Wednesday, October 28, 2015

High School Visits

Kenwood High School
Northeast High School

This Fall I talked to three Clarksville high schools.  While this was partly a recruiting effort, I approached it as a chance to talk about making a living as an artist. My lecture was titled “Art & Animation: Visual Storytelling” and was geared to appeal and inform a very general audience. So whether a student was interested in computer science or traditional art, they would find something inspiring to take away. After each visit, several students would approach after the presentation to talk further. Often they would share their own character designs and even personal animation. This is a good reminder that the technical hurdle (and obstacle of access) that I remember at that age no longer exists. These kids are already creating animations on their Nintendo DS, posting it to YouTube, and getting feedback from around the world. It’s a whole new game out there, and it’s always helpful to be reminded of that. 

Flyer at Northwest High School

Monday, October 26, 2015

Kung Fu Panda 3 Credit!

This is a nice surprise.  My old colleagues sent me this image today of the posted crew list for Panda 3 at DreamWorks.  The studio is always a little fuzzy on how long you need to spend on a movie before you're granted credit, so I wasn't sure if I'd make the cut or not.

It's always fun to see the credit list posted.  It's been a long haul for these folks, I believe I did my stint on Panda way back in early 2014.  That was two houses and one baby ago....just for some perspective.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Conference Panel at ETSU

Today I had a wonderful chance to speak at a panel as part of the iDMAa conference at Eastern State Tennessee University.  The panel was "Entrepreneurship and Professional Practice: What They Don't Teach You in School" - and was I believe a very valuable discussion.

Having just made the transition from the Professional World to Academics, I see the difference between the perceived job environment out there and the reality.  So it was a great chance to share some insights and give some pragmatic viewpoints.  I've always felt that schools are very concerned with teaching students how to get jobs, but not necessarily how to be great employees and keep those jobs.  One of the most helpful classes I had back in undergrad at UNL was a "Business of Theatre" class that William Kenyon, the lighting professor taught one semester.  It covered freelance strategies, taxes for artists, getting covered by insurance, contracts, etc.  Talking to others at this conference, I think a "professional practices" class is essential for any arts program in this day and age.

Conference web site:

I have to add that I was only able to attend because my amazing wife, Heather Abels, stayed home with our two sick kids that day.  You'll notice that her name is on the panel poster as well.  One of us had to cancel, and she graciously as bowed out so that I could attend.