Saturday, July 28, 2007

Harley-Davidson VS. My Wedding

Running into some trouble scheduling my wedding. We were going to do it next Labor Day weekend (Aug. 30, 2008) and have been planning on it - I just booked the church this week and we were drawing up contracts with the reception hall - no deposit down yet, thank goodness - and we just found out about this:

I'm keeping updates here.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Cat Senses Imminent Death

No joke!!!

Oscar The Cat Senses & Warns of Patients' Imminent Death

I find this utterly fascinating. This story has been making headlines everywhere recently. Check it out if you haven't seen it.

Purr of Death

There's even an official report in the New England Journal of Medicine:

A Day in the Life of Oscar the Cat - David M. Dosa, M.D., M.P.H.

I just think that is amazing.

Excerpt from first link:

"He's a cat with an uncanny instinct for death," said David Dosa, assistant professor at the Brown University School of Medicine and a geriatric specialist.

When death is near, Oscar nearly always appears at the last hour or so. Yet he shows no special interest in patients who are simply in poor shape, or even patients who may be dying but who still have a few days. Authorities in animal behaviour have no explanation for Oscar's ability to sense imminent death. They theorise that he might detect some subtle change in metabolism - felines are as acutely sensitive to smells as dogs - but are stumped as to why he would show interest.

In any event, when Oscar settles on a patient's bed, caregivers take it as a sign that family members should be summoned immediately.

"We've come to recognise him hopping on the bed as one indicator the end is very near," said Mary Miranda, charge nurse on the surprisingly cheery floor that is home to 41 patients in the final stages of Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, a stroke, and other mentally debilitating diseases. "Oscar's been consistently right."

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Leave Of Absence

Well... unfortunately what I've been experiencing is a little more than short film jitters. It's finally that point, for me. Time for a short leave of absence (I plan to be back in about 8 weeks when the fall term starts). Sorry to say it guys, but between the technical difficulties, wedding planning, my uncle in the hospital having that tumor removed, family getting laid off and moving, and my own health issues... well you get the picture. I won't whine about it! I'm not giving up either, I'll surely be back and ready to go. I wish I could stick with the class but at least most of us will graduate together.

Keep in touch with me!
LauraSko (at) gmail (dot) com
LauraSko - skype name
Last Video Journal (AM members only)

It's been a great run here at Animation Mentor. I wish I didn't have to leave but such is the circumstance I have. It's been wonderful getting to know you all and witness our talents grow over the past year.

I'll be at SIGGRAPH if anyone would like to meet that week!

For those who will still be here in the fall term, I hope to see you then when I return - and for those who are finishing at the end of summer, I hope to see you at graduation in early January!!! Please do keep in touch. Catch you on the flip side!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Prayer Request: Rob's Surgery

Please pray for my uncle Rob, a dear member of our family who is going into surgery tomorrow morning to have part of his liver removed. Although normally a very healthy person, he has been suffering strange health issues lately and must now undergo this procedure to take out and diagnose a mass in his liver. We're hoping the surgery will be successful and without complication, and I'm asking all who believe in the power of prayer to have him in mind tomorrow morning. Thanks!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Relative Nightmare

So last night I had a very relevant, symbolic nightmare. It was about this amazing new ride that was a fairly tame glide up to the top - but the highlight of the ride was being dangled from the very top a few hundred feet above a small, empty ceramic pool. The ride arched the crest one row at a time, and certain people could sit in these contraptions and feel somewhat secure and strapped in, but about a dozen people (one per cart) would dangle from the front of the ride from a singular pole with no harness or safety net. The ride would stop at the top, and a few seconds to a minute later, when the timing was right, the music would stop and everyone dangling would have to let go and plunge toward this empty pool - but in the last several seconds, jets of water would spray upward and ease the freefallers down into the pool, which would be full of water by the time they landed in it.

My row of twelve freefallers were among the first to ever ride this attraction (or at least I hadn't witnessed the ride before going on it myself). We were like test riders, or guinea pigs - so of course, the first time the music stopped, and everyone else let go, I was too afraid and held on, thinking I would surely die at the bottom. But as I saw the water spray catch them all, I lost my fear and let go (although because I wasn't coordinated with the spray, I had no easement into the pool so it was a bit of a rough landing). We were all supposed to ride it again, and this time I was eager to do it the right way, so we reached the top, dangling from our poles, and the music stopped and we all fell. However, this time, one person did not fall quite right, and somehow they missed the jets and survived, but ended up breaking several bones because the water was too shallow for a proper landing. By the time the rest of us reached the pool we saw the condition this person was in and every single person vomited everywhere. It was a grotesque site.

Somehow despite this, the ride was deemed a success (I think we had to try it yet again after the cleanup, and all went fine), so there was a ribbon cutting with the corporate folks, and a large rock concert with some really famous band, and an open bar with these clever Cubans mixing really special drinks for the riders. As far as I know, I was the only one looking to ease my nerves with one of their drinks, at least at the moment, and I watched a guy shout to the back about the specialty drink, and then he reached through this small window where another guy behind the scenes handed through it the most colorful, iridescent, sparkling beverage you've ever seen, complete with a pink umbrella and fruit garnish. So I indulged in this drink and in no time, it was as if all of my cares left me - my brain tingled and all I could do was look down at the hazy, empty glass and the blurry pattern on the tiled bar, and I felt completely drugged and wavering, and at ease. The front of my head tingled and I was completely relaxed for a time that only felt like a few moments, but it must have been much longer. When I came out of it, many people had left (including the band), the bartender was wiping the inside of my glass with a rag and looking at me unremorsefully, and I noticed to my right that my purse with my money and ID and everything else had been taken. To my left, I discovered someone had taken the engagement ring off of my hand. And, most embarrassingly, they had pulled down my skirt and I had been on public display the entire time I was in this hallucinogenic state.

That's where the dream ended and I woke up in the middle of the night.

Why is that relevant? Last night I came to the realization that I didn't want to go any further with my short film in its current state. Earlier this week I figured out that I had created a situation that involved a lot of rework (based on my keying of the master control during the layout phase, and now trying to block everything by deleting the master keys and redoing the actions with all the other character controls). My scene file has become so riddled with errant keys that I'm almost certain I'd rather start over rather than to try to recover this file.

I haven't had this problem in prior animations and I can't explain it, other than to say I'm in the midst of planning my wedding among other things going on - but I'm trying to figure out the best way to 'work with the now' - and a lot of me wants to take inspiration from Brad Bird taking over the Ratatouille project and redoing a lot of things from scratch. I've set myself back three weeks with this realization, and my remaining options are to plunge forward with class with a new production schedule I'll have to create, or to take a short leave of absence for the remainder of the term, and come back armed and ready for steady production. Although a LOA is tempting for mentality and financial reasons, I don't want to be disconnected completely. Having recently moved away from family and friends, the Animation Mentor community is very important to me and I feel strongly about staying connected to my peers and continuing to give and receive feedback on progress.

To me, this dream directly correlates to how I feel like I'm embarking on a career quest that is dangerous; I've never been much of a risk taker, but somehow I've launched myself into a very risky industry with so much uncertain outcome (at least on the entry level). It's an enjoyable, thrilling ride, but when you're approaching the top, it becomes necessary to let go even if a gripping fear is causing hesitation. If the timing is right, you'll land okay. But if it's too soon or too late, you could end up breaking yourself. And after taking the plunge, if you turn to the wrong kind of comfort, you could end up broke, alone, and embarrassed of yourself.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Pixar Stuff

So hopefully everyone's seen the glory of Ratatouille, right?
If not, check out these preview videos:

For those of you who haven't picked yourselves off your rear ends to go see it, do yourself a favor and go before it leaves theaters. The good theaters. See it in digital whenever possible.. and be amazed.

I'm serious!!! If you haven't seen the film yet... do it!!! What are you waiting for!??! It is sooo beautifully done and an excellent story - amazing considering Brad Bird took over and pretty much rewrote everything, redid the art style, the characters, the rigs, everything. He's just phenomenally amazing.

So, I went to this really cool event yesterday. Naveen sent me an email in the afternoon saying:
Open to All Staff & Students
Event: Pixar Studios Digital (Lighting) Artist/ FS Grad - Jeremy Vickery
Date: Thursday, July 19
Time: 5:30p.m.
Location: FS3B-106 (Auditorium)
Since graduating from Full Sail in 1997, Jeremy Vickery has traveled through the animation industry fine tuning his skills so that one day he could land the gig he always dreamed of, working for Pixar Animation Studios. Pointing to the Pixar classic "Toy Story" as the fuel for his love of animation Jeremy proudly states, "Pixar makes the best films in the world, and I wanted to be a part of that." With dedication and focus early in his career Jeremy achieved his goal in 2003 when he was hired on at Pixar as a Lighting Artist to work on the Oscar winning animated feature, "The Incredibles". His second Pixar animated feature was one of the most anticipated summer films of 2006, "Cars." And this year marks the release of his 3rd Pixar animated feature "Ratatouille". See this talented digital artist and Full Sail grad talk about his experiences in the industry. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. The event is open to all Full Sail students & staff.

So I decided to take a chance and get over there (lucky for me they weren't checking for school badges) - Naveen picked me up and I got there around 4:30 (the lines were supposed to be huge, so I went early and took a couple bridal magazines)!!! I didn't get back until about 8pm. Aside from a lot of waiting around, the lecture itself ran about 2 hours and was amazing.

I took about.. well let me count them... 12 pages of notes. I really do not have time to type them all out right now... not to mention a lot of this is more or less "confidential" and was a closed event that honestly I must admit I wasn't supposed to see... ;) But Jeremy was a great presenter and a lot of fun to listen to while he ran through his history (4 rejection letters from Pixar and some great experience working on Veggie Tales and Delgo before finally getting into Pixar to work on The Incredibles, Cars, Ratatouille, and now, Wall-E (see teaser video here).

So, briefly:
According to John Lasseter in a presentation to Disney corporate investors:

"WALL-E is the story of the last little robot on Earth. He is a robot that his programming was to help clean up. You see, it's set way in the future. Through consumerism, rampant, unchecked consumerism, the Earth was covered with trash. And to clean up, everyone had to leave Earth and set in place millions of these little robots that went around to clean up the trash and make Earth habitable again.

Well, the cleanup program failed with the exception of this one little robot and he's left on Earth doing his duty all alone. But it's not a story about science fiction. It's a love story, because, you see, WALL-E falls in love with [Eve], a robot from a probe that comes down to check on Earth, and she's left there to check on and see how things are going and he absolutely falls in love with her."

(source: Wikipedia)

I don't know about you, but I got chills when I saw the teaser before Ratatouille. I was really uneasy, scared even, because of the quality poured into this brief glimpse into Wall-E's world, and gazing into the stars. Everything about this teaser was magical, and knowing that Andrew Stanton (director of Finding Nemo) is behind it, I just get chills. I think it will be great.. but right now I'm actually scared, I think it will be so great.

Jeremy spoke only a tiny bit about Wall-E, and showed a faux-commercial for the Wall-E robot (kind of like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind did for the memory erasure procedure). I can tell you that, because the information is publicly available, again on the Wiki page: "A fake commercial based on the film is included in the Ratatouille video game. It shows that WALL-E stands for Waste Allocation Load Lifter - Earth-class. and is sold by a fictional company called Buy and Large Corporation (Buy N Large). There is a 'disclaimer' at the end that mentions, a web site for the fictional company featured in the movie."

I wasn't surprised to hear about Pixar having another couple films in the woodwork right now, Wall-E being one, Up being the next, and of course Toy Story 3. However, Jeremy shared insight that there are 7 (count 'em, 7) films currently in the works over there. He showed his own reel, discussed the Pixar production pipeline, and what they look for on their reels (emphasis on acting). It's no secret that lip synching should be more about body language than a jaw flapping. He showed this clip to prove it:
Fidel Castro Does a Beer Comerical

He also shared a lot of behind the scenes video about Brad Bird (IMDB) and top chef Thomas Keller who was a consultant on food preparation and philosophy for Ratatouille. Of the many inspirational tidbits I saw, I should share a few of my many scribbled notes...
"Commitment makes you great."
"Get people excited about what you're excited about"
"Love capturing moments that hit new standards... make the shot that no one has made"
"People have greatness in them: it just needs to be coached out of them"
"If you control the process, you limit the process; collaboration impactful"
"Sense of emergency - get tasks done quickly"

We also saw a Pixar computer commercial from 1986, which was humorous to say the least (seeing how the technology and company itself has evolved over the years); and we saw a sock puppet short bringing humor to San Francisco earthquakes, called 1906 (Brad Bird's IMDB page actually credits him on this) which I think is an Easter Egg on the Incredibles dvd; and yet another sock puppet short which was a Pixar-employee-created parody of Ratatouille's ending.

"It's amazing when you don't get a lot of sleep." - Jeremy Vickery

Finally, some Ratatouille inside jokes:

For those of you who have seen it, you can keep reading.

Yes. That was a disclaimer. Stop reading this if you haven't seen it... and come back when you have.

Ok are they gone?

It's just us cool people now right? We can joke around about the movie?


  • Of course you may have seen the "coffin" room inhabited by critic Anton Ego (voiced by Peter O'Toole), but did you notice that his typewriter resembled a skeleton head? This was to symbolize how one of Ego's reviews could bring success or more likely death to any Parisian restaurant.

  • Linguini's full name is Alfredo Linguini.

  • When Linguini is trying to suggest where Remy the rat should hide to help him cook, he lifts away his pants awkwardly as if the rat would want to descend down there to control Linguini's cooking ability. Obviously he ends up using the hair on his head - but when Linguini shows his shorts, Incredibles underwear shows. Later he rips open his shirt to reveal a Superman "S" but this is a joking 3 frames that probably no one could see.

  • A cockroach appears in Linguini's apartment, and a dog's shadow appears later. Apparently we'll be seeing more of these characters in 2009.

  • The Pizza Planet truck from Toy Story makes an appearance on a French Riviera bridge while head chef Skinner (voiced by Ian Holm) chases Remy who is on the run with some secret information.

  • 611, the number of the animation room where Brad Bird worked hard at CalArts, apparently appears in all Pixar movies and in this case, was on a tough rat's tagged ear. Similarly, Sonya Struben hid her last name on a kitchen knife as the brand, and Michael Wasch hid his last name on a washing machine.

  • When Linguini feeds hungry Remy with some cheese, we are so focused on Remy's satisfaction that we neglect to notice he is sitting on a shelf with jars of Nemo Brand Caviar... which I think is horrible but hilarious.

  • Bomb Voyage character from The Incredibles makes an appearance as a street mime.

  • And finally - probably the funniest joke: the old woman who fires a bunch of rounds into the walls of her home reaches for a box of bullets. The box art reads "Cheney SportShot Shotgun Shells" - which is going to be removed when the film goes to DVD, for legal reasons. ;)

So hopefully you enjoyed that - and hopefully none of that is private information (I was careful only to include public information that you can find on the internet somewhere). There's lots more to tell but you'll have to ask me in person. ;)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Theology - Part I

I think if I were to "start over" any time soon, I'd have an eye toward Theology. I really feel drawn to it, enough that it is commonly a distraction from my everyday life as an aspiring animator and wife-to-be. If it's possible, I've been feeling somewhat spiritually starved for a while, and haven't known quite what to do about it. That's not to say I'm unhappy with life or love, it is really the opposite - the happier I get with those, the hungrier I get to explore personal and spiritual truths. It's just not something I'll readily talk about since it's a really deep subject that requires a lot of time, patience, and open-mindedness. And again, this is an exploration of something deeply personal, so it is one endeavor during which I tend to withdraw and form my own conclusions, although not always without the input of others.

I'll probably continue this here on my blog at some point. But for now I wanted to share a couple of links I stumbled on today.
Recently some health issues have been re-emerging, and I was thinking to myself, wouldn't it be nice if someone could simply go to sleep and dream up some cure? And I remembered a story my mother and her mother shared with me once about a "sleeping prophet" who would apparently go under hypnosis and speak of unheard of cures of specific ailments, yet wouldn't remember his ideas upon waking. Of course it's controversial and I'm not trying to convince anybody. It's was mere curiosity that led me to this wiki page about him. An interesting read, shown in more skeptical light than stories I'd originally heard, of course.

However, it led me to something else: in the Major Themes section, Unknown Life of Jesus, "Cayce presented narratives of Jesus' previous incarnations, including a mysterious Atlantean figure called "Amilius" as well as the more familiar biblical figures of Adam, Enoch, Melchizedek, Joshua, Asaph, and Jeshua. Cayce describes Jesus as an Essene who traveled to India in his youth in order to study Eastern religions." This fascinates me. I recall meeting with Fr. Dan Davis at Purdue's St. Thomas Aquinas with my fiance as we were discussing our intentions to get married, and the various expectations we might have for our future having come from two very different pasts. A lot of the meeting addressed each of our personal beliefs, and I felt it was the first time I was really coming into contact with a new explorative side of my religious self. While I am heavily reliant on traditional Catholic doctrine, I also have questions and concerns, and possibly some disagreements. St. Tom's was far more liberal than my hometown church, which was a difficult adjustment in the beginning but by the end I loved it dearly.

Back to that quote: One thing that Fr. Dan brought light to in our meetings was the topic of the unknown life of Jesus during his childhood. I felt that he had shown me a common denominator to some previously unsolvable math problem. He talked about indications that Joseph and Jesus traveled during his childhood, as far as India, where a branch of Hinduism (centered on the concept of love) thrived during a time when a child named Esa came through the towns and villages with his father. Supposedly this child was revered as a reincarnated Hindu god who preached about loving thy neighbor, among other things. So one wiki site led to another, where I began reading about the Essenes:

Since the moment I first heard the story of Esa (Jesus), I've been captivated by the possibilities, and dismayed by the lack of tangible historical evidence - yet somehow faithful that there is some underlying connective tissue to the major world religions. Naveen and I share that, I think - we have two very different belief structures, but we commonly believe in an overall, universal higher power, and that most if not all branches of theology stem from it.

Monday, July 16, 2007

About Animation Mentor

A lot of people have been asking me about Animation Mentor, so I figured I'd make a plug for it here. It's a bit lengthy, I know, but it's just how I feel about AM. ;)

I have nothing but positive comments about Animation Mentor as a school. When I left Purdue, I had decent beginners level skills in Maya and Max, and if you asked me then, I had a decent animation reel.. But I learned very quickly that I had definitely picked up more on the technology than the art and principles of animation while I was there. My reel obviously could not compete at studio level, so I went around looking at animation schools for a masters degree. I traveled to Vancouver Film School, Van Arts, The Art Institute, USC, Cal Arts, Academy of Art University, Savannah College of Art and Design, and Full Sail Real World Education. I studied others on the internet. However, none of those seemed as attentive to the detailed art of animation than Animation Mentor (AM).

First of all, it's hugely important that it's an online school. It's fantastic to be able to live and work wherever you want and still get amazing training. As far as the quality of the classes, you get video lectures each week, star-studded with animators who have worked in all kinds of studios (Pixar, ILM, Dreamworks, Sony, Tippett.. the list goes on). Each informative lecture addresses animation principles, studio work environments, theories, applications of the skill, etc. Along with the video lecture (roughly an hour long, sometimes 2), there are video assignment instructions, as well as written out key points and lecture notes, and at least once a week you participate in a live online Q&A session with a mentor (animator currently working in industry - you get a new one for each 3-month class; my current mentor has worked pretty much everywhere, the last one worked at Pixar and Blue Sky, the one prior to that worked on Ratatouille and Finding Nemo, etc.. so we're talking big experience). In your live session you use a webcam and meet with your mentor and classmates face to face and discuss the lecture, assignment, studio life, work the mentor has done, pretty much anything that comes up. Then of course the mentor makes a private video critique of your animation assignment every week which you can revisit at any time throughout the class (each class is 12 weeks long, there are 6 total so the whole program is a year and a half in duration).

It is intensive and requires a lot of determination - honestly I think it's a great way to get ready for the industry. Not only does it keep you on task and inevitably makes you a better animator, but it also keeps your finger on the pulse of the animation industry so that you're ready for the attitudes, the skill level, the dedication, the expectations, etc.

If it's in your budget, and if you are set on this career path, I think this is one of the best (if not the best) program out there. Actually, it's also a great way to see if animation really is the thing you want to do - you can pay by the class (that is, 3 month session), and even just class one should be a pretty good indication of what you can expect to learn, and the work ethic you must have. Other masters programs are great in their own way because of research, location, full contact to other human beings in the same room, etc... but short of the physical location, I think Animation Mentor keeps you all the more focused on the principles of the art, and pushes you to increase your skill level on a weekly basis.

I don't know if you've been to their website or seen their online animation showcase reels, but if you haven't, you should take a look. The work that comes out of AM is amazing. The biggest reason, in my opinion, is because I think you get more regular feedback at AM than anywhere else - comments from peers who are just as determined as you are, and critiques from the leading animation experts out there. These people know their stuff!

As far as applying there, for those who have asked - don't worry so much about it. I don't think it's changed much since I got in, and as long as you put your heart into the application and answer topics with your genuine intentions, it should not be difficult to get in. I don't know if there are waitlists or anything like that, now that it's getting so popular, so it might be to your advantage to do it sooner rather than later, but it'll still be there later too. ;) This program isn't going away any time soon - it just keeps getting better.

So hopefully that helps those of you who have asked. Definitely post about your school experiences, especially those who have gone on to places like SCAD, AAU, USC, etc - I'd love to hear how your experience has been!!!


Friday, July 13, 2007

So What Season Is It? And I'm not talking about the weather forecast...

Just a disclaimer - this is merely a reminder to myself to just keep going and not analyze things to death. It's a thought process I went through this morning which had a bleak outlook, but grew into a more positive piece of constructive self-criticism, in the end.

I'm on a bit of a dangerous path. I'm not sure how exactly I've arrived here. Part of it is the loneliness of my disconnected situation, I'm sure - even writing has become a cruel friend who can not be trusted to help me in my time of desperate uncertainty. I feel as though I've always tried very hard, but I feel like a fraud - like I've never actually succeeded in getting anywhere, ever. It seems that I've gained a confusing mix of pity and admiration my whole life that has somehow sustained me with a peace of mind which has been steadily evaporating since last year. In one self-deprecating moment, despite all the time and effort I've spent on my animation projects in the past year, I can say to myself that all my so-called talents have been slipping away, my starry-eyed confidence has dimmed, and my motivation to chase my dreams has been spent somewhere else (that is, I feel it has been spent, even though in the arena of dream pursuit, I haven't exactly found myself fighting to the death). I think my expectations have been raised for myself (especially through the appreciated encouragement of others), and I have been hoping for something really big to just happen to me, when really I am a very small person, and with very small wants. I have been in denial of that small person. So this is a tribute to myself. I don't want to say outright that a person like me should not set their goals to the maximum, but rather that the bar needs to be lowered when you're taking your first leap. Or really - the bar should be set where it needs to be, based on your calculated ability to jump, and all the while fully realizing where you will land and what stance is best to catch your weight.

Actually, there is a lot of humor in that idea, visually - a close up shot of character charging forward, running triumphantly with a stick in hand, and plunging it into the ground, flying upward like a pole vaulter - and then reaching the peak of his arc in the sky, finally opening his eyes and realizing he hadn't looked ahead to see that he was launching himself off a cliff.

Again, this fits with my tendency to want to animate characters who ultimately fail, and usually in a way that is humorous to the viewer. However I have to define that further to say that it isn't for laughing at someone else (although that can be an effect) - rather it is about having empathy for that character's wants, and therefore seeing that character in yourself, and being able to laugh at it. So a lot of the conflict lies around man vs self, man vs circumstance, and man vs time. It is a very introspective body of understanding that works better with natural antagonism, vs a true villain character.

That all said, I love animation, and I want to keep trying for it, but I think inevitably I will revert back to the small person I am at heart, living a small life in a small house with plenty of time to raise small children and make small steps toward happiness. It's hard to make peace with big city dreams and small town ideals, and maybe I don't have to choose. Maybe to everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Blog Tag

So here's something new...

(Part 1: Rules)

You've been tagged!

1. I have to post these rules before I give you the facts.
2. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
3. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
5. Don't forget to leave them a comment telling them they're tagged, and to read your blog.

(Part 2: Eight Random Facts)

1. I am an aspiring character animator who loves facial and gestural performance.
2. I enjoy making faces at myself.
3. I love foreign accents and regularly make impressionistic attempts.
4. I'm a systematic popcorn eater.
5. I once sang karaoke very badly at an Irish pub in Rzeszow, Poland.
6. I've been in more bicycle accidents than car accidents.
7. I once had a dream that Steven Spielberg wanted me to leave school and animate a movie for him.
8. I am easily distracted by the presence of internet.

(Part 3: Synopsis)

From the first three points above, you should have a pretty good sense that I have a pretty strong appeal toward character, which is pretty much why I have chosen animation as a career. The popcorn thing is, in short, a 'saving the best for last' characteristic of myself in which I tend to eat plain kernels first and follow them with the buttery, salty, cheesy, or otherwise-flavored kernels toward the end of a snack session. This principle applies to pretty much all food intake. The karaoke thing is just one more thing I've done that tends to surprise people I know, and gives me an opportunity to think about that fantastic month I spent with 7 other selected peers and a couple profs, journeying to the other side of the world to teach computer graphics for a month. The bicycle thing is something that started happening throughout college, to the point that I wondered why there weren't any bicycle accident insurance salesmen on campus. Next - I am a dreamer. I dream, a lot. I used to dream a lot more, and then I was frequently starved of sleep for up to 3-4 days at a time throughout my college years, and now the dreams are returning. The Spielberg dream happened in my senior year of high school, however - before my confidence was knocked down by the reality that there are thousands of crazy awesome animators competing out there. And, finally, I am distracted by the internet: obviously I'm spending time writing this and I really should get back to working on my short film.

(Part 4: Naming Names)

1. Naveen Nattam
2. Will Kistler
3. Matt Koehl
4. Tuan Pham
5. Mike Bass
6. Eric Luhta
7. Deter Brown
8. Ares Deveaux

(Part 5: Finishing Touch)

So yeah, if I tagged you, you have been cursed by the nagging call of the blogging deities to fulfill your duty to absolutely no one. On the other hand, if I didn't tag you, do not feel lucky that you were spared - I may forward this to you at some point - and neither should you feel neglected - after all, this is really annoying. :-)