Saturday, March 10, 2007

Embarking on the SS CHANGE

I woke up this morning anticipating the daunting task of somehow trying to refine my animation between today and tomorrow (since I haven't had the energy to do so at all this week). Much has changed since my last entry - I informed my supervisors that I decided to move to Florida, which, in short, means I won't be working full time anymore. It means I'll have a lot more time and energy for Animation Mentor and working on my reel. It also means I'll be able to focus on marriage prep (which takes about 6 months thru the church, in most cases). My fiance is happy about this move, of course. It's bittersweet for me.

More than anything, I've missed him these last 6 months that I've been working in Indiana and he's been attending further schooling at Full Sail in Orlando (he is a game programmer). We haven't felt very "engaged" since we separated, despite the use of cell phones, web cams, internet conversations, etc. I think in this stage of life, it's best to live near or with each other so that you can plan together and read each other fully, not to mention starting good habits together like going to the gym consistently or taking care of chores and projects as a team.

That's of course the positive side, along with the feelings of responsibility and independence and a take-charge approach to life. Oh, and the warm weather. On the other hand, it has been the hardest decision I've ever had to make. I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to work as an art director this past year with CVC. It's been an incredible learning experience, and from what I've told, I've been a good resource for them as well. They invested a lot in my being there - I wanted to invest my time and efforts as well, especially through our busy season, which never really ends, but gets the most intense from September through March (just the months I've worked here full time). Prior to that I was freelancing with them and worked on a few projects, namely their website and a couple of other branding items and event media. Being full time really gave me a chance to flex my muscles at multi-tasking, attempting top-of-mind marketing techniques and growing relationships with the clients I worked with, and always going the extra mile, even during the off-hours. It's all something that I've grown to be proud of over the last several months, and it's difficult to let go of that kind of opportunity.

On the other hand, it has been splitting my focus. I got into Animation Mentor last April, before I had started working, and the number of hours and brainpower I've spent on animation has dwindled to half (or less) over the past 6 months. I've been staying afloat, but I haven't been giving AM my "all" which you have to do these days. Such competition... and my competitive spirit has taken a hit since I'm losing time to have to work during the day. A few of my most admired AM classmates have gotten hired recently in animation, and they admitted to freelancing only enough to pay the bills, otherwise focusing on AM.

On a positive sidenote - I haven't burnt any bridges or closed any doors. CVC plans to continue hiring me as a contract graphics designer (on a project to project basis), so I'm not leaving the experience or income altogether.

I like to live as much as I can without regrets. I try to live in the moment, anticipate where I'll be in the future, and remember the past I've come from.

In this case, living in the moment has been entirely "work" - either CVC or AM, and no considerable time off to enjoy life - not to mention my fiance is so far away, and I don't get to see my friends often because so many have moved across the country.

I anticipate being a professional 3d character animator before the end of the year. But I can't see that come into fruition if I don't work at it - and without the time or energy, I can't make it happen. I anticipate getting married next year, maybe in fall - but without being able to sit down with my fiance and discuss our wishes, we haven't even decided on a date yet.

I've come from a childhood of yearning to be an animator. I was drawing all the time. Anytime we went on a family trip, I would spend the whole time drawing, and people would venture to say "Hey! Look, she's going to animate for Disney someday!" (I loved Goofy in particular, but otherwise various Warner Bros cartoons, etc; and then I'd also make up my own characters).
I even had elementary math and science teachers disregard my questions on the subjects because, "what does it matter? You're going to be a famous artist someday anyway."

You can't ignore comments like that, growing up - and meanwhile, I always felt I could do it, if I just sat down and dedicated myself to a drawing for a day or two. My mom used to have to kick me out of the house to play with kids down the street so I could remember to have fun with my friends. The only thing that's ever stopped me or held me back is fear - fear of rejection, worrying about a lack of expertise or experience, wondering if I'll be able to support myself financially, hoping I won't have to stray too far from my family. All these are legitimate fears, but "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself" comes into play here. Those fears are the only things that have ever held me back. If I can become fearless - who knows what I can accomplish (same goes for anyone in this dilemma).

So all things considered, I'm going to Florida where I can focus on my animation and marriage preparation, and I'm not going to be afraid of trying. I've had a great experience working for the past year, and now it's time to plunge forward, full speed ahead for classes 5 and 6.

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