May 2017

Another month that quickly went down the pipe. Too fast, 2017, too fast. I don’t even have much to say about this month…I sort of blinked and it was over. That being said, let’s get right into things:

Books Read: 3 Finally wrapped up a couple of books I started last month–one about writing and two others I’d like to mention: Superfandom is a book about fandom culture and the psychology behind it. Great, fun read. The third book I read was Designing Your Life, which was written by two Stanford professors after their class of the same name proved to be so successful. I’m still a book behind according to my GoodReads, but that’s ok.

Blog Posts Written: 4 including this one. None on AniCom again. It’s so hard for me to figure out how I want to split up material for that site–what should be a blog post/article, what should be a video, or podcast, or some combination. I also definitely am over-thinking this too. I managed to squeeze two out today, one being this end-of-month recap (which makes sense), but the other was a response to a Facebook thread I decided to opt out of, about privilege.

Videos/Projects: 0/5 No new videos this month, but I either got started on or made significant progress on a number of different projects. I spent around 10 hours this past weekend at the library with the wifi down, sooooo I got a lot done. ; )

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A Response to Privilege

I was casually scrolling through the dumpster fire that is my FaceBook feed this morning can came across a post someone made sharing this video:

“So the lesson is that some people are born into better circumstances than others? That’s not profound, it’s banal. It’s also not exactly hidden to people with this ‘privilege’. It’s also not as important as making good life choices and applying yourself.”

“Is it my fault that over the course of 3 generations my family has moved from peasantry to the 1%?”

“I do not, in fact, accept any obligation to people born in the ghetto or otherwise in difficult circumstances.”

“”Privilege” is merely the latest progressive update on “original sin”.”

And some attempts at a discussion:

“No. you just have to be aware that for some people it is much harder to achieve your standard of living and help to accommodate those who cannot quite reach that level.

“Privilege in this context just means you have certain advantages in life that you may not even be aware of. It’s only a problem when you start blaming others for not succeeding as well as you when they don’t have those advantages. This kind of privilege is something to be grateful for and humble about.
The more traditional version of privilege is “private law.” That’s where you use your wealth and power to make sure that the law for commoners doesn’t apply to you. Because you’re better and deserve to get away with stuff. That’s the territory you stray toward when you get arrogant about your advantages.”

And more negative responses to those statements:

“It’s only a problem when you start blaming others for not succeeding as well as you when they don’t have those advantages. The real problem is the reverse. I don’t see many people asking the government to put a tax on poor people. I do see a lot of demands by ‘disadvantaged’ folk to take what is earned by others.”

I started writing a massive text response (which I will be reproducing below) and I had a moment where I balked–these people won’t change their minds just from my argument, surely not if they are capable of saying such things as listed above. I spoke with my friend who also felt that, while intentions were good, I was mostly doing it for myself (which is valid and probably the reason we get into such comment fights). These people did not seem like the type of people that I could have an actual discourse with, if they seemed to lack any empathy or self-awareness to…frankly…how privileged they sounded.

I think a lot of the ideas of being mindful of privilege have been reduced purely to wealth in this thread, but that’s only one part of it.
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Five Years Out

Last weekend I unexpectedly visited my undergrad alma mater, The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) with two of my favorite people on the planet, who I happened to attend said school with.

While I’ve been back there before, and was even on an alumni panel for my major one year, I hadn’t gone back since another chapter of my life closed. Immediately following TCNJ, I began grad school at the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in NYC. In my program at SVA, you could either finish it in 2 years full time or over 4 years part time. I did a mix of both, but the point was, once those 4 years were up, you’d have to start the program all over again.

While I was happy for the new graduates out of TCNJ this May, I was a bit bittersweet towards the SVA ones. This would have been the year I graduated from SVA, if I hadn’t dropped out.

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When You Know Your Writing But People Don’t Believe You

A few weeks ago, I was very proud of myself for a very simple thing. I showed somebody some in-progress writing that I was working on–a script, more specifically–that I was planning on shooting soon. I’m the type of person who managed to go six years in art classes and rarely show any of my work. I’d go out of my way to game the system, to wait until the end of class or show something else or show something intentionally bad, like stick-figure thumbnails of what the final product would look like in order to avoid it. It was, is, and, fucking hell help me, the biggest issue that I deal with as a creator. There’s a whole memoir in me about my art anxiety, imposter syndrome, mental handicaps, simple fear, and just oddly and inexplicably low self-esteem I have about the creative side of myself, to the point that I still can’t even call myself an “artist” or “writer” or “creator” without feeling like an asshole. For fuck’s sake, my very first post on this site in 2014 directly addresses this issue: this blog is meant to be a direct, opposing force to said feelings.

This person didn’t know this about me, but did know that I don’t show things often, I don’t talk about things often. If I’ve done so with you, congrats! I love you and we can unceremoniously boil you down to being a safe space for me in trying to find my own self-love. The friend I was with is the type who likes to link everything back to parental issues; things like how you dress or eat, whether you wear makeup, things that seem asinine at times. But I know there is truth to some of this. I’ve read enough Malcolm Gladwell books to not ignore the nature/nurture argument just because it presents things I don’t like. I do think that this particular friend places too much emphasis on it though. It’s sort of like that scene in The Devil Wears Prada where Meryl Streep’s character schools Anne Hathaway’s over a blue sweater and the illusion of choice.While not a perfect or full picture, the scene serves as a reminder that many of the things we do, the ‘choices’ we make in our daily lives are not necessarily our own, or we aren’t fully conscious of them or their origins. But at the same time, Anne Hathaway’s character, for whatever reasons, did make the choice to buy that sweater, not knowing the context that Streep’s later presented. But I understand that this was more about the options available to a person.

When I showed my friend the script, I was proud of myself, and my work. But my friend immediately picked it apart, which in and of itself is not the problem. Despite aforementioned issues, I am not immune to criticism and it’s benefits, as well as the divorcing of the actual criticism from the person who is delivering it (in terms of your personal relationship with them vs. their input as a critic). My friends biggest issue wasn’t so much the content itself so much as the fact that I was even showing it to them. To them, this proved that it was not ready–that I was not ready–if I needed reassurance from someone else. That if I needed a second opinion, it invalidated my confidence in the piece. They then went on to argue that the writing was trying to be something it was not, completely neglecting any potential context or reason why I would write something in a different–in this case, more formal and academic voice–than my usual casual blog post or my usual way of speaking.

So I defended myself. I took his criticisms about the tone and voice of the piece to heart and did make some changes that bettered it. But I also explained that I was happy with it, and just happy that I was finally making again and wanted to share with someone I thought would be happy and supportive. I thought they specifically would appreciate the piece as it was about a topic they enjoy. I explained that the educational nature of the piece prompted me to avoid my usual f-bombs, anecdotes, and brazen casualness.

To them, I got defensive. That this reaction was a reflection of how I feel about myself. Which it totally was. But not in the way that they were assuming.

Continue reading “When You Know Your Writing But People Don’t Believe You”

April 2017

The start of my month was one of quiet excitement After managing to get through the audio book quickly, the bf and I attended a concert performance of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone at Radio City Music Hall. I hadn’t been there in years! Not since I used to go to the Christmas show every year in grammar school. I had a twinge of guilt thinking that I’d have graduated with a Masters degree in that gorgeous theater if things had worked out with SVA, but I quickly stopped caring when the pre-roll videos featuring John Williams began playing. What a man. This is the second time I’ve attended a film screening featuring a live orchestra accompaniment; the first one I attended was Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, featuring the 21st Century Symphony Orchestra at the Lincoln Center, which I detailed in a past blog post. This was my second time seeing the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. The NY Philharmonic are hosting a slew of Star Wars performances in September that I’m interested in seeing too!

Radio City is hosting performances of the second Harry Potter film this fall, but I think the only other one I’d attend would be the third film–not for lack of interest so much as lack of cash. Some of the later films’s scores are less familiar to me, but I know that’s because I didn’t obsessively listen to them like I did the earlier films. I’m also seeing an orchestra performance of songs from the Kingdom Hearts video game series this summer as well. All of the childhood feels.

I'm not crying you're crying ⚡️ #harryPotter #harrypotterinconcert

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Books Read: 0 Still just chugging away at a number of titles. I’ve been reading more self-help books than I usually do, and actually going through them and doing a lot of the end-of-chapter questionnaires and activities. So it’s a slow burn. But when I can update my Goodreads account, I’ll quickly be right on schedule…not that I’m keeping a schedule per se.

Blog Posts Written: 3  Just three, including this one, all on this site. Nothing for AniCom, which is a huge disappointment, as I am struggling to achieve the quality I want.

Videos/Projects: 0 Still just editing away. But I’m going to give myself a phantom point for the online classes I’ve been keeping up with this month that will allow me to do some of the non-video projects I have in mind. 😉

At the Movies: 3+ The Boss Baby and Ghost in the Shell were two of the movies that I saw in theaters this past month, and only one of them was worth it. Boss Baby was an unexpected delight, while GitS was the crapfest I always feared it would be. Shoutouts also go to some other new-ish films I saw this month, outside the theater setting: Nova Seed, Your Name, Digimon Adventure Tri Chapters 2-4, a second viewing of La La Land, and Loving. I saw a few more, and I usually don’t post about every movie I saw, but I actually managed to see quite a few this month due to traveling home for Easter. There’s always good movies playing on cable–thanks, Mom and Dad! The third movie is one that I am hopefully seeing in about an hour: Their Finest by Danish director Lone Scherfig, who made two other films I really loved (An Education and One Day). A film about a woman filmmaker actually made by a woman filmmaker? Sign me the fuck up.

Lowlights: An unexpected trip to the ER cut one of my workdays short, and I’ve felt a little off since then. It doesn’t seem to be anything major, but unfortunately my follow-up appointment isn’t until the start of June.

Highlights: I already mentioned Harry Potter in concert, so the other biggies were Easter and a trip to the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA. Easter was standard fair, as it’s hosted at my parents’ house every year. It’s nice when I go home and can actually spend time at home and in my hometown. Easter’s always got good food (read: no ham) and desserts (especially Jello eggs and Gertrude Hawk peanut butter chocolates). My mom always goes above and beyond with Easter. We’ve only got one young kid in the family, so we hide the eggs a few times for him. I always accidentally make it a little too hard for him though, and everyone ends up having to help him. So maybe I get points for making it a family affair. : P

There’s been an ongoing exhibit at the Normal Rockwell Museum on Hanna-Barbera, the animation studio most famous for Saturday morning staples like The Flinstones, The Jetsons, Tom & Jerry, and Scooby-do. It’s a studio I’ve never paid much attention to, to be honest, as I sort of always wrote it off as cheap production to push cereal to kids. In my defense, I wasn’t wrong, but that wasn’t a reason to ignore it either. So I was quite keen to head up there. The exhibit was fantastic. It was pretty small, but they stuffed it full of things. I’ll finally have something to post about on AnimationComplex, so stay tuned for that article. In the meantime, here’s a super cute classic museum trailer:

Yesterday morning, I successfully got tickets to New York Comic Con 2017. Every year I debate going back at all, but I always end up deciding to go for a day. Especially since I haven’t managed to go to any smaller comic-cons this year. I decided to only go on Friday, as it seems like more of the educational panels are being pushed to Thursday and Friday. Like the last 2 years, I managed to get my tickets within 30 minutes of the virtual queue being launched, so I am definitely happier with this new verification system than when I first started attending, where you’d be waiting to get to the order page only to see see tickets already populating scalping sites with huge markups. NYCC is the same week that I am seeing Hamilton too, so the start of October will be amazing! In general yesterday was very nice. We are lucky to live in an area where the beach is a 7-minute drive away, so after running some errands we parked there and read for a few hours. The water was freezing, but as an East Coaster, this was nothing new. He, being from Cali, was not amused.

Next Month’s Focus: Editorial calendar. More doing. More animation stuff, yo.