Friday, February 17, 2012

The Finish Line

There are five weeks left. FIVE. I really never expected it to go by so fast. I've been absent from writing this blog for a very, very long time. Now that class is almost over, I'm going to start again. It was always a great learning tool--writing my thoughts about new material and animation. I shouldn't have stopped!  Adam, I'm sure you'll be psyched about this one. Thanks for busting my chops. Call it nostalgia, because the end is near, but, dammit, I feel like writing! I want to make it clear how much all of it has meant to me, and the impact it's had.

Firstly, I've got to give a shout out to Bobby, Shawn, and Carlos. You guys have really made it possible for us to follow our dreams. The school has given me a whole new outlook on the industry, as well as my self. What an experience it's been. Bobby, you've always been super approachable during my stay at Animation Mentor. And you remember the individuals. That's a big deal. Your encouragement has meant a lot to me, man! I hope being a father has been nothing but a blessing so far!

I have to thank the alumni that have given their time so generously, and made me feel so comfortable with seeking out help. I look up to you guys, and your humility is inspirational. Jude, you are a total sweetheart. I can't stress that enough! Thanks for all the help, the partying, and tips :).  Michelle, you rock! You were so cool about helping me out early on. I hope you're having the time of your life at Pixar. Nelson, I'm glad I met you man, it's always a blast talking with you! James and Kelly, you guys know how to have fun. Thanks for bearing with all those questions James! And I've learned a lot from you, Kelly. Fred, you're awesome man. Have a blast in Germany. You've seriously been like a pseudo mentor for me during the last few months. Here's to the beers to come! Dhar, it's always a pleasure to bump into you and touch base! Mike and Tony, you guys are nothing short of inspirational. Always willing to give a helping hand, I learned my fair share from you guys. Jarrod, your work is crazy---and your encouragement has really meant a lot to me man. Fes, you totally rock. Can't wait to see you again. Alexiss, you're a wild one! You totally knew how to make us feel like we belonged. Glad to see you animating again! Liz, we haven't chilled enough! But I'm sure we will. Congrats on Digital Domain. You deserve it. You really are an awesome creature animator! Mike (Schanbacher), you've been the best peer buddy a student can hope for! Matt, you're such a cool dude! It really meant a lot to me at the BBQ when you talked to me about my work, and took me around to introduce me to people. You really made me feel comfortable around people that I may have otherwise been intimidated by! You really included me, and I thank you for that.

The community at Animation Mentor is nothing short of incredible. I don't care what people say about online programs, this is WAY beyond that. I've had a seemingly unlimited pool of resources and help, and I've built the kind of friendships you'd think is only possible in person. In the spirit of things, this is an open letter to my classmates, and my friends. The day I work with one of you guys will be a dream come true.

Rusty. We're here. I am so thankful that I started the program at the same time as you, and that we decided to go to CTN, 7 weeks into our journey. I've found a brother, truly. Going to all those events with you was, and always will be, a total blast. I feel like I've known you since I was five.  Here's to everything that awaits us in the "AM afterlife".

Zach, Matthias, and Reed. You guys blow me away. The attention to detail you have, Matt, is nuts! You're a total polishing boss. Zach, your ideas have always been so great. And the stories on vent are always hilarious. Reed, you, sir, are amazing. You're going places. Thanks for all the support and notes you've given me when I needed it!

And Alex, I don't know how you do it, man. You've got kids!! And yet you find the time to amaze everyone. Don't worry about that visa, they'll get you one. Your work is inspirational. From the very first weeks I was always looking at your stuff, and learning. Manu, your energy and enthousiasm keeps all of us going. And your work speaks for itself, and reflects that attitude. Belen, it has been an absolute delight to see you grow as an animator. As of class 3, you really started to blow me away, and I look at the things you come up with nowadays and it's just crazy inspirational. You have such a great sense of appeal!  Jamie and Ellen, I always look foreword to seeing you guys. You've got to be some of the most entertaining peeps around. I'm really thankful for you guys! Dana, you are crazy. In the BEST of ways. Thanks for all the hard work and dedication you've shown us. Jane, your hard work is really paying off! Svein, man, your work has gotten to such a crazy level of polish! I can't wait to chill with you again!  Scott, thanks for the support and honest feedback. And Bob, thanks for being, well, Bob! You've been one of the most entertaining people at AM, keep up the awesome work :).

Ross, thanks for everything. You have been a big brother to me. I mean it. You are always there to support me, and I never tire of those texts and calls. I look up to you, I really do. I always look forward to going out with you and Rusty! If Ross is my big brother, I'd have to say you're easily the big sis', Alexa. I can't wait to see you guys down in Germany. Frankie, you're really something, you know that? I'm so happy you got that job at DD. The life of the party, but an incredibly hard working animator when playtime is over. You never fail to help, and those random texts are always entertaining. Agnes, you really take the time to help everyone. And your work is absolutely beautiful. (And your pencil tests are craaazzzy!). Thierry, I loved getting feedback from you! Thanos, I really hope to chill with you in Greece. Jen-Pin, thanks for all the notes you gave me. Can you believe it's almost over?!  Boat  (Thawatchai, for those who don't know), my gosh you're inspiring. You have an amazing style, and I have learned SO much from you. Aris, you're a master of cartoony animation!

Daniel, It was great to see you in VanCity. Keep going. I'm so glad you're back in action, cus damn you're good! Your animations are really entertaining. Thanks for all the random posts :P   Dono, we need to hang out more--you're friggin' awesome! Good times ahead, i'm sure.

Botir and Stefanie, you guys were always giving me hell--in the best of ways. Stef, I could always count on you to kick my butt and make me feel like crap about my shots! Thanks for keeping me in line. That's something I needed. I am always so thankful for your brutal honesty; which is matched only by how incredibly sweet you are as a person. You have always been there to to lean on when things got hard, or when I wasn't sure---and that's everything. Botir: we always joke around and tease each other, but I think tonight I'm gonna take some time and get serious with you. You may not know this yet, but you're an incredible animator. You've improved beyond belief, and when you give us notes---you sound like a supervisor! You have this way of seeing movement and understanding it in such depth, it's crazy. You may be the young one in our group, but you've proven to be wise beyond your years. Don't doubt yourself, Botir. I'm sure there are many people ten years older than you that would look up to your work.

Marshall, you're a star. Since you started the program, I've been following your stuff. I may not have always commented, but I always watched your new stuff! I'm so happy you'll be graduating with us. Adam, your work has been stellar since the beginning. AM was totally the right choice, and I'm glad I convinced you!
Here's a shoutout to my Montreal gang. Sebastien, I can always count on you to bounce ideas. It's such a pleasure working with you! Julie, you are a superb animator! I'm completely mesmerized by the quality you put out. Max and Sam, I can't stress enough how awesome it is to meet up and relax and brainstorm. Christine, You still have a long time left in the program, hang in there! Your work is great!!

I don't want to give one person more credit than another, but there is one that I absolutely cannot thank enough.  Cheryl, I don't know where I would stand in this program without your support. If it wasn't for your constant encouragement, we would not have had the courage to do the things we've done, and speak to the people we've spoken to. You have been, and always will be, my West Coast Mom. You gave us the confidence to "go for it" and believe in ourselves in a way that I think no one else could have. I think I can speak on behalf of almost everyone when I say that every student that has dealt with you has fallen in love with your charisma, sincerity, and joie-de-vivre (love of life! For the anglophones) within minutes. I mean that. You've never failed to support me, and that has meant the world to me.

I can only hope to give back to a school that, in a mere year and a half, has given me so much. Confidence, unparalleled knowledge, support, and, above all else, friendship.  I've had the time of my life. Thanks guys.

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