Thursday, December 20, 2012

December 2012 Artist Update

Today is December 20, 2012. Life has not turned out the way I had hoped. I remember waking up at 4am because that was the only time I could use the recording lab to put together a project I was working on for an audio productions class at the California College of the Arts and Crafts now known as California College of the Arts CCA in Oakland California. I was highly motivated and fueled with ambition to reach my career goal of making lots of money and having lots of friends and respect as a great film director. I remember back then when I was 22 years old with long hair, a leather jacket and keys dangling from my hip. I'd ride my motorcycle to my internship City Centra Digital in the pouring rain just to answer phones. Then on a nice clear Saturday I would meet with the other interns and the our production director David Moragne would teach us how to make movies. He told us about composition, lighting, and the logic and theory behind Hollywood Style narrative film making. Then I would spend hours in film appreciation class where I would watch movie after movie, and fall asleep as the professor Marc Lassur would lecture on and on about stuff that I could not understand with his thick french accent. I remember all the frustrations with needing help in each class. Having a learning disability, I had tutors and I never would have been able to graduate college if it weren't for there help. After all that struggle, I still never found a job where I could put my degree to use. I worked at Blockbuster for a year. Then I got into adrenaline. I think it was to cope with the depression. I got really into motocross and motorcycle racing. I lived in a fantasy world where I thought it was realistic to pursue a career as a world champion motorcycle racer. I watched videos of my favorite riders and attended races at Sears Point now known as the Infineon Raceway in Sonoma California, and Laguna Seca in Monterrey. I drove out to Southern California to race at Madera, and took classes with Keith Code and his road racing school. I raced at Buttonwillow with the American Federation of Motorcyclists and the Snarlsport Racing Team. Then I broke my elbow, and the doctor told me I'll never have full range of motion again. That put the fear in me and made me realize I'm not invincible. Since then I've had upper back and shoulder pain. The accident made an impact on me and since then I've had all sorts of physical limitations as to what activities I can participate in. This year I tried dragon boating, but my shoulder injury limited me from being able to enjoy that sport. Now days I occasionally walk and work out lightly at a gym twice a week. That's about all I can do. It was really hard being knocked off my hopes of being a motorcyclist for a living. I wasn't sure why I was alive. I got help and decided to pursue a career as a 3D animator at the Academy of Art University. I've always enjoyed drawing. In high school art was my best subject. Since I completed all my academic courses at CCA, all I had to take was studio classes. Ruban De Anza taught me about light and shadow and how to render with charcoal. Shawn Featherstone and Mesha Klein taught me principles of animation and character animation. Jason Patnode taught me how to use Maya, a 3D animaiton program to animate characters that were provided by the school. I worked hard in the lab and had tutors teach me how the program worked and to refine my work until it was at a quality that would make me eligible for hire. I worked with Linda Bell, the animator that brought life into Yoda in the Star Wars Movies to refine my demo real; polishing each piece until she was ready for me to start applying for jobs. I applied at Lucas Arts, Pixar and Massive Black, and out of all, only Pixar was nice enough to send me a rejection letter telling me that I don't have the skill set that they are looking for at this time. I kept working on it, but at some point I lost all hope. I think it was around the time my student version of Maya expired, and I started making money as a caricaturist. It wasn't a lot, but it felt good; like the universe was saying "Hey! This is what you're supposed to do! You're good at this!" So I've just been doing that at parties ever since. Still..It's not what I originally intended and that is the moral of my true life story. That life throws curve balls at you. It's not fair. You can try your hardest and still you may not succeed, but as long as you're breathing..As long as there is life in you, you can still contribute something to this world. It might not be as glamorous as being a 3D animator for Pixar, or winning races on a motorcycle, but there might be someone like an elderly person who would not be able to eat without you taking the time to deliver a meal from Meals On Wheels. There might be a smile you can bring to a child at a birthday party by drawing a simple cartoon portrait. Consider all of your gifts and talents no matter how unrecognized they might be and you'll find some simple way to matter in this world. Stay positive my faithful Stanimation Fans! Remember, it's not so much about what you take from your experiences in this life, but how much you can love and give to others. That is the ultimate Buddah. Peace, Stan