Back to School

Personal, Video / Saturday, August 11th, 2018

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…different. That’s a post for another time; 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 if I wanted to pursue my career goals in the animation industry. It’s not that I didn’t have support there–I absolutely did–it just wasn’t in the right places, unfortunately. It’s tough to be in management when you also want to create. There isn’t a clear cut path for creative producers.

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

As I’d finished the bulk of the challenging classes when I first attended, my classes are focused on the thesis film itself. So while my day-to-day assignments will be light, just progressing through each step, 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.


Leave a Reply!