|Cherry tree next to R.I.T.'s Admissions office|
My talk was part professional work and part biography as I tried to stay humble about my successes and brutally honest about my failures. The hope was twofold: one, show a wide range of examples so students would see that there is enough work to support yourself after graduation should you not get that dream job at Pixar. And two, be open and honest about my mistakes so that the students could either avoid making them or at least minimize the damage if/when they do make them.
I knew going into this presentation that the folks at R.I.T. would be first-class all the way and would treat me as such, so I tried to ensure that they'd get the biggest bang for their buck. Instead of recycling my forensic animation presentation from the 2009 Kalamazoo Animation Festival International, I wrote a brand new two-hour lecture that covered the entire breadth of my work -- from commercials to museums to court cases. Additionally, R.I.T. gave me the opportunity to teach an hour-and-a-half workshop on Forensic Animation where students could see what it takes to do an accident reconstruction and get a finished piece for their portfolios.
However, what I enjoyed most about the trip was the chance to hang out in a pub the night before my lecture and talk one-on-one with Stephanie. Whenever I see Stephanie (or Skip, or Marla) at festivals, we're usually so busy with workshops, screenings, and networking with other animators. There never seems to be time to sit down, and have a relaxing conversation with your mentors unless you make the time. Later that evening, I was left with the thoughts that I graduated 14 years ago and my professors still have so much to teach me--and how fortunate I was that they are still more than willing to share their wealth of experience!
On the way home, since it was right off the highway, I treated myself to an hour's visit at the Niagara Butterfly Conservatory. I've been to Butterfly houses all around the Great Lakes region and I have to say that the Niagara Conservatory is the best (with Wings of Paradise in Kitchener a close second). At any rate, the Butterfly Conservatory was a very nice reward for confronting my reservations about public speaking.
My trip to R.I.T. was Monday through Wednesday. On Saturday, I drove up to Grand Rapids for the annual ASIFA/Central Midwest Animators Retreat.
Paired up with David Baker and Gordon Peterson, we spent four hours doing a couple stop motion animations using crayon on posterboard. David had this really cool organic vision for our animations that had us dividing up the posterboard into sections and each of us drawing abstract imagery that grew from multiple focal points on the page.
|It's coming right at us!|
All-in-all, it was a very busy week but one that was filled with the excitement of connecting with old friends and meeting brand new friends. My lecture at R.I.T. put me in the best possible mood for interacting with the animators at the ASIFA meeting. I'm very happy to see so many professional animators and student recognizing the value of the community we're building through ASIFA/Central.