Last time I posted was three weeks ago. On the Tuesday following the weekend of my last post, the tragedy in America happened. In Australian time, it took place late Thursday night, while I was out drinking and carousing with some mates from work. You know, it was one of the best nights I'd had in months. I got home, semi-smashed, and collapsed into bed smelling of other people's cigarette smoke and thinking what a BLAST it had been to FINALLY have something else in my life besides work and long nights at home alone.
Woke up the next morning, showered the smoke away, got ready and was just about to walk out the door when I thought to turn the radio on for my pet rats (I don't like leaving them all alone with NO entertainment all day). That's when I heard the news on the radio... almost couldn't believe it at first. I sank down onto the edge of my bed and listened to the whole story (by this point, Australian time, all three planes had hit and both towers had collapsed), and then called my dad on his mobile, being more than a little in shock. After talking to him, it took about twenty minutes for the shock to set in. By this stage stage I was walking to the train station, and I suddenly couldn't breathe, so I leaned against a tree. I cried on and off the rest of the day, especially just after I arrived at work and found my American friend Matt sitting in the lunchroom watching CNN with tears in his eyes.
My period started the same day, which I think may have been brought on by the shock. I dunno. But from that point on until last Friday (21st) I was in one of the biggest blue funks of my entire life. I mean it... I always thought I wasn't the type to get depressed. Ohhhh how wrong was I. I've never been so down in my entire life. It wasn' just the disaster; in fact that was just a small part of it. The other factors were that work was treating us worse and worse, I was starting to wonder how much longer I could take it, I was suddenly really down on myself and my appearence even though I've LOST weight lately, and I'd started falling in love with a person who couldn't have been more wrong. :(
The work thing reached a peak on Friday when, for most of the day, I was SURE I was going to quit. I have never come closer in my life. But the weekend was a little relaxing, which helped, and when I turned up at work on Monday things had changed. Mike Viner and Mike Chevaz had come back from America with news of possible future work for Liquid Animation, which means we may all get to keep our jobs. Furthermore, the bosses had a meeting with all the heads of departments at Liquid, who told them very honestly just how angry most of the staff were getting. As a result, on Tuesday (yesterday), at 3pm, the Viners took us all down to the local pub and set up an unlimited bar tab for us for the day. I had five vodka and oranges before I left to walk into the City with Matt, and once I'd parted ways with Matt and gone onto O'Malley's (the Irish pub in the City) I had four more, which ended up meaning I had nine vodkas in the space of six hours. I was MAGGOTED, lemme tell ya. My previous limit was, I think, five drinks in one night. Fortunately this all allowed me to confirm my suspicion that I do indeed hold my drink extremely well. Smashed as I was (I had to catch a taxi home 'cos I didn't trust myself to walk in a straight line from the train station to my home), I fell into bed that night, and woke up this morning absolutely fine, without even a headache to show for it. Although I've had a bit of a rusty voice all day, but that's partially because of all the secondhand smoke I inadvertently inhaled. ;P
The best thing about all this was that of the nine drinks I had, I paid for one. Yep, one. Five bucks. I had nine vodkas and paid a total of five bucks. The first five were on Geoff Viner's bar tab, I bought myself the 6th in O'Malleys, some black guy tried to crack onto me by buying me a seventh, Steve then rescued me, and then Jason and Cam from work both bought me one each.
I seriously doubt that, at any time in the rest of my life will such a fortunate set of circumstances come together to result in me having a great night out for so little money. :)
OK, so WHY did I get so maggoted? Those of you who know me know I'm generally a pretty conservative drinker. Well, here's the story.
It was about Matt, a wonderful guy I worked with up until yesterday; the aforementioned ex-American. He has a wife and six kids. He's been in animation for ten years; before that he did the following jobs: cleaner, logger, miner, commercial fisherman, private in the US Army, and he wrote, illustrated and had published a beautiful childrens book. He's an amazing person, with drive and determination that more than rivals my own. He's also incredibly talented and just plain nice. Matt's patience is his stand-out feature: you know how some patient people are patient in the respect that they just let people walk all over them without retaliating? And then other people, like me, are totally impatient and retaliate? Well, Matt is in a third class: he'll let someone tell him off, order him around and so on, and he'll sit there and patiently nod and let 'em do it, but when they're done, he'll just continue on with things how he thinks they should be done. He won't loose his temper and retaliate, but he also won't let himself be abused or trodden on. His brand of wisdom, patience and warmth was what helped me get through that tough time at work more than anything else.
*sighs* Yes, as you all must have worked out, I carry a bit of a flame for him. But I'm a smart girl and a very moral one to boot; I know enough not to let on about it, or worse yet, act on it. So I admired from a distance. His stint with Liquid ended; yesterday was his last day. We walked into Brisbane together and talked the whole way (it's an hour-long walk from work; he got me into that form of excercise, too), and when we reached Queen Street Mall and the bridge, my way was in the Queen Street Mall to O'Malley's, and his was across the bridge to the place he's staying (he's travelling home on Thursday to his family, in Melbourne. He says if Liquid offers him more work - and they'd be crazy not to, he's insanely talented - he'll come back to QLD to live and bring his family with him). He said, "Well, here's where our ways part." I told him what a pleasure it had been working for me. He gave he a hug and kissed me on the forehead and said, "You'll see me again." I nodded, said goodbye in a too-shaky voice, and he walked away. As he was crossing the bridge and I was waiting at the lights, I watched after him, and he turned back and waved. I raised a hand, then he turned and kept going, and that was the last of it.
So. I was a little upset that night. I loved him as a friend, too, and it hurts when a friend leaves. But I believe what he said, we'll work together again someday, because I know I'm going places and so does he - and he always manages to get himself into the best places in the industry to be. If Liquid pulls through with some of the proposals offered to them in the US, we may meet again sooner than we both think. Who knows?
Anyhow, my mood was somewhat lifted that night when I overheard the conversation of two guys who walked past me - one of them said to the other, "She's a pretty girl". My ex-boyfriend always said I looked prettiest when I'm sad. :P Wonderful... Maybe THAT'S why guys were buying me drinks all night. ;P
Onto brighter things, though. Horst, our producer at work, has colored my main Urban Furz character designs for me and they look wonderful. I gave him written, detailed instructions on how to color each character, and he did it in photoshop, and the original result was almost perfect - I had to have him make Rosco lighter orange and his hair a bit brighter red; swap the eye colors on Tabs and Art, make Healer a darker shade of brown, and unfortunately Artie had to be almost entirely re-colored. It's tough to color a character who has no fashion sense and wears awful colors without making him really LOOK awful. If that makes any sense...
Unfortunately I won't be posting any Urban Furz stuff onto the net from now on. A couple of people at work who've produced their own series have told me to keep a very close grip on my character designs; apparently I'm really onto something. Matt asked me if anyone had ever told me my characters looked too similar to existing characters, or if anyone had ever accused me of copying. I was surprised, and said yes - I used to have a HELL of a trouble with stuff like that. He told me not to worry about it; he said the more professional my designs are, the more people will compare them to other existing cartoons. He said the designs I have now for the UF characters will need very little changing from now on; I may refine my style a little, but that's all.
So I've been extra-critical with myself in regards to storyline now, instead. I've just mentally re-written the pilot and written out all the archaeological aspects of the storyline. Looking at my proposal for the show I realised I had two distinct main ideas in the one show, and I would be better off splitting the two ideas and using one for Urban Furz, and one for a seperate show. I've done so, and I'm amazed at how quickly the new format and storyline has fallen into place for the show - always a good sign, 'cos it means I'm on the right track.
Whew! Aside from my own personal stuff, other great news has gone down at Liquid too. As mentioned above, our bosses have now realised they were pushing us perhaps a tad too far, and they're being nice to us for a change. And the stuff that is possibly going to be offered to us to work on over the next few months looks FANTASTIC!
From Disney: A second season of the Proud Family. Apparently the pilot ep debuted on the Disney channel in the US last friday night at 7:30 pm (a fantastic timeslot for the show!) and the ratings were THROUGH THE ROOF!! If you're reading this, and you're American, look out for the following Proud episodes on Friday nights from now on:
"The Tiger Whisperer"
"Don't Leave Home Without It"
"I Love You, Penny Proud"
They're the three eps my studio has completed so far (well, we're still working on the third, but we're almost there) and we have a fourth, though I don't know the name of it yet.
Also from Disney: Some very UN-Disney style cartoons, apparently more in the vein of Cartoon Network type stuff. Should b interesting. Nice to see Disney diversifying - diversity is the key to survival.
From Cartoon Network: Some possible work on "PowerPuff Girls" and some pilot eps for new series they're developing.
From Warner Bros: THE BEST STUFF!!!! OK, get this: They're a short way off green-lighting another live action / animation blend feature film, like Who Framed Roger Rabbit, or the ill-fated SpaceJam, but apparently it ACTUALLY HAS A GOOD SCRIPT!! And we're in line to get some of the animation. WAY. COOL.
But wait, more cool stuff from Warner Bros! You know the old Looney Tunes cartoons, the seven minute ones that were prevalent in the 40's and 50's? Stuff like "Duck Season, Wabbit Season" and "What's Opera Doc?" Well, Warner Bros is going back into making those short-subject Looney Tunes cartoons, only they've updated the humor and character designs for modern day audiences! (Don't worry, we all think it's sacrilege to change the original Looney Tunes designs too much, Mike told us all they've done is given the characters thick-and-thin outlines and made small changes like removing the whiskers from Bugs and so on. Apparently most of the characters look even better this way.) When Mike Chevaz and Mike Viner were in their conference with the Warner Bros executives, they were shown a promo for this new Looney Tunes series, and they said they were just blown away by the quality of it. In the promo they saw, Elmer Fudd was done up like The Crocodile Hunter (*shudder*) and Taz was his target. Well, anything that takes the p*ss outta that idiot Steve Irwin is fantastic in my books! ;) So yeah, apparently this project is almost guaranteed to be green-lighted by Warner Bros, and if so, we're going to get some eps to do!
The OTHER cool thing from WB was a possible feature film based on "Duck Dodgers and the 24th and a half Century"!! :D I almost died of joy, I tell ya. As much of a Disney chick as I've been known to be, I have a deep, abiding love for those old WB cartoons. To work on some would be a dream come true.
And there were a few other studios with proposals for us, too, among which was some work on the Adam Sandler animated feature film. I can't remember any of the others, because I'm just too taken with the idea of possibly working on Bugs and Daffy - the very heart of animation! For us animators, it'd be similar to how an actor would feel getting to work with Tom Hanks or someone, y'know?
BTW, I organised a work trip to the movies last Thursday night to see Atlantis, and was VERY disappointed with the film, as was EVERYONE else who came to see it with me. I mean, we're animators, we're pretty picky, but I'll bet even a layman could recognise the SHOCKINGLY BAD animation in the last third of the film. Things like held cels, bad character acting, bad cleanup, even bad inbetweening! The film started out wonderfully, but it just disintergrated halfway thorugh! We all got the impression it was somewhat of a rush job. Well, Disney, that's what ya get for laying off 4000 animators, ya big rich bastards. :P
That said, if Liquid has to let a lot of their staff go at the end of October and they haven't offered us jobs again by January, I'll prolly apply to Disney in Sydney. Matt (who is ex-Disney, having done inbetweening, animation and layouts there) says I shouldn't have a problem getting accepted into their training program if I apply again now. I for one know I've learned heaps from Liquid. My linework is some of the best in the place, and although I'm just about the newest inbetweener there, my work is already better than some of the others. Getting there... getting there...
My main goal used to be to work for Disney, possibly as a director, but not anymore. I want to work mostly for myself in the end, and more than anything I want to create my own series.
*stretches* Well, that was heinously long again, and my back hurts, so that's all from me! :)