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Feb 11, 2012


Hopefully I'll expand on this more later, but for now I'd like to jot down a few thoughts from this evening.

Got an invite from Peter Paul (Wildbrain Entertainment storyboard artist currently working on the How to Train Your Dragon TV show) last night on Facebook to come to Cal State Fullerton's Pencil Mileage Club gallery show, check out the work by students/staff/alumni, and finally meet him in person. He's a real personality, I didn't expect him to be such a lighthearted comedian/easygoing professional. He made both me and Alena at ease and even introduced us to a large group of professional storyboard artists (2 of them working on Nickelodeon's Kung Fu Panda show, and one girl just starting work at Dreamworks) and current students at the school.

Met a guy who is interning on Nickelodeon's Korra show (still no official date announced as to when it's airing!!), he's basically a PA but still he gets to network with all those people and watch them work on that goddamn brilliant show. He told me that they're "very serious" about their work there. And also he got to watch all the animatics for season one and he's halfway through reading the scripts for season two. UGHHHHH SO. Jealous. >:| But he's also chill and laid back and totally not squeeing like I've come to realize I do, and that's something I need to learn. Face these people who work on these shows and not immediately embarrass myself for all time by throwing myself at them and going, PLEASE SIGN MY NAPKIN or something equally ludicrous. I have to remember that squeeing and fangirling is for fans, and professionals must act professional, especially if they are just starting out like me.

After I got home around 11:45pm (btw, getting to the show at 8:30pm and not leaving until around 3 hours later is amazing, since I was only planning on going in and out and staying for only, like, an hour tops), I was thinking very seriously about how much life has changed for me ever since I started being a more social artist. Just thinking and wishing about being an artist is what I did for many months after I graduated AFI and found myself no longer wishing to be a Cinematographer, and I languished during that time. My health deteriorated, I started getting panic attacks, I was depressed a lot about life and all the big mistakes and all the bad choices I'd made leading up to the 26 years I'd attained at the time.

Well, I'm 27 now, and shortly after getting that old I decided to take a more firm stance on the whole business. I said to myself, "I will really pursue this now. I've learned as much as I can about the business from books and stalking professionals online and reading their blogs and everything like that, and now is the time for me to take action." Those are really strong words, but I feel like the action I've taken so far has faithfully risen to the challenge. Since I've turned 27 I've gone to the Drawing Club twice, I've gone to my first Sketchcrawl, I've met and friended professional storyboard artists working in companies that I'd love to work for, and I've taken two board tests (one for Family Guy, one for How to Train Your Dragon very recently... I learned a hell of a lot just from taking those two tests; maybe I'll go into more detail about them later). And now for the first time I've gone to a gallery show and actually networked--for REALSIES--in person and face to face, with all kinds of people who are also staking their lives in the always exciting, ever colorful world of animation.

This is the point of my entry for tonight, and it's taken me long enough to get here. I'll stop shortly after this and, like I said earlier, might have more to say later after I've gotten some sleep and am no longer teetering on the edge of consciousness. Anyway: in this business like in so many others, networking is extremely crucial in helping you learn the business. Especially if you're just starting out, like I am, even though I am 27 years old. Networking means going to as many events as you can find and then finding everyone who's had a foot in the door for, well, longer than you, and then just starting up a conversation with those people. Asking them what they think about their work. Generating interest in your own goings-on when they fire the question right back at you. Getting to understand the thought process of people who really are veterans, even if they've only been working for a year. Especially in storyboarding, where deadlines are always tight, communication is the key that unlocks all doors (even the ones you didn't know existed), and the sheer drawing mileage you get from drawing 500-2,000 panels per scene, every time you get a scene... well. I think you grow up very fast in the animation industry, at least that's what I'm gathering from the tidbits I've gathered up so far. You grow up fast, you sink or you swim, and you keep a blog to document the process.

At least, that's what I'm hoping to do with this blog. I hope this entry and others that I'll think to do in the future will help those searching for answers to certain questions about the animation industry, particularly ones about how to get in, and then stay in. I'd like to find that out myself. And I'll write down my thoughts as I go along.

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Kevin Lam said...

Neat post! The ironic thing about artists needing to network is that a lot of them can be reallly timid (not excluding me). Just another hurdle!

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