Sunday, November 27, 2011

CTNX, Part Deux

By the time I made it to my hotel, my roommate Jordan, whom I'd never met before, was already either snoozing or on the verge of it, so I unpacked my bags and found, to my dismay, that my phone was not responding when I plugged it into the wall to charge. I opened it up and discovered this:

Why yes, that is a battery I am holding. A bulging, unresponsive, awful-looking battery. Thankfully after a few minutes it did manage to react to charging, so I took that time to re-update my manual phone archive, which everyone should totally do. You never know when your electronics will fail you.

It wasn't long before I ran into Tyler and his chum Eli, and from there stumbled upon a massive flood of SCAD alumni and students. I must say, everyone from school had shown up dressed very well. Monty was always full of great dressers, but I was impressed anyway. For the duration of the expo I just drifted around and switched friend groups every hour or so, and wound up picking up the following memorable quotes:

"Love is as fleeting as a Listerine breath strip."

"There are no cowboys in Africa."

If anybody who was there wishes to claim those quotes, I've totally forgotten who quoted them and probably should have mentioned it when I wrote them down. Maybe I was just trying to write a ballad.

I also ran into Mario again this year in line for the Andreas Deja panel. This year I think he picked up some extra lives, because it seemed like every other person I met at CTNX was named Mario after that. He picked a few caricature duels, which wasn't a bad idea at all. I think I might steal it for later.

By that point, I was sure beyond a shadow of a doubt that, during this presentation, my phone would do something disastrous like leak battery acid or explode in my pocket.
However, it miraculously held throughout the presentation, including a brilliant display of the differences between Kaa and Juju. After THAT, who should appear but Richard Sherman himself for an impromptu segue into the presentation that I would phone my grandmother about the next morning and speak of incessantly until this very day.

Casey managed to recite the word "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" backwards and got major props that evening.

My grandmother is a very avid Lawrence Welk fan, and claims that they just don't make music like they used to. Seeing Sherman perform live was definitely an amazing experience, and it was certainly my kind of concert, if you can call it that. No mosh pits, no overdone guitar solos, and my ears weren't ringing afterward! And, musicians, you know you totally can make music like they used to, right? If I had musical composition aptitude I'd definitely go old-school with it. It's so retro it's cutting edge!

*Zane is not a real pain, he just plays one on television.

For dinner that night a handful of us went off to Denny's. We had most of our meals at that Denny's, since it was right across the street. I'm not sure if this was a Hollywood-area thing, but every time I went to that place out of all the CTNX's I'd been to, they'd been showing professional juggling on the TVs instead of regular sports. If this is true of most restaurants in the area then I really need to start living in California ASAP.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Hi there, Zelda here. I just got back from a fabulous weekend at CTNX with several dozens of the most awesome friends I could ever ask for.

Basically, ever since last May, I took a cue from The Wizard and Close Encounters of the Third Kind and wandered around aimlessly since then mumbling "California" in a zombielike trance. If my voice actually resembled Jimmy's it was purely coincidental, as I haven't seen that movie since I was a wee lass, and I doubt that guy still sounds like that.

Eventually, it was then decided that I needed to go to Burbank for the Creative Talent Networking Expo to frolic about with others of my kind. I finally took off last Thursday, and a lot of stuff went down so I'll break it all up into a few entries. I've got a lot to do now that I'm back, the least of which is hosting Thanksgiving tomorrow!

Personally, I love airports. I know it's a little odd, but I've just been on so many planes I feel good about knowing my way around a bunch of them and being prepared for security...but I definitely reached a new high in airport savvy when I convinced the woman running the first class counter that I was lost to the point where she just checked me in without me having to wait in line, despite the fact that I was carrying one non-obtrusive carry-on and my check luggage was within the normal weight specifications.

I switched planes in Pittsburgh first and there was a pretty hefty wait between flights, so I wandered over to the bookstore to indulge in my filthy habit...buying celebrity comedians' novels and autobiographies. Hey, it beats collecting self help books about cleaning your clutter, right? Eventually I wound up in this life-altering mental debate...

Ellen DeGeneres' latest book, or a sandwich from Subway? No contest there.

I regret nothing.

By the time the plane came along I'd finished Seriously...I'm Kidding and felt more good-looking than usual thanks to the incessant compliments Ellen DeGeneres put on the back cover.

Several hours later I arrived in Phoenix and finally got brunchinner. That was at Burger King. Now I'm not sure about you, but I find Burger King fries phenomenal under normal circumstances. Unfortunately, the fries at THIS Burger King were noticeably larger, softer, and less flavorful than usual, and on top of that they did not sell chicken tenders. I sincerely hope that this is unique to that specific Burger King and not something that originated in the west and has plans to migrate eastward anytime soon. If I hadn't been eating airline pretzels and pages of Ellen's book all day I think I'd have imploded from hunger. It made the subpar fries taste somewhat edible.

At the gift shop in Phoenix, instead of magnets and postcards they were selling Grow-Your-Own Saguaro Cactus kits. I personally would have purchased ten if I had real estate on which I could plant them.*

Who needs barbed wire or real gates when you can make a wall of giant cacti around your property?! Take that, you lousy kids!!! So, uh, now my dream house will need to have a Saguaro wall and a lyophilizer. Classy.

*According to the seed packet they'd grow anywhere, but only flower in the desert after about a hundred or so years.

I made it to Burbank in one piece...and that's when the real fun began!


Friday, May 13, 2011

Hi again.

In the last month I've learned that after art and voiceover work, mowing lawns is my third-favorite thing-I-can-do-to-make-money. It's also great exercise. I'm not sure why I never did it when I was in the typical "Hey Mrs. Jones, can I mow your lawn for $10?" age range. It was probably something along the lines of my mom not trusting me with a lawnmower.

I should be drawing now.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

This must be one of those things that takes time.

I swear, that voice in my head keeps telling me I'll get back to where I was six months ago if I keep doing this.

Friday, April 8, 2011

A Day in a Line and Choir

My mom decided to leave me at AC Moore for an hour while she had lunch with my sister, and I found a doodle journal that actually had doodle activity suggestions in it instead of just being a bunch of blank pages with a fancy cover that charged you more than a regular sketchbook. One of the pages challenged artists-in-training to draw out the events of an entire day without lifting your writing implement of choice from your paper. Aside from my crappy cars it turned out pretty cool looking, even if it was a crummy day and a nice testament to why lactose-intolerant people shouldn't eat pizza if they're going to be working all day.

Last night was my brother's choir concert. My dad ditched so I went with my grandmother. What I wasn't told was that the concert was to be combined with the elementary school choir concerts this time. Which meant that 1) They'd sound lousier than usual, and 2) Happy Harley would be there.

Happy Harley--unlike the last Harley I crossed paths with, this Harley was...not a small horse, first of all, and probably wouldn't appreciate being painted green. She was an elementary school music teacher in every essence of the word. Short and perpetually smiling, with musical knowledge ranging from "Don't wanna be your Valentine," "Suzy Snowflake," and "Plant a Little Watermelon On My Grave" to "When Witches were Waltzing" and "Swimming, Swimming, Into the Swimming Pool." Her hair was always teased and poofed into a fro about triple the size of Ronald McDonald's.

I managed to spot her again on the stage. As of 2011, the poof had been flattened somewhat and she'd essentially turned into a shrively brunette version of Mother Gothel from Tangled. Like this, with the same buggy eyes and goofy grin put on a real person.

Don't worry. Afterward I didn't do anything that would've put me in detention. Through sheer force of preadolescent apathy I completely bypassed her choir and only had to deal with Happy Harley and her sloppy air instrumentalist act. I didn't wind up in choir at all until 7th grade. What a lucky break!

The concert was long and about what you'd expect from a concert that included 4th-6th graders and a first-year middle school director.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Factory Time

This is from today's 'get up and make some time to draw' session.

This is the kind of stuff across the river from me now. The old river had a posh hotel that you could hitch a ferry to when you felt like it...the new river has lots of factories. None of which spew anything resembling steam or smoke that you can draw. And you can't exactly ferry over to check 'em out closer. I could bust out the telescope, maybe, but drawing through a telescope sounds like more trouble than it's worth.

Alright, here's the real plan...

Draw every single day, as much as possible, and get back up to scratch.

Post an update whenever Dad's not home to hog the scanner.

Yesterday my brother made confirmation, and must have wanted me to be there pretty badly or something. My mom doesn't usually want me around her church (which actually isn't hers anymore, so that may be part of the reason I was actually instructed to show up). I've got a reflexive habit of turning into Simon Cowell whenever there's anything resembling a choir, among other things, that must embarrass her in front of her friends. The choir was pretty terrible, probably in the running for the worst I'd heard in my lifetime, which didn't make it any better for my mom. It's usually a bad sign when your choir's trying to sing in unison and winding up in off-again-on-again five-part harmony instead.

I had been to one other confirmation before about ten years ago--it was for one of my best friends, and one of the priests taught me how to make a paper airplane, but I found a better one later.

Ten points to anyone who can spot Monty.

Afterward we all shipped out to get some Chinese. Luke and I got Peking Duck and everyone else had a free-for-all. Someone ordered a Pu Pu platter, and that came with a fire pot in the middle.

She didn't send me even one. -__- If I weren't allergic to half the stuff in the dish I'd go back and order one for myself just to draw the fire. The one on the top right is not mine. :P

Monday, April 4, 2011

What I love most about rivers is you can't sketch the same river twice. :P

This may very well be the worst hair day I've had this year yet, but my kitchen smells like bacon, John Williams is blasting for the entire neighborhood to hear, and it's finally warm enough to run out and sketch like mad, so I DON'T CARE! >:]

Yesterday my dad hogged the computer with the scanner. Also, I was being lazy, so I made up for it today by zooming through five pages of that sketchbook that fell onto the highway when Lauren and I helped Courtney move (and got run over by at least one car.) After that it just stopped scanning well. And my dad's scanner's no Epson-whatever-SCAD-had, for sure.

The dog's name is Asia. She's the wimpiest dog in the world, thankfully, and because of that she never does anything regrettable like trying to jump on me or bark at me. I don't know what kind of dog she is. I'm not even completely sure she's female and am banking on hearsay alone, but I figured most of the people reading this probably like dogs and might be interested in knowing.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Now I know Why I needed an External Conscience...

This past Tuesday I experienced a sudden epiphany of epic proportions.

I conjured up a conscience. A real one that can yank on my ear, chastise me for being an idiot, and engage in highly productive think-conversations that last well into the night. It's really not pulling any punches, either, and told me that if I want to get out of this rut and out of this ghetto I am going to have to draw at least once a day, every day to get back in the animation world where I belong.

In the meantime, I've gained some cash working for my dad. If any of you have ever read a Berenstain Bears book called "The Bicycle Lesson," you may recall the phrase "Now son, this is what you should not let this be a lesson to you!" If not, it's a really, really easy read. I suggest taking a minute to drop by your local library and read it cover-to-cover in under two minutes.

Anyway, my dad runs his business the way Papa Q. Bear rides a bike. Here are a few tips I picked up so far...

1) Don't hire someone just because you were friends with them in high school, because you thought their nationality was cool, or because they can't get a job elsewhere, especially if someone better qualified applies for a position at your company.

2) Keep your work area neat and tidy, especially in places where outsiders are going to be walking around often.

3) Going along with #1, when you're in charge of a bunch of people, take the time to evaluate the skills they do have and use those skills to your advantage. For instance, if you have an AutoCAD junkie hanging around and your company requires the use of AutoCAD, get them doing some of that, and not secretarial work. Same applies to having most animators do math. It doesn't work.

4) Never underestimate the value of a good morale-boost.

5) If you've been waiting ten years for your big break and you wind up getting it, do as much of the work as you can manage yourself. Especially if you've hired unqualified people and aren't at least maximizing the use of the skills they already have.

Here's today's picture. Excuse me while my new conscience harps on me about needing to get in some real observational drawing if my portfolio's going to be up to scratch at all.