What a crazy whirlwind of a ride.
So I walked the walk not too long ago (May 22nd to be exact) as part of the RIT Graduation Ceremony which was pretty fantastic. Ever since then, I’ve been working non-stop – NON-STOP – as a freelancer on many cool and exciting projects; my cell has not stopped ringing. Not at ALL anticipated. I assumed demo reels and resume submissions would have been my summer… Maybe applying to large studios in hopes of obtaining that quintessential dream job… But for now, all that’s on hold while I ride the wave of contracts. Can’t say I’m sad about the unexpected situation.
Though I have a paper to finish, my completed MFA Thesis film is what qualified my graduation from SoFA. The film titled re÷belief is a short, 7 minute, 3D Printed Animation that took over my life for the past couple years to complete. It’s about cycles and relationships – a personal tale really. You can see more about the film on its dedicated page showing a bit behind the scenes and a trailer, not to mention updated info on future showings.
To my surprise, it was well received by the RIT community and already took notice as one of the few films to be selected for the 2014 RIT Honor Show to be screened this September in Rochester, NY. Not only did it get recognition in the local RIT community, it has world premiere status in Paris, France at the Festival du Film d’Animation de Paris as an official selection of the show! IF you have a bit of time to fly over to enjoy a summer day in Paris, you can see the film on September 12th! I’ve entered into countless festivals and am waiting response; my nerves are going nuts.
To market your film while maintaining more than a full-time job with other responsibilities is tough. Veteran, indie animators, such as Bill Plympton, have done this sort of thing their entire lives and I still have no idea how they do it – much less do it successfully. Of course, veterans have it a bit easier as they have claimed their fame, garnishing recognition over many years and perfected their crafts… I’m no more than a guppy in comparison. To throw your film into the festival ring consumes countless hours and can run expensive depending on the festivals you submit to. Not to mention it’s a live-action, experimental animation which will have varied reception I’m sure.
The film is just one aspect of my thesis – the products of the film are several sculptural, zoetropic animations that I hope to have installed in galleries over time. In fact, this past June, my complex automaton-inspired-zoetrope debuted in Baltimore, MD at Gallery 788 via a theme of Digital Fabrication.
Just a few weeks ago on Thursday, August 14, I had the pleasure of being invited out to the Shapeways’ Head Quarters in NYC to visit the crew that helped make my thesis possible. Shapeways has not only the technical 3D Printing tools to realize my zoetope designs, but their support staff is phenomenal. Typically, you may be aware of Shapeways’ store front as the way to obtain 3D Printed objects, but that’s not necessarily the case as you can design and print without having a storefront up. In either situation, you need to print virtual objects that have never experienced the physical world and that’s where their customer service is invaluable. I was lucky enough to keep Andrew on my quick-to-email list when I needed to print something, but needed to understand if it could survive in the physical, real world. Understanding material limitations within a few general guidelines is not enough; you need someone to help educate you on what is realistically doable. Can it survive the printing process? Can it survive UPS/FedEx/USPS Shipment? Can it sit on my desk without breaking? All questions you need to constantly ask yourself as a designer. After all, 3D Printing is not cheap.
Later that Thursday, I also had the pleasure of presenting to a crowd hosted by Shapeways and the Made in NY Media Center by IFP. It was great to sit on a panel with other talented artists and to learn more about the community and their interests. The center is pretty cool as well – rentable space at a reasonable rate and there are fringe benefits that come with this, particularly for filmmakers. Not to mention it’s right on the water with a great view for walking and snacking… Also not far from Grimaldi’s; arguably one of the best NYC Pizza’s you can get, even for the 2 hour wait it takes at times. I’d easily be 50-pizza-pounds-fatter if I worked in this space.
Finally, I also had the opportunity to visit the Factory at Shapeways’ second location in Queen City Island the next day. I’ve been there several times over the past couple years and it NEVER gets old. This time, it was to show the film to all the people involved in realizing the project. Many of these fine people touched many of the zoetropes through the manufacturing process and probably thought, “WTF is this and what’s its purpose?!” It was clear while showing the film that it helped solidify the idea and purpose. One particular realization that echoed in the factory during screening, “OH – THAT’S what those bows and strings were for,” made me laugh, and many others as well. Felt good to see them smile during a Q&A.
Just a big thanks and shout out to my small production crew and the Shapeways Team for making this film possible. Crossing my fingers for film festival success!