Wednesday, May 08, 2013

One Thing Every Day - Week 4

Week 2 in California

Monday April 15th
Body Acting critique class went well. Leslie was getting tired of finding things to do outside of the hotel room while I taught classes, but she never took my suggestion of posing as a homeless woman on a street corner to see how much money she could get.

The Croods Round Table
After my class, a quick lunch and other AnimSchool tasks, I packed up and made the hour long drive out to the Dreamworks Animation studio. I arrived 30 minutes before we were to begin recording, but my host was stuck in a meeting, so I didn't get to the room until a few minutes before the arranged start time. It doesn't take too long to set up, but my macbook could see I was in a hurry and decided it would "not recognize" my microphone. I was like, "Hey! You know this microphone. If you guys aren't on speaking terms you better make up fast."

So we started a little late, and one of my questions hijacked the conversation for nearly 30 minutes. The animators involved were very gracious with their time, but I was so nervous about sucking their Monday night away I could barely muster the courage to ask more questions. Of course I'll edit the podcast to make me sound like a silky smooth host.

Animators on Dreamworks animated film, "The Croods"
Top Row: Jennifer Harlow, David Couchariere, Hans Dastrup, Liron Topaz, Thomas Grummt
Bottom Row: Gabriele Pennacchioli, Line Andersen

Tuesday April 16th
Another long day of classes. Here's my class schedule using Pacific time.

Animating Characters 10:00 am - 12:45 pm
This class is supposed to end at noon, but it always runs long so I tend to have only 10-15 minutes before General Reviews.

General Reviews 1:00 pm -  3:00 pm
I have a decent break after General Reviews. I am usually pretty hungry since I am not able to eat lunch most Tuesdays. So I usually end up eating whatever is close to me. My wife has had to snatch the kids away from me a couple of times.

Character Evaluation 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
After this class I usually catch up on my emails and then call it a night. Typically I am in Texas and this class ends around 11pm.

Wednesday April 17th
I got some school business done early and then headed out to Dreamworks where I enjoyed lunch with my good friend Tyler Phillips. It was "bring your kid to work" day, and "How to Train Your Dragon" day all at the same time. I'm not sure how they pull that off, but the folks at Dreamworks have some special magic that helps them mix such an impossible combination. Only a few kids were eaten, so it was a rather successful event.

Tyler showed me the new updated proprietary software he is using, Primo. One feature that is by far my favorite, is the constant geometry caching the software does so you have the ability to scrub and play real-time without ever creating a playblast. Since it is actually caching the geo, you can move the camera while playing and still see your shot in real-time. This is going to pay huge dividends in time savings for their animation department.

I jumped over to the Disney studio for a brief visit and then headed back to Dreamworks to record the next round table podcast.

Rise of the Guardians Round Table
If you could bottle the energy and wit of this group, you'd have yourself an addictive drug that would make you millions until the government decides to deem it unhealthy, confiscate it all, and then throw you in jail to rot. But it would be fun while it lasted.

It was much easier to not look like a bumbling idiot at this podcast because I couldn't get these guys to stop talking and laughing. I just sat on the sidelines, laughed, and pretended I was as cool as them.

If you ever need to liven a party, call these guys.
Back: Jacob Gardner, JP Sans, Ben Wilis, Pierre Perifel, Gabe Hordos
Front: Tyler Phillips, Alexis Wanneroy

Thursday April 18th
We decided to head back to California Adventure to see if we could get another go on the Radiator Springs Racers, and catch a ride on Soarin'. We were disappointed on both counts. Let's sum up the ride situation here real quick:

Bug's Land
Filled with 4 kiddie rides that were operating with 10-20 minute lines.
Flik's Flyers
Francis' Ladybug Boogie
Heimlich's Chew Chew Train
Tuck and Roll's Drive 'Em Buggies

Car's Land
Mater's Junkyard Jamboree - 25-40 minute wait
Luigi's Flying Tires - 45-55 minute wait
Radiator Springs Racers - over 110 minute wait.

Every Disneyland veteran knows you should dart over to the fastpass distibution machine for Radiator Springs Racers as soon as you enter the park. Unfortunately, the park was full of Disneyland veterans. The line for the fastpass machine had over an hour wait. It wrapped from Bug's Land, around through Buena Vista Street, down Hollywood Land, and ended in front of the Tower of Terror. If you know the park you quickly realize that you could free Scotland from Longshanks with that many people!

This line isn't for an attraction, but for a fastpass to an attraction!

I decided to rally the troops with a moving William Wallace-esque speech: "Son's of Disneyland. How many days sitting in a fastpass distribution line would you trade for one chance, JUST ONE!!! To stand up to the Disney park executives and say, you may take our rides, but you'll never take our churros!!!"

As I imagined the crowd cheering and running with me into battle, a cast member snapped me out of my smiling stupor and asked me if I had been on the ride before, and I responded that I had. She smiled and said, "Oh then you don't have to ride it again." Technically she was right, but I kind of paid money to, so the intended consolation was lost on me. The little kid inside my head that paid the exorbitant ticket prices for a family of five was throwing a full blown tantrum.

I wish I had the wits about me to take a photo of this madness, but the only thing that could keep me from crying was the Brioche French Toast at Flo's V8 Cafe. So off to Car's Land we strolled.

Golden State
Grizzly River Run - 20-45 minute wait
Soarin' Over California - Closed

Hollywood Pictures Backlot
Monsters, Inc. Sulley to the Rescue - 20-30 minute wait
Tower of Terror - 45-60 minute wait

Paradise Pier
California Screamin' - Closed
Golden Zephyr - Closed due to high winds
Goofy's Sky School - Closed off and on throughout the day
The Little Mermaid - 25-40 minute wait
Mickey's Fun Wheel - Closed for a medical emergency when we walked by
Silly Symphony Swings - Closed off and on throughout the day
Toy Story Midway Mania - Closed off and on throughout the day
Toy Story Midway Mania - When open the wait time was over 45 minutes.

So you can see our options were limited. We ended up riding Jumping Jellyfish about 50 times since there wasn't much else to do. It was a sad way to spend our last day at Disneyland.

Jumping Jellyfish

Weee! My feet on Jumping Jellyfish.
You can see the Golden Zephyr - Closed due to high winds.

 Okay daddy can we please go do something else now?
In the background you can see California Screamin' and 
the Silly Symphony Swings which are both closed.

Friday April 20th
When we woke up Leslie decided she wanted to go to the beach in Santa Monica. It dawned on me that Disney didn't have the market on magical dirt cornered. And Leslie was now somehow involved in this sandy scheme.

 I drove right up onto the pier. It was pretty cool.

A photo from the pier where I parked.

I had scheduled lunch at Disney with my long-time friend, Brian Menz. He walked with me around the campus as I shot pics and video. He was very gracious with his time, especially since they are in crunch mode on "Frozen" right now.

I finally remembered to take a picture!

I was getting photo updates from Leslie throughout the day. At least on this day I was also enjoying myself while they had a blast on the beach, instead of being cooped up in a room on a computer.

Anthony hanging out on the pier.

Leslie and Kaylie playing in... you guessed it, dirt!

Kyra wanted to flavor her dirt so she added sea salt.

 Yet another dirt overdose. And she swears she doesn't have a problem.

Afterwards I made one last stop at Dreamworks to hand out some thank you chocolate to everyone who participated in the podcasts. I can't be sure, but I swear I heard some of them say, "Oh chocolate, I was hoping it was dirt." I said my final goodbyes and made the long drive back to the beach to pick up the family.

The campus at Dreamworks is beautiful.

Kaylie was too ashamed to look me in the eye.

Saturday April 21st
Our last day in Riverside!
I held my 2 lectures for Animating Characters and Body Acting.

We had our last meal at Ruby's Auto Diner at the mall in Riverside. That place has fantastic burgers.

I'm gonna miss you Ruby

We drove out to the Burbank/Glendale area on our final evening in California. We cruised the neighborhoods imagining what it would be like to live there.

The entrance to the old Disney animation building.

Sunday April 22nd
We woke up before 7am, grabbed some muffins and got on the open road back to Texas. We drove for over 12 hours, including stops, and ended our day in El Paso, Texas. After unloading the family and the overnight necessities I grabbed some take-out from Red Lobster. We ate dinner, watched an episode of Restaurant Impossible and passed out.

Robert Irvine's show is an addiction the whole family enjoys.

We continue our journey home on the next post. Come back soon to see me get back on track when I settle into a normal routine again.

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