On to class 5.... Short Film Pre-production

Well, that's that, I made it through Advanced Acting with a recommendation to move on from my Mentor. I wasn't anticipating being held back, but you never know. It was a very tough class, but I persevered through it with a bunch of 14 hour homework Saturdays, 2 and a half hour lectures, tougher shots, facial comparisons, and endless critiques for my classmates. It was a really long class, between work, wife and baby. I really feel like my social life is on a timeout, which is fine. It's for a good cause. I know I say this every class, but here goes: I learned a lot, looking back at my older work, I can catch a whole bunch of issues with it and I want to go change it, so that must mean I'm learning. I still need more practice, and want to keep animating. Not sick of it or burnt out of animation. I'm burnt out, but from exhaustion. No thoughts of thinking that I made the wrong decision or am getting sick of animating.

Before starting AM and watching the testimonies of the students and how they always talked about the AM community and the awesome Mentors. That's not even the half on how truly amazing Animation Mentor is. Not to mention the endless amount of animation talent. I learned so much from my mentor, but I learned tons from the students and alumni stopping by giving feedback. Another thing that I found that was really helpful is leaving feedback for others. Maybe it's cause I'm finally getting the hang of animation, and know more what to look for and am thinking more like an animator, remember all the principles and mechanics of how the body moves.

Since there was only a two day break between classes, we decided to take a trip away from Maddon. No computer, no work, no packing lunches every night, no animation (just some animation books on the beach), no dog, no baby, no responsiblities, no rush hour, no waking up in the morning, no agenda. We're off to San Pancho Mexico. A small town just north of Puerto Vallarta. So I'm really excited to get away from it all.

Class five is starting on Monday when we get back. It's going to be a tough rebound, getting back in the swing of things, that I'm trying not to think about and live in the now. Getting back is going to be hitting the ground running, laundry, work, and school in full speed when the plane lands back in Denver. I have a lot of ideas brainstormed and I'm going to go through them and hopefully come up with some new ideas on the beach.... Here is my final shot for class 4. It's from the movie School of Rock (if you didn't recognize it). It still has some minor adjusting and some tweaks.


Class four coming to an end....

Holy moses, time sure is flying. Four classes down and two to go. I can't believe that I've been in school for a year now. Thinking back at how excited I was to start, getting ready for AM.... And now it's almost over. What a great class this was, really awesome kids in my class and my Mentor was truly amazing. So chill and real with an awesome eye for animation. I really feel like I made some good progress this class.

My next two classes are pre-production and production of making my very own short. I'm really excited. I have a bunch of ideas in the hopper and need to figure out which one is going to be the best story and realistic for me to do. I would definitely say that my Maya abilities are limited so that's going to hold me back a bit, but as long as I come up with a good story and the animation rocks, nobody will notice that I suck in Maya. We don't get much of a break between classes... they're over on Friday and start back up on Monday... 2 days!! Wow! I'm planning on turning in everything early cause my wife and I are going to Mexico. We're leaving the little guy at home and am really looking forward to relaxing on the beach, spending time with my lover-muffin.

Till next time,


Oh yeah... Animation Mentor....

Sometimes I forget that this blog is for my time spent at Animation Mentor.... the last few posts have dealt with animation and other nonsense. School is going good... and absolutely zooooming by right in front of my eyes. It's a crazy schedule I'm on. Usually my wife works nights from Weds to Sat, so that means I get Maddon all to myself, it's great but crazy. So on said days I go to work till 5 drive home get Maddon, feed him and play with him till about 7:15, then feed him again, give him a bath and put him to bed... luckily he's such a good little baby, no fussing and always fun to hang out with and play. He's really good at playing catching and he seems like he's always willing to share his toys with you. I don't know if that's something common in babies or unique to him. Either way it's adorable. Okay... Animation Mentor, stay focused... so what I was getting at is that once I put him to bed, make and eat dinner, make lunch for the next day and clean up after myself it's dang near 9 o'clock... I usually sit for an episode of Seinfeld or 30 minutes of animation to get motivation and then begins the homework. Last night I started about 830 and worked till about 130 in the morning. Usually with iTunes or some animated movie on in the background, then get up for work the next day and repeat... It's been really hectic and I feel like I have no life other than this... usually Saturday consist of juggling Maddon and homework, the homework portion is roughly 14 hours, but have gone as long as 16 hours (with various breaks).

I guess my whole point to this post is TIME MANAGEMENT. I knew going into Animation Mentor is was going to be a big sacrifice and a huge commitment on my part. Parts of me is completely fried, from learning animation, then applying what I learned and struggling with, the gaining some knowledge and climbing up the mountain. Reading a lot of posts (mostly on 11secondclub.com) so many people are worried about starting AM and having it just flow along with their life (whatever their current situation is). For them I just say, it's a lot of work. Especially with a full time job, baby, wife and house. Adding school to the mix, there really isn't time for much else. Yes, I still see friends, but not nearly as often as I'd like to. I haven't had a 'boy's night' in over a year, a vacation in over a year and half. I'm not complaining one bit... I'm just saying that it's been a big commitment and wouldn't trade it for the world!

I'm currently in week 9 of class four and can't believe it. I'm starting my short next class already! I'm really excited for that, but I know how I am and I'm a little nervous (I tend to go overboard on these projects). For instance when I attended the Art Institute for one class we had a final project for a character animation class that was supposed to be 30 seconds in duration... I ended up doing a 4:30 music video with like 6 sets, lighting, textures and multiple characters. It was a great experience but it was a bit much. I'm going to keep the short to about 90 seconds, no longer than 2 minutes.... that's pretty reasonable. I already have a bunch of ideas brainstormed that could be really good. I'm trying to make something original and entertaining... the goal of any animator!!

But, that's the future.. now for the present. I'm in the middle of a 2 person dialogue shot and it's challenging being responsible for bringing 2 characters to life (plus 2 background characters). I chose a line from School of Rock and it's turning out good. My workflow has definitely improved in clarity and speed. I've learned so much this class thanks to the awesome lectures and my awesome Mentor! I'll try and post progress on the shot when I get a free minute.

Till next time.... party like its 2099!!