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  • Writer's pictureZAP!

Showreels are up!!

Updated: Aug 3, 2020

I feel like I start out every blog post with an apology for how long it has been.... Here is another one! Life in lockdown has been surprisingly busy and I haven't had a chance to write much here.

HOWEVER!! I did manage to finally put together my show reels from Big Hero 6, Zootopia, Moana and a little one from Wreck-It Ralph 2. It is pretty crazy to rewatch all of those shots that were animated so many years ago. Every one taught a lesson in animating, and the Big Hero memories really start flying when I watch that reel. I learned so much from that film. I made so many mistakes on that film both as an artists and as a leader. It has taken me 5 years to start to wrap my head around it all and realize just how much further I have to grow as a filmmaker, a leader, and as a person. We are all on the journey.

The Big Hero 6 reel is a bit shorter because I was also the Head of Animation at the time. The supervisors really thought it was important for me to do the introduction to Baymax in the film. I had spent some time developing his style of movement with Patrick Osborne during Pre-Production, and it was so fun to figure out that shot. I don't think the stool existed in the original layout, but I don't quite remember. We wanted something small as to not outstage Baymax's second appearance in the bedroom as he worked his way around the bed, but to illustrate the manner by which Baymax solved problems. I also had a lot of fun with the C-read of Tadashi's performance. A lot of work for a character you hardly look at, but I think it gives the whole scene a lot more depth. The Callahan shot was one that I really wanted to animate. I was excited to try out the idea for the camera and to figure out the choreography of the acting against the camera move. It felt like a real live-action/Christopher Nolan moment and as an animator at Disney, you don't get to do seething anger very often. Super fun to do! Then, at the end of production, Chris Williams snuck into my office in the evening and told me the plan for the Stan Lee bumper at the end of the credits. It was meant to be a surprise for the entire crew including the Animation Supervisors. We worked our tails off to try and make that entire 2 minute piece in about 3 weeks. I blocked out the entire run, but was running out of time to polish the entire piece by myself. We ended up having to bring the Animation Supervisors in on the secret and they were stoked to get to help! The shots in BW in the show reel were finished by the supes. Those in color, I got to finish myself including a shot I never thought I would get to animate of Stan Lee himself. What an honor!

After Big Hero 6, I took some time off to get my head on straight again and returned in time for Zootopia. What an animator dream of a show. The characters were some of the most appealing and most cartoony I had ever played with. The writing was clever. The voice acting was amazing and the world was endless in its entertainment possibilities. I was also SO excited to work on a film that had such a strong message that the world needed and continues to need today. Keeping the animal-y-ness in the characters was a huge challenge for me, and I honestly struggled a LOT on this show. Cartoony animation isn't something that comes as easily to me as more natural body mechanics, but the supervisors on the show were great, and Renato the Head of Animation did great drawovers to help push us. Overall, I am proud of the work I did on the show, but after having a few years of distance from it.... I really wished I had pushed things further and polished my work a bit more. It is a great lesson in humility to look back on your work like this. I can still hear the notes that the supes and Head of Animation Tony Smeed were giving me, but at the time I thought I was seeing what they meant and thought I was addressing their notes. I can definitely see my struggle in my work, but that is all part of the process. The work looks great and I learned and am still learning a ton!

I believe it was during Moana, during our time at "Tujunga," that I was starting to develop Puddles for Short Circuit. Our time at "Tujunga" (the warehouse where we created Zootopia and Moana while the main building was being renovated) is a bit of a blur in all honesty! I loved working at Tujunga. There was very little privacy as the entire animation department was in one giant open area, but it bred a true camaraderie. There was an ease by which we could look over each others shoulders and see what people were struggling with or how they were working their magic. It was easier to collaborate on a shot, and something about the less fancy location united us all as a team focused on creating quality work. I look back on it with great fondness.

Moana was one of the best shows I have had the pleasure to work on. The film was fun, and the directors were amazing. Ron and John made animation dailies super fun. John had this uncanny ability to remember EVERYTHING! Not just everyone's names... but every single note that had been given on your shot and by whom. Ron and John are legends in the industry and their specific filmmaking style was really cool to witness, especially in union with the developing CG pipeline and style of our more recent films. Also... it was a musical. My favorite. I was super lucky early on to get to work on "You're Welcome." Animating singing and dancing is my absolute favorite, and I very rarely get cast to those shots. I think I tend to be viewed as either a broad physical animator or an intense acting animator, but I LOVE the passion and emotion that drives musical scenes. I also was lucky to do a few shots of Tamatoa which were SO MUCH FUN. Cartoony is so so fun and Jermaine's voice was something that I begged to get to animate to. The leadership of the show was once again great and worked very hard to give the animators their freedom with shots. Overall, a real pleasure of a show and I think it shows in my work.

After Moana, I had the opportunity to direct Puddles and then became a Workflow Supervisor. While I was out of the animation department, I felt the need to keep animating to stay sane and keep my skills slightly sharp. I asked if I could work weekends on Animation and the production was kind enough to oblige. I didn't get to animate as much as a normal show, but considering I only worked 7 Saturdays, I am quite proud of the minute of animation I was able to accomplish. Ralph will forever have a special place in my heart. It was my very first leadership experience, and I love the simple honesty of his character and the sharp wit of the writing. It was nice to hang out with old friends like Ralph and Vanellope.

I hope you enjoy the reels! I hope they are helpful in some way! If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to let me know! I am always happy to help!


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