Back to School

SVA NYC

My cryptic post from mid-March may have been a bit of a clue, and my last post was an acknowledgement of shifting priorities. A lot’s changed. And, if it wasn’t clear, I’m going back to school.

Bye Bye Blue Skies

I’m not at Blue Sky anymore. I haven’t been for three and a half months, and the separation has been…welcomed. That’s a post for another time, perhaps in a month, perhaps not in years; it’s hard to figure out and navigate my feelings on the subject. After nearly four years, I left of my own choice, but systems in place made me feel I had no choice. It’s not that I didn’t have support there, it just wasn’t in the right places, unfortunately.

A Hail Mary

At the suggestion of a co-worker, I reached out to my old school, School of Visual Arts (SVA) in NYC, to see if I could re-enroll and finish up the MFA degree I’d left behind when I accepted the Blue Sky gig. My four years at Blue Sky should have made continuing my degree impossible, but thankfully the new program chair was accommodating. 

Within three days I was re-enrolled, and had my course schedule and a laugh-until-you-cry tuition bill awaiting. Stay classy, art school. 😉 

Back to School…Again

My course-load is light, as I’d finished the bulk of the challenging classes when I first attended. That leaves the final boss though–the thesis film. So while my day-to-day assignments will be light, my year will be an overall hell. And as much as I enjoy teasing art school, I do want my MFA. Regardless of whether or not I agree with the systems in place that reenforce that want. But the art school/advanced degree debate a whole other post.

The Dragon of Thesis Has Reared Its Ugly Head

What a stupid title for this paragraph. But that’s how it feels. I’m Bilbo in the mountain, trying to steal my pile of gold which I traded in for a fancy piece of paper RIP me and I’m trying not to upset the sleeping beast within. All I’ve got are the clothes on my back, and rations that won’t even cover a week.

An adventure in higher education! Apparently. 

I’ve got a magic ring though.

Four years at an animation studio has hopefully granted me experience. I know it has. (And I even didn’t linger long enough for that magic ring to turn evil! Wow, look at this metaphor go!)

I’ve got a team, sort of. 

The co-workers I had became friends I have, and I hope that some of them will have the bandwidth to help me. That is, if they don’t have a battle of five armies of their own to fight. I have a few confirmed party members, and some that I hope I can rope in later.

Enough with The Hobbit

I know, I know, but it’s so good. The book, not the movies. 

To be honest, I’m scared. While scheduling out my production calendar, working back from the week the project is due and when I want to have certain things wrapped, I’d realized that I would have forty weeks from that week (which was five weeks ago) to make this film.

That’s…and insane production schedule. But that’s the norm. That’s why students burn out, and sleep under desks or in audio booths. That’s why I had a proper nervous breakdown the last time this all happened, and I ended up hysteric and in tears at 4am, lucky that two of my best friends were living in Asia and I could call them without the time being an issue. 

I don’t want to do this by any means, but that’s sort of why I need to, I guess? I still don’t quite believe that, which sucks because the sooner I embrace the mindset the sooner I can put pressure on myself.

Because I went through it before, I do feel more mentally prepared. Like I said before, I haven’t been doing nothing in between then and now. And while there is plenty that I haven’t ever done before (like use the Arnold renderer) or things I haven’t done in five years (lighting), I know I just have to put my head down and ram through everything.

Let’s Document the Madness

Five weeks ago, when I first planned out my schedule and noticed I’d hit on the Biblical number 40, I felt that it was too good to pass up. A bit on the spot, I decided that I ought to document my progress in weekly videos. There were a couple of reasons I thought I might like to embarrass myself on a global stage:

  • It doesn’t seem like there’s much in-depth behind-the-scenes for student films/one-man teams, so this seems to help fill a void
  • A topic that gets looked over a lot in these situations are things like mental health and burnout–the darker side of being a student.
  • Editing practice! Because I suck. And guerrilla filmmaking in general. Basic equipment and software, nothing fancy.  
  • This project allows me to keep creating content of some form for my animation site, Animation Complex. While I wanted the site to be more objectively about animation, a year following my own journey beats a year of nothing. 
  • Getting comfortable vlogging/ setting up my camera in public, as well as comfort with public speaking–speaking clearly and concisely without rambling too much. Still working on that… 

That being said, here is my stupid face on the internet:

I’ll be vlogging my progress in weekly videos. Like I said, they’re gonna be pretty basic, as they can’t detract from the actual work that needs to get done. So I hope you enjoy the good, the bad, and the ugly of my student life for the next year. I acknowledge that is probably a terrible idea, but here we are.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Blogging for Me in 2018

So. I have a blog, huh? Let’s take a look at what blogging for me in 2018 looks like….because so far, it doesn’t really exist.

This (not including my last cryptic post, #sorryNotSorry) is 100% the longest that I’ve gone without posting on here in a while, only because I’d made it a priority to post at least once a month. But something so seemingly simple became such a bothersome chore. That monthly post meant that I was relying heavily on my monthly recaps, which, while I was consistent with those for all of 2017, I slowly came to dislike them. I’m not one of those people who is good at documenting their life like that. Sure, I use Instagram pretty liberally, and I do track my reading and film watching habits on specialty sites. You know what, typing/thinking out loud, maybe that’s why I’m pushing back at it so much. I already do document those things so why I am going to again? I get soso caught up in the research trap/analysis paralysis as my co-worker called it once, that how is it helping me to awkwardly explain away things that I struggle with in such a check-list-y sort of way? If anything, those struggles deserve posts of their own rather than casual throw-aways. Those bigger trips need to be their own posts and not throw-away ‘look I did something!’ sentences.

I think what I am now trying to explain away boils down to, “I don’t enjoy it anymore so I am going to stop.” But even still I feel the need to justify it. I don’t want to generate posts for the sake of it. Maybe this year I’ll do something more geared towards quarters, especially since conveniently enough we are coming to the end of Q1 of 2018.

The other side of it is accepting that this site is more of a fun sandbox for me. I’m not trying to accomplish anything with this site and blog in the way that I am with Animation Complex…not yet at least.

That’s really been the challenge though: prioritizing things.

Posting for postings sake is a disservice to everyone’s time. I just want to write more article/think piece type stuff about my life. More like journal entries when I feel like I have something worth saying, or when there is a moment or event in my life that I want to leave a little digital footprint for.

I think that also stems into what I do envision for this site in the future..which is not as much a log of my personal activities as I want it to be more topic-based. Still personal, but more editorial as well.What I’m thinking may require a totally new theme/redesign. But I’m still trying to find a balance with the different parts of myself that I share on the Interwebs. Regardless, we shall see.

December 2017

How is January already halfway over!? Unbelievable.

My December was lovely though. Partly due to the holidays, and partly due to work-related stuff.

The holidays for me were kickstarted in the town I now live in, Stamford, CT, with a zany invent where they have members of the town rescue squad dress up as holiday characters and repel down the side of one of the massive skyscrapers downtown. Followed by fireworks. It’s bizarre and I only happened to catch it because I’d been at the library and came outside to all the streets being closed and crowds and kids with light-up toys everywhere.

Another small surprise was an aunt and cousin came to visit at work! My cousin needed to interview someone who works in a management role. It was fun showing around people in my family and really getting to explain what we do, especially since I don’t really think most people get animation.

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The 21 Books I Read in 2017

While in grad school, my casual reading did not exist. Through the manipulative power of gamification, Goodreads has allowed me to change that. The first year I signed up, I read 41 books, which was 40 books more than usual. My goal this year is smaller than when I started out, and I am thinking that it will be smaller in 2018 to make room for some larger text books. That being said, here are the 21 books I read in 2017, in no particular order:

Graphic Novels

Continue reading “The 21 Books I Read in 2017”