Sunday, February 28, 2010


Since we're all friends here, I figure we can take a seat on the curb and start to talk about more important matters.  

I've sacrificed a lot to come out here to New York, to live my dream of working on a feature film.  But before that I gave up a lot even chasing this goal.  I spent more of my time in front of the computer than spending time with my loved ones.  Nevertheless, I still had her support, my dreams were her dreams.  Time went on and this became an obsession.  I animated day and night, neglecting our time together.  I did this for years, and sure enough it began to take a toll on our relationship.  

By the time I finally got the call from Blue Sky, our relationship was severely damaged, beyond repair.  I relocated from Seattle to NY, and it was no longer strong enough to survive the long distance.  I've been spending the last few months trying to resuscitate it, but it was too late.  So now I sit here, having reached this goal, and I've lost the person who meant the most to me in the process.

If I can pull my head together, I guess the lesson I have to learn here is to balance my life.  That it isn't all about career, relationships with the people in your life are all that matter.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Okay, this is looking pretty fantastic.  I've really connected with the work Dean Deblois and Chris Sanders have done in the past.  The animation is looking top notch, and to me Nico Marlet is one of the best designers in the industry.  His work blows me away every time.  Though I still wish the boy turned out more like the initial designs, younger and more appealing.  But whatever it probably won't bother me.  The shot where the main dragon brings his face to the boy's hand is so good! 

Monday, February 22, 2010

Let 'em Breathe

 One time an animator way better than me told me,  "Sometimes people ask me how I get my characters to feel like they're alive, and one of the things I do, is I let them breathe."

Simply obvious to most but I don't think I ever did this at AM.  Let your character breathe, even if it's subtle, even if it's not so evident in the dialogue, even if they didn't just finish running a marathon.  Let's try to find places to incorporate a sense of inhaling and exhaling.  Chest expansion, nostril flares, shape change on the lips,etc.  And it's more than just energy expenditure right?  Like the idea that someone might start to hyperventilate when they're nervous.  Play it in degress, appropriate to the action.  If I neglect to consider this in my initial blocking, I'll always make sure (and by "always", I mean I've done this one time, on my last shot, two weeks ago) ,  I'll make sure to do a "breath pass" before I get too far.

Here at Blue Sky, without singling out any one animator, I would hear that, "With His/Her scenes,  the characters are just...ALIVE!"   I would scour the animation tests that were being done for the characters before I came on board.  I picked out a simple dialogue test, and among other things, I noticed that the character's chest would expand and contract right where you'd expect, and I freaked out!  It was suuuper subtle too.  I was like, "Man I'm gonna do that!"  So I did!  I did exactly that on my shot.  Since it was all pantomime,  I blocked in the my acting, then went in and looked for opportunities to put in breaths.  Varied them up a little.  And when I showed the Anim. director my blocking,  he called it out!  Swear to God he's like,  " I like that breath he takes right there , that's good thinking."  Which felt pretty nice because I'm usually not too smart about these things.  This whole thinking thing.

It makes a world of difference, and people might not notice it but they'll feel it.  And it's one of those things that'll help you inject more life into your characters.


Friday, February 12, 2010


This afternoon I finally got my first shot in the move finaled! Woo-Hoo! Work-wife Joe Lee gave me this gift.

On a sadder note,  this week was JC Navarro's last week at Blue Sky.  As a tribute , some of the animators paid homage to JC on our giant mural wall. 

I get to come face-to-face with this everyday.  
Good luck JC!  Thanks for showing me around Blue Sky! 

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Caricature Show

Last Friday the animation dept. had a caricature show. 

Here are the ones that I did.


Who Organized the event!

Andrew Coats / Nathan Engelhardt

Galen Chu


Juan Carlos Navarro

Jim Bresnahan
Or House, take your pick.

Keith Paciello

Brian Menz

Robyn Powell

Scott Lemmer, aka Slem-dog Millionaire.

Stewart Shaw, circa Nov 2009

Thom Roberts

Ha!  And here were some done of me.
by workwife, Joe Lee.

by Andrew Coats.

Joe Lee by Matt Doble.

I'll end with some by Nick Bruno, who to clearly, this was a Caricature War.  These got the biggest laughs of the night.  And I'm sure everyone will be gunning for him at the revenge show.
Jeff Gabor by Nick Bruno.

Pete Paquette by Nick Bruno.

Brian Laron by Nick Bruno.