Tuesday, February 28, 2006

My Very Own Office

Got this new job... got my own office. This drawing of me in my office is a little unfair, because I actually have a computer, a desk, and a phone. This isn't exactly how my new office looks, but it's exactly how it feels. The rest of my department is down the hall to the right. Sometimes I can hear them laughing or working on stuff. By the time I get there the laughing is already gone. So it's pretty much just me... sitting quietly in my office. I don't have a key card yet, so my access to the building is limited. If I go to the bathroom, I get locked out in the hall, so I have to borrow someone else's key card if I use the restroom. It's like asking your 3rd grade teacher for a hall pass, but somehow even more demeaning. Yesterday I got my hands on some paper and a pencil shortly after lunch. That was like getting a promotion... and on my very first day! I have my own office. It's quiet and flourescently lit.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

4 Points!

Last month Kobe Bryant scored 81 points in a game. Then last night, I scored four. I'm not saying I'm as good as Kobe Bryant, but you can't argue with stats. In last night's game I was 2 of 3 from the field, had one assist, and hauled in an impressive three rebounds. If only I was available for fantasy teams. There were no photographers at the game, so I did this quick sketch of what my layup probably looked like. I don't remember actually touching the rim, but a point's a point. And I had FOUR of them! We lost.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Chubby Scout

Last night while warming up for a basketball game, I saw a stout little character sprint across the court... though I am taking liberties referring to his fast paced waddle as a "sprint." His frizzy hair stood tall in a Kramer-ish way, and he was wearing a scout uniform.

Was he running across the court on a dare? Or was it already time again for his bi-annual, 30-foot jog? Maybe it was his intense love of basketball dragging his unwilling body around the gym. Whatever the case, it was surreal, and he made such a fine character that I knew he would be the subject of today's blog post. Fat, little Kramer scout... you're an inspiration to me.

I wonder if his troop ever goes on camp outs. The bears in that forest better have coolers handy, because there's gonna be leftovers.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Self Portrait

I needed to post a picture of myself so I could link it to my profile. From now on, any comment I leave on a blog will be accompanied by this eerie adaptation of me. So get used to it!

Toon Club

A few of my animation buds and I just started a new blog: Toon Club. Every Monday we're going to assign a new character or subject to draw or paint or whatever. Then during the week we'll all post our own versions of... whatever it is. It should be fun. The link to it is at the top of my "Links" list in the right column of this blog. So don't forget to visit our Toon Club occasionally as part of your internet browsing routine.

Our first subject is Oswald the Lucky Rabbit... Walt Disney's original cartoon character that he lost the rights to before creating Mickey Mouse. Disney just got Oswald back from NBC/Universal last week in a trade for Monday Night Football commentator, Al Michaels. I wonder how Al feels about being traded for an 80-year-old cartoon rabbit. Probably no worse than Oswald, who was once so close to fame, and is now so very far.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Disney & Me

This is my last week at my current job. As of next Monday, I will officially be on the Disney payroll... a Disney artist?! Who would have thought? Ever since I can remember I've been sketching Disney characters (or at least tracing them from my coloring books), watching and re-watching their movies hundreds of times, and spending every extra cent I've ever been able to afford on vacations to their parks. And now I'm a week away from being a Disney cast member! I'm going to be working for the same company that employs Jiminy Cricket, and that is cool!

The last few years at Feature Films for Families have been good. I've been able to work with some of the best friends I've ever had, and my drawing skill has improved a ton (still needs about a million more tons). For a long time, though, I've felt like I don't have the sensibilities needed to work here. As a storyboarder and writer, I tend to lean toward sarcasm and other things that Family Films doesn't want. It's frustrating that what I consider some of my biggest strengths in story telling are frequently considered weaknesses around here. My style of humor isn't inappropriate - it's just not what this place is looking for.

Next Monday I start at Avalanche Software - a video game company Disney owns. I'll be doing storyboards and hopefully some design stuff on the video games that are based on Disney's upcoming animated films. So, no - technically I'm not going to be a Disney artist, but I will be working with Disney characters for Disney, so it's close enough that I'm claiming "Disney artist." And I'll still be storyboarding, so I'm excited. Maybe this new job will eventually serve as a kind of spring board for me to get into storyboarding for films. Even if it doesn't, though, it's a huge step up for me.

It's funny because a month ago I wasn't much of a Disney fan any more. Then they bought Pixar, put John Lasseter in charge, changed their creative direction, and my feelings completely changed almost over night. In a week I'll be working for them... me and Jiminy Cricket. It's been quite a turn around. I'm going to Disney World!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Koalas Aren't Bears

Why do we call them koala bears? It's not a bear - it's a marsupial. Bears don't have pouches! It is also important to note that koalas mainly eat leaves from eucalyptus trees while real bears eat kids.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Bears Love Kids

Bears love kids like I love donuts... a tasty snack to keep them going until dinner. I used to think that bears would be fun to wrestle and play with. I was greatly misled by Baloo and Humphrey. Then I realized that news reports of wild bears wrestling children were far less frequent than reports of wild bears eating campers or scratching off their faces. I bet I could still assemble a large group of children who would gladly try to wrestle a bear if given the chance. I wonder if donuts dream of playing with me. Dream on, silly donuts.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Wo is Oscar

Do you remember when the Academy Awards used to nominate and award movies you'd seen? I do. I used to like watching the Oscars to find out who the winners were. But considering this year's "Best Picture" nominations, all I can think is... who cares?

In past years, movies like Titanic, Forrest Gump, and the last Lord of the Rings film all won Best Picture Oscars. Based on their average box office returns, it's clear that pretty much everyone saw these films. They averaged $435 million each in their U.S. releases. The average box office gross for this year's five nominated films is a miserable $37 million. I'm not saying that movies need to make a ton of money to be considered good. But with this year's Oscars, I assume most people are thinking the same thing I am: "Who cares?" If they want anyone to watch or care about the Oscars, or to grant the winners of Oscars any esteem, it's time to get back to nominating movies that people see... at least for one or two of the nominations.

So to sum up... Go, Seahawks!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Groundhog Day

What a glorious day! Today the world received further revelation from the great groundhog prophet, Punxsutawney Phil. Thanks to this particular rodent's underwhelmingly impressive ability to observe his own shadow, we should expect 6 more weeks of winter. Five weeks maybe? No - six. The future's already been foretold. Please, don't question Phil.

I decided to look into the history of this "holiday," hoping to find a morsel of sense in this great heap of madness. That bit of sense came from an 1841 journal entry written by James Morris, a Pennsylvania storekeeper. He wrote, "Last Tuesday, the 2nd, was Candlemas day, the day on which, according to the Germans, the Groundhog peeps out of his winter quarters and if he sees his shadow he pops back for another six weeks nap, but if the day be cloudy he remains out, as the weather is to be moderate."

Did you catch the phrase that cleared up my confusion in this matter? "According to the Germans." There it is. I'm surprised I didn't consider that. Normally when I find myself wondering, "Why would anyone think that?" or "Why would someone do such a thing?" - I automatically fall back on the same answer: They're probably Germans. It's like wearing long, dark socks with shorts and sandals. Germans think and do lots of stuff the rest of us will never understand. It's too bad we don't get paid vacations on all of our dumb holidays like the Germans... that's probably another reason they came up with this one.

So - Happy Groundhog Day, everyone! Get your groundhog some flowers or maybe some fragrant soaps. He needs to know you appreciate him, whether he uses his shadow-seeing ability to predict the weather or to simply host his own shadow puppet theater... today's that groundhog's day.