Happy 2016 everyone.
First of all,
My Portfolio is done!
In it you'll find a bunch of things I've done this year which won't be on my DA: my 2 short films (FOREVER MORE and HONEY), demo reel, storyboards, animation, illustrations, character design, background designs etc.
Check it out! There's actually quite a lot of stuff in there.
It's been a while since I did a rant. I don't really know how it started but these journal entries have really started to become some sort of a convenient diary for me at times when I just feel like expressing something big.
So here goes.
2015. Whew. What a year. It's really amazing how much you can change in such a short time, and how much you can really learn about yourself.
For those of you who don't know me, I was at Vancouver Film School this whole year doing my classical animation course, which I have now graduated from.
Where do I even start? First of all, my journey here began as a reward in itself. I was finally able to get away from Hong Kong, a place where I had associated so many negative things with. For me, it really was a breath of fresh air, literally and figuratively. Just to know though, Canada was a place my mind had painted out to be perfect long before I even came. Hell I even almost planned to come here after running away from home when I was younger. Though of course, now that I've actually lived here, I can say that I much prefer Sydney's weather, and beaches. mmm... Anyways, I originally thought it would become like my first year university all over again, having to go through the all-by-myself-because-I-don't-know-anyone phase, not that I mind since I was used to it, but it turned out totally different.
My class at VFS, is wonderful. The experience was something different entirely. In uni, many people already have their own friends, or go to class and leave right after it's over. Not only was it harder to connect in environments like that. There was also way less opportunities to really get to know people. It's obviously not impossible as I've made great friends over the course of my 3-years-degree, but 3 years is a long time. Now after finishing VFS, in this short 1 year, I feel like I knew almost all my class for years. It's reached that level if you know what I mean. We're family. I was thinking that maybe it's really just all about time spent around each other. Even if it were different people, would it have turned out similar? I think so... Maybe.
Relationships-wise, I took a big leap in my life this year, and I feel touched by the results. Following on my 2015's resolution, I decided to trust people more, open up more, listen more, and overall just be more positive. I started crashing at people-who-I-barely-knew's houses, talking properly to strangers, and slowly I felt more confident being around people in general. Just be yourself, so they say. What other way can you be? There were people from all around the world in my class. Lots of Latin-Americans. I feel they helped me through this the most, consciously or not. Their culture was so open, it's all they ever knew. Hugs were given out 24/7 nonstop. The affection and love was unending. It was crazy, and I loved it. It was so different from what I was used to so at first I was taken back. Hug?! Again?! haha. You should've seen some of their faces when I told them some of the less affectionate experiences I had. They made me feel like I was some alien from a dark, grim apocalyptic world or something. haha
There was nothing really going on in the girlfriend-department this year. My excuse is that I was way too focused in my studies and on the production of my films. Sure, but it wasn't nothing completely. There were a couple romantic scenarios I got myself into, which was nice. Shame I didn't really act on any of it. Refer back to my excuse. Don't worry, my 2016 resolution adds a couple of changes to this department.
Hmm.. what else. Work? Haha the boring stuff? Actually it wasn't boring at all. See since I was studying my passion, I was not once bored, but I was very tired, very often. I was doing 9AM to 12AM almost everyday including weekends, plus the frequent all-nighters. Mostly due to the large workload. There's this thing in my class where people are pretty divided on: all-nighters - good or bad? Honestly? Personally I think if doing a couple of these improves your work shitloads, then you should do them if you're able. Unless you're physically sick or something, doing a couple all-nighters is not going to kill you... unless you're seriously unlucky. I see several people spinning the whole "you need balance, and doing all-nighters mean you're bad at time-management" crap, but they're wrong. Unless you're doing it all last-minute, which then kind of proves their point right, It is in fact the exact opposite. It was only by doing all-nighters was I able to accurately grasp both my limit and my potential for amount of work done per unit time. Not sure if it's the best comparison, but it reminded me of how I discovered my limit for alcohol after going over one day, and afterwards, never went over without my own rational consent again. By the latter half of the year, I felt so in control of my time, that I was able to go way over what I could've done had I slept more, because I knew precisely where my limits were, and how close I can get to them to actually be able to honestly say "I've tried my best." And I definitely did try my best. My teachers would tell me I was crazy for attempting my ambitious projects, but I made it regardless.
If you can't already tell, I really am proud of what I've achieved this year. Sure, in physical amount, I have stacks and stacks of artwork and animation frames I've drawn just pilled up at home, but I think more importantly, I'm proud of myself for being able to endure this without help, for not giving up, and ultimately for finishing what I started. I really hit some serious low points this year. Even though I was working on it, I couldn't bring myself to express it with my classmates, who were all likely feeling similar things. The stress was insane, and some days I simply could not get up to go to school. Stack a couple of these days in a row and you got yourself a bad habit. Stack a couple of bad habits together and you got yourself a wasted year. Fortunately, I just managed to not stack them together, and I pushed through it all myself. The amount of willpower and discipline this course forced out of me was one of the greatest lessons I've ever learnt, about life, and about me.
If you're passionate about the arts, put the time and effort into it, and it will all be worth it in the end. There's no shortcuts to developing artistic skill. You just have to keep at it and work hard, no excuses. I have learnt this first hand. The world doesn't owe you anything. You have zero right to complain about your skills if you're shit and you're not putting in the effort to get better. Be open-minded and be open to new innovations in the field. Creativity is all in the head. 2D animation/3D animation/graphic novel, whatever, they're all just mediums, tools to express it. Just, tools. Don't hate the tools, because it will only be your loss in the end. Like an instructor once told me at the start of the year, "If you want to make a living making silly relatively-unimportant cartoons, you better be damn good at it."
He was right.