However, there are times when real life takes a hold of you, shakes you thoroughly, and doesn't let you go.
This is one of those times.
I had a pretty rough week last week. It was emotionally, physically, and mentally taxing. I'm still trying to recover from it, to be honest.
It's an awkward place to be, a fresh-out-of-college graduate. And even more so when you still have lingering promises to fulfill. It's like trying to plant one foot back where you were while simultaneously trying to leap forward with two feet into the scary unknown called real life.
What adds to the pressure cooker is that there are those annual portfolio applications happening next month. I mean, I seriously want to work at a major studio...or any studio for that matter. I will take anything, really - and I know that I have to fight really hard to make it there. There are thousands of other hopefuls just like me, all of them equally or more talented and qualified. I am one of many.
Last week, I received a punch to the stomach. It was a bit of a blow to find out the truth from the recent Dreamworks meet up we had at my school, but it was nothing unexpected. Still, it sucked to hear the facts.
There is just a staggering amount of STUFF you need to know in order to animate. To those who do not know, it is an extremely technical art form - not only do you have to have strong draftsmanship, you have to have thorough knowledge of the human figure, the concept of conveying weight, physics, matter, AND also give your animations squash and stretch, strong poses, appealing designs, straights against curves, arcs, timing, etc etc etc - and, above all - be able to see your object or character in 3d - IN YOUR HEAD - to know what to draw in order for them to move properly.
And I'm not even talking about the acting portion yet.
To go from not knowing anything to being able to grasp the concepts behind it and apply it to a certain degree within a span of a year and a half - I felt proud and accomplished with myself.
However, it still wasn't enough to prepare me for what was needed in "real life". There's always more for me to learn, that's for sure, but to find out that I would be set back at least a year in order to just apply for an entry level position in Character animation...it was a heavy blow. Especially since I have been in college for far too long already.
My friends and I - we fought really hard to make it where we got to. There was not really a set program for animation at Long Beach - just a crazy Canadian professor and some equally crazy, ambitious college students who were passionate about animation. The program literally changed every semester. We learned to be flexible and adapt to the ever-changing situation. Aubry pushed us hard to get the concepts behind animation, and was ever so strict with deadlines - no excuse would appease him. (Sometimes a family death worked. I'm kidding...) We learned to accept this as the norm.
We craved to be recognized, we hungered for acceptance - and above all, we wanted to set a legacy for all the students who followed after us. We knew what we were up against; we were technically "fighting" against schools who had established animation programs, reputations, and distinguished faculty to their name - we were the under dogs, the nobodies.
To make the situation even more dire, we not only had to deal with the demands of animation and making our own films, we also had other art classes to fulfill our majors, not to mention the regular, general education classes that took up our time as well.
So, we were seriously crazy to take up this call to animate. But at the same time, it was the most obvious choice. Once I saw that could finally do what I have always wanted to do - bring my imagination to life - I never went back. And the fact that we can tell the stories to such a wide audience? Even better.
I do not regret my decision to pursue animation. Sometimes I think I was born to animate.
What I do find hard to deal with, at the moment, is the fact that I'm being pushed and pulled in towards many things all at once.
On one hand, I have to nail this portfolio call, or quite frankly, my life is going to be pretty hard to handle for the next year. If I do not make it, then it's not the end of the world. But it will sure feel like it.
On the other hand, I still have my senior project. Because of my need to land a job right outside of college, this project has almost completely disappeared from my life. But when I remember all the hard work and effort that Halie and I have put into it, I hesitate to dismiss it. It will also be screened in April and in May, representing the culmination of my efforts to achieve a Bachelor's of Fine Art...and I find that I can't let it go. I can't let it go half finished. It would be such a shame to see it end this way.
And in-between all of this nonsense, I have pressure from inside my house to get on with something, get a job somewhere, and save up to move out. Quickly.
I haven't been getting much sleep lately. I think that it will be that way for a long time.
These next few months will quite possibly make me or break me.
Until then, my friends -- fight on.