November 3, 2004

About Me Part I: The Early Years

I hope I don't come off too egotistical in this. But I thought before I get too much further with this blog I should introduce myself and explain my experience with animation so far. Kinda lay it all out on the table and go on from there. Also, I never read blog entrees that are too long, just a few paragraphs tend to be my limit. I’m sure there’s more people out there like me. So instead of one big long entry, I’m going to write it in sections:

I first became interested in animation when I saw the Monster Cat in Monty Python’s Flying Circus. As a kid, I was into the cartoons that they showed on television. Like other kids some of my favorites were the Warner Brothers and Hanna Barbera cartoons. But it wasn’t until I saw Monty Python that I started to think that I could make animation myself. Up tell that point animation was just something you saw on television, Monty Python made me think I could be an animator. There was a freshness to it and it was so surreal that truly anything could happen. Not to mention that it was funny as hell.

Later on I went to a screening on “The International Tourney of Animation”. My pour Mother had to drive me into town and then she had to sit through the show twice as I refused to move. I couldn’t believe what I saw. Unlike the shows I was used to seeing on television, each cartoon was vastly different then the other. Some were good, some were bad but each of them had their own style. I can’t remember what year it was, but it was the year that the film “Balance” came out. It was after that show that I decided that this was definitely the direction I wanted to go.

My parents were great at encouraging my interests. We lived in Trenton New Jersey at the time. It wasn’t like we lived near any major film studios or knew anything about film making. The first thing they did was look in all the local community colleges to see if any of them listed animation classes. The only class they could find was one on computer graphics with some animation in it. This was at Mercer County Community College. The college also offered life drawing. So my parents signed me up for both classes. This was while I was still in High School, they thought it be a good idea to get a jump at college.

The other thing we did was we got our hands on a directory of animation studios. We wrote a nice letter asking them what school most of their employees came from. We sent out a lot of letters, but we only got three back. All three mentioned CalArts, but one also mentioned Sheridan and the other mentioned Evergreen. So I applied to all three. Sheridan told me that they could only accept Canadians before they accept any Americans, and they usually fill up on Canadians so my chances of getting in were slim to none. Evergreen gave me a full scholarship, but it was for a major in film with a minor in animation.

Last, CalArts accepted. I think they accepted because I had both life drawing and CG in my portfolio. A major studio had just donated a bunch of computers to their studio and I think they were looking for students that would fill them. Little did they know, my experience at Mercer had completely soiled my taste for computer graphics. I wanted nothing to do with computer animation, and I swore off computers after leaving Mercer. My problem with computer graphics was that it was not expressive enough. It was too technical so I thought there was no way that computers would ever be able to do the expressive animation that you could do with a pencil. Not that I could draw very well mind you, this is just the way I felt. So I went to CalArts not to do computer animation, but to learn real animation.

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