A Room with A View

This prompt comes from The Daily Post’s Writing 101 June Challenge, which I will be doing a couple of just to get comfortable blogging.

With so many of my closest friends far away, I feel pangs of guilt when I think back to all of the wasted opportunities we’d had when we all lived so close to one another in undergrad. We took advantage of it–don’t get me wrong–but now I realize just what we had. Even then, I thought I understood, I felt that I had been keenly aware that I needed to treasure those times, and I did…and I do…but now, I think I truly understand just how special and irreplaceable that time was. However, the dorm was just a dorm.

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Running

For the first time in forever I went running today. It wasn’t much, honestly–just fifteen minutes–but it was something. Embarrassingly, my legs were on fire. I used to be in good shape…way back in high school. In college, I swam a lot, which I love it because you don’t feel yourself sweating. Now, I’m pretty slim, but I’m not fit or healthy. Just lucky. I want my body to be strong again.

Thirty minutes three times a week is what I’m aiming for. I already feel gross from the commute home, so what’s another half hour tacked on? In between those running days, I have to figure out something with the rest of me. Arms, legs, butt, abs…I miss my pre-grad school body. 😛

One of my cousins runs marathons for fun (which sounds like death so kudos), so I’ll have to pick her brain. I’m pretty sure I don’t even run correctly. Literally taking this one step at a time..

Building Up Steam

After years of avoiding it, I finally caved in and got myself a Steam account. Rampant sexism in gaming culture, graduate school classes, and not having the money always dissuaded me from motivating myself. There were and are plenty of games I’ve missed out on that I’d like to play (i.e. Assassin’s Creed, Epic Mickey, The Last of Us, etc.) but, as I stated, did not have the means for.

The concept of ownership over digital content is also something I think a lot about. I know that my copy of Borderlands 2 is mine. I can download it onto both my father’s PC, my laptop, and my PC, and play my files, and, as my friend cheerfully texted: “It’s all on the cloud!” Steam of course isn’t the first platform to go the all digital route, and clearly it isn’t disappearing any time soon. Yet my content is dependent on this service. Even though it’s mine, it relies on something that is completely out of my control. In the same way that once my last VCR gives in, all of my Disney VHS tapes will be obsolete to me, as they are not longer supported in the industry.

The newest one, the formatting war regarding 4K, is similar to when Blu-ray battled and won against HD DVD’s, where I’m sure there will be consumers who picked the wrong side. This isn’t the same issue as content ownership, but the idea of the choices being made without the consumer’s consent is off-putting for me. Though that’s the natural progression of things, I dislike it. Maybe that’s why boardgames are especially nice. You purchase it, and you have the box and its content, and you own it–you tangibly hold it and you can play it as many times and you never need to worry about a third party supporting it. I remember having a discussion with some of the executives at Focus Features about this as well… I was interning there when the UltraViolet cloud-based system was introduced. I’ll have to do a more thorough post on this topic in the future.

All I really wanted to say in this post was that I got a Steam account! I’ve finally got a functioning computer, a spot of cash, some time, and thus, a renewed interest. All during last semester, while taking a game design class, I’d wanted to play more, but I could never justify taking the time when my schoolwork was sitting there glaring at me. But, damn, there are just so many gorgeous games. I’m particularly excited to play games by Supergiant Games. Really, I’m a sucker for any RPG that has great a good story and stylization.

I managed to acquire a number of impressive indies from a Humble Bundle I’d purchased ages ago, and I splurged and bought Borderlands 2. When I first started grad school, I remember in week one that that game was one of the first things I asked people about. I love the style/shading/lookdev/whatever you wish to call it. And I have a friend who lives far away who will play with me! I’m excited to get back into gaming, and for that to not mean me hooking up my SNES, N64, or PS2 (not that I won’t do that too..). It’s sort of a small goal of mine this month to try to work gaming into my routine as a wind-down. Same with posting here more often.

Fred Seibert

Through my internship/junior membership at the Producers Guild of America (PGA), I’ve had a number of incredible opportunities. One I’d like to write about was a recent talk given by Fred Seibert, an animation producer and owner of Frederator studios, and moderated by long-time friend and industry giant Herb Scannell, who is currently the president of BBC Worldwide North America and former president of Nickelodeon. This event was part of the PGA’s New Media Council’s ‘Spark! The Conversation’ series.

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Fred Seibert is a titan. On the official Frederator site, he gives a very good breakdown of what he himself has dubbed the five different lives he’s lead thus far, so I won’t redundantly give his backstory. A charismatic and gifted orator, it was entertaining to hear him tell his own story. His conversation was peppered with perfectly timed pauses, sideways glances to friend Herb, and a running jokes about his, to quote my friend Josh, “passionate ego-obsession.”

Though many of my non-animation major friends have not necessarily heard of him, or even Frederator, they’ve certainly heard this sound bite, and know the work that’s been put out. Titles include The Fairly Oddparents, ChalkZone, Fanboy & Chum Chum, My Life as a Teenage Robot, the recently kickstarted Bee and Puppycat, YouTube sensation Bravest Warriors, and golden child Adventure Time. He was one of the earliest in the business to jump on the teen/young adult wagon (MTV Networks), and more recently his ventures on the Internet (namely YouTube).

While Herb was president of Nickelodeon, he greenlit some of the channel’s most famous cartoons (Ren and Stimpy, Hey Arnold, Doug, Rugrats, The Fairly Oddparents, SpongeBob SquarePants, and even Dora the Explorer). His full bio can be found on the BBC’s site.

I figure I will share some of the notes I felt compelled to jot down throughout the evening:
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Overdue

For almost six years, I have longed to become a much more proficient writer. Similarly, it is one of my goals to become what many would consider a valid, valuable, and respected voice in the field of animation and computer graphics.
Day after day, year after year, I talked myself out of doing something as simple as starting a blog, not feeling secure with putting myself out into the Internet, nor confident that my opinions would ever carry any weight in the future.

It makes me uncomfortable, and that’s why I need to try.