Well, kind of anyway. After finishing with Disney and moving down to Melbourne, I've gotten myself a job working on a Flash animated show. It's a kids sci-fi comedy series called "Dogstar". It's set in the future when the population of planet earth has to relocate to a cleaner planet because this one's so polluted and mid transit the ark ship carrying all the dogs - the "Dogstar" gets lost. The series follows the advetures of the lost dogstar, the family of kids trying to find it and the greedy, robot dog-making, corporate mogul trying to stop them.
We nearly thought this day would never get here. Although there is still a few bits and pieces left to do, the house had gotten to a ready to move in state - especially from the bomb site it was weeks earlier. The walls, skirtings and architraves were all freshly painted in a cosy new colour scheme, fresh new carpet had been laid. Finally we got our stuff out of storage. The view down the passage into one of the bedrooms with it's terracotta coloured feature wall. The lounge room filled with stuff. The feature wall here on the right is in the suede finish paint. The living room. My God we had a lot of boxes!
No wonder I hadn't posted anything for a while. Every waking moment was being spent at the house working like a mad bugger.
Here's the new jarrah floorboards getting laid. As I mentioned earlier it was easier and more practical to cut out the existing chipboard flooring and partial hardwood flooring and lay new boards on the existing bearers, rather than a floating floor which has the potential to lift. We left the slate flooring in the kitchen. The slate on the front porch was a dull and dreary grey colour and had lifted in a number of places and come off and was looking rather shabby, here we've removed the rest of it. And retiled with new tiles.
We did get quite a bit done. Although the bathroom was renovated a couple of years ago, it was missing a bath. Given the squarish shape of the bathroom, a regular length bath wouldn't fit unless the shower went over the top - and I hate that. So we had to settle for a corner spa bath. Bugger. We splurged and got a body therapy one with heaps of jets and lotsa bubbles. The vanity used to be where the spa now is, so it had to get shifted. The heating duct had to get moved too. The loo is in the corner next to the vanity. The open-plan living room. We pulled the carpet up here too. As most of this space was an extension. The flooring here changes from the original floorboards to chipboard. The slate in the Kitchen is staying. Opposite view of Living room and the lovely Tasmanian blackwood kitchen. Instead of new carpet here, we opted for new floorboards. With a little one, spills would be inevitable and we figured floorboards are easier to keep clean. It was also going to be easier for us to rip up this flooring and lay new boards against a floating floor.
Oops, it's been a few months - lotsa stuff been happening. Well, I'm no longer employed by Uncle Walt anymore, as are about 250 other people with the shut down of the Australian studio. With my Wife and Daughter, we decided to relocate back to Melbourne. As we have a house there that we rent out, it made sense to reclaim it; plus there would also be less competition for work - well, I wouldn't be competing with 40 odd other animators up in Sydney. Before starting work tho' we got busy with some post-tenant renovations. So this is what we've been up to for the past couple of months. Ripping up the existing carpet. Main bedroom. Carpet up, wardrobe doors removed, skirting boards and architraves removed, new internal doors hung. Lounge room (same as first). Wow, look at all that dust. Lots of sanding to prepare for new colour scheme.Spare bedroom. Site of more sanding carnage. That's the bathroom vanity sitting in the middle of the floor.
For those of you who've been looking and wondering after the initial splurge of posts, "where's some more?", sorry I've been rather busy. I've now got a week left of employment in the animation department of Uncle Walt's Aussie Studio. Next Friday the animation department will cease to be as approximately 40 animators are released onto the job market. So, I've been busy polishing the showreel, acquiring further work, packing up our house as well as trying to stay motivated at work. You could hardly say that many animators would claim that they got into animation to work on a character such as Cinderella. I know I didn't. A feminine, realistic character with subtle acting is not on most animators wish list, especially when trying to crank it out at ten feet a week and knowing that you'll be out of a job at the end of it. But it has provided some unique and rewarding challenges. All that life drawing experience is put to great use- having to really understand anatomy, and solid drafting is really put to the test. Each drawing now takes more time- the ruff has to be carefully thought through paying particular attention to construction and proportion to avoid headaches down the track at the tie-down stage. Not that construction and proportion are to be ever played down, but as any of us know who've tackled a realistic character there is very little forgiveness. We are so familiar with how humans move that something the slightest bit out will look hokey. And that's all amplified in the tie-down stage as those drawings now take twice as long, with such little room for error. And then to really cap it all off, we have to make her act and look alive and not "as stiff as a board". I suppose the most appealing thing about animation as a career (apart from being paid to draw) is the constant challenges, of tackling something new; and the pay-off is obviously achieving it. In that regard, this show has been quite rewarding. Whilst not my favourite, I actually surprised myself by including a number of scenes from it on my reel. Above is a fairly simple one, during one of Cindy's emotional low points, a simple short piece of dialogue and a turn and walk away- but one that I felt I pulled off rather well. This was the scene where after a couple of months of struggling with the model, it finally clicked into place. One of the benefits of the studio shutting down is that it forces you to take notice of your surroundings. I rarely made copies of my scenes before (I have the shot versions archived), but on this show I have photocopied the actual drawings from a number of my scenes now, and regret not doing it more earlier.
To celebrate the release of "Bambi 2" (or "Bambi and the Great Prince of the Forest" as it should have been known) I'm posting some photo's from our field trip to a deer farm in Mudgee, western NSW to study deer in action in preparation for work on the film. Master animator Andreas Deja worked with us in Sydney on this project, he was an inspiration for all of us to work with. Andreas and Animator Donald Walker. Animator Tom Caulfield getting in touch with his character. Andreas, Aust Unit Director Alexs Stadermann, and Dirctor Brian Pimental. The Animators have the deer surrounded. A segment from this trip appeared on the special features in the release of the "Bambi" DVD including a shot over my shoulder of me sketching.
This was my first scene on "Brother Bear 2" on the Rutt and Tuke team. This was a fun but tough assignment. They were both very expressive and had great dialogue to chew through, but quota was a constant battle. They were both on screen quite regularly, and while both moose - they were drawn and moved quite differently from one another. Plus there was the sheer volume of linework. Nonetheless, they are still, like the first film, the highlight of the show.
A toss up here between this and my "Bam bam bam" scene of Stitch on "Dr Lilo's" couch, for my favourite scene from "Lilo and Stitch 2". Stitch was a tough but very enjoyable character to work on and I got to do some nice, and varied scenes. This was one that just clicked. It just felt so natural, I love those scenes-you have a very clear vision of what to do and everyone loves it. The rough loose pass hardly varied from the end product. It makes quota at lot more endurable. Wow, I did this scene just before Madi was born. Time has chugged along.
What a poser, not at all camera-shy is our little girl. On the Australia Day holiday we went to Newport beach for lunch. Of course we couldn't go past the playground. She wasn't too keen on the beach this day, still a bit wary of the crashing waves-much more interested in playing with the big kids. Now this is a cute smile that's worth coming home from work to, and it's such a nice greeting at the end of the day.........and mummy too of course.
Here's my current workspace (altho' I've since moved on to the next show, but still retained my spot and all my grime). I find it interesting what we all have on our desks, if there was a fire there'd be one giant blob of melted plastic. You'll notice the mandatory model sheet collection (altho' I was on the Moose team, I was asked to help out on the Kenai Team toward the end of the production), essential coffee pot, non-Disney coffee mug, fish (I kept killing the plants), non-Disney toy collection (apart from the "Runaway Brain" Mickey), photo's of my baby daughter and wife, and my favourite toy - my iPod.
Welcome to my first post. I am an Animator at DisneyToon Studios in Sydney, currently working on "Cinderella 3". I'm one of many about to lose our jobs as part of Disney's closedown of 2D animation. Animation as we know it has seven weeks of production to go before we join the unemployment lines and become known as "ex-Disney Animators". In spite of the shock of losing a regular pay cheque, it'll be very interesting to see what pops up on the Australian animation scene over the next couple of years.