Friday, September 19, 2008

Headed for New Jersey

So, I don't have long to write, but you know me. Brevity is not a friend of mine.

Today I am packing like mad and trying to absorb everything that has happened recently. It's clear that divine providence has taken a very present role in our lives these past couple of weeks. As you know, Naveen and I were married on September 6, and had our day of bliss. It was absolutely wonderful, and as I said, I was (and still am) looking forward to life as a happily married woman. Naveen and I have been doing great, and yes we plan on a honeymoon eventually, but probably not until spring, for multiple reasons.

Five days after the wedding was September 11, and although that day has been burned in our minds as a tragic day for American history, it has notoriously been a good day for my career. Two years ago on that day I signed my contract with CVC Communications to work as a full-time art director after having freelanced with them through the summer. It was a great opportunity and I was blessed to be able to live at home and save a lot of money while Naveen was away at school in Florida. Of course, as you know, I was simultaneously taking classes through Animation Mentor and juggling school projects with work ones, and after about 6 months I decided it would be best to continue work on a contract basis and go to Florida where I could focus on animation and wedding preparation with Naveen. The contract relationship with the CVC team has been maintained well and may still continue despite the present news.

In the early evening of September 11, 2008, I received an email from a small but rapidly-growing company in New Jersey that wanted to discuss the possibilities of me joining their team as a character animator for a television show geared toward preschoolers. The story behind this company is truly exciting, but I'm not sure what exactly I'm allowed to say about it just yet (I can only mention what was said to me in the initial email before I signed a non-disclosure agreement, and I won't mention the company name just yet).

I was a little shocked, because Naveen and I had been getting excited about having more time after the wedding so that I could polish up my reel and start sending it out to places, but I had only just barely begun a side project ('Dog N Suds') when I got this news. Apparently my advisor at Animation Mentor had recommended me to them, and they had seen my work on the alumni site. When I heard that, I was even more surprised, because a handful of that work is unfinished, but evidently they see some promise in my style, and I couldn't be more excited to work with them. Over the next several days, I got to look at their amazing preproduction work and hear more about their team, which is growing in numbers with Animation Mentor folks, and is run by some animators that have worked for reputable film studios.

Obviously the catch with this whole situation is that it's in New Jersey, which would require me to live there. Incidentally, Kristy (my sister) lives in Brooklyn, which is only about an hour train ride east of where this company is. I did inquire about working from home in Chicago, since we just got married and set up our apartment here, but as I expected they need to at least start with everyone in-house. It's completely understandable. Instead, we discussed the possibility of working on just the first episode until early December and go from there.

So by September 16, ten days after our wedding, I went through a couple of fairly brief phone interviews with the owner / visual effects director as well as the team manager and executive producer. I never got to speak directly with the animation director, but it sounds like he was finishing up another major project and would be busy this week. But by the end of the day they wrote yet another email inviting me to start work on Monday, and after much discussion, Naveen and I agreed this is a good move for me, and I'm going to do it.

We're packing today, flying at 6:30am tomorrow (Saturday), scrambling to find a short term lease or room mate situation over the weekend, and I start on Monday.

I'll finally be a professional character animator. :)

Of course it will be difficult, and hopefully some of my earnings can be applied toward trips home every couple of weeks or at least once a month (although December isn't as far away as you'd think - it would only be around 10-12 weeks). It's probably going to fly by faster than we imagine. Since Naveen is happily working here in Chicago and we have a year lease on our beautiful apartment, we'll just have to try to make things work - but we definitely agree this is the way to go for my career. We've been together just about 6 years; we knew this day would come sooner or later. We had no idea it would happen two weeks after our wedding - but, life has thrown us a lot of small miracles, one of them being our little Sully, the stray that made his way into our lives just days before the wedding, and I'm thankful that he'll be here to keep Naveen company while I'm away.

Please keep us in your prayers. We're thankful for life's many blessings, and we think this great opportunity for me will really help us down the road. It's a great first step into the world of professional character animation, and we're thrilled about it.

No comments: