Disconnected

 
 

This is the answer I have been searching for
For weeks now.
I mean I never stopped questioning myself -
Can't even remember now.
Going from where I started to get to where
I am now
Has been the most satisfying journey
Knowing I'm ready now.


Wait.


I had that thing that came up
That happens to be something I have to do
And that's when my Wi-Fi cut out,
And now I'm not doing it.

But when I do connect I'll do it,
And I'll get back to that other thing.
Back to being perfect.
I will not let go of anything.

My fingers seem to increase in number,
But the number of keys I type become less.
My mind firing off at everything like thunder.
Striking, burning, my thoughts ash at best.

I pick them up from the ground,
Forgetting that they've already escaped me.
They've committed to the natural flow.
Laws that I've placed behind the screen.

Because now a disconnection from our non-reality
Means we suffer.
So much time and effort to see our viral video
Buffer.

We offer fewer options, as efficiency and design makes
headway in the never-present world that is efficient design.

It is the creator and the created.
The machine and the product.

And we are just the by-product.
The statistic.
The next fact that filters back
Into the next grand design.

And to us that's realistic.

 

 
Gemstone Jewelry Vertical Line.gif

Connection

 

This is going to be one of my blog posts where I meander about a subject kind of half-aimlessly for the sake of reflection.  I usually go somewhere with it, but in the end it's all an exploration of checking up on my thoughts resulting in a revelation here or there.

 

 

Connection is important, and I feel like it has been an underlying theme for a lot of things that have been happening for me recently.

A film festival... we connect people of the same field, connecting through similarities within a theme depending on the festival, with events trying to connect people even closer through a variety of social contexts.  There's an underlying need to bring people together and it's as if it's a requirement or a standard upon reaching a level of success (or trying to). 

 

Connection is a celebration, and being able to is the triumph we are celebrating.

 

Then there's the times we aren't able to - circumstances preventing us or perhaps personally feeling we aren't qualified to.  This leads to a range of emotions like jealousy, sadness, loneliness or just that general feeling of distance.  None of this is necessarily bad, more so a natural process that we grow from regardless of the result.  But certain growth isn't necessarily a good thing either.

A time of connection inherently brings with it an underlying expectation - an expectation of what connection is.  How we handle that expectation guides us through our celebration.


A huge aspect of connection is communication, and often the result of connection is predicated by how we handle communication.  In many ways, they are one and the same thing. 

Anyways, it just seems there's just a huge portion of people that get carried away with this idea of connection and communication in such a particular way that it distances them from a truer essence of connection.  Maybe I'm getting at social media, maybe I'm getting at social hierarchies, but maybe I'm just getting at personalities.  But bottom line more and more I'm noticing a decline in strong connection with other people (currently, but more so looking back on things).

 

But I mean, I could easily be projecting all of this and really be spouting my own personal ideals.  But the thing with communication and connection is that it is so personal.  It is about the personal and in the end revolves around the personal.  And for some reason, along the way, we've expected it to be a little more impersonal.  And thus, it has become that in many ways.  Unfortunately.

OIAF - Initial Thoughts

Official OIAF Poster designed by David O'Reilly

Well I have finally arrived back home after a whirlwind of screenings, networking, and partying with amazing students, and successful professionals from all around the world.

 

What an amazing experience it was.

 

I am truly honoured and glad to have spent time at the Ottawa International Animation Festival.
I'll go into more detail about my experience soon, but here are a few initial takeaways from the festival:

- Ottawa is quaint & beautiful, worth visiting
- Don't sneak into a jail hostel (jail hostel?)
- There's a 'wow/ridiculous' factor in animation that I haven't considered much, but it's very prevalent and celebrated
- On the plane ride back I drew in my sketchbook and it was like I truly had fun with it for the first time in a long, long time

Robin Williams

Rest in peace to a man who contributed his inert joy to everyone in his life and to everyone who was in his.  Robin Williams can without hesitation be considered a man who exemplifies pure joy.

The tragedy is that what ended his life was sadness - the suicide that resulted from his reported depression in his last year with us.

genie.jpg

The reason I've decided to make a post about this is not only to pay respect, but to take a moment to appreciate how the public has reacted to it.  Not once do I remember such a large amount of people speak so respectfully about depression and suicide.  To a depressed person it is very commonplace to hear people left and right be patronizing or simply mock the topic out loud.  And I know how much it hurts to hear those people say those things.  It is unbearable and draining.  What is happening right now is the very opposite.  I've heard more people then ever actually saying the words 'depression' and 'suicide' out loud in a casual, yet respectful, manner.  There is less embarrassment and offense in saying it and I can't help but say how touched I feel when I hear that.  One of the steps to making things better for the people that are suffering is being able to talk about it out loud without shame or embarrassment.  Never being able to talk about it can easily mean never getting help.  So I can't help but appreciate that it took the happiest man, Robin Williams, to get this solemn and honest of a response from the world.

The fight against depression is just as much a fight against the social stigma it carries, and I feel right now we have won a victory in awareness.

Bless your heart Robin Williams because in your passing you've made me and I'm sure others find a certain joy that has been particularly hard to find in our lives.  You've opened up the world to a little more honesty.

 

Thank you,
Rest in peace

 

Ottawa

My film has been accepted into the Ottawa International Animation Festival! The biggest animation festival in Canada!


As exciting as this is, I think what this gives me most is a boost of confidence behind my film.  I have to admit, it's hard for me to talk about it let alone give praises to - I am my own harshest critic.

I've talked to family and friends about it and basically the response I got was, "Awesome! So you're going to Ottawa, right?" I originally knew that it would be a bit of a cost for me to go for the 5-day event but, really, I owe it to the people that have been with me throughout this whole process of making my short film.  I owe it to them, and I also owe it to myself to invest in such a unique experience - perhaps one I don't have many chances to have.

So these next few days/weeks I will be preparing to go to Ottawa!

It's my first time traveling on my own and the first time going to our nation's capital.  I've never been this excited about booking plane tickets - feels good.

Transfer

Last night, I officially moved my blog over from it's original place:

jcastrofilm.blogspot.com

 

Feel free to check it out.  You can find a lot more in-depth information about my film and it's process, but it looks like this is where I am going to be posting the updates on the film.
Cheers!

Inspiration

In my artist statement I make mention of my previous grad film idea of a story about a boy who wants to play football.  But at some point I set out to drastically change my film... for a very personal reason.

This is the video that inspired that change, hopefully you may have heard of or seen this video.  If not it's definitely worth watching.  Featuring my favourite poet and fellow Canadian, Shane Koyczan:

.

Finished!

I'm finished my film and have taken the time to rest the past few weeks.
I've decided to take the time to compile the rest of my thoughts and kind of pool together all the residual information I've kept from blogging in the last months of production.

- Jay

Character Study 2

Now that I've developed a general story I need to make certain revisions, refinements of my animatic that would condense the film length.  Right now, the best plan of action to do that is to step away. 

I am currently in making mode and if I step away from thinking about the story for the next while I can come back to my animatic with a very fresh set of eyes.  So I was excited to finally get down to animating again.

 

It was interesting seeing how it looked with the shoulder rotation and the slight limp.  The reference I used had some and I wound up exaggerating it a little bit - which I think has to happen when translating any live action footage into animation.  So after that, I coloured it in, brought it into Adobe After Effects, then matted the textures of his clothing:

The most important part of this for me was creating animation that's coloured in with fully-refined line quality.  Something I actually haven't done before.  I do admit he seems a little more youthful than I was going for, but I am going to go with it for now.

 

In this I used:

Flash
Photoshop
After Effects
Premiere
TV Paint

I compiled a few walking shots with some music - The Only One by The Black Keys.

Acts One & Two

I've been working on this for quite a while now, but here it finally is - my animatic.

Some sections will be going through revisions, as this is still early in the year but here are the first two acts of my film as it currently stands.

There is a third act completed and was part of the animatic but I decided to leave the final scene as the changes I'll be making will greatly affect the film's impact and meaning.  Apparently it's good - but it's not what I want.

A struggle for an artist is a balancing act of creating for others versus creating for yourself.

Also I want a do-able film.  This animatic's length is 6:42, and with the third act it ends up being 7:44.

The expected length of a student film at Emily Carr is 3 minutes.  So this isn't good.

I'd be setting myself up to be doing more than twice the amount of work that is expected.

Of course, there is the argument that being ambitious will bring out good things and will show how passionate I am about the things I am pursuing... but there's other ways to show that.

Making more than double the length of a film is a disservice to me and my well-being.

Overall, I'm glad I was able to flesh this out.  In writing the story there were a lot of things that I couldn't piece together or articulate - not until something was drawn out.

He has a name

Farmer Shel

Firstly I wasn't aware Shel was a name, but I was reminded of poet & cartoonist (interesting connection of interest here) Shel Silverstein. Oddly enough he even kind of looks like my farmer:

Wikipedia image of Shel Silverstein

Shel, as a name is a form of Sheldon, which means protected hill or valley with steep sides.

More Character Development

What I aimed for, first, was a more realistic-looking character.  

Someone who looked like an older man, a farmer.

sketchbook010.jpg

Personally, I thought he looked a little too old,

but I think I am going to be integrating more of his look back into the character.

For now I have a character that arose from this development:

Review

A younger look, and more of an animator-friendly design.

This last image is what I based my first character study animation off of.

 

Music

I included the intro to Frank Sinatra's 'My Way' as a stand in to give a certain mood.
 

Storm

I included a shot I did of storm clouds from Ruben's Special Effects class.
One of the more successful shots I made this summer out of Autodesk Maya.

First Character Revision

Yeah scratch that first sketch

sketchbook002.jpg

Not being so confident with my character design skills I called upon the help of my friend, Dora, who pumps out characters like Aaron Rodgers does touchdowns.  [ Using a football analogy for describing character design? yeah, I do that ] 

In making him more human-like I can give him a more distinct age and can use human-like facial features that are universally recognized to describe a more facial wear and tear to the character.

So I took the critique with open arms and began to really get into character development.

Here's a sketch in the meantime showing his proportions, standing in a pose I might use to open the film.  On the page are some shot ideas and some notes from Ruben's class where he began to get into the nitty gritty of Aristotelian narrative.

Introduction

Welcome to my blog 

where I will begin showing my progress as I develop a fourth year grad film in Emily Carr University's Animation program.  This will serve a pool of my sketches, storyboards, designs, tests, and experiments that will lead me to the final resulting film.

Thus far,
after going through and revising several stories I wanted to make my film about, I've concluded in my current pursuit:


 

A farmer who is confronted with a tornado.

 

 

 

 

First sketches and proposal to come by next week. 

- jay