Wednesday, May 11, 2011

SVA Aftermath, or "What have I learned from all this?"

Yesterday, I received my diploma and was pronounced a college graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, along with the nearly 50 fellow animators who I lived and worked alongside for the past four years. And after packing up my dorm room and leaving the city one last time, I reflected on what I've been through here. Sure, there were plenty of bumps in the road and politics to deal with, but overall I really loved being part of SVA and I'm pretty bummed that this stage of my life is over.

The past few weeks have been pretty crazy, especially the last one. Last Sunday was our big animation screening; 42 films in about 4 hours. Yes, a LONG show. But to me, those few hours really flew by. I saw all my friends have their few minutes of screen time and felt really proud of them. Despite the bias, what with them being my friends and all, I really felt our year's show was pretty solid, diverse and a lot of fun! And even mine, being a bit unfinished, went over pretty well with the crowd. I had pretty sore arms from all the hugs and handshakes I had as I made my way out of the theater.

And that was that, or at least I thought it was.

Two nights later, I came to the awards show to support whichever of my friends was going to win. I ended up walking away with one of these:

"No Obelix, that's not a menhir."

Definitely a shock to the system. I'm still kind of in denial over it. But I'm glad I was able to share this award onstage with my friend Zach, who also won (we tied), and Mirella and Zack, who won for production design and stop-motion respectively.

I was left both humbled and proud, not only of myself, but of all my friends that I worked alongside on the 5th floor. Even though it has my name on it, I feel that it really belongs to everybody. Over the last year, I've been exposed to so many inspiring and talented people, and I sincerely believe that without their influence or guidance, I would never have gotten this far in a million years.

It's pretty surreal. One of the first posts I made on this blog was about my acceptance into SVA. I didn't know what was going to happen, or what I was going to learn or who I was going to meet. I've had so many unforgettable experiences since then, and I feel that I've grown not only as an animator, but as a person. And it's only the beginning.

So that's it. I've won my first award, got my degree and finished my college years. So now what do I do?

Well, I think I've earned a bit of a rest. After finishing those last pesky few shots of my film, I'm gonna take most of the summer off to relax and recharge my batteries. I'd like delve into other types of art like sculpting and painting, which I never had the time to do while I was in school. I want to hone my drawing skills a bit more and try to build a portfolio. I'm also going to (re)start my comic and make a separate site for it. And on top of that, Shannon's coming to visit for a month, and we're taking a little excursion down to Disney World! It'll be a fun and relaxing way to cap off my educational years, and come August, start my professional career.

Thanks everyone!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Storyboard to Film Comparison

I made a side-by-side comparison chart for my film. The images on the left are panels from my preliminary storyboard from last July, and the images on the right are from the finished film, 10 months later.

These few examples are special because they pretty much stayed the same from my first pass (albeit a few minor changes here and there). Not every shot in the film was copied verbatim from the storyboard. Some of my original ideas for how shots were going to be laid out were either too flat and uninteresting (like a Hanna-Barbera cartoon) or so complicated that it would've been a real pain to animate once I got up to layout and animation later on.

That's why it's always good to get a second opinion on things. That's why I had my thesis advisor (and good friend) Howard Beckerman help me out on every step of the process. To me, Howard was my "test audience" to see whether things were working or not. If he didn't understand what was going on, that's when I knew that I needed to make some changes so he would understand it.

Whenever I had an issue, I went to Howard for advice on how to fix it, and every time we would straighten things out so they worked. Sometimes it would be a minor tweak in the camera angle or a pose, and other times whole story ideas were thrown out the window. It's hard to let some things go, but for the sake of clarity it's important to fix things so the audience won't be left scratching their heads and asking questions.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Here's a few selected images from my film.

I'll eventually post it up online, but I'm going to try to submit to a few festivals to see if it has the legs for it.

Or wings.

God, I hate bird puns.