5.17.2007

Disney TV: Round II

Here I am...

Q:What's happening?

A: As far as I know now, Friday will be my last day working for Disney TV. The past ten weeks have been like trying to learn how to ride a bucking bronco, but more like in a Rodeo Clown kind of way...

Ten weeks ago, one day after moving into Pasadena, I started my job on Phineas and Ferb at Disney TV. I was nervous, but basically had to hit the ground running. I was not yet "on staff," and aware that if in three weeks, I wasn't the employee they expected, I could be dismissed. My first task was to write an episode with a partner. In this case, writing meant roughing out storyboards following the general guidelines of an outline we were given. The first three weeks were hard for me- I'd never worked on a TV storyboarding job in house, I'd definitely never worked off an outline (I've always been on scripted movies or TV shows), this show was hand drawn and I've been working on tablet, and at a much bigger size for the past six months. I put all those thoughts aside, and dived in, face first. Then, to add to the madness, my partner and I were pushed up in the schedule by about a week... I believe, due to someone else who had fallen behind schedule. When it was crunch time, me and my partner were burning the night oil working on our boards. I felt a lot of pressure to do well on the pitch, since I hadn't heard whether I would get to stay at Disney yet, and it was close to the end of my first three week trial.

Yes, "first."

Right before my first big pitch, I found out they liked me enough to put on another three week trial period. I would be writing another episode with a different partner. This was both partner and office number two. I continued to barrel my way through this, and worked hard to make my boards simple, funny, and easy to read. I also was trying my best to be efficient, despite the more experienced people around me consistently admitting that this was one of the hardest, most demanding shows they've ever worked on.

The final week of this second trial period, of course, fell at the same time as a big network pitch. I found out I would be entering into trial period, III. By this point I had been told that I wasn't meeting their original expectations. And those expectations were to fill the shoes of a person who had left the crew, who was able to completely pull together the storyboards for the outlines he was given, making them not only work, but that kept people laughing, to the extreme, for the entire pitch. This person also had probably at least 10 years of experience more than I did, had worked on Spongebob as one of the main writers and board artists, and WON AN EMMY?! Although I was flattered they believed in me enough to think I could immediately live up to this expectation- I felt like there was no way I would've succeeded without a magical elf coming and giving me magical hands and brain power. My future assignments were changing every day that week. The day before the pitch, I was told I was going to be cleaning up my boards for the next three weeks. The day of the pitch I was told I was going to be writing again, with my previous partner. Then, the Friday after the pitch I was told that on Monday, I would be sent over to Emperor's New School to help them out for two weeks, and then return to Phineas and Ferb for my final week. Emperor's New School meant a different cast of characters to learn to draw, a completely different show format to get used to, a different crew, and a different building. No big deal, change is easy, right? Also, I should note that this was on a Cake Day. I've had other ridiculously frustrating things happen on a Cake Day.

I ended up staying at Emperor's New School for three weeks, and this week was back on Phineus and Ferb, doing clean up.

And at his point I really don't know how to end this...

I drew these illustrations to help show how I felt-

I had all these aspirations to talk about the industry, and how studios could be better, and make more quality TV shows and movies, and how executives and artists are always gonna be at odds... But I'm too tired to say everything that's been running through my head as I've been trying to make it through the past 10 weeks and not completely burn out.

It's been hard to not feel like a little bit of a failure.

I was really bummed at the end of it all. No matter whose fault it really is, it's hard to be thrown back and forth between shows and jobs. I felt as if my self esteem got punched in the gut... now it's sitting on the playground pavement, winded and angry.

When things were at their craziest in this whole debacle, I kept having to remind myself of something that Natasha, a really ditsy Russian contestant on America's Next Top Model said to Brittney, a fellow contestant who was equally dumb. Brittney was throwing a tantrum about a taxi driver who had caused her to lose a challenge. Her face was puffy, she was cursing, and smoking, and causing a scene- and Natasha, trying to calm her down, says,

"I just want to tell you that some people have war in their countries."

Thank you Natasha, thank you.

5.09.2007

APE Adventures (II): Sketchbook

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This last guy was sitting next to me for pretty much the whole convention telling people about the Bay Area Alternative Press Association. After hearing him rope in a few people that had a minute, I heard him tell each person about free printmaking classes. He showed one lucky dude the finger that he had smashed in a letterpress machine... If you know what those are like, basically the guy's finger should've looked like a ping pong paddle... and it kind of looked like it might have at one point... there was barely a nail on it anymore. He kept showing me this calendar, and a magazine put together by the organization he was representing. He also let me know that people were often inclined to give a $20 donation for the calendar or the magazine, usually followed by an awkward pause...

Every so often when traffic got slow he would turn to me and ask me, "How are you doing?"

I was doing fine.

5.08.2007

A Little Bit of Trash

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A recent post it peeled off my desk at work in a post-rough-board, pre-board-clean-up mess erradication effort... Just to remind you that storyboarding sometimes makes crappy artists out of all of us...

5.03.2007

APE Adventures (I): Cornicopia of Wackies

Two weeks ago, I went to the Alternative Press Expo (APE) as a groupie for the Fleet Street Scandal table. I've been to the ginormous San Diego Comicon before, but this was my very first trip to APE. I got to meet a lot of really cool artists, some who I'd admired only by way of their internet persona, saw a lot of really cool work from people I'd never seen before, and had a great time seeing Kevin and Chris impress the socks off of their exponentially growing fan base with their crisp, new, self published book (and free mini print).

Overall, I enjoyed this convention a lot more than Comicon. It was in San Francisco, which I prefer to San Diego for many reasons (SD has a kick ass zoo and wild animal park, but walking with girafees only gets you so many bonus points... I think they lose those points for Shamu). APE was like seeing all the types of booths from Comicon that I like the best, the ones with cool indie stuff that I can't buy off Amazon or at my local comic book shop. I think because the space is a lot more affordable than Comicon, you see a lot of stuff that wouldn't make it to San Diego...

Here are some of the best, worst, and most bizarre booths I found during my first trip to APE:

Friends! (Old and Newly found)

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Fleet Street Scandal


Vera Bee


Geegar (Lou Romano and his awesome friends)


Patrick Morgan


Scott C & Raz(Double Fine)


Leticia Lacy and Wednesday Kirwan



Totally Cutetowne


LEEZARDS!


(a little pricey though... little dolls at bottom were $100!!!)



This guy cheated his way into the cute catagory by bringing a baby


I bought a tiny ceramic owl from these folks.



Cool and Weird





I think I made this guy feel awkward


The following photos are pretty much an extremely boiled down version of what I expected to encounter at APE. There is a definite progression, kind of like looking at a diagram of different species and how they veer off from one another... or like looking at ingredients that make up a certain kind of soup... A comic nerd stew... or... oh whatever... you'll see... Let's begin with:


Indie Comic Staple Crop






A Pinch of Goth Nerds



Some Hip-Ho...Or... Um... Yep.


(I believe that the banner behind this guy says "BODE"- but is pronounced "bod-ee," since the e has a line over it... and check out the bodacious statue in front of him, in case you missed it at first glance...)



A Fist Full of Creepy


This guy made sure I understood he was not Jack Chick (see below).


Could've fooled me...



Notice there is a dude to the left, behind the standee on the table. I asked if I could take his picture at his booth, he said yes, but then sat there not looking at me at all but grinning like that the whole time. I think he earned his place in this section...




I think this guy was selling drawings of him copying other famous people's drawings. When I was in elementary school I think I drew a pretty nice copy of Goofy on some newsprint... Sadly, no one offered to buy that from me... I should've challenged this guy to a Goofy battle...






"E" for Effort, or "D" for Depressing?

Much Coffee Man? Possible side kick...
Much Stuff Crammed on Table Man?


I wonder if this guy made sure people didn't mistake him for SuperCon.
(Take that, Chick Tracts!)


This guy lives in Los Angeles County... hear that, LA-ladies?


Man-O-man... You think it's cheesy enough, and then they pose...




Last, but OMG! definitely not least...

Totally Gay!





This is not the end of my tale, but if you would like to see more photos in the interim between posts... Check out Kevin Dart's APE Photoblog...

5.02.2007

Time Continues to Fly

It's May already?!

I have a lot of posts I had planned to write earlier... but I got steam rolled by work last week. Here are some drawings for you to look at and judge whilst I work on finishing my posts about APE (Alternative Press Expo), and on what it's been like to work for Disney this second go around...


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