Back to School


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.


November 2017

Most Novembers start out really fantastically for me as my birthday is the first of the month. I’m not a big birthday person–just some lowkey quality time is all I need.

The celebration for me started on Halloween though. And started…with doctors appointments. Once that was out of the way, the bf and I drove up to Bear Mountain and walked around by the riverside and visited the on-site museums–things we’ve never done despite frequenting that area. After, we got ramen at a new restaurant that opened downtown before going to the final meeting of the podcasting class I’d been attending at the library. We had a fun Halloween-themed meeting before bidding each other goodbye and heading home.

On the first, I had to go to work. Which was fine–my team actually surprised me with a cake, which was so, so sweet of them. At lunch, they had a screening of the new Studio Ponoc film (distributed by GKids) Mary and the Witch’s Flower. That evening, the bf and I popped over to Cosi for some sandwiches and I rewatched one of my faves, Whisper of the Heart. Some day he’ll stay awake through that film….but this year was not his year.

Speaking of films, this month was decent. Saw the new Thor, which was basically a funnier, more colorful version of the first Thor, Justice League, and saw the Jane Goodall doc, Jane, which was fantastic. Ron Diamond visited work and presented his 19th annual Animation Show of Shows, which is always a delight. Including Mary, Blue Sky screened a number of other GKids releases this month, including Birdboy: The Forgotten Children and The Breadwinner. We also had a Q&A and presentation from the director Nora, as well as a presentation from the man whose job it is to localize the Studio Ponoc (and formerly Ghibli) films. I’ll eventually be writing about all of this over on Animation Complex. I also saw Coco, which I enjoyed a lot, and Loving Vincent. I revisited a few films this month too, that I hadn’t seen in years, like Enchanted and Meet the Robinsons, which still both hold up so well.

Work had been absolutely mental up until right before Thanksgiving, and now we are in the quiet period while waiting for the next steps from the powers that be. A decent amount of OT was worked, which makes shopping for Christmas a little less stressful. This entire year just snuck up on me, so I know Christmas will too.

Thanksgiving did, but it was made much more palatable (especially compared to last years post-election fun : P ) thanks to a couple of friends who joined my family for the holiday.

That’s sort of it to be honest. Bunch a movies and Thanksgiving. The bf and I did take a second trip to Bear Mountain, as the first time we went the zoo was closed, so we got to see the foxes as per our now annual tradition.


Some Summer Experiences I Still Need to Experience

Dang. It’s already mid-August. How? HOW!?
There are still a few things left to do this summer before it ends and the creeping cold of autumn starts to sneak in. Summer technically doesn’t end until the 22nd of September, so I do have some time. And I actually already recently accomplished 2 3 of 7 things on here, as I’ve had this list in drafts since July. 😛 So here are some end of summer experiences I still need to experience:

Continue reading “Some Summer Experiences I Still Need to Experience”