CTN Members take a look back at 2008
Chris Bailey: 2008 was rollercoater year. I took some time off after suping the animation on Alvin and Chips and spent a month in Israel doing some story and CG consulting for Animation Lab in Jerusalem. Shortly after returning to CA, I had the opportunity to direct a series of mini shorts for PEPFAR (President Bush’s Emergency Program For Aids Relief in Africa). http://hivfreegeneration.warnerbros.com/
While at WB, a script page landed on my desk for an animated spot on the TERMINATOR TV series. It was for an orientation video at a nuclear power facility. I designed the star, ATOMIC AL and storyboarded the short educational clip about nuclear power. Todd Bright of Studio Bright animated it in record time and it appeared on the season’s second episode where Sara Conner gets a job at a nuclear facility. The Pepfar shorts came to a conclusion in late Nov. They were a whirlwind job. Mainstreet Productions four walled the studio and produced the shorts on the WB lot with 5 months. Since then, I’ve been consulting with Fox Feature animation and pitching projects while rumors of Alvin ll grow.
Nancy Bieman: 2008 was a banner year. I changed countries (USA to Canada) jobs (RIT to Sheridan College) and had my first book, PREPARE TO BOARD! published in Chinese. I am preparing for a second book and second semester at Sheridan, not necessarily in that order. Damon Bard: Besides continuing to look for new projects throughout 08, I was able to do a few jobs for The Orphanage, Art of White, Ugobe, and finish up some character design and sculpture on Coraline. I look forward to a busy and productive 2009. Hope to see you all out there!
Hye Coh: I lived in London most part of 2008. It was about an year and half altogether since Jul 2007, working for “The Tale of Despereaux” with Framstore-cfc, London, as Texture/Matte painter. It was BLAST!! Enjoyed meeting and building friendship with many international artists; British, Scandinavian, Italian, French, German…
The location of the studio was in SOHO, the most lively and contemporary area of London. Without saying major shopping and restaurant, lots of galleries and museums including British Museum, National Gallery were in walking distance. Did lunchtime excursion with colleagues often. . London living has influenced me a great deal; the style of living, my appreciation of art… Learned walking fast with higher heels in a very fashionable way was a bonus I wish this shows through my own creation of art, which I would like pursuit seriously from now on.
David Colman: Got married to Susan Iddings May 24 2008 (Now Susan Colman). Left Disney Feature and started @Fox Animation on “The Cleveland Show” set to air in fall of 09. Released line of tshirts soon to be availbale on my new site www.davidsdoodles.com. Sold out of my Art of Animal Character Design book @2500 copies thanks to CTN. Redesigned The :Littlest Pet Shop for Hasbro to be released in 2010. Started teaching Animal Character Design at LAAFA. Shipped next book to printer David Colmans Doodles Volume 2, available for preorder mid Jan from new site; www.davidsdoodles.com. Wife and I started househunting….
Regina Conroy: Yes indeedee this year went fast! And it’s a good thing, too, considering, eh? Whew! Let’s see Magic Mountain come up with a bigger roller coaster! Hopefully things will begin to start looking up once again! There’s so much hope flowing out there among the people, I can’t help but think better days are ahead. Let’s see….goodness – I worked on two films back to back. One is a wonderfully different and very compelling animated feature by Shane Acker called 9 – based on his academy nominated short film of the same numeral! It’s a mature story – one that hasn’t been seen before and I am excited about it. It is being finished now as I write, I believe, and perhaps will be released sometime this year by Focus/Universal. I was lucky enough to work on the film with Shane, Ryan O’Laughlin, Stephan Frank and a host of other terrific talents at Ken Duncan’s studio in Pasadena. What a wonderful group of folks to work with! We all worked at breakneck speed, but when you’re working with people who are nice and whom you respect – who could ask for more? It was an absolute delight. From 9 I was called in to work on CATS AND DOGS 2, the sequel being put out by Warner Bros. Features, with Brad Peyton directing. They just wrapped shooting up in Canada at Christmas. This was my third film with Chris DaFaria and the folks over on the lot and I absolutely adore working with them. It’s my favorite place to work.
First, it’s fun to work on the historic movie lot there, and it’s always a terrific experience, again, because of the talented, down to earth, good folks there who love animation, story telling and make it a good time for all. They truly appreciate their people and the work every one does. Keep an eye out for director Brad Peyton as he has to be one of the most film savvy, naturally gifted directors I’ve ever worked with. And he’s also one of the hardest working, most down to earth, nicest and most collaborative film makers I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. I learned a lot from him. Both films and groups of film makers were exceptional experiences. Working digitally now on the cintiq is a joy (I prefer Alias sketch book pro as it is such a simple, fast little program, adapted perfectly for boarding) and it proved very efficient, as I was asked along with one other animation story artist if I could work from home while they were shooting up in Canada (the script was in changes and they wanted to keep going). It worked out very, very well and I have to say – without the wasted time of commuting, setting up and breaking down equipment, no distractions – I think more work was accomplished as well. It was made simple with their coordinators and an FTP site. In between work on the films, I’ve been developing a card line of my own, finishing a novel, and readying some of my paintings and fine art for a future show – and in the process discovered that I need about two more brains, six more pairs of hands and at least thirty more hours in a day. Here’s to better days ahead for all -
Chris Deboda:I completed work on Rockstar Games’ “Midnight Club Los Angeles” as a 2D artist. (which is now available)
Ed Ghertner: In a turbulent year that had a lot more downs that ups I found that being a part of CTN was one of the brighter experiences I had. I made a lot of new connections and had a few job offers from people around the world. The website is out there and working! A lot of times we appreciate things people do for us but never express it so I would like to thank Tina Price for her hard work getting the site going, maintaining, and growing it. Here’s to a better year!
Jean Gillmore: I’ve just spent the last 6 months working long-distance (AND a couple of trips thrown in to New York!) with Blue Sky Studios, formerly of White Plains, but now relocated to Greenwich, Connecticut. The project is in the development stages, and I provided CG costuming for a large “cast” of incidentals, and one of the leads. Sorry, can’t disclose titles! Happy to have been able to meet the fine folks there and an exciting work environment, PLUS my first trips to Manhattan EVER. In the process of working with Blue Sky, (finally) picked up a LOT of Photoshop techniques both from friends AND a couple of individuals at the studio, particularly one Sang Jun Lee. Otherwise, moved residence and generally reorganized my studio; began building a website (up in early 2009), and FULL recovery from carpal tunnel surgery at the end of ’07 (as evidenced by the 6-month gig with Blue Sky). Ready for action and the intention of doing more (personal) painting!
James Hicks: James and his wife finished building their studio on 6 1/2 of wooded acres next to their 200+ year old historic log cabin, and now two years later after retirement James is getting back into painting and they’re both thankful for 2008.
Carolyn Guske: Though I was laid off Oct. ’08, the past 2 years working for Sony Pictures Animation as their “Vis Dev Marketing Artist” has been a wonderful learning experience. Thanks to Paul Lassaine’s help my skills painting extremely realistic tight character models have improved considerably. Thanks Paul! Being responsible for creating much of the marketing art and getting it to various markets (magazines, online, posters) was a fun challenge. Since October I’ve happily been back painting BG’s at home, freelance and have learned “Lectora” a software program to put training materials online for corporations. I hope to pick up more freelance in the new year. Happy Prosperous New Year to all my fellow CTN alumni!
Steve Hickner: 2008 was a pretty quiet year for me compared with 2007 and getting Bee Movie ready for its year-end release. I have been developing some projects for the future, and in the meantime, I squeezed in some time working on “The Secrets of the Furious Five”, the DVD short for the “Kung Fu Panda” home video release. It was great fun to work on, and especially wonderful to see some new, traditional animation again. I also helped out on “Mastermind”, a DreamWorks feature for 2010. That’s a snapshot for me. As a viewer, I really loved the new “Wallace and Gromit” short from Aardman– how does Nick Park keep doing it? The guy’s a genius. Also, I found “Waltz With Bashir” riveting and unforgettable. After seeing the movie, I was propelled to do some research into that horrific genocide. When a movie can do that, it is to me– by definition– Art.
Carole Holliday: 2008 proved to be awesome time of expanding.
In April I was excited to pay my taxes-I mean, who’s excited about paying taxes? Me, when the fee I paid was the yearly one for having my own production company; Crowded Metro Films.
Having always been in pre-production and production over the years, I was delighted to experience the last third of the process when I spent six months in post-production. While picking up animation storyboard freelance from various studios, I gained a huge appreciation for the work of editors, sound editors, foley artists, and visual effects artists, when I had to do it all on my short film “Witt’s Daughter.” After having worked with a fabulous and collaborative production crew on the story I wrote, produced and directed, I continued to work with wonderfully talented people in the areas of Music, sound mixing and color correction.
September 28 marked the official debut of “Witt’s Daughter” at the Laemmle Grand Theatre to very positive response. I have to admit it was incredibly encouraging for a first film. So far, “Witt’s Daughter” has been an official selection in the Hollywood film Festival in October and the Beverly Hills High Definition festival in December and continues to be submitted to festivals across the country.
With God’s continued guidance, 2009 looks to be continually hopeful, as I am working on a feature script for a romantic comedy as well as developing other feature projects.
For more information about “Witt’s Daughter” please visit www.crowdedmetrofilms.com
Mark McDonnell: This was a great year for me. I was lucky enough to be involved with many productions and various freelance opportunities. I started the year finishing up work for Tina Price at Digital or Not working on the 3D feature film, Eshan. I happily contributed to the film working on character designs, environment/set designs and helped out with various props associated with the sets that I designed. From here I was rehired to work on the Tinkerbell movie by Disney DTS, also helping out in the postproduction phase of its DVD release. I had briefly worked on the sequel, North of Neverland, supplying beat boards and layout’s for the final pitches to John Lasseter as he stepped in to look over all the creative work that is now coming out of the Walt Disney Studios. After finishing up work on Tinkerbell, I worked on various Disney games and projects that are currently in development before moving on to work on some concept design for an up-and-coming stand alone video game for Mattel and their Hot Wheel’s property. I was there chief designer and acted as the character designer (2D and 3D), storyboard artist, and principle illustrator to help propel the story and look of the game. While working on this title I was also contracted to work on a Theme Park attraction associated with Avalanche Bay, helping to add to their Christmas themed attractions in the park.
Because of this work, I was hired by one of the talented designers at Disney’s Imagineering group to design a character-based storefront that will be in construction over the next year. This was a very fun project to work on, as I was able to design the look and feel of the character that is integrated into every facet of the store and all the components that make up various activities as you progress through the environment, in true Disney Imagineering fashion. As I worked on the store’s designs I was also contracted to help out on Pixar’s Wall-E’s DVD release, helping out with designs and concepts that matched the amazing work done on the film. And all of this work was done while I was instructing Costumed Gesture Design at the Walt Disney Television Animation division.
As for the New Year . . . I have finally finished working on a book that I have happily self-published. I am happy to announce that “Mark McDonnell’s The Art and Feel of Making It Real: Gesture Drawing for the Animation and Entertainment Industry” is finally complete, coming in 2009 in hardback with 208 pages of full color illustrations and instruction tailoring my teachings to those interested in the Animation and Entertainment Industry. As I was lucky enough to continue on Walt Stanchfield’s teachings at the Walt Disney Company, this book is in addition to his previous words and more focused on tailoring my teachings and words of wisdom to the industry and how it functions in today’s times. It comes with a foreword by the legendary Eric Goldberg, and contributing words by Andreas Deja, Marcelo Vignali, and industry instructor Karl Gnass.”
For a preview, check out: www.Cre8tivemarks.com. Tom Sito: I spent a hectic year directing a season of TV for PBS. For CLICK & CLACK’S AS THE WRENCH TURNS, I had a chance to work with the Tom & Ray Magliazzi, the Tappet Brothers, Doug Berman of Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me. I also had a chance to direct some great voice talent like Kelli O’Hara of Broadway’s SOUTH PACIFIC, Jim Lehrer of the New Hour and many more. And it’s always a bonus to work with good old friends like Linda Simensky, Bill Kroyer, Stephen Silver, Floyd Norman and Karl Toerge.
One added benefit was I got to travel a lot to Boston, Dallas and New York City to do post. I also spent a lovely day in the Archives of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology sub-basement archives doing advanced research for a new book I’m writing on CG.
I also completed the manuscript of the update of Halas & Whittaker’s famous 1981 How-To TIMING FOR ANIMATION. Thanks to everyone who gave me some input. Look for it for next holiday season.
In the fall Pat and I were invited as judges to the Animatu Festival in Portugal, which was a blast.
Thanks to everyone I got to work with this year, and here’s hoping for a wonderful year in 2009.
Kathleen Quaife: I spent most of last summer writing 15 modules of instruction for an online class for the Academy of Art University on traditional effects animation and am teaching intro animation and life drawing at CSU Fullerton and CSU Channel Islands as a partime adjunct lecturer.
Olivier Tossan: I wish you a lot of success and Happiness for this new year !!!! I am working for Blue Sky Studios now….. Great !!!!
Christophe Vacher: Art Directed “9″. This movie was a hard and long path that lead us from LA to Luxembourg, to Paris, to Toronto, with a very small budget, and it got really close to being shut down mid-way through. It was produced by Focus Features, the independent branch of Universal. The production went from Attitude studios, in Luxembourg and France, to Starz in Toronto and Ken Duncan studios in Pasadena. So, seeing it finally come to life on the big screen feels really good. Overall, my experience on it as Art director will remain one of the best I’ve had in animation.” Watch Trailer Here.
Ellen Woodbury: I won my second Industry Award from Sculptural Pursuit magazine’s Sculpture-Only Competition, 2008, with my marble sculpture, “Whisper on the Wind.” The sculpture is of a stylized horse looking over her shoulder, looking back at one life and looking forward to the next. You can see an image of this sculpture on her blog at www.ellenwoodbury.blogspot.com.
Suzanne Wilson: Well, 2008 was certainly an interesting year! Following upon the Disney Heroes of Imagination exhibition organized by Creative Talent Network at the Van Eaton Gallery, I spent some time researching the early career of Rowland B. Wilson in order to update his biography on the Legends area of the website. A “lagniappe”, (which is a little extra surprise) of doing that was coming upon some early illustrations such as this one from Esquire Magazine which ran all along the top of the double page of an article about commuting to New York City: It says: “THE SUBOURBONITES: For some commuters, the bar car makes the trip to suburbia worth the effort.
I also learned that one of his early accomplishments was being published in Punch magazine, the epitome of English humor (or I should say “humour”!). That may have accounted for the idea many people had that he was British! It was interesting to find out how many art collections and books his work was in. I remember him saying he was watching television in Texas and Steve Allen called him on the phone and asked him to illustrate one of his books.
Comic-Con in San Diego was a huge event. Amidst the lovable exasperating zoo that it always is I was delighted to find a number of truly creative exhibitors (i.e. members of CTN!). I learned that there was some interest in Rowland as a Mentor. He used to say he didn’t want to solve the exact same visual problems over and over again, so he created some illustrated posters to remind himself of fast and effective solutions. He called them his “trade secrets” and was intending to compile them. My true highlight of 2008 was the opportunity to present these through Creative Talent Network!
Dean Yeagle: It’s been a hectic year. I was a guest at the San Diego Comic Con in July, and introduced a new book there, THE MANDY PORTRAIT GALLERY, with drawings of Mandy by 30 other artists. I’ve done work for various corporate clients as well as new cartoons for Playboy, as always. I was also a guest at the Angouleme festival in France, and had a one-man show at the Galerie Arludik in Paris, and did signings at various Paris comic shops of a book of my work, MÉLANGE. Recently I was invited to speak (and show Mandy on the IMAX screen) at the ’2D or Not 2D’ animation festival in Seattle. I’ve been working on a new Mandy book and a sculpture, and designs for Mandy images in an enameled metal process called Artglaz produced in Belgium. I’ve been contracted to do a bi-weekly series of pinup cartoons for an international website, and I do a regular series of cartoon illustrations for a Russian ‘lifestyle’ magazine. And I contributed to a number of book projects by other authors. And perhaps a few other things I’ve forgotten, too. A busy and exciting year!