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.