn't believe it! I was just happy that they would even consider me as an option! I didn't expect to get that far (even though I wished as hard as I could). She gave me some really good feedback on my film, too. They would have liked to see my animation more finished with sublties, slow ins and outs and all of that stuff. I definitely need to start early on my next film so I can make sure to work that stuff.
The second email I got was from Mark Walsh, one of the supervising animators at Pixar! I met him at the Producer's Show last year and saw him again this year. (He's a Calarts grad, booya!) I just thought it was so nice of him to send an email and give me positive feedback and some suggestions on what to work on next year. Basically, I need to spend more time on animation!!! I will! I promise! I'm still freaking out about all of this. This entire year has been surreal just like last year!
Ok, ok. I'll wrap this up. I sitting here in boring Mundelein Illinois feeling really lonely without my girlfriend, Ophir. I can't wait to see you again!
I have no idea who reads this journal. It feels like I'm writing to myself sometimes but I realize that this thing is getting more popular. So, I wanted to thank everyone who keeps up with my constant blabbering about animation. I hope it helps some people get a little inspired. I wasn't going to continue the journal after my first year but it's because of you guys who showed such enthusiasm over it that I decided to continue it for all four years.
Oh, and lastly, I want to thank Frank Terry for everything that he's done for me. I wouldn't be at Calarts if it wasn't for him. And if I wasn't at Calarts, I would probably be in an insane asylum or something because I'd be so bored with my life.
- Mario Furmanczyk
PRODUCER'S SHOW PICS:
(left) front cover of show's program.
(right) Yes, Ollie rested his back on this wonderful piece of paper during the Producer's Show. Nancy Hammond (works at the admissions office with me) grabbed it for me. Thanks Nancy!
(left) (Castaway restaurtant) A picture of me having an intense conversation probably about the Little Mermaid or something. I blame the Tequila. On the left of me, Chris Sonnenburg, director at the new James Baxtor studio! On the right of me, Dave Pimintol, head of story on Seinfeld's "Bee Movie" at Dreamworks!
(right) Me and Angus MacLane, Pixar animator, chilling at the Castaway Restaurant on Producer's Show night, talking about his badass scenes in the Incredibles. Damn I hate how my camera takes blurry photos.
(left) Group picture at the Castaway!!! Dan Holland, Pixar animator (graduated two year ago), me in black shirt, Jules Soto, Shane, Justin Hunt, Steve hawkins, Ed Juan, Shiyoon, James, and on the bottom row, Alex Hirsch, and Sean Jimenez. Some of these guys are gonna be soooo friggin famous one day. You have know idea.
PIXAR VISIT IN JANUARY!!
(left) Dan Holland, dude in green shirt has such a hard name to remember, Wang (in white hoody) Matt Nolte, Kyle Shockley. These were the guys I went to visit the studio with. Dan and Matt are animators at Pixar.
(bottom) Look! It's me! Mario! In front of a sweet Incredibles installation.
Of course, I had to get in on the picture too! Dan kindly took the