I'm sitting here in my cube, in the Lodge, at CalArts, finishing up some critical studies. I haven't posted in a while, and I though I'd put a 'look back' post since I'll probably be cleaning out my cube soon. This is gonna sound very much like a yearbook goodbye which I wish it wouldn't but,.bear with me please, I'm a sentimental guy.
Those who don't know me, I'm a senior at Calarts character animation, and I'll be graduating on Friday, May 15th. I have to say that I feel bitter sweet about leaving. Not so much Calarts in general, but my beloved character animation, where its been my home the past four years. It is truly a special program. It's a close knit family with hugely talented people. I've been blessed to learn from the students who have come and gone and those that have come in. I'll miss all the usual stuff like guest lectures and the 48 hour films and Christmas party and just hanging around in the cubes, I'll miss the talented faculty and their amazing knowledge.
I have to say that my senior year has been the best out of all four. I had an awesome animation teacher, Ted Ty, who helped me so much in getting me motivated and believing in me. Without his guidance and on occasion good beating, I never would be at the skill level I am now and would not have had fun animating again. I have to thank my mom too, for always encouraging me. Apart from that, I made new friends, got to know some of my peers alot more and became more social than in previous years. The past years I focused on too much on what I had lost, like being away from home, instead of focusing on what I had now. I'm blessed to have been able part of Character Animation cause I know so many people try to get in. I really took advantage this year of everything. Alot to complain about, yeah there's room to complain, but you can either complain or take hold of what you got in this department, the gems. I want to thank everyone who ever spoke a word of encouragement, pointed me in a new direction, challenged me, and invited me places to hang out. I'll miss SOCCER CLUB! I'm so glad I played this year, I'm so bummed it's over. You guys are awesome! You gave me great memories! I felt like a kid again! Maybe I'll come back to visit and play.
While I will hate to clean out my cube because for one, packing stinks, but mostly cause I won't have a cube next year. My cube is where I've spent the majority of my time in. Through the ups and downs, the disappointments, the frustrations and failures, the successes, the homesickness, the heartbreak. The sleepless nights, the malnutrition, the endless cups of vending machine coffee, the mountains of animation paper. My cube is my home away from home. And how can I forget the Lodge! LODGERS RULE! Let me name a few seniors who've been in the Lodge all four years: Benton Connor, Megan Hughes, Jonathan Kim, Mariel Cartright, Phill Woods, Minkyu Lee, Andy Lozano. If I forgot anyone, please don't shoot me! There other awesome Lodgers and hopefully those who inhabit it, make it a great place like it is now. But overall, it wasn't great cause its the Lodge, its always the people. That's why I stayed. I remember I left the Lodge one semester cause it was noisy, and I totally regretted. Well, for one I chose to cube next to the windows in the main building where its really dark and the air conditioning comes from the floor. Plus, there was no one around to talk to. So I went back. It's all about da peoples. And not just that, the fun atmosphere too. I've learned that you can't be an animator and be a serious old far. You have to goof off sometime, you gotta let out some steam and let loose (in a safe way of course). I remember Nick Butera and Jules Soto shooting each other with nerf guns in the Lodge. I came out of my cube to see what the noise was about, and I see Nick with a nerf gun. Then suddenly I hear a whooosh! and feel a slight sting on my back. I turn around and Jules had shot me with a nerf blow dart. I remember Jules would fly his little remote controlled plane outside the Lodge. Some would play Frisbee.
I'll miss learning from everyone, I'll miss the lunch-box sessions, where I got helped by many. My animation wouldn't be anywhere as good if it weren't for my peers who gave me great advice and didn't bs me. Thank you guys. I'll miss Benton coming into my cube and interrupting me while I'm animating(no hard feelings benton) , I'll miss him coming into my cube and asking me, "Hey dude, whata you watching?" And then I respond, "Mystery Men, for the 50th time." I'll miss talking to Minkyu, my first roommate, I'll miss seeing him drawing in his cube and talking about animation. I'll miss bothering Misty even when she has a 'do not interrupt' sign posted outside her cube. I'll miss throwing balls of paper over her cube and scaring her. I'll miss her throwing golden fishes over my cube resulting in my floor to be all crunchy. Thanks Misty, for everything, for being my friend. At times, the only one. But we'll keep in touch. Stephen, I'll miss you too buddy, it was great becoming friends with you. And Ethan for being a good pal. Davis, thanks for everything, the talks, the encouragement, the animation help. McManus, I still owe you Disneyland.
I'll miss crunch-time, oh crunch-time. I'll miss the energy, and the passion and dedication I see everyone put in to complete their films. I'll miss looking at Reel #1. I'll miss turning off the lights in the LODGE! Those times are special! It's like camping, but instead of roasting marshmallows, you're animating. I'll miss the free Calarts food. Darn it.
To the underclassmen, I give you Corny's advice, "Be artists, dammit!" True words, don't worry about being like anyone else, experiment, take risks, explore, be inspired and help each other out. Always stay humble and learn more. Being an artist is a lifelong journey, I've now realized. You can never stop learning. There's always new ground to cover. But please, don't ever become arrogant, prideful bums. Heed correction well.
I'll miss all you guys. You made it worthwhile and special. I wish you guys all good luck! Keep in touch! (with Facebook I don't think that'll be hard).