Happy 2011! 2010 was a great year....

Well it's official, 2010 is wrapping up and I'm curious to see what 2011 holds! It was an awesome year for animated movies! My personal favorite top three were Toy Story 3, How to Train Your Dragon and Despicable Me. I really enjoyed Megamind and Shrek 4 too.

I'm hoping to begin working on more shots for a new demo reel for next year once things slow down a bit. I'm still working on my second contract animation job, but rumor has it that production is supposed to be done in January 2011. That will allow me some more down-time to begin animating personal works for my reel.

I hope everyone had a great 2010 and I can't wait to see what the future holds!! Here is a really cool fan video that pays tribute to all 11 Pixar movies.


Yaaaaaawn.... wait. It's almost 2011?!?

Man oh man. Where does the time go?! I can't believe it's December already. What exactly happened to 2010?? Oh, I know. I've been working 3 jobs and raising a two year old with a wife and newborn. I think that Ferris Bueller said it best. Life moves pretty fast, if you don't stop and look around every once in while, you could miss it. I'm paraphrasing, of course. Xander and Mama are doing great. He spent his first month in pain due to reflux (the same thing Maddon had). It's basically heartburn for babies. It was a rough month, with very little sleep. But, he's doing much better now. But for the most part, I have literally no concept of the day, date or month... sometimes I have to stop and think what year is it? How old am I? I'm guessing that's not a good thing....

In animation news. I've seen Toy Story 3 about 30 times now. It just keeps getting better and there are soooo many hidden easter eggs throughout it and they're really cleverly placed. I'm getting excited to see Shrek 4, Despicable Me and Tangled. Seeing the animation thus far in the films from 2010 is absolutely mind-blowing!! So inspiring, not to mention intimidating! I find myself watching movies when I get a moment of some down time and have noticed that I'm really studying the Actors/Actresses subconsciously. Their movements and facial expressions. So, I guess I'm starting to think like an Animator.

As far as my animation world goes. I picked up another contract working on my 2nd feature length film. This time animating Cars! Whoa, it's so fun. I remember before Pixar's Cars came out and hearing from the Animators. They all said it was the most fun they've ever had animating. I can now see why. I'm working on my first shot now, it has 6 characters and it's roughly 6300 frames. It's going to be a fun project and I'm anxious to see how many shots I can pull off. For the 1st project I worked on I finished 8 shots for the movie... I'm working on a dialogue shot from the movie Rounders with Matt Damon. I just started planning everything out and some basic layout stuff. It's a more subtle piece of dialogue, but I need practice doing some of that. The Job Hunt: I've been sending out links and reels and still nothing... the job hunt has been almost a year and reels sent to well over 60 studios. I'm getting frustrated and anxious and discouraged and annoyed and jealous..... I guess, is all that I can do is to keep striving and learning to become a more desired Animator for these studios.

New Years is coming up and I think that resolutions are silly and for the most part a waste of time.... but this year I'm going to re-live an old resolution from 4 years ago... and that's to play more video games. I still have a bunch of games I've owned for years and have yet to beat. I really want a PS3 but can't justify spending that kind of money until I beat my existing games. So hopefully by next year I'll be able to get one. They should be much cheaper too.

Till next time....


2011: The Year of the Sequel!!!

So, recently I've seen not one, but two movie sequels coming out that I really enjoyed their predecessors, and am uber excited for the sequels!! Kung Fu Panda 2 and Cars 2. Cars 2 looks like a really fun movie and completely different from the first one. I'm curious to see what Pixar does with it. KFP was an all around great DreamWorks film. I wasn't too happy with the voice talent but the action was great and the story rocked!! Both movies will be coming out around the same time next year and I'm curious to see them battle it out in the box office!!


Animation Mentor Showreel 2010...

So, I posted a while back all of the Animation Mentor Student Showcase Reels, except for the latest one....

There's some amazing work here! Great job to everyone who made it.


Happy Fall to You All!

I saw this posted on a friend's Facebook page and thought it was amazing and that I had to share it. It's Disney's new game that's coming out Epic Mickey. This video talks about keeping the old style there, but in a 3D environment! The animation looks truly amazing and it's so inspiring to watch. Seeing what goes into these types of games is why I chose to get into animation and inspires me to keep going forward.... I love it!

In other news. I'm sending out reels like crazy and am finishing up my first freelance project. I heard the Director is putting together his next movie and is looking for Animators... let's see if I get picked up! I have two animation shots in the 'hopper' and am excited to start planning them out.... so stay tuned.

On a personal level, we're due in 4 days and my wife is definitely a trooper. She's been really uncomfortable for the past four weeks, not to mention in a lot of pain. Having contractions everyday, but at least they're getting stronger now (not sure if that's a good thing or not). She is AMAZING! But tiny Xander is a stubborn little dude. Either way he'll be here by next Monday (November 1st) and I'm getting excited to meet him and so is Maddon. If you haven't been to my new website CLICK HERE. Till next time......


Animation is Awesome!!

DreamWorks and Nickelodeon released the first five minutes of DreamWorks third motion picture release for 2010, Megamind. I know a few people that worked on the film and I must admit, I'm super excited after seeing this!! Also, in other news, How to Train Your Dragon came out on DVD today, so if you haven't seen it yet. Pick it up and you won't be let down! Full of action and adventure and an overall awesome story and the animation was superb!


2 New Demo Reels Complete.

I was contemplating only doing one reel again, but after seeing what studios are looking for and hearing the advice over and over again to customize your reel depending on who you're sending it to. I figured the two studios that I send my reel to, are game studios and production houses. So I decided to do a Character Reel with more acting and some body mechanics and a Game Reel with more body mechanics and some 3D models that I built and textured. They're posted below and you can find them on my new website HERE.

My Character Reel:

My Game Reel:


DVDs are upon us!!

I must say that I'm excited for the upcoming animated features c... I was cruising around Amazon to see if there's a Toy Story Trilogy ultimate super collector edition coming out.... and look what I found, a 10 DVD set!! I've seen Toy Story 3 twice now and it was so much better the second time around, I can't wait to watch it again. I found this "Toy Box" for $65 CLICK HERE, also HTTYD is coming out this weekend... I really loved that one too. It may be my new favorite DreamWorks film to date. I'll know after watching it a second time. Also later this year I'm anticipating Shrek 4 and Despicable Me, both I haven't seen yet. Luckily Maddon is finally getting to the age where we can take him to the movies I love in the theaters so I don't have to wait for their release on DVD....

In other news. I'm finishing up my new demo reel in the next couple nights, if I can stay awake long enough. Just a couple of shots that need some minor tweaks, then render and re-render and then post on the interwebs! Looking forward to being able to start applying at studios again, it feels like it's been for forever, I've been waiting to get my reel finished before I'm confident enough to put my work out there....


NEW WEBSITE.... finally!

Finally...... finally, I have taken the plunge and put together a professional looking website to showcase my phenomenal animation skills ;-)! No, but seriously. I was procrastinating for the longest time putting a real website together, and I finally did. I figured since I'm about to have a new version of my reel up I mine as well do it right. And for 5 bucks a month to host and pay for a domain name, it's worth the professional look it has (compared to my old website).

CLICK HERE to check it out.

Other than that, lately I've been scrambling to put together, not one, but two demo reels. I'm also doing a gaming demo reel that will show more body mechanics and some models that I've built over the years. Geared a little more towards the gaming industry. So we'll see what that does for me. also I've shortened up my current reel and added four new shots to it. Getting excited to see what the new reel and website holds for my career as a Character Animator.....

On a more personal note, my wife is about to POP! We're due in a month from today and are getting excited to have another little dude running around controlling our lives! Maddon is also getting excited to play with little Xander and all of his toys. I can't imagine yet what it's going to be like having another son, but I'm super excited about it. We had an awesome summer (except for being pregnant and uncomfortable), lots of camping, I climbed four 14ers, did a lot of biking and have been working three jobs! All in all, life is awesome and can't wait for the snow to get here so I can dust off my snowboard and hit the slopes!! Till next time.

Here's an animation that someone did for Valve with the TF2 cast dancing their hearts out... some awesome animation!!


Time for some inspiration....

Here are a compilation of Animation Mentors Student Showcases over the years.... such amazing work!!





Animation Mentor just released their 2010 showcase:



Meet Buck Trailer from TeamCerf on Vimeo.

Thanks Jeff at Animation Cosmic for posting this! Some gorgeous work here and very inspirational.


August...no way!

Well the time continues to fly by in 2010! The year is well over halfway done with and the summer is flying by! I'm finishing up with the current project that I'm animating on and am getting excited to see the final product later this year. The Director mentioned already started work on his next project and it got me wondering if he's going to ask me to do some more animation for him? The project is a great learning experience and I am glad to have such a great opportunity. Also, in the meantime I've been cranking away some new shots for my reel and am realizing I finally have my work flow where I am confident in it, and am finally feeling comfortable. By that I mean that I don't feel like I'm not forgetting any steps when moving to the different stages of animating. I think too, working on that kid's movie has really helped with that! I feel a lot more comfortable working in the graph editor and getting my character to do what I want them to do.... a true Puppet Master of the 21st century. Also I've been able to do a little more work on the shot I got for Devils Angels and Dating short film. So with my crazy 3 job hectic schedule I feel that I'm still moving forward in learning animation and am hoping that my first true animation job is right around the corner!!


AMers Represent!!

A HUGE CONGRATS TO ALL MY FELLOW CLASSMATES ROCKING THE ANIMATION INDUSTRY! I just found out today the another handful of peers that I graduated with got hired on at Rhythm and Hues Studios! Hearing great news of Animators doing what they love is inspiring me to push myself further and become better!! Way to go all of you, you're going to be brilliant!


July.... really??

It's been a few months since my last post. I can't believe that it's already July. I've been applying like crazy all over the country with not a lot of response. I recently revised my demo reel (CLICK HERE). I've been scrambling like mad to try and get some new work on it, but haven't had much time at all to work on it. I'm hoping to get the next version up by October 1st, which is right around the corner. I've gotten some feedback from a couple of big studios, and their comments were the same. My reel needs more 'realistic' type animation. My next piece that I'm working on, is going to have a man doing some karate moves. I might even go with some parkour type animation through an obstacle course. This way I'll be more marketable to game studios too.

I'm still working on the kids' movie and not sure when production is going to be finished, but as soon as I get my shots 'finaled' I receive my next one.... that's good. In the meantime, if you want to get out of the heat, go and see Despicable Me. It looks like a really fun movie and it's getting great reviews. Till next time....


April. Already? Time for a new post I guess...

Holy moses smell the roses. I honestly don't know where the time goes, but I am truly amazed at how fast it goes now. I can't believe it's already 2010, let alone April already. A little update on what I've been up to. My wife and I recently found out that we're going to be parents again... Number 2 is on the way. And should be here just in time for Hallowe'en (due Oct.30th). So as if our lives aren't hectic enough raising a 2 year old, let the fun begin.

I started Animation Mentor 2 years ago and am continuing to learn and enjoy animation more and more. I'm still doing some freelance animation for that kids' DVD movie. It's going well and am learning some about the animation process and more about what working remotely is all about. I also recently got involved with a really cool online PROJECT and am excited about getting some more industry experience and networking with some great animators. If you're an animator. Go to the link above and register. Talk about yourself and get involved. It's a great project and should be really awesome when it's all completed. With the announcement of our newest family member I had to pick up another part time job that I'm able to do from my home evenings after my full time job. It's going to be exhausting, but it allows my wife to not have to go to her extenuating job and become a stay at home Mommy. I'm really good at time-management and my current situation will definitely test that.


DreamWorks on on the Prowl...

Man oh man... It feels like it's been a while since first seeing Shrek... Although DW isn't as popular with me as other studios, they're really starting to grow on me. I really love Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar and Over the Over the Hedge. I really wasn't impressed with Shrek 2 or 3, Antz, A Shark Tale or Bee Movie. I think that something happened to DW. Ever since KFP came out (which is one of my favorites) they've been making really fun and entertaining movies. Now the animation that DW produces ever since Shrek is truly amazing!! I'm talking about the story and originality. Well I knew that How To Train Your Dragon was coming out this year (my last Mentor, Sean Sexton works there) and that they were making the forth and final Shrek sequel... but I recently saw ANOTHER trailer for a movie they have coming out this November (Megamind)... that puts their grand total to 3 movies in one year. All of the movies look good. From what I've heard Shrek 4 and How to Train Your Dragon are supposed to be awesome (I haven't heard anything about Megamind yet)!

I recently saw a teaser trailer for the third movie, Megamind. Megamind looks like a fun and silly movie, which they should be able to pull off without struggle, especially when you have Will Ferrell as your voice talent! I know that they have two gigantic studios in CA, but to produce three motion pictures in the span of one year. Well, that's just amazing to me!! I am really excited to see their next three movies and am probably going to try and see them in the theaters.


Congrats Pixar, you've done it again!

As you may or may not know the 82nd annual Academy Awards were last night... I really stopped caring about the Oscars, especially after Happy Feet beat out Cars for Best Animated Feature. I would have thought the simple fact that Happy Feet was motion captured and Cars was 100% hand animated would have been a major deciding factor in winning an award for animation... anyways. From that moment on there has been a sour taste left in my mouth and I've completely lost interest all together. Plus, it seems like there's always one movie, that I haven't heard of, wins all of the awards. Last night it was The Hurt Locker. But the 2 categories that I'm most interested in are Best Animated Feature and Best Animated Short Film. Last night the other category I was most interested in was Best Picture. The reason being is that Up was nominated, and it's only the 2nd time in history that an animated feature was nominated for Best Picture. The first one was Beauty and Beast back in 1991. That's a pretty big accomplishment for Pixar.

Up ended up winning 2 Academy Awards, Best Animated Feature and Best Original Score. Bringing their grand total to 205 awards won, and they have been nominated 211 times. They had some fierce competition this year too. It was a very diverse award this year, with Up being the only 3D movie. Coraline, and The Fantastic Mr. Fox were both stop motion movies, and then the Princess and the Frog and the Secret of Kells, were both 2D animation. I personally am a HUGE Pixar fan, I love all their movies and short films. Up was definitely more serious than their other movies, but entertaining and an excellent story. Everything about Up was awesome. So with that said, congratulations Pixar you've done it again! Another well deserved Oscar to go on your shelf.


Still Chuggin' Along...

Well, it's been a while since my last post... so I thought I would update it with my job hunting news. So far my first freelance animation job is going good, I'm almost finished with my first shot and ready for more. It's crazy to think I'm actually getting paid to animate, it's a concept that hasn't sunk in yet, but once I get my first check that should all change.

I've been searching and applying everywhere that I can. I sent my first reel over seas today. A studio in London that has worked on some big-time movies. Plus numerous amount of studios all over the US. I've already received two rejection letters from studios that I really wanted to work at. Bummer, but I have to keep moving forward and focus on being the best animator that I can be. There's no point in getting discouraged, finding that first full time job sounds the hardest, but I have a good feeling it's right around the corner. I found out today that there's a local game studio here in Colorado hiring, plus I heard back from another studio in Denver... so keep your fingers crossed!

Having spent so much time working on my demo reel and short film it feels like now that I've finished my reel I can take it easy... but it's just the opposite, my reel is like a constant project, that I need to keep fine tuning and perfecting till I land that full time animation position with an awesome company! I have my next 2 animations figured out when I get a free moment I'm going to start planning and hopefully get 2 more great pieces to add to my reel. Also, (side note) I started a new blog to try and keep track of all the notes that I find online regarding animation. Something that I can refer back to here at work if I get some down time or need to look something up... CLICK HERE.

Till the next post (hopefully, it will be with some good news) take care and keep on animating!


2 Movies of inspiration from 2009.

If you haven't seen Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, I highly recommend it. It's a great story, really funny and the animation is awesome! I really like the animation style of the movie and Steve is one of the best characters of all time!

Up was another Pixar great! I enjoy this movie more and more every time I watch it! Up is the 2nd fully animated feature that is nominated for an Academy Award this year. Unfortunately it's up against Avatar, and I have a feeling that Avatar is going to clean house... I feel that Up totally deserves the Best Picture Award.

There were so many others that came out last year that were also great, but these are my two favorite! If you haven't seen them yet, what are you waiting for?!


Wow... that was quick.

So after a year and a half of anticipation, graduation was an absolute blast! Meeting the founders and all of the staff at Animation Mentor was amazing! Also, to get together with students/peers that I've known for so long and have been through so much with in person.... priceless. It was very surreal. I'm glad that I kept this blog to look back on, but wish I had updated it more often.

We arrived in San Francisco on Thursday and trekked up to Emeryville (to our hotel). Got unpacked and had some lunch, we walked around Bay St. which is the new, fancy area in Emeryville, we were only a few blocks away from the mecca of animation, Pixar. It was nice to hang out and relax before the festivities. After only getting 2 hours of sleep then traveling from Denver, it was the perfect afternoon to unwind. Had some lunch, did some shopping, sat in the hot tub and went swimming. My friend John was flying into Oakland later that evening... after picking him up we went back to the hotel and had some margaritas.. which turned into meeting a crazy flight attendent (whom was straight) named Rob, which turned into vodkas, that turned into tequila shots, and trying to teach John how to play chess, which ultimately turned into 330 in the morning... time for bed.

The school tour the next morning was amazing. Seeing all these people that you've been in contact with since applying at the school, seeing them each week in the video news just isn't the same. We got to see where they all work, I got to sign the Alumni wall of fame, see Bobby's toy collection and play some ping pong! Such an inspiring place to be, there's no wonder it's the greatest place to learn animation on the planet! I imagine that if I ever get a full time job in a studio someday, that's what it's going to be like. From there we had to run some errands and since we were on San Pablo Ave. (if you remember from the beginning sequence in the Incredibles, they make reference to that road) we were only blocks away from Pixar. We thought that we would make an appearance and try and get a 'pity tour'. No such luck, we did talk to the security guard and it didn't sound like it was going to happen (without getting arrested). So we got some pictures and moved on. Time for the career fair. It was a madhouse of animators! I would guess about 200+ were there. A total of 6 studios showed up: Pixar, DreamWorks, ILM, Sony Imageworks, Blizzard and Reel FX. Because of the mass amounts of people the lines were super long and moving quite slow. Except for Pixar, there was nobody in that line.. sort of like the super hot chick at the bar that everyone's too intimidated to talk to! I was lucky enough to talk with Pixar, DreamWorks and Reel FX before time expired. I met some new people while in line and some 'old' friends too. It was awesome. Shortened version of that evening... Burger King, 2 Buck Chuck, Rubios, Broken Rack, throat punch (ouch), beers, Jager, walking, animators, outdoor toilet, Burger King attempt, Denny's, 330 in the morning.... time for bed.

Saturday was the actual graduation in San Francisco. We headed out in route to Fort Mason. We got to rehersals on time and saw a bunch more students I hadn't seen yet. Out of my entire first class there were only 2 people that weren't there... so it was pretty awesome knowing that back when we all began AM, dreaming of this day, we were all there (once again) to share it with each other. The rehersal was a hoot, photos, screwing around, talking with awesome people. They also put on a live QnA feed for all of the alumni, which I thought was totally rad. The ceremony itself was the best I ever seen. So much energy and entertainment. When we came in our names were in the credits on the big screen, I really like that followed by Carlos dressed up like the Avatar dude and a ninja fight followed by a touching movie about the school and it's conception. Next were the Student Choice Awards. It was great to see some of the students work up on the big screen and to hear their speeches. The guest speaker for this round was an ILM animator named Charles Alleneck. He gave an amazing and inspiring speech. Next was the announcement of names. Afterwards they put on a reception party with sushi, cheese, wine, crackers.... I got to meet Bobby Beck, Shawn Kelly and my favorite Mentor from class 4, Greg Kyle. I felt like a 12 year old girl who was meeting the cast of Twilight, gushing and hopefully not making an ass out of myself! They're such humble and amazing people they make it really easy to talk with.

Afterwards we found this amazing seafood/oyster place (thanks Yelp) in San Fran. The dinner was amazing and the company was great. I went with 2 people that have become great friends over the years. The downside was, my buddy's car got broken into... the SF police called him about 6 times, but he didn't hear his phone till after dinner. What an annoyance it was. Luckily they didn't get the cameras which captured the fore mentioned event.. they only made out with an iPod Nano, and the GPS mount and plug in thingy. Lame.

We headed over to the after-after-after party right near the Bay Bridge. The signs all mentioned 10-12 drinks so we were only planning on staying for a little while. But when we got there, they were typical downtown prices... 5.50 a beer. Excellent, we're staying! A lot more people showed up throughout the night. It was such an awesome experience to meet and talk with so many people that inspire me and whom I look up to! It was such a great night. Photobucket

Sunday was the day to cruise around San Francisco, we saw the wharf, which honestly I've seen it enough I won't put it on the list when I got back, Chinatown (it was neat to see once, but super lame), I imagine if we were getting some food there, it might be a different story. We ventured over to the SF park, but by the time we got there it was dark (it had been raining all day). We headed back to Emeryville planning on finally seeing Avatar... we did, it was awesome. We were only 3 rows back so there were moments where my eyes felt like they were going to explode! We're going to see it next month and get there early to get some seats right in the middle.

After all the hard work of completing such an amazing school and meeting all the people behind it who make it so special I'm so glad I was lucky enough to be a part of it. I'm so inspired now to work harder and become the best person/animator that I can be. The next graduation is in July along with the AM BBQ.. I'm already starting to save up!!