random thoughts • coming attractions • euphoric visions • misc ephemera

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

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Meet You At Irving Thalberg's Place...

And so begins Siggraph 2012, for the Student Volunteer Subcommittee that is. We convened at the Sony Pictures lot in Culver City, thanks to our SV Committee chair, Mikki Rose, who works as a Cloth and Hair TD at Sony Animation. We held our "sync" meeting inside the Irving Thalberg building (and you can feel the ghosts!). Lots of posters from legendary Hollywood films on display, as well as a lobby festooned with Oscars. One small feature caught my eye. I think the window frames in the conference room we met in had to be the originals, as they had these long metal spacer bars with notches cut into them that are used to size the opening of the windows. Nice piece of the past to keep alive and active. Subtly connective.

The purpose of this gathering is to choose the Team Leaders for the upcoming conference, and begin to give shape to the SV program. We worked all through the day going over applications, and finally arriving at our selection of 22 excellent people for Team Leaders.

This time is also for the six of us to get to know each other better. Bonding time for this group of talented people: Mikki Rose, Eugene Harng, Christine Holmes, Carlin Yuen, Grace Arenas Strittmater, and me. We have been enjoying some great restaurant time, with an Argentinian breakfast to start. Carlin was taking pictures of our meals, later making the comment "I’ve always thought that being a food critic would be the best job. You’d just run around saying “I like your food!” “I don’t like your food”.

Later we had lunch in the Sony Pictures commissary, but alas, no celebrity sightings. Lots of people posing as if they were celebrities though, lol.  Mikki toured us through the backlot and I was struck with the dissonant disconnect as we walked past buildings all named after Hollywood legends like Thalberg and Astaire while passing the soundstages for "Wheel of Fortune" and "Jeopardy".

In the evening, we gathered at Mikki's home, where we met her dog Kizmet and continued some of the SVSC work on getting our online systems in shape, as well as being introduced to a card game called Set. We now know Christine Holmes is not to be messed with. She's killer at this game. It's now Saturday, and we will continue our discussions at Disneyland, and a final repast at the Blue Bayou. Yo ho!

Monday, January 9, 2012


Wow, it's the New Year, 2012, and with it comes new resolutions and resolve. At the top of my list is to not let this blog collect as much dust as it did since the last post! It's not as if I didn't have anything to blog about. So a little playing catch-up is in order. Highlights of the latter half of 2011 include...

... working as a Team Leader in the Student Volunteer program at Siggraph in Vancouver Canada last August! What a gorgeous city and setting for the convention. This was my fifth outing in the SV program, and I made a splash early on with my contribution to the creation of the TL Intro Video. I choreographed and assisted with the direction onsite of our version of "The Office Lip Dub". If you watched the season 7 opener of "The Office", you'll know what I'm talking about. If not, well, just take a look at our take on it here: The SV OFFICE LIP DUB  P.S. what you will see was done in ONE TAKE with no cuts!!!

I've been working fairly regularly at Launch in mid-town Manhattan, and I am enjoying the company of my animator friends in the Pit as we produce a never-ending slate of previs commercials for test marketing. We use Motion Builder which is quite a different animal from Maya, and it's fun to get to know how to handle motion capture data. It's also fun to see one of our efforts selected for full production, such as a recent Bud commercial for the Superbowl, always a good sign that we're on target with our output. Here's a link to their website, with some examples of the type of work we produce: LAUNCH

They finally aired the two episodes that I worked on for Nickelodeon's "Team Umizoomi" made at Curious Pictures during the fall of 2010. This is a popular show geared for a very young audience. I got to work with Maya for the first time in a production environment, and animated several characters in these two specials. The style is extremely simplistic, and the main challenge was the shear number of shots that needed to be output. It was just me and the lead animator for these two half hour specials. Here's a link to a short compilation of the shots I worked on: Team Umizoomi Shots.

The last bit of exciting news from 2011 is that I was selected to serve on the six-person Student Volunteer Subcommittee for Siggraph 2012! It is quite an honor, and I've been hard at work already, keeping the Facebook page for the SVs full of exciting news, contests, videos, and more. I can use that as some of my excuse for neglecting THIS blog. Here's the link where you can catch up on all that we are jabbering about the SV program: Siggraph 2012 Student Volunteers on Facebook.

So that's it. When I am not in the NYC at work, I am working hard at home on new animation clips for my demo reel, and I hope to have some WIPs to share here in a bit. In the meantime, I hope to hear from all of you and do some serious catching up. Cheers!