Wednesday, October 29, 2008

action scripting magic

This was my first foray into the mysterious land of action scripting. I was just trying to figure out how the coding worked for simple buttons. It took me forever to figure out, but here's the result. I think it's quite funny.

http://www.vanessaappleby.com/buttontest2.html

Monday, October 27, 2008

the ball is rolling...?

I didn't get hired at the jewelry store or Dick Blick. Bummer. I could've really used the money.

Despite my continuing lack of steady income, I have had some successes since I last wrote. I went to my first ASIFA open screening which can be read about here: http://asifaeast.wordpress.com/2008/10/27/asifas-open-screening/
I showed my senior film and it actually went over quite well. People laughed when they were supposed to! Hooray!

Being in New York was quite exciting. I really needed to leave the Valley for a while. I got to see some old friends from school, the Upright Citizens Brigade, and the Metropolitain Museum of Art (an old favorite). All very wonderful indeed. I can't believe how hilarious (and cheap!) the UCB was! I've got to go back there again.

As soon as I got off the bus back home, I threw my butt into my car and speeded over to Kutztown U for a lecture given by Tom Waburton-http://warburtonlabs.blogspot.com/

I was anticipating a small affair, but there were far more people than I expected. I wanted to show him some of my animation since he works at one of my dream studios, Curious Pictures. I wanted to get some feedback on how I might go about getting a job there (even if it's just removing coffee stains from desks or something). Unfortunately, despite the extended Q&A there were a lot of people who also decided they wanted to speak with him afterwards. I waited until the very end so that I could really talk with him and wouldn't interupt anyone's autograph signing. However, I got to ask him a few questions (although I wonder how succinct I was), and then the woman in charge of shutting down the auditorium kicked us out! Poo. Poo, Poo, Poo. He did tell me that if I drop by Curious I should ask for him at the desk. That sounds like a plan to me!

He, like Dave Levy, spoke of when he was first starting out, and he pounded the pavement checking out studios door to door. I mentioned that I was really nervous about doing that, but it's what ultimately landed him a job. He said some places would slam the door in my face, and some places would gladly find someone to check out my work even if they didn't have openings. I should really plan on doing this despite how invasive and terrifying it may seem to me. If it means paying work, I'm all there.

I start my internship on the 6th, and I'm very excited about that. I figured I'd make some pilgrimages to other studios around that time.

I completed my Soup2Nuts animation test, but haven't heard back from them either. I'm wondering if
A: did they get it in the mail?
B. did I do horribly?
C. do they just not have any openings and they're being lazy about telling me I did a swell job?

It makes me nervous. I was really hoping this would lead to some paying work.

Speaking of paying, it looks like my friend's parents may pay me to make a website for their business. Sounds good to me! I updated my website as well- http://www.vanessaappleby.com/

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Land Ahoy!

It finally looks as though I can see land from my sea of unemployment. I suppose I'm a preemptive worrier. I get worried that life if going to end when all I really have to do is wait it out a day or two. I forget that not everyone is currently unemployed and has the time to email me immediately. Oh well. I should remember this for the future.

The big news is that I was able to get in touch with Max Porter from Tiny Inventions www.tinyinventions.com. He offered me an intern position working on the next music video for They Might Be Giants. Although it's not a paying position (which is sorta a huge bummer since I'm almost broke), it's a project that I'm actually really excited about working on. I loved the last video they made for TMBG, and I'm sure this one will be equally awesome. It sounds as though it will be a collage of all different mediums: cut paper, After Effects, stop-motion, and 3d CGI. I'm really stoked about working in stop-motion again and hopefully learning more about After Effects. Not only is the project itself exciting, but finally getting my foot in the door at a New York studio is most exciting of all.

My hope is that I do well on the Soup2Nuts test (which I still haven't received in the mail thanks to Columbus Day...) and I can get some freelance paying work through them. It sounded like they do most of their work in the studio though, which I hope isn't a problem for me since I'm currently so far away from Boston.

I also applied to work at a local jewelry store which is owned and operated by an award winning jeweler. Everything in the store was made from precious stones (no synthetics!) and a lot of it was hand crafted there at the place. There was an $11,000 platinum and diamond necklace I was dying to own, but sadly, I'm sure I'll be dead before I could ever own it. I met with the owner, we talked jewelry for a while, and she seemed to like me. The position is for general help in the store ranging from sales to jewelry repairs. I have jewelry making experience, so I'm hoping that plays in my favor. It'd be a steady job, and it'd be in a creative setting. If I get it, I'm hoping to work on the TMBG video while earning bank at the diamond encrusted jewelry store and perhaps even doing stuff for Soup2Nuts at the same time. Certainly jewelry is unrelated to my field, but I've always loved it and what girl doesn't want to spend her day looking at diamonds???

I'm still twiddling my thumbs waiting for this animation test. I think I should take it before I start contacting anyone else about employment. With that said, I believe I'll spend my day cleaning the fence and going to the gym.

Friday, October 10, 2008

A Wee Bit of Progress...

So I may have finally come across a small glimmer of success in the sea of dissapointments I've been experiencing lately. Looks like I have an animation test being sent my way from Soup2Nuts. Hooray! Finally! Let's hope this works out well for me. I can't bare the thought of getting a job at the mall. It's degrading. I filled out a bunch of stupid applications yesterday and realized that I appear grossly overqualified for retail jobs.


In other news, the quest to get fellow 2d character animators to converse with me via email is still going miserably. I heard back from one person so far, and they gave me a helpful tip or two, but never responded to my second email. As for everyone else, I can't say I've heard a word. Is this normal or am I doing something horribly wrong? It's really hard to tell. I get familiar with their work, ask them questions about themselves, drop the reference names, and send them a link to my reel asking for nothing more than advice. According to the How To Survive and Thrive, Your Career in Animation by Dave Levy, I seem to be doing this all right. It's a pretty simple formula, yet it's proving ineffective for me. I wish I knew why so I could change it to better suit my needs.

Perhaps the key is calling people and trying to weasel in an appointment in person? That method seems a bit invasive though, and last time I called a studio looking for a specific person they weren't even there. It's quite hard to get in touch with animators I'm finding. Maybe I really do have the worst timing in the world. It sure seems that way sometimes.

This just about sums it up:


In other totally unrelated news, I am so sore from the aerobics class from hell that I can barely walk! Getting up or down from a chair or step is excruciating. I think I'll spend my day on the computer so I don't have to get up. Ha.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Technical Education and a Rotoscoping Experiment

So yesterday in a panic-stricken fit, I realized I needed to learn WAY more about After Effects than I already know. I pulled out the tutorial that Guillaume sent me about working with the filmstrip format, and I ended up rotoscoping for the first time. I found some of my old video projects from sophmore year and worked on a little chunk of Senan and me playing patty cake. I did run into some snags however. Despite what the tutorial said, filmstrips do not automatically save transparencies. You have to select your drawings and add them to the preexisting alpha channel (you can't even create a new one!!). This drove me bananans. Despite hours of searching online, I couldn't figure out what to do about it. Every filmstrip layer is exported with a white background unless it's been manually alpha channeled out by hand. BOGUS if you ask me.

Anyway, this is what happened:


video

Ta-Da! I kinda like it. I've got to figure out more of what After Effects is capable of. Once I have an idea of what tools I'm working with, I'll get more ideas for projects as a result. I really wish I took that After Effects class when that guy who was totally awesome taught it. Too bad stinky ol' Dennis took it over after one semester... I need some technical education...

Monday, October 6, 2008

In the beginning...

I've blogged all over the internet since I was a tweenager, but now it's time I've graduated to my very own big kids blog.



I spent the last year of my life working on my senior film, Rise and Shine Recycle Time which you can see here:


http://www.vanessaappleby.com/rise%20and%20shine.html


I submitted it to the Ottawa International Animation Festival, Chicago Children's Festival, and the Animation Block Party. I didn't get into a one of them. Perhaps I was shooting for the stars with these, but I was quite discouraged. I haven't even looked into sending it to another fest since then. If nothing else, submission fees ripped a hole in my pocket. I dropped about $85 on fees and I my work didn't even get screened. For someone in the throws of post college poverty, $85 is a small fortune. My professor said I should keep trying, and he's probably right. I suppose I just need the right encouragement. My prospects for employment (or should I say, lack there of) and the rejection of my film has made me feel like I should probably go back to the drawing board.



And so I did.



I'm in the midst of creating a new personal film about a fat woman on a trampoline and the subsequent havok it causes in her surrounding area. I haven't completely boarded it out, because frankly, I haven't been able to decide how it should end. I'm completely open to suggestions from anyone who reads this.



So far I've animated the opening sequence which contains these first 7 shots:


video

I also animated a cycle of this little dog bouncing off the shaking ground caused by her impacts. The backgrounds are temporary at the moment. I just wanted to see how it would look with the panning and the camera shaking.

video

Needless to say, the damage caused in cut away scenes needs to grow as her jumping increases. I figured I should start small, probably with that dog I showed, then perhaps move in this order-


1. flowers in a garden getting uprooted. flowers like this -->

2. a baby breastfeeding. the boob flies up in the air and hits the kid in the face when it starts crying. I want to make this an infinite loop.

3. a team of professional badminton players (whom may be instrumental in the fatty's demise)

4. killer whales in their tanks at sea world

5. houses cracking and jumping off their foundations

6. earthquake on the news and shots of people picketing claiming the end of the world

If any of these don't sound potentially funny, alert me, immediately. keep me from wasting my time. Also, feel free to suggest something else. Actually, don't feel free. You're OBLIGATED to give me suggestions. I want to hear them!!!