Archive for the ‘ Life Experiences ’ Category

Help Japan

On March 11, 2011 Japan was hit with a magnitude 8.9 earthquake which was later updated to 9.0. The death toll continues to rise even to this day and I urge you to donate what you can to help out.

You can also donate through the American Red Cross website here: American Red Cross

Other ways you can help: How You Can Help

You can follow Time’s ongoing coverage here: The Japan Quake

Tangled Wrap Party

On Saturday, 10/16/10, I had the privilege of attending the ‘Tangled’ wrap party in L.A. The event started off with a premiere showing of the film at the El Capitan Theater and was then followed by the after party across the street at the Highlands Hollywood Nightclub. Seeing the film in a completed state was something I had looked forward to for quite awhile. Usually, my perception of each shot was limited to their lower-resolution, maya playblast counterpart – but seeing the film with all it’s bells and whistles really blew me away. (HUGE congrats to the lighting and look departments for that.) This was also an opportunity to show my fiance what I’ve been working on for the past few months and I was glad for the opportunity to show her before the official release date.

It was equally as great seeing everyone from Disney again. The sense of accomplishment for helping to complete a feature film is definitely a memorable experience but, for this film in particular, completing it with this specific group of artists is something I’ll treasure for the rest of my life.

As we ate, drank and danced our way through the night, I was fortunate enough to take a moment and reflect upon my surroundings. Around me were artists/animators who were considered the best in their field, established actors who were famous in their own right, and significant others who had the arduous task of supporting their loved ones through many late nights and long weekends. And as I realized where I was at that specific moment, I couldn’t help but feel honored for being a part of something special. ‘Tangled’ marks the 50th film in Disney’s rich repertoire and it will always hold a special place in my heart.

Disney magic…

One more memorable life experience… one more post. But please allow me to start at the beginning…

In September of 2009, I was contacted by Walt Disney Animation Studios and asked to participate in their Talent & Development program. There, I was to be paired up with one of their veteran animators to help nurture my skills as an animator and further my craft. As this was a once in a life-time opportunity, I left my home in San Jose and flew out to Burbank with the support of my family, friends and (at the time) girlfriend – who is now my fiance. =)

Upon arrival at the “hat building”, I was greeted by my fellow TDAs (Talent & Development Artsts). There were 16 of us total and the entire group consisted of story artists, lighters, and 3D animators: Emily Tse, Dan Haring, Dan Naughton, Ryan DeYoung, Derek Nelson, Latasha Tobias, Kataneh Vahdani, Taylor Krahenbuhl,  Kenny Park, Jason Hand, Jocelyn Cofer, Haokun Liang, Morgan Greene, Minor Gaytan, Joseph Lee and myself; each of us nervous – each of us excited – each of us wondering if we had what it took to get through the program… but honestly, we were all mostly EXCITED! =) I still remember congregating in the front lobby – looking around and idolizing the artwork that adorned the walls. We would dispense with the traditional, “What’s your name”‘s and “Where are you from”‘s but from that one initial meeting, I could tell that we would become a close nit group – if for nothing else but to help each other get through to the end. We also geeked out over the fact that for the next 3-6 months, we would be able to call ourselves Disney employees and more incredibly, learn from (arguably) the best artists in the world.

I was immensely fortunate to be assigned Darrin Butters as my mentor. Not only was he encouraging and patient, but he also helped me develop my “animation eye” and always tried to emphasize great posing and varied timing within my animation tests. I owe a lot of what I’ve learned to him and will be forever grateful for his friendship and guidance.

After a few months and a few incredibly fun test shots, the training program was cut short and the 3D animators were all promoted as “fix-animators” to help with production on the newest Disney film: Tangled

Words cannot express how honored I feel to have worked on this film. From the incredible direction of Nathan Greno and Byron Howard to the invaluable talent heading up the animation department: Glen Keane, John Kahrs and Clay Kaytis – I am sure this movie will find it’s place among the classics and hopefully usher in a new “Golden Age” for Disney. If you are or had ever been a fan of Disney, I encourage you to watch it when it’s released on November 24, 2010.

As a fix-animator, I was tasked with a wide range of animation responsibilities – from single-frame tweaks to full animation redos. The fix team, who consequently gained two more animators: Matt Ornstein and Jessica Chan to help with the work load, would present our work to the animation supervisors on a daily basis to gain their feedback and eventually “final” the shot so that it can be passed on to the next department. In the case a shot required a more substantial fix, we would be responsible for presenting our fixes directly to the directors during “dailies”. There were many long nights and a few “power hours” but after all was said and done, it was time for me to return home.

After my responsibilities as a fix-animator were complete, I returned home to San Jose. And although my time at Disney had an expiration date, I will never forget the people there who, within the past 11 months, I had learned to call my friends. Working at the studio was everything I thought it would be and more… full of wonder… full of excitement… and it even had a little touch of Disney magic. =)

New Post?!?!?

Whoa! It’s been awhile since I’ve posted on this weblog… here’s what has happened so far:

Well, I graduated from Animation Mentor (YAY!!!!) in January and looking back, it was definitely one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Not only are the staff, mentors and fellow classmates at AM incredible people, I now consider many as close friends – and that’s something I will always be grateful for.

Shortly after graduation, I was contacted by Blue Sky Studios with the chance to work on Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. OMG!!!!! =) This being another milestone in my life (my first professional animation gig) I was ECSTATIC!!!! There was a lot to learn (and still is) but I simply had a blast during my time in New York / Connecticut. I’d never admit this while I was there, but there were some days where I would skip down the hall with the biggest grin on my face – just happy to be where I was. We worked 70-75 hour weeks and it felt like a vacation because all I was doing all day was something I was truly passionate about. But alas, like all good things, it had to come to an end… We finished principle animation by the end of March and it was time to go back home.

Since then, I’ve had the incredible opportunity to work as a contract animator for Treanor Brothers Animation in Rhode Island (remotely). Although brief, it was yet another rewarding experience and I look forward to any chance at working with them again.

Now, I continue to hone my craft – learning all that I can. I am still searching for a full-time animator position, but I look forward to the journey and to the next chapter of my life… =)