Summer!

Heya!

It has been ages since I last posted! Almost a year has gone by and I can’t believe it! I need to get better at writing more frequently since even my emails are falling behind yet again. Ok let’s get updated!

The last year has been a big adventure in the beautiful city of Vancouver! Seeing mountains from my apartment is one of the many delights for me. And the lack of snow is a big seller too. It’s swapped for rain but I have to say I prefer visiting snow than shoveling it! The other big part of the last year was working on Smurfs. What a blast that was! I learned so much working with them it blew me away. It was challenging and rewarding all at the same time which made it fun to go to work. Worked with a great group of people and I look forward to working with them again one day. Made some great friends and was impressed with work being done. I can’t wait to see it with an audience and see their reactions to the movie! It’s still crazy to me that my work will be on the big screen so I will have to deal with that when it comes on!

Now summer has hit again and another Siggraph is almost upon us! It’s in Vancouver this year which is exciting. I have some friends coming in and staying with me for it so it’s cool to play host. It’s going to be a crazy time and I can’t wait! I haven’t seen some people for a year so it will be great to catch up. Siggraph is always a whirlwind week with great talks and parties so what’s not to look forward to!

Now off to make hay while the sun shines!

~Spilly

Spilly Goes West

Heya!

It has been awhile since I have posted but I swear it was for a good reason! I was holding off on posting about it but I can wait no longer! I am joining the team at Sony Imageworks Canada! Woot! I get to make my start as an animator with a great company! In Vancouver no less! This has been one whirlwind of a time and am grateful for everything. It’s hard to believe that all the hard work and waiting has paid off. Now I just have to bring whatever awesome I can muster in a studio! It is going to be one heck of an adventure and I can’t wait to begin!

Vancouver has been pretty so far that I have been out here. Everything is a lot faster paced and packed tighter than at home but it’s certainly a welcomed change of pace. There are a lot of great places within walking distance of my apartment so I definitely will be more mobile. Still lots to get used to but it’s going to be fun! In a few days will be off to Siggraph so that will be another whirlwind in itself! Can’t wait to see everyone and celebrate the various awesome goings on! I am so excited for everything I can barely function! There are about a million things I have let fall by the wayside and eventually I will get caught up on it all. But first, adventure time!

Cheers!

~Spilly

In with the new!

Heya!

Long time no post! I can’t believe its April already! Time is flying faster than usual it seems. It feels like only yesterday that I was down in San Francisco having a grand time with my friends. Now spring is here and promises of better days. I have decided to change the look of the blog to celebrate a new phase in my life. My birthday was this weekend and leading up to it I had a period of reflection. I have begun the process of cutting away with the dead weight in my life and focusing on the essence of my bliss. So what better way to start than to brighten things up a little!

One big moment in the last few months was watching Dreamworks’ latest movie How To Train Your Dragon. It is amazing! If you haven’t seen it go now and watch it! In 3D if you can! The movie has so many fantastic moments in it that really raise the bar for entertaining movie experiences. The relationship between Hiccup and Toothless was done amazingly well and I tip my hat off to the animators that really pushed their performances. Definitely raised the bar on personal expectations for sure! Being a huge dork for dragons, wizards, and magic, it totally captivated my imagination. Is it wrong to want your own Nightfury? I don’t think so. I am excited to see the other animated movies that are slated for this year. Not only are there a good selection of them, it’s fantastic to see that the industry is going strong and the audiences are loving it. Even with the recession taking a toll on the studios it’s fantastic to see that stories will continue to be told!

Another big thing has been happening as of late. It’s more exciting and humbling to me more than it is to anyone. Animation Mentor has been using the diva from my Mommie Dearest shot that made it into the student showcase in adverts for the tips & tricks blog! It completely floors me each time I see it! I never thought they would use her for adverts because I thought it was “too dark and moody” and not as appealing as other selections. So imagine my surprise when I come across it on Bobby Beck’s blog! My geeking out spread to facebook where others told me it was on cartoon brew and cgsociety. Being away from the shot for so long, I can start to see why she has impact. The lighting that Rachel Ito did totally sells the idea beyond anything I could have hoped for. It’s interesting to look at it and see the essence of what I was going for as opposed to inner rants about what I didn’t accomplish. Having that fresh perspective on the whole project, I have a new sense of respect for my achievement. A year after I finish it I am actually happy with it! I was relaying this to my sister who had to deal with my ramblings the other night. She reminded me that almost no one thought I should do the piece, herself included, because “it’s two women yelling all the time and how can you make that have pathos?” It was an uphill battle most of the time, but as it turns out she has been my favourite character to animate! And to see her getting attention is just icing on the cake for me!

On a final note, I want to leave you with some food for thought. Since I have been taking stock of my life and making changes, there has been a lot of moments where it was hard to come to terms with the issue at hand. The main thing to remember is when dealing with them, if they don’t fit who you are and what you want people to remember you as, then it needs to go. Look at it, understand what purpose it served, appreciate what it did for you – good or bad, then put it in a box, and let it go. We are shaped by what we experience and are defined by how we handle what comes. It’s far too easy to get lost in the details of struggles but the focus must be on maintaining what happiness we can find in the battle. That has become my focus now. Life is too short to lose sight of what makes you happy.

Joy is everywhere, you just have to look!

~Spilly

2010?!

Heya and Happy New Year!

I can’t believe how fast time is flying lately! Seems like yesterday was the turn of the new year and decade! Hope that your holidays were enjoyable, relaxing and that 2010 is treating you well!

Where has January gone?! This month has just flown by. It’s amazing how much happened and how it all felt like a couple hours. The biggest moment that happened this month was my trip to San Francisco. It was brilliant! On the whole it was just fun, friends and little sleep! Leading up to it, spent a couple long, sleepless nights trying to iron out some big kinks in the new shot. I decided to put it on so that I had something new to show. It turned out better than expected but less than I hope for. Surprise surprise! It’s got a ways to go still and the whole piece in itself (1:17 in total!) will take awhile to complete. Still debating if I will polish more then move to a new shot or go for the whole kit and kaboodle. Yay debating! It’s up in the current project section like I promised it would be.

The trip was a blast! The flights were good even with the extra security measures in Canada. I basically slept all the way down since I was up for almost 30 hours for the early departure. I stayed in hotels with a good friend of mine and it was nice to have that change of pace. One of our rooms was massive and could easily hold a dozen people and still feel empty! Digressing here. It was fantastic to see my friends again in person! We conglomerated as often as we could just to rock the time to its fullest! One day had the AM job fair and the next two more classes graduated to join the rest of us alumni. It was awesome meeting new people at both events and running into familiar faces. Finally got to meet a few friends for the first time in person! It’s almost surreal talking to them a couple feet away when all you have seen is their shoulders and head on a webcam for a couple years. Also ran into some people who I either peer buddied or alumni tutored which was neat. Getting compliments and thanks for the help I was able to give was surreal. My humble opinions, rants, and rambles helped far more than I thought they would! I am so glad I can give back to animators and will keep doing so as long as I can. Got my fingers crossed that something will come from this job fair. One day they will realize they need a laughing Canadian and I am just the laugh for the job!

Grad was more good times! Got to help out as a volunteer and chat with some of the grads before the ceremony started. Seeing their nervous, excited faces reminded me of my grad. I wish them luck in their adventures and will hopefully work with them in the future! The ceremony was well done as always. The founders Shawn, Bobby, and Carlos always try to outdo the previous ceremony’s entrance, and they did a great job this time. Carlos was a Na’vi from Avatar and Shawn and Bobby were ninjas who battled. They had stunt doubles do the fight and they did a great job of it. Their battle was cool and at the same time the animator in me would be geeking out over how they moved at times. The rest of the ceremony was great and there were a few speeches and presenters that brought the house down. One student was so overwhelmed that he had troubles speaking which was endearing. A couple mentors shook up how the intro for their award went. One reworded a Dire Straights song to be more AM and another dressed as a monk and used his voice over talents to make the Biggest Personality in Live Q&A award special. You’d have to see it because my words don’t do them justice!

The rest of my time there was spent hanging out with friends. It was a nice break from everything to just relax with great company. Before I go on, I have to mention this neat 50’s diner that was next to our hotel. It was a cool environment and the food was good. I can’t remember the name of it to save my life, but if you are on the corner of Powell and Sutter you will see what I am talking about. One night we went to a good friend’s apartment and we got wrapped up in the new Mario Brothers game for the Wii. After a long night, six hours or so I think it was, we ended up beating the game! After the cheering died and the photos were snapped, we realized how tired we were! My friend that was sharing the hotel with me departed a couple hours later. Was sad to see him go. Spent the next couple days with a friend to just chill and wind down after the craziness. A group of friends and I went to Muir Woods the next day. It had been raining so luck had it that it had cleared out enough that we could go and not get dumped on. The woods were amazing! The redwoods look big in photos, but they feel like giants in person. It was so calm and peaceful. We had a couple photographers in the group and they were taking advantage of the scenery to make some fantastic photos. It was a little dark due to the overcast sky, but the moss on the trees looked like it was glowing. It was an amazing experience. On the way out, we passed through the Bohemian Grove. This prompted me to start quietly singing Bohemian Rhapsody which quickly caught on with a friend. We ended up creating an impromptu sing along! We were singing away while wandering out of the park. He always wanted us to go karaoke, so it ended up finding us in the woods! Queen will always be the theme of the trip!

After the woods, the sun was going down. We ended up going to Muir Overlook by Muir Beach to watch the sun set. The overlook was breath-taking. It is almost indescribable in words. I was stunned into silence just soaking in the cliffs, ocean splashing on the rocks below and birds effortlessly floating in the wind. It was so beautiful I didn’t want to leave. Many photos were taken of the scenery and of each other. Just utterly amazing place. Was the perfect way to end the day. It even called for a group hug. We toured back through SF on the way back and ended with supper and Avatar. That was easily one of the best days I’ve ever had. That overlook is ingrained into my mind and is my happy spot when I meditate.

Sadly, had to come back home. I was tempted a couple times to stay and live in my friend’s closet. This was the first time that the feeling was so overwhelming. Animation may be a passion of mine, but the people who come along with it are what makes it worth it. I’ve made some life long friends and it’s getting harder saying good-bye to them. One day we will all live together in a big house and it will be awesome! It will be the Golden Girls-like house of animators! Since returning, just trying to get caught up at work and get more animating done. My body is still on SF time which doesn’t help when its two hours ahead here! One day it will straighten out or I will just have to go back!

I’ve rambled on far longer than I thought I would be! Have a great continuance of the new year, live, love, laugh, and randomly burst into song! Let those close to you know what they mean to you and never stop moving forward!

Follow your bliss!

~Spilly

Fun Times In Dec!

Heya!

Early Happy Holidays! Christmas is sneaking up fast! Before you know it we will be welcoming in 2010! It’s insane!

Before I get rambling, go see The Princess and the Frog. Like now. Come back after you’ve seen it. No really, go.

Now that you’re back, wasn’t I right?! It was amazing! So glad to see that Disney got the magic back up on the screen. If they keep doing their thing we will see even more magic from them. They know how to do villians.  Dr. Facilier was fantastic! Loved how he rolled the cards in his hand and how he moved! He was just oozing character on the screen. Don’t even get me started on the shadows! They were utterly amazing. Period. The other character I loved was Charlotte. They captured her bundle of energy brilliantly and had me in stitches several times. I have a thing for side characters cause they, like the villains, tend to be fleshed out more and have to hit you with their personalities on frame one so that they are instantly recognizable. Hilarious! Other moment that had me gone was Louis’ flashback! I want to see it again! Let’s go now!

Part of what made it so awesome was going with animators. I found out that there are two AMers in Saskatoon! Of course I had to spark a get together to see this. Sadly, another AMer from not far away couldn’t make it, so it was just the three of us. It was fantastic to meet them and I had a blast with them! After the movie we went for drinks to talk about the movie and animation. It was so great being around animators that I cannot wait till Jan when I go down to grad and hang out with my other animator friends. We definitely need to meet more! I swear there isn’t enough hours in a night to talk shop and other geeking out with other animators. Y’all should try it sometime!

Like mentioned, I am heading down again. You know what that means – new shot! I am trying hard to channel my inner animation guru and bring forth something spectacular. The channel lines are kinda clogged so I am working hard at getting them cleared so that something happens. I haven’t posted yet what it looks like in layout because it’s far too rough. Hopefully I will have something up in the next week or so. I am a sucker for a longer piece! lol. Got a month basically till I go so there is going to be some insane hours pulled to make this work. I looked back at what my reel was a year ago and I am pleased to see the progress that I have made. It’s always good to see where you came from to get an idea where you are going. Here’s hoping it turns out to a fraction of what I want! Keep you posted on it!

If I don’t get another post up soon, I will say it now. Happy Holidays, Happy New Year and may you and yours have a merry, restful and joyous time!

~Spilly

November Rush

Heya

It’s been awhile again! I can’t believe how bad I am getting at updating! I need more exciting things to happen so that I can blog all the time haha. Things have been pretty much on par for the last couple months. Not much deviations from the normal pace. Excitement does loom however! I am heading back down in January for AM’s grad and job fair weekend! I can’t wait to be down there again and see my friends again. Every six months isn’t cutting it anymore. I want us all to live in a house like the Golden Girls! We can share our crazy antics while having iced tea on the lanai. I think it would be brilliantly fun. So for one short weekend I need to absorb as much as I can to last me the next six months! Unless a job comes through. Then I can be closer to them potentially depending on where it is. I just want a Golden Girl house of working animators. Is that so much to ask?!😉

So in preparation of this weekend, I have decided to work on a new shot. It’s a longer, emotionally charged two character dialogue piece. It’s just one of those animations that needs to get out of my system. Nothing like challenging your skills while you are working out some inner demons through art. Hopefully soon I will be able to post something of it soon. I’ve been going through very sporadic phases of working on it and now that I have a deadline I need to settle in for the long haul. I have enough stubbornness to get it done, I just need to gather my huxpah to get it done. I got a pretty good support group that’s in need for me to get more done to show them so that’s always good. Pressure can be a good thing if you view it that way! I got to rise to the occasion and show what I am capable of! Time is ticking!

Have you seen where I put my talent? Must have left it in my other coat…

~Spilly

August Madness

Heya

So it seems insomnia has been kind enough to come visit me again. Exactly what I needed after the craziness that has been this month so far. Heck the last month as well. It’s unfortunate I can’t turn my mind off and get sleep cause I really enjoy it! The poor thing has a ton of stuff whirling through it, both good and bad, and just needs a rest. So in an attempt to settle it, I figured writing a new post might help get things done and dealt with! Off we go!

I shall run this like a compliment sandwich – start good, throw in the bad and then end on a good note. First we will talk about my last post. The student showcase. It still makes me smile that I made it. It was something that I hoped would happen but didn’t ever expect it to. So to randomly come across my work in it makes me happy. I haven’t developed a swelled ego or anything from it. I tend to tear myself and my work apart seeing how I can do it better and faster the next time I sit down to animate. Seeing it rendered and brilliantly lighted causes me to look at it with fresh eyes and make me realize that I am not that bad lol. Also it has opened the door for more comments from people about my work. There has been a lot, both praise and criticism, and I love it. I like to hear what people think, what they like, how they process, and their ideas that come from it. It’s been an interesting and fascinating process and experience and I am still blown away that I get to live it.

With all good comes the bad. My hard drive just up and quit on me on Sunday. I just wanted to spend my rainy Sunday trying to get done some freelance work I am doing for a friend and the blasted thing wouldn’t fire up. Now this isn’t the first hard drive to die on me. Every computer I had a friend build for me has had a hard drive become crispy. Four dead hard drives and I still haven’t learned that I should back up every night or have a raid running. So that adds to the frustration. So I have a temp drive in there and trying to rebuild what I lost on the freelance and speed along on it. Now my external hard drive that I back up on decided to burp after eating a few files and tells me that I lost more than I think. The drive is apparently fine but I discover that the wrong folders were backed up. Gone are two animations I did. Well one completely and the second I have up to half completion – right before I did a big rework on it then finished it. So for the last month I was a moron and thought I was fine. Tough pill to swallow let me tell you. So now I have to be a non moron and do things right. Then if I am a good boy and get this freelance done before I have a meltdown I can start my new shot! Thank goodness I properly backed it up and only lost one character’s designed outfit file. I have the technology, I can rebuild it! Faster! Better!

Other good news I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to blog. In July I went down to SF! It was a blast! It was an AM Extravaganza weekend! The job fair, graduation and bbq were all held in one weekend! Of course I couldn’t miss that – being around animators is massively exciting for me! A friend of mine was kind enough to let me and another friend stay with her so that was super awesome. We actually had flights that landed within ten minutes of each other which was super easy to plan around. We got to hang out with some of our fantastic friends each day we were there so there was little time for sleep, just the way it should be! So the Friday was the job fair which had an open house at AM before that. Got to see some familiar faces there as well as new ones. Very cool to run into people I had either peer buddied or alumni tutored from the graduating class. Quite the family! The job fair was packed but I love it that way. You get to run into people and talk with people waiting in line with you. What better way to meet fellow alumni?! Had a couple good chats with studios which made my day and just had a really good time. Afterwards a group of us went out for supper and watched Ice Age 3. Great movie! I was surrounded by some temp animators on it so it was great to get to see their work on the big screen! One of them is a good friend of mine and she requested to sit next to me cause she knew I was going to die laughing in certain spots. Of course I obliged because for some reason my laugh is almost famous lol. And I didn’t disappoint. I was shrieking on the edge of my seat a couple times. What can I say, I love Scrat! Saturday was grad. Unfortunately it was a full house so I couldn’t sneak in as a volunteer. Instead we met up with a friend and a working former classmate of his. It was fun wandering about SF looking for a restaurant and talking shop. We also toured the Samurai Exhibition at the Asian Museum! It blows me away the details they put onto everything. So amazing! What still amazes me is the sword blades they had in a display case. They were several hundred years old but they were still sharp and looked brand new. Wow. We then met up with the animators for the grad after party. We ended up changing venues cause it was too packed. Much better for talking and good times were had by all. Few hours of shut eye and then the bbq! It was a blast as usual. Too many animators and not enough time to talk to everyone!  The weather was nice and you just wanted to freeze time so that you could get the most out of it. I can’t wait till I can be around everyone again cause even though we didn’t get to talk a whole lot, we had a ton of fun! One of these days I will buy a camera so I can take a slough of pictures and not have to rely on others! Caught supper and drinks with a smaller crew, napped, caught flight and slept all the way home. In a heartbeat I would do it all again!

So there it is in a sort of nutshell. I was true to the ramble urge and went into the trip a little more than needed lol. I got excited reliving it as I was typing and just babbled away! It served its purpose, I am getting sleepy and the stress is lessened on my mind. I have a bunch of things worrying me, but thinking of the good times eases it! Conclusion – animators make everything better! Someday I will have my Golden Girls house that are all animators and oi vey the good times! We shall gather our iced teas and adjourn to the lanai and just talk about anything at all. Picture it.

“All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me… You may not realize it when it happens, but a  kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” ~Walt Disney

~Spilly