I need a vacation. Well, there are a few other things that would also help make my life a bit more meaningful, but a vacation would be a good start. The above picture was a photo that I took on our hotel balcony when we visited Santa Monica a few years ago. That was just too long ago. I miss the Pacific Ocean so much.
It's been rather nice and quiet at work since most of the managers are either in China or traveling or on vacation. Everyone on my team is ready for a vacation, too, I think. It has been difficult to focus on yet another creative brainstorming...this time for lawn and garden novelty and toys and outdoor activity stuff. I myself don't have a house or yard...barely a balcony to be honest...and have rented various apartments for the last 20 years or so, so it can be rather challenging to come up with the "Next Big Thing" for garden decor.
So, I'm doing alot of research. Some online, some offline, and a few interviews to gather information about what consumers are looking for to make their gardens the envy of the neighbors. ha!
Surprisingly, some of my designs for novelty yard products are seriously selling well. I'm stunned actually. I have to admit, that for those particular products, I did take inspiration from my crazy, I mean my lovely sister and her husband...both of whom I always enjoy visiting. I'll have to make sure to give them a few samples cause I know they'll appreciate them. :)
I asked a girl friend of mine about the post I made on the ABOSG forum to get a discussion going on female role models in the animation industry...since the professor I mentioned, after reading my comment, thought that I'd been offended by his comment. I wasn't offended so much as I was irritated...and I needed to understand what it was about his statement that bothered me, and I wanted to let him know without interrupting the presentation. The discussion thread and subsequent comments did clear that up and got some others aware of my point.
Anyways, here's what she replied after I asked for her opinion about my discussion thread:
"Personally, I think what you said was great! It's too bad that others didn't really accept your comment as an opening to an interesting discussion/debate and instead took it personally.
I think Rita Street is a good example of the fact that women CAN be successful in this industry, but she's not doing the sort of job that the young people coming to the ABOSG meetings are seeking. As a woman who works in a predominately male industry, it's helpful to see women being successful in this industry. It is however very disheartening that most of them aren't artists working on the floor. That part of things is still very male-centric. Women are still repeatedly passed up for promotions, advancements, etc. Not to mention we're treated like we're doing something "cute" that we have any sort of talent at all in many cases.
Wait - I thought this was 2006?
Women still get paid a lower average salary than men do and working in such a male-dominated industry doesn't help that. It means we have to work harder, longer just to prove that we deserve what everyone else is already getting. It would have been very nice to have had someone to look up to when I was first learning how this industry works. I don't know, I see validity on both sides of the coin on this one. I do think that it would be nice to see some women speakers at some of these meetings. Specifically women who have been in the industry for a while."
And then there's the new private Girls Forum on ConceptArt.org that was created to help the Ladies of CA build a network and potentially provide a professional arena for women who are interested in developing or sharing their skills in concept art development...
They've renamed this new forum the "G-Spot".
EXTRA, the entertainment newsshow, tonight called the upcoming "Ant Bully" the "sleeper animated hit for this summer" - ""The Ant Bully" is animated with a capital "A" as in A-listers, with the voices of Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep and Nicolas Cage lending their voices to the family film."
Of course, ExtraTV is owned by Time/Warner, so take that comment with a grain of salt. So sad, though, that DNA Productions, Inc., the company that wrote the script based on the children's book by John Nickle, directed, designed and animated the movie...chose to lay-off just about everyone that worked on it. Yeah, and I bet that their next feature production(s) will have the high quality and talented artists and animators that I've heard about in the development of Ant Bully. NOT.
It's really sad, but true, that we just don't have the available studios here in Dallas like Los Angeles so that talent can rotate from one creative workplace to the next...and it's not that easy to get people from there willing to move to Texas for a year or two of production time. There's just not enough animation work being done here in Texas to make that a feasible decision to bring family and buy/sell their home.
Some concept art by Henry Selick for the upcoming stop-motion feature film was posted on Neil Gaiman's blog for "Coraline." Go here to check it out.
I updated my side navigation to include some of the books, DVDs and other linkable items that I'm currently reading, studying, or watching. I've noticed a couple of other blogs that have something similar which has allowed me to find some interesting sites and fun stuff, so I thought I'd do a bit of sharing, too.
A few weeks ago on the ConceptArt.org forum, I found a new thread with concept art for what looked rather like characters from Anne McCaffrey's Dragonflight. And I wasn't the only one to comment about the similarity. The artist had apologised in his opening paragraph about the quality of the concepts (which were pretty good), and had stated that these were his first ever dragon concepts...so would we please be gentle. My comment was that the art was great, but if he was doing an homage to Anne McCaffrey's dragons, he needed to get rid of the horns on the dragon heads and make sure that he didn't use scales...that's part of what made Anne's dragons uniquely hers..and she's pointed that out rather frequently. I also added that "hadn't a Canadian company a few years ago also done some pre-viz work on a potential tv series about the Dragonriders of Pern...I remember so looking forward to that". Interestingly enough, the thread was deleted later that day.
And I just so happened to get this announcement this past week in one of those VFX emails that I get periodically:
Ryan Producers Ride Pern Into Theaters
"Anne McCaffrey's best-selling and long-running sci-fi/fantasy series THE DRAGONRIDERS OF PERN will fly into theaters via Canadian production company Copperheart Ent, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.Copperheart, which produced Chris Landreth’s 2005 Oscar-winning animated short RYAN, has optioned the 19-book series, which began with DRAGONFLIGHT in 1968..." There's a bit more info in the rest of the article...click the title link to go to the source.
Edit: Ah ha! I knew there would be info about the earlier prospective tv series somewhere on the internet....
Crescent Blues: While we're talking about dragons and cameras, Crescent Blues has heard there's a new television series currently in production in Toronto called The Dragonriders of Pern. This is really exciting news for Pern fans. When and how did this come about?
Anne McCaffrey: Zyntopo with Alliance/Atlantis are doing a live-action, digitally enhanced, animatronic TV series, prime time and internationally aired, called The Dragonriders of Pern (R). Robinton will certainly be a player, but the series will start with a combination of Renegades of Pern, Dragonflight, and All The Weyrs of Pern. With some 2558 years to work in, there's plenty of material for adventures. But to the second question, when and how, it all revolves around a kitten and that's a long story. Suffice it to say that there's been pre-production work in Dublin and Toronto, for the past year and a half, and I'm quite satisfied with the work in its present stage.
Hmmm...now, isn't that interesting.