Monday, April 30, 2012

Sheridan College Open House 2012

On Saturday, April 28 2012, I once again participated in Sheridan College's Open House, drawing caricatures of the visitors to the event to help raise money for the Animation program, in which I teach 2nd Year Character Design. Here's most of the ones I drew that day:

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Sheridan Animation Industry Day 2012

On Thursday, April 26th, Sheridan College held its annual Industry Day in support of the BAA Animation program, in which I am the instructor for 2nd Year Character Design. Here are pics of some of the 4th Year students who are graduating this year, photographed at the work stations that were set up in Sheridan's computer commons to showcase their films and artwork for the benefit of the industry reps who had just watched the 2 hour screening of their short films:

Ada Bratic ("Foxed") and Kirsten Whiteley ("Spectra").

Brad McLeod ("Doggy Dilemma") and Natalia Shevcun ("Breakfast Time").

Eva Zhou ("Yeti") and Darryl Kee ("Chewy!"). In the background, Dylan Glynn claws his way into the photo on the right, while my colleague, Mark Mayerson tries to look inconspicuous on the left.

Dean Heezen, creator of the brilliant dance animation in "Sax".

Evee Fex-chriszt, with the furry star of "The Terrible Bandit".

Justin Hartley ponders the mystery behind "Murder on the Docks".

Kathryn Durst with her delightful puppet family in "Doggy See, Doggy Do".

Leigh Anna Frostad ("Origin Story") shows off a sketch of her pet piggy.

Nichole Ter Horst ("Pillow Talk"), yours truly, and Kat Antonic ("Amare").

Crazy rascal, Noam Sussman ("Gum") and Nicole Ter Horst.

Seol-Ah Rim, with images from her film that seems to have no title!

Shen Ramu, with images from "Bygone Bounce".
I don't want to state what films I considered the "best", however, here is a list of the ones that were among my personal favourites, mostly from the standpoint of character/personality animation, which is what I'm always most interested in seeing each year. If you click on the student's name, it will link to their own blog or website where you can see more examples of their artwork:

Sax, by Dean Heezen - A beautifully crafted film designed around dancing to the jazz beat of a saxophone instrumental. Dean has an astounding feel for appealing character design and his animation is very fluid and fun.

The Terrible Bandit, by Evee Fex-chriszt - Evee is a truly brilliant character animator, and her film about a sly raccoon trying to pry a dish full of dogfood away from a sleeping doberman shows off her exceptional drawing talent so well.

Origin Story, by Leigh Anna Frostad - When in my 2nd Year Character Design class, Leigh Anna often cracked me up with assignments that showed off her funny and appealing cartoon style. Her film featuring anthropomorphic depictions of the moon, sun and earth was a lot of fun.

A film that seems to lack a title, by Seol-Ah Rim - Her film about 3 roly-poly hamsters (or mice?) helping a bear to bake a pie features such an appealing and original style that I found absolutely charming. If you click on her name, you can view the film in its entirety on her Tumblr site.

Bygone Bounce, by Shen Ramu - Somehow I had missed seeing this film in its early leica reel stage, so I was very pleasantly surprised to see it for the first time in final form. Shen's parable on life of a little girl bouncing on a trampoline and aging a year or more each time that she bounces up into our view is absolutely delightful. There are some gags that are so sweet and adorable along the way, with really well thought out personality animation. Definitely one of my favourites this year!

There are many others I could mention but I'll stop there, although I do have to give honourable mention to a really funny crowd pleaser, Gum, by the completely wacky Noam Sussman, a highly original talent who has provided us with much entertainment in his four years at Sheridan. It's always rather sad to see our grads leave the school, yet all of the faculty wish them the best as they head off to pursue their careers in the animation industry. We'll miss you all!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Happy Birthday, Jim Garner!

Here's wishing the best to my favourite actor, Jim Garner on his 84th birthday. I've been watching a lot of episodes of The Rockford Files lately, as for me it's the best example of TV as "comfort food". I never get tired of watching the charismatic and extremely likeable Garner portraying private investigator, Jim Rockford, as he somehow always gets the better of his adversaries. This expression was sketched from a typical scene in which somebody is putting the screws to Rockford, but they soon find out that he has the upper hand. In this case, a shady District Attorney who's hired Rockford on a personal case is not happy that Rockford wants no part of it anymore after figuring out that the DA is among the guilty, so he threatens to use his clout to have Rockford's investigator license pulled unless he complies. Rockford then just calmly explains to the DA why he probably would regret that move, as it would mean an appeal in court where he'd have to divulge all he knows about the dubious case the DA had him investigating, the details of which might just reveal the DA's own questionable involvement.

I just love situations like that in the show, as they're pure Jim Garner. Having recently read his autobiography, The Garner Files, it becomes quite evident that Jim never let himself be pushed around by others, no matter how big and important they thought they were. He refused to be bullied by studio mogul, Jack Warner early in his career, and years later after doing The Rockford Files, he successfully took Universal to court when he discovered they'd been illegally withholding millions of dollars of profits he was entitled to. He also would stand up for crew members or fellow performers when they might be bullied on a movie set, always looking out for the underdog. It's that aspect of Jim Garner that I admire so much, as I think we could all learn from his fine example of fighting injustice time and again. I'll admit it - this man has long been my hero, both on and off screen, which is why I like to honour him each year here on my blog. So, Happy Birthday, Jim - I hope you have a wonderful day with your family!