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We are lost 'til we are found - Suffering From Elation
A Survivor's Tale
tania
tania
We are lost 'til we are found
Almost everyone I know has asked me at some point or another if I plan on going back into animation, and my answer has always been noncommittal because I've not been sure myself. Burnout from Disney put out the little pilot light of passion in me.

On the bus this morning a girl sat down next to me, opened a sketchbook and began working on storyboards. Plugged into my headphones, I watched from the corner of my eye. When curiosity finally overcame innate social awkwardness, I unplugged myself, apologised for interrupting and asked if she was studying animation.

Her name was Megan and as it turns out, she did a little of the degree at QCA until, like me, she skipped out early and pursued her career goals. Like me, she fell in with the bad boys at Liquid. Like me, she was one of a batch of staff fired a week before Christmas... oh Liquid, it's a tradition now? Shame on you.

She's been through a few studios (like any animator - the industry is not known for solid longterm work) and now works for Krome Studios, a video-game mob here in Brissie: http://www.kromestudios.com. They're working on some exciting projects including a Star Wars title for LucasArts (who are apparently touting the work of our Aussie concept artists as their own) and a Hellboy title.

Her work was dynamic and comic-influenced and we gabbled on about the Sydney Disney closure, the state of the 2D industry, the curriculum at QCA and our influences. After that, I just barely had time to scribble www.taniawalker.com in her sketchbook before my stop, and didn't get her last name or contact info. I hope she gets in touch.

I walked home from the Cultural Centre busway and I swear the air smelled different today, and the world looked fresh and clean, as though someone crept around in the night replacing the buildings with shiny fake replicas of themselves which were only MADE to look scuffed and worn, but had that innate sense newness still. This must mean autumn is coming.

Talking with Megan ignited that long-forgotten flame in my chest for just long enough for it cast light into my cobwebbed recesses of memory. Every smell in the air reminded me of being at college, walking to class and thinking determinedly about how I was going to Be Someone. Moments like this I still get that longing tug in my chest, an ache to return to art as a life and a living, and let my mind fall into the pages of a sketchbook, softly, like sliding into white satin sheets. And when it feels like that, the act of drawing becomes so focused and intense it's like making love...

Heh, but that's only in the romantic moments. When I say I loved working in animation, I really mean it: I loved it like the partner you love passionately even though they're not right for you. This partner and I had our fallings-out; I was young and impetuous, self-centred, prideful and needy; animation was great fun but inconsistent and stubborn, frustrating and noncommittal, with a tendancy to dump me on a regular basis.

Ye gods, that all sounds far too familiar. *cheeky grin*

Even if I wanted to go back to animation right now, I'm not financially or mentally stable enough. Besides, on a more practical front, my skillset isn't geared toward the game industry. One year's full-time study would get me there without issue, but practicalities and commonsense are holding me back. Everything in me is telling me to wait. The season is changing in the real world, and it's changing - slowly, but noticeably - in the animation industry too. When the time is right, I'll fall sweetly back into that slightly dysfunctional relationship, but animation and I will both have matured and mellowed, and the next time around - if there is a next time - it'll work.

Between you and me, dear readers, and only as of recently... that part sounds familiar too.

I can't change the world, or other people, but I can be patient and do other things with my life, and keep an eye on things, and maybe they will change on their own. This is the time in my life when I finally learn how to do one thing I was never any good at: I will learn how to wait.
12 have fought ~ fight the power!
Comments
(Deleted comment)
tania From: tania Date: February 15th, 2008 04:29 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh yeah, I haven't set foot in an animation studio for years, that'd REALLY set me off. I love your icon, by the way. Recursive raccoons!
From: pariahsdream Date: February 15th, 2008 12:22 am (UTC) (Link)
Certainly not exactly the same sentiments....but I get pangs of 'coulda/woulda/shoulda' when I hear about art classes and life drawing and the grand plans of those in art school. I didn't make it all the way through when I discovered that I was not and have never been good at competition.
But I definitely know what it feels like when you have that wistful feeling overcome your common sense.
justascream From: justascream Date: February 15th, 2008 01:41 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm just wondering...have you ever thought of attempting to gain a grant for a personal project? A couple weeks ago my college forced most of the art department's students to watch the work of/learn about/talk with Brent Green. He was a nutcase, seemed like he was tweaking 99% of the time, and his work was highly experimental animation. He started out getting a grant out of college because he needed the money, and didn't even realize he'd gotten one of the big ones here in the states until after the fact. Since then, he's been a repeated guest at Sundance Festival, and people pay for DVDs of his work regularly. Collectors actually shell out for unpublished versions as well.

It could never hurt, could it, to scope out the grants realm?
tania From: tania Date: February 15th, 2008 04:28 am (UTC) (Link)
I've thought about it, and though I enjoy my personal projects I'm not sure I have the pure motivation necessary to be an independent filmmaker. Also, my ideas are best by a longshot when I'm collaborating and tossing concepts around with other people - I just don't seem to have the mindset of an independent.

Every art college has one looney animation graduate who seriously 'made it' as an independent. In QLD ours was Max somethingorother... Brenner? I don't remember, but he'd been doing it for decades. In NSW Bernard Derriman was the guy; he also worked full-time at Disney whilst raking in awards and accolades for his films ("Everybody Has More Sex Than Me" was one of his!) and I never had any idea where he found the time or energy!
turbinerocks From: turbinerocks Date: February 15th, 2008 01:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Going into animation for video games seems like a far more reasonable proposition than for film or TV. I've been having contract work tossed at me for two years, and it's not letting up. Not as glamorous, and probably far more "grunt work" and squinting at 3d Max settings, but I love it, and it hasn't burned me out because I'm already a contractor and it's not my only source of income. I didn't have any practical schooling in 3d tools, I don't have any background in animation, I only know it because I wanted to make my own games and started tinkering, and eventually offers for projects started coming in. So you might not even need a year of study, honestly.
tania From: tania Date: February 15th, 2008 04:47 am (UTC) (Link)
3D doesn't have the pull for me that 2D does, though. I'm sure I could learn it and probably even wind up enjoying it, but that same drive just isn't there. :\
digitalis From: digitalis Date: February 15th, 2008 02:13 am (UTC) (Link)
Hey she's working on the same Star Wars game I did the DS version of! I saw some of the early builds. :D
All the exDisney guys talk about all the awesome things and movies they worked on and I pray to god one day that industry turns back around, and enough 3d bombs and it will, and I get to be a part of a film at some point, somewhere in my life.
Do you know any 3d? You should go for gaaaaaames. :D
tania From: tania Date: February 15th, 2008 04:24 am (UTC) (Link)
That's the prob, I know absolutely no 3D whatsoever. I could never get past my love of the brain-arm-pencil-paper connection to work in an area which seemed to me more like digital puppetry. Megan was saying that the technology is evolving and that some of the more advanced programs are more intuitive now, not so much about pulling dots around the screen, so maybe it's worth looking into?

It just worries me that on top of all the experience and skills I've already got - perfectly acceptable skills for a 2D animator - I'd need to go almost back to scratch to learn 3D, when 3D isn't even something I'm really into. (I'm not even that enamoured of the look of it, even Pixar's stuff!)

Rumor has it the industry is already turning around, and we know that the US Disney studio already rehired a bunch of 2D guys to work on Frog Princess. I'm hoping that film will be a hit... 2D could be ready to balloon out again, and if it does, I intend to be there.
fragile_alchemy From: fragile_alchemy Date: February 15th, 2008 02:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Sorry for such a random comment but what did Megan look like?
I think I know her as she too dropped out of the same animation course as me in the same year. She had incredibly awesome drawing skills and I think she had previously completed a QANTM course before going to QCA. Just wondering if it's the same person lol.
Every day I think about the animation course that I left behind and wonder what I'd be doing if I had chased my dream. Ah well.
Your drawings skills are neat, so it would be awesome if you got back into the animation industry, but as you said you have to feel like it's time to jump back in
tania From: tania Date: February 15th, 2008 04:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Taller than me, slim build, reddish hair, very precise way of speaking. Given that she mentioned QANTM while we were talking, I'd say she's the same one. :)
stardustshine From: stardustshine Date: February 15th, 2008 02:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think you're so far past the fannish stage that made you want to work at Disney (I don't mean that in any derogatory way whatsoever) that you will have trouble working on anyone else's stuff. :o/ You've always done best in the driver's seat, even when working with other people. It seems like it would be tough for you to go back to following someone else's direction, especially if it doesn't make sense to you or isn't the way you would do it.

Forgive me if I am totally off base. I know we are not as close as we used to be so I feel weird making these kinds of strong judgment statements without so much as a disclaimer!
alby_lion From: alby_lion Date: February 15th, 2008 06:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
Lost?



PHFOW (<--onomatopoeia)
12 have fought ~ fight the power!