The Heck have you been!?
If you jump through the blog posts on this so-called blog, you will notice a trend. I am terrible at this thing. I don't keep up on my social media outside of adorable pictures of my daughter (oh yeah, I have one of those now in case you didn't read the last post) and I rarely remember to spew my thoughts onto this blog.... but today is one of those days! So what the heck have I been doing?!
Well, since my last post, a lot has happened. Us Again got short listed for the Oscar in... 2022? What is time anymore? That was incredible! We got a lot of great buzz and even Variety predicted we would be among the final nominees, but alas, it was not the case. We didn't make it to the show, but it was a huge honor to be the only Disney or Pixar short to make the short list in a year with so many options.
HOWEVER, The Seabeast WAS nominated for the Oscar in 2023. It didn't win, but everyone knew GDT was gonna take the trophy home, so we were STOKED to be among the nominated films. The Seabeast was one of the hardest films I have ever worked on. Chris has an incredibly high bar for everything, the scope was massive, and we did it all from our homes. It turned out better than I could have expected and it was incredible to get the awards nod. Someday, if I get motivated, I will do some additional posts on our learnings, thoughts on The Seabeast. I am so proud of the level of animation the team at SPI was able to achieve on that film.
Since The Seabeast, I have stayed on at Netflix and joined a small internal team helmed by the INSANELY talented James Baxter. They often say to not meet your heroes, but James turns out to be the nicest human in the world and more talented that I think I ever gave him credit for. We have been tasked with helping films in development and early pre-production to define their character design and animation styles. We provide support in modeling, rigging and animation. I have had the opportunity to work on probably 10 movies in the last few years. Unfortunately, most of them were eventually cut from the slate at Netflix as it is an incredibly competitive industry. I was even deployed as an animator for the upcoming movies Thelma the Unicorn and got to work with the super fun team of Jared Hess and Lynn Wang. The characters were super charming and it was a fun and unique experience to work remotely for a different studio.
Netflix is an ever changing and evolving studio. It is still very early in its days of Animation and therefore changes almost daily. They have acquired an animation studio named Animal Logic, who is responsible for movies like Happy Feet and The Lego Movies. I was fortunate enough to get to travel to Sydney to meet with the studio leadership there and begin talks on how our two studios can partner together to make top of the line content going forward. The breadth of experiences at Netflix has been truly one of a kind. I have gotten to meet so many people, interact with so many studios, get my hands dirty in so many new ways (modeling, rigging, look, more previz) and it is definitely satisfying my ADHD.
I am SLLLOOOOOOWWWWLLLYYYY working on film pitches on the weekends between tea parties with my daughter, so hopefully I will be able to talk about those someday soon if they become a reality. Until then, hang in there people in the animation industry. We are going through a bumpy time right now, but things will iron out and there are still incredible films being made. If you haven't taken the time yet this year, go watch Nimona and TMNT. They have reinvigorated my love of the art form and reminded me of the JOY that animation should bring. I am in awe of the artists who accomplished these films and can't wait to see what new projects sit on the horizon... until next time (likely a year or so haha)! Cheers!