Wednesday, January 04, 2012

So, there goes 2011

OK, I don't update my blog much at all. As I've admitted - I've been a Facebook convert, and do most newsy things there. But, with the change that FB doesn't include these updates, maybe I'll post more. Anyway, a summary of what's happened in the last half of 2011 :
* Relocated to Sydney, Australia in June for work at Dr D Studios on "Happy Feet 2". Bonnie came out & spent a week there (too short!), which was fantastic, and a great way to get settled into semi-life there. The project was mostly positive for me. Though it was quite difficult being a startup for many departments, Crowds was run super-efficiently, tools worked, and it was a great crew. Perhaps the best advantage of being in Crowds was how closely we worked with George Miller, and his right-hand man on crowds, Greg Van Borssum. I was proud of the work I did there, and how much I expanded my skillset. In the final 3 weeks of the show, after Crowds wrapped, I shifted over to lighting (which is what I was half-contracted to do), and into FX animation on the destruction team (which I negotiated my way into).
As a footnote, I have to say what perhaps made the experience most fantastic was the fact they provided accommodations. Saved me from the pain of house-hunting & bill-paying in Sydney...
* After I wrapped, I flew straight off to LAX, and meant Bonnie for her dad's birthday in Orange County on a Saturday, then we drove back up & I was excited to catch the Ragged Wing outdoor performance on Halloween day! Amazing work, I'm honored to be part of their team.
* After running into several closed doors and windows in the Bay Area (jobs-wise), I was preparing to expand my search to other media ventures, or even winter down for indefinite unemployment. Then serendipity landed in my Inbox... I was contacted by a company who had gotten my name from my department lead from Dr. D, they were looking for someone to come in & essentially take over their Crowd department. The biggest rub? This studio was in Vancouver, British Columbia...
I had no intention of looking for work far-afield any time soon (in fact, had already turned down some inquiries from places in Australia and Los Angeles). But in talking to them further, hearing their offer & the position, it really was too good to turn down, so I accepted. I'm the new Crowd department lead at Method Studios!
* I made a quick visit to Detroit for Thanksgiving week (primarily to visit with my dad, who was in the hospital in mid-October, but was recovering well). Took the nieces and nephew to see "Happy Feet 2" ! Also caught up with a few friends while I was there (cheers Jan, Tom, Keef, Chris W, A Flanders, and Smitty!). Then jetted to Orange County for the weekend with Bonnie's mom and stepdad ( who we didn't see much of at Halloween time). Then drove up Sunday back to the Bay Area. Then Monday morning - on a plane to Vancouver to start the new job!
* I was settling in (Method is providing a few weeks accommodation in downtown Vancouver), then Bonnie and Nicole came up for the first weekend I was here - it was also Bonnie's birthday! We biked around Stanley Park, wandered around Downtown, hit Granville island, and explored Kitsilano. Part of the advantage of Vancouver (vs. Oceania) is the proximity to SF (even the same time zone ;>), so it should hopefully be easier to deal w/ time apart from Bonnie.
* To wrap up : spent the next couple weeks learning the ropes at Method, & getting deep into the pipeline revamp. Officially, I am a Crowd Technical Director for the project "Cloud Atlas", but the role is really steering the ship of the department, and coordinating all the artist and technician's work under one umbrella. Should be an exciting experience.
* I went back home to Emeryville for Christmas and New Years, which was a great time w/ Bonnie and friends, though not so great as an effort in getting my logistical and clerical life on track... Christmas Eve we saw a kinda kids-centric circus show, but very entertaining, had Nicole over for Christmas, saw "The Artist" on the day-of, went on a hike to Mt. Diablo, then had an intimate dinner w/ Bonnie at Mua Restaurant in Oakland. Then the morning of the 2nd - back to Vancouver and back to work.

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