Monday, August 28, 2017

New Semester + New Animation Lab + New Building!

There's a lot going on today!  It's the first day of class for the academic year, but more importantly it's our official start in the new Art + Design Building!  It's been a long time coming and it's been worth it - it's a damn fine looking building.  It's really exciting starting to see all the studio spaces get moved in, furniture in the hallways, and students starting to walk through.

What's been really exciting is in just the last several weeks, the decision was made to swap computer labs - so now the Animation Studio has the larger second floor room.  Lots of natural light, a large open space in the center of the room (for our mo-cap when it arrives), and tons of storage for all the fun animation tech we've been getting in all summer.


You can see it's a great space.  I love the setup.  Gone are projectors and instead students are clustered around HD TVs that will pick up the feed from the teachers station.  There's no bad seats, no one has to have their back to the screen.  There's still a lot to do with the room, and some more computers and tech we have to find homes for in the room.  But it's an amazing space and I'm very fortunate to get to teach in some an awesome space!

Friday, August 18, 2017

"Laughing Matters" Art Show

I'm excited to announce that this weekend my animation "Flexibly Indecisive" is going to be shown at the Studio Gallery at the 6th Street Playhouse as part of their 50th anniversary production of "You're A Good Man Charlie Brown."  The gallery show is called Laughing Matters and is with the Wine Country Arts Council.

What's fun is that the Charles M. Schulz Museum is in Santa Rosa (his hometown) and the Museum is helping celebrate with some special activities as well.  This includes an exhibit on the 50th anniversary that will also been shown in the Studio Gallery concurrently with the show.

This combines so many things I love - theater, comics, Charlie Brown, and art/animation - I'm very excited to be a part of it all!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Heather Plays The Game Of Thrones

Soooo excited to share some of the work Heather did for the Game Of Thrones episode this weekend!  We are huge fans - so it was unbelievably exciting to see not only her shots but her name in the credits as well.  Congrats Heather and all the Rodeo FX team!

Monday, August 7, 2017

FLASHBACK: PDI/DreamWorks Siggraph Interview

The annual Siggraph convention was this past week, and as I saw posts from lots of friends and former co-workers who were there I realized it has been 10 years since I last attended...

I'm often asked about how I got the job at DreamWorks.  Well it starts at Siggraph 2007 with one of my worst interviews ever. I had just graduated from the Academy of Art University that summer (literally turning in our thesis mere weeks before).  Heather stayed behind to keep working for a gig at Matte World Digital.  A bunch of us from the graduating class all planned to head down to San Diego and hit the convention floor - schmoozing with every recruiting booth we could manage.

Look at us - freshly graduated, slightly desperate, excited folks venturing forth into the "real world" for the first time.  They recruiting booths were busy and the convention floor hectic.  Luckily, I had a friend in Adam Ely who was already at PDI/DreamWorks in Redwood City.  He talked to one of the head recruiters, Debra O'Keefe, about me and I was able to get an interview during Siggraph.  DreamWorks wasn't officially taking reels/applications, but they had a giant interview suite built up on a balcony of the convention hall.

Excited and nervous I walk up to the interview suite and sign in - I even get a swag bag (with a shrek journal and Flushed Away dvd).  I was trying to become an effects artist at the time, so I interviewed with the FX Supe of Madagascar 2 along with one of the fx leads.  It was...a disaster.  The FX Supe - who would eventually turn out to sit behind me for about a year - liked to be blunt and kept asking about all the problems with my student reel.  For about half their questions I had no answer and admitted as much.  By the time I left (swag bag in hand) I called up Heather and just had to laugh.  "It was horrible" I told her on my cell phone from the second floor balcony, "There's no way I'm getting hired there"

About a month after Siggraph, I get a call that DreamWorks would like to do a followup interview at their PDI campus.  I'm beyond excited and terrified at the same time - I stayed up late the night before googling the answers (level-sets!) to everything I failed to answer in my first interview about effects work.  But I wasn't that nervous - I figured the interview couldn't go any worse than the first one.  So they day comes and I drive the hour south to Redwood City and arrive at the very silicon-valley style campus.  

I sit down for my interviews with Justin Onstine, Jono Gibbs, and Kevin Vassey (all who would eventually become my boss).  The first question comes from Justin who asks "So, why do you want to be a Crowds Artist?"

Crowds?  At no point did I realize this was an interview for crowds - I thought I was still going for an effects TD role.  Now crowds...I didn't even know there was a job just creating digital crowds.  And crowds work I knew - I had lucked into doing some crowds work for element fx, which led me to implementing crowds into our thesis.  I even wrote a MEL crowd script.  So I had a LOT of ideas and insight into crowds work.  It was a fantastic interview and within a week I was accepting a contract at PDI/DreamWorks.  

So you never know where life will take you.