Another semester is starting to pass me by, and I am once again failing at my attempts to be a more consistent blogger! I think a large part of that is definitely the fact that I only want to post really creative content, so I find it difficult to post when I don't have some new, completely finished animation or some other art project. But it's time to bite the bullet and post. So as I sit here eating a large amount of sample challah flavors (the amazing people at Challah for Hunger, a fantastic Tufts organization that makes challah from scratch and sells it to benefit hunger relief organizations, spent this Saturday experimenting, and I am so lucky as to be a test subject! (at my own request)), watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine (another incredible new comedy starring a former SNL star -- what else do I need from life?), overly warm (the heat went out in Metcalf this morning, and I turned it all the way up thinking that would fix it and now that it's working, I don't have the heart to move and turn it back down).
First up, my schedule this semester. I like to start off the semester of blogging with a post that gives anyone reading an idea of my typical week and all of the sweet classes I get to take. Feel free to ask questions about any of them in the comments! I'd love to hear from you. I hope my schedule is something people other than my mom are interested in reading about!
This semester was set to be a little bit more relaxed than last semester. I'm no longer teaching a Perspectives course, or working at an internship that's an hour away by bus, and my 3 semester tenure as Quidditch co-manager has come to an end. I have more time on my hands, no matter the number of classes I'm taking-- it's just up to me to remember to use that time wisely. (I never do. Instead, I use it to type up an excess of parentheticals for my blog posts. Really-- this is excessive.)
Once I knew I would have more time, I decided to fill it with a whole bunch more classes than I needed to. I came into this semester from winter break registered for a total of eight classes between Tufts and SMFA, for a total of six credits and a hilarious number of hours. As a Combined Degree Student, I'm allowed to do ridiculous things like over register across the two schools. Fortunately, I came to back to school fully intending to drop some classes. Within the first two weeks, I dropped three courses, and started to imagine my life with just five courses. It sounded nice. It sounded manageable. I then added another anyway, and dropped it after the first class (after buying the supplies, of course). I then added one, dropped another one, and added one final class. It was a confusing two weeks. My schedule changed pretty much on the daily. Through that process was birthed a truly magnificent schedule that I'm pretty psyched about. Honestly, even when stressed or behind (which I really shouldn't have any excuse for), I can only be so down, because at the end of the day, my classes and assignments are pretty sweet.
My week starts with a pretty easy Monday. I have one class from 1:30 to 2:45. That's it. Some people would take that to mean that they have all morning to work and a lot of afternoon/evening to use as they would, but those are productive people with normal sleep schedules. This semester, I've been waking up for this class anywhere from 12 to 1, and then spending the afternoons lazily hanging out instead of doing productive things that might allow me to go to bed at the same time as the rest of normal society and get my work done on time. My schedule is very enabling. My Monday class is Laughter on the Left. It's a class about comedy in films and the leftist readings many of these films have. Comedy and film are two of my favorite things. Admittedly, anything political falls under my least favorite things, or at least something I am easily the least knowledgeable about (the extent of my political knowledge is whatever SNL has decided to mock this week (there was no new episode this week, so I'm really at a loss)), but I think it's probably past time I learned more about politics. Admittedly, the readings are dense and perhaps less fun than I would have hoped for readings on comedy, but I also get to count this class for my English major, so I don't really know if I can complain. (I can't.)
Tuesdays are a bit longer, but my days once again start late. I wake up to make it onto the 1:20 shuttle from Tufts to the Museum School. This class has been super cool so far. I'm learning important things about staging cuts and shots and continuity, things that can be applied to film as well as animation. A large part of the course is being able to edit together your own material. This is something I feel is much easier for filmmakers than animators, because you can film a few minutes in a day, but getting enough animation, particularly more character or figure based animation to edit together, can take weeks and weeks. Instead, I am taking old material from last spring's Collage for Animation, a more experimental course that allowed us to work at such a speed that we were producing whole minutes of flashing lights and colors because there was no focus on narrative, and I am editing that material together in new and better ways that I hope will allow me to produce an interesting body of work. Tuesdays end with Directed Study: Animation, also at SMFA. Directed Study is all about focusing on an independent project of your own. It's very cool, and it means that I should have a short film that I'm pretty proud of by the end of the semester. (Like Frogboy, my baby from last year.)
Wednesdays would be pretty much the same as Mondays, with Laughter on the Left from 1:30 to 2:45, but then I was foolishly reading through the ExCollege course offerings when I was supposed to have my classes set already, and found out, that for the very first time, Tufts was offering a 2-D animation course with an animator working in the Boston area. I'm learning animation in a more structured, lecture-based way for the first time, and I'm really enjoying it. I'm particularly in awe of and excited by the number of students at Tufts I did not know were interested in animation. 20 registered students, the entire waitlist, and a handful of students who made neither list showed up the first day (I was among that handful, and it is only my bizarre luck with ISIS that allowed me in the class).
Thursdays are very cool. Through the ProArts Consortium, of which SMFA is a member, I was able to cross-register at MassArt, a school with a slightly larger animation department literally down the street from SMFA. I'm probably most excited about doubling the size of my community of young animators-- everyone in the class seems very cool and very talented. I'm taking Drawing for Animators. It's from 1:30 to 6:30, which is kind of perfect. It doesn't start nearly as early as SMFA's all day classes, and it's shorter with no lunch breaks, so it barely ends later. I've actually previously taken Drawing for Animation at SMFA. However, where that class was 3 hours long for a half-credit, the MassArt version is 5 hours and a full credit, so I am excited to repeat the experience while taking it to the next level.
My final class of the week allows for a pretty relaxed Friday. From 9 to 11:30, I have Latin American Cinema, a so far absolutely amazing class that has us watching the greatest movies. I honestly feel that I'm learning more and getting more involved with and invested in the material than I do in a typical class. It also counts for both my World Civ requirement and the Combined Degree Art History requirement, which is pretty stellar. I've had the good fortune to have taken a number of film classes and have them all count for a number of my course requirements. The class is pretty early for me, considering it ends before I typically have woken up, so provided I don't get caught up in an exciting discussion about film, classes, and the future after class ends (it has happened three times now), I go back to my room and take a nap instead of taking advantage of the basically free Friday I have ahead of me.
My weekends are pretty requirement free now that I'm done with my biggest and most beloved extracurricular, Tufts Quidditch. I feel like this is what empty nest parents must go through. I mean, the whole team is still at Tufts, but I see them less -- heartbreaking. I spend them avoiding homework, watching SNL, and going to the movies. I occasionally also attend parties, but I am very bad at them. On Sunday evenings, I draw a cartoon for the Tufts Daily, and that's pretty much it for my extracurriculars. How the mighty have fallen.
This past week, I had to pull an all nighter, which was unfortunate, but I can't really complain, because on the one hand, I had plenty of daylight hours to complete the assignment during, and on the other, I pulled the all nighter in order to animate a large man doing a cart wheel, as referenced in the title of this post. Which can really only be a great thing. Check it out! Let me know what you think in the comments!
This was my homework for Drawing for Animators last week. The assignment was to animate a figure completely for 200 frames (that is 200 drawings, and yes it is terrifying and quite the undertaking). The restriction, which was supposed to make us work more quickly, was that we could only animate within a 2"x1.25" rectangle. Mostly it just hurt my hand to work so small. Animating straight ahead like this is very liberating. I wasn't planning out every single thing the characters did as I might normally, and I feel that it allowed me to get creative-- I saw similar impressive results from the rest of the class, which was both exciting and intimidating. This is a class of animation majors-- they've spent the past two years taking pretty much just animation courses. I've taken half English, and a variety of completely random classes, both academic and studio over the past three years, and probably have a lot less experience. A drawback of the straight ahead animation is that some of the timing was a little bit off, and it's something I'd like to fix in a reshoot. The interactions pass too quickly. But I wanted to get a quick and easy version up so I would have something to share with my readers! (Mostly because I blog so rarely, you guys have earned some actual creative content.)
Additionally, I always try to include some sort of animation I've found cool recently. This is, oddly enough, a trailer for a comic book. Amazing, right?! I mean, I want it to be a cartoon, a film, everything. In such a short trailer, I'm drawn into this epic fantasy. That music is doing such a great job.