Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Looking for Funding at the Annecy Animation Festival

This year I'm going to the Annecy Animation Festival in France. I'm very excited. I've never been to an animation festival before, let alone such a big and awesome one as this. I'll be there from June 9th - June 10th. Only two days to cram in so much!

Mainly I'm going in order to look for funding sources for a web series that I'm developing. I'm hoping that it will be a really great networking opportunity. Right now I'm debating whether or not I should get the $630 ticket that gets me the contact info for all the companies that will be coming to Annecy. With that, I could set up meetings with people beforehand and make the trip more productive.

Sounds good, albeit pricey. I'm just a little nervous because I don't know what it'll be like. My other option is to just wait until the Ottawa film festival to really pitch my series, and just use Annecy to scope things out. But that feels a bit like I'm selling myself short. I think I should just go for it! Now I just need to find 630 bucks.

Figure Drawing with Watercolors

I went to a figure drawing session at the Hamilton Art Museum yesterday. I've never used watercolors in drawing from life before, but I was pretty happy with the results:

Some 1 minute sketches:
1 minute figure drawing sketches

One 5 minute sketch:
5 minute figure drawing sketches

5 minute watercolor paintings:
5 minute figure drawing paintings

10 minute watercolors:
10 minute figure drawing sketches

30 minute watercolors:
30 minute figure drawing sketches

Monday, May 4, 2009

Why I love Miyazaki

My google alerts for "Studio Ghibli" clued me into this article about my main man, Hayao Miyazaki.

A choice quote:

"A stiff, avuncular presence in his tweed suit and maths teacher's glasses, Miyazaki is clearly uneasy dealing with the media circus. It's unlikely the 68-year-old has heard of British pop group Blur, but he would undoubtedly agree that Modern Life is Rubbish. His movies are paeans to the natural world and coded warnings about its perilous state; in a recent interview he fondly speculated on a natural disaster that would return the planet to its pristine state."

The rest of the article talks about what makes him special: his rejection of pop culture and technology, and a strong interests in nature. Despite being friends with John Lasseter from Pixar, the article says he's never even seen Toy Story, or Wall-E.

"I can't stand modern movies," he winces. "The images are too weird and eccentric for me." He shuns TV and most modern media, reading books or travelling instead.

I felt a jolt of Miyazaki love reading this article. I reminds me how important nature and the environment are to me and how much I'd like to make films that are as beautiful and powerful as his.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Delibrate Practice = Genius

I read this article from the New York Times today and it really hits home a topic that's been on my mind lately. It refers to the following book, which I've read a bit of as well: Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else, by Geoff Colvin.

The premise of both the book and the article is that there are no born geniuses, that great composers like Mozart and great performers like Tiger Woods became great because of their ability to spend ridiculous amounts of time practicing and perfecting their craft. What Colvin says in his book is that what really matters is not just practice, but deliberate practice.

For example, the difference in practice and deliberate practice in drawing might be the difference between doodling and spending hours studying human anatomy and drawing the human figure over and over. Colvin differentiates regular practice and deliberate practice by the level of concentration. If you can do it while watching TV, you're not learning that much really, and it's not deliberate practice.

I think it's an interesting concept and I really like it. It implies that anyone can be awesome if they practice hard enough. But Colvin does continue to say that subjecting oneself to many hours a day of deliberate practice is something that not everyone can do. And that's what makes the genius.