Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Animated Thoughts: "2013: The Year in Review"

As always, the year was a mixed bag of successes and failures for me. My goals for 2013 were the following:

1. Produce one animated film for for the 2013 festival circuit.

I can check this goal off as a success--kind of. Using material that my friend Jon and I created in one of Lynn Smith's paint-on-glass workshops, I produced a short one-minute film for the ASIFA worldwide International Animation Day screening. Additionally, I produced a short ten-second film for the TAIS annual Summer screening. Both films can be viewed below:



Neither film was sent out to the festival circuit as I didn't think that they merited it, but both films were fun little projects that helped me learn more about After Effects CS6 and they did get screened publicly at the ASIFA Central International Animation Day screening and Toronto Animated Image Society summer screening.

2. Get Certified:

Well, this year I decided to go the 'bite the bullet route' and I joined Adobe's Creative Cloud. While I'm not too thrilled with the direction that Adobe is going--monthly subscription model--I can't argue with the ease of upgrading their software to the latest version. I'm currently re-learning After Effects and expanding my existing knowledge of Acrobat, Premiere, and Audition. This is a long-term goal, so I'm going to continue working with these software packages and expand my filmmaking toolkit. One thing I did learn was that upgrading to CS6 was a wise decision. Given the fact that I'm using Premiere CS4 at work for my forensic animation and video projects, I learned that I could do all the editing work at the main office where my boss could look over my shoulder and approve the changes and final project. Then, I'd bring the Premiere and video files home to create the final output videos and burn them to DVDs. The time saved was enormous! On average, what would have taken me seven plus hours to render on my computer at work would be done in about fifteen to twenty minutes on my home computer. My productivity for the day job immediately took a quantum leap and the boss is now looking into upgrading my work computer.

3. Get Animated:

I decided to sacrifice this goal--kind of. An opportunity presented itself in 2013 and I ran with it. After talking to Ellen Besen and Lynn Wilton, I decided to launch a second blog called 'Animated Women' which would become a repository for all my March "Women in Animation" interviews. As I worked on interviews, researching the history of Women in animation, and posting news about Women working in the field of animation, the project blossomed. So, I'm now working on a lecture designed to teach girls about the rich history of women in animation from the late-1800's to the present date. If it's accepted into the lineup, I'll be presenting it at this year's local anime con. Wish me luck!

My goals for 2014? More of the same:

1. Produce one animated film for the 2014/2015 festival circuit.

I have two paint-on-glass films in pre-production, but paint-on-glass is a labor intensive process, so they're not films I can just bang out in a year. Going to have to take a long-term perspective on these two films, but I'll get them done.

2. Get Certified

More of the same: learn the software, take the tests, learn how to be a better instructor. Fortunately, since it's based on learning software and learning how to become a more effective public speaker, breaking this goal into sub-tasks is a lot easier.

3. Animated Women

This is a five-year project that I've committed to. Step one is to get the blog up and running, which I did this year. Second was to expand on my research material, which I also accomplished this year--as evidenced by the stack of books and files in my office. But in the future, I'd like to look at producing a podcast of interviews with women working in the field of animation as well as a documentary. Both have merit and both require a lot of work to accomplish. I think that over the month of January, while I'm preparing the latest interview, I'm going to take a serious look at what it'll take to produce both. Having already looked into what it would cost to produce a podcast, it's time to call up a couple friends who are documentary filmmakers and take a look into going the film route. In any event, I'm really excited about this "Animated Women" project and can't wait to see where it leads.

As my freelance historic animation work is starting to pick up again, I'll have to be a lot more focused this year than I was during the last, but I have to say, I'm really excited about 2014!