random thoughts • coming attractions • euphoric visions • misc ephemera

life is getting real interesting lately, isn't it?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


I'm sitting down in the Student Volunteer office catching my breath with just a few minutes to try to blog some moments of my SIGGRAPH adventure. I thought I'd try doing this throughout the conference, but as a Team Leader shepherding SVs to their work venues I have almost no time to sit down to do this. It's been a fantastic experience overall, and I couldn't be happier doing what I am doing, which is facilitating the smooth flow of attendee traffic into the Computer Animation Festival and Electronic Theater events. And the incredible people I am meeting and having conversations with is making my head spin a bit.

The committee staff of the Student Volunteer program has gone to great pains to make the experience a rewarding one for the TLs as well as the SVs. We were treated to a tour of Dreamworks on Friday during the pre-conference period.

During our walk through this BEAUTIFUL campus-like environment I had a unique encounter.

We were being escorted through this plaza, and our tourguide said "Hi Scott!" to an employee walking by. I turned to look at him and said incredulously, "Scott? Scott Seiffert??" He looked at me and took five seconds to go from a look of "huh?" to a huge smile of recognition. You see, the last time I saw Scott was 23 years ago when we performed in a small musical in Santa Monica, CA. This was the same musical where I met wife Emilie (who played my wife in the show), and Scotty was at our wedding.

I was so taken aback by this random encounter I forgot to take a picture of the two of us there. I asked him what he was doing here, and he said he was working as a pitchman for Dreamworks. As he played the Jester to my King Mark in the musical, I could easily see him pitching the plot of the latest Shrek film, playing all the characters! And I told him of my getting started in my new career as a character animator. We were both astounded at this random and fun encounter. Hopefully I will catch up with him some more before I leave CA. More about my SIGGRAPH experience soon!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Heading into Round Three

Animation Mentor has delivered in a really big way. And I'm only in my third session.

Until you are working in a large production house like Pixar or Dreamworks, I doubt that there exists any other place where you can receive the over-the-shoulder guidance from as many top pros in the animation business as you do with this small online company. Every class has been illuminating, and something new has been learned with each exercise.

It isn't so much that they have some secret that no one else has. It's all out there in the many books by animator legends. It's simply that without the feedback and critical eye, you don't develop your own eye as fast as you might otherwise. In the short time I've been there, I know that I am seeing differently. I've had this reflected in the comments I am getting from TDs and producers who have viewed the progress. It's a good path, and a great followup to the excellent training I received at SVA.

Friends of mine who are not in the business have asked me why I felt I needed this training after my four years of college. I tell them that the college experience and class instruction was a thorough immersion in all the areas of our profession. We swam in some deep waters, and there was a level of intensity and energy surrounding all that we were taking in. And the totality of the experience certainly prepared you for any job in the field you were aiming for.

That said, there is a price to be paid for such complete exposure to every part of the animation pipeline. You don't get a lot of time to focus on any one thing and nurture it with your undivided attention. To really get animation into your bones and begin to see it and feel it, and force that 3D program to bend to your will and not the reverse, you need to make the time to practice, get feedback, and practice some more. That's what Animation Mentor is doing for me while I am working my day job as a commercial animator. Here's the latest compilation of my AM work, beginning with the latest project and working backwards: