Monday, July 12, 2010

the bong update

Just came back from a wonderful weekend at Atlantic City. Every year, Bengalis from all over North America get together for the North American Bengali Conference (NABC), also called the "Bongo Sommelon" in Bengali. This year, it was held at Atlantic City. It’s basically a huge get-together of Bongs from all over, with live performances from local and famous artists, cultural exhibitions, and super-expensive food. To be honest, I wasn’t too excited about it.

Yes, I’m a cultural person, and I love being a Bengali. But I never quite enjoyed Bengali music, film, literature, etc. I appreciated the fact that we Bengalis are an artistic lot, but never engaged myself in it. I was pretty much a Westernized child while I lived in Calcutta. And I liked Hindi films and music more than Bengali…

But now I’ve come back an almost-die-hard fan of percussionist, Bickram Ghosh (there’s something about live percussion performances that make you feel good about life), bought two of his albums, and a bunch of films by Bengali directors, Anjan Dutt and Aparna Sen. I even considered buying some translated Tagore and Satyajit Ray shorts, but they were pretty expensive compared to its original price in Rupees. But that’s what you get for leaving your country and wanting things from there! Definitely check Bickram Ghosh out though.

Speaking of Bengalis, last month’s 11 Second Club winner was a Bengali from my hometown! I took a look at his other entries and he has track record of high-rated submissions. It’s nice knowing that you don’t necessarily have to come all the way to the US, despite the slew of opportunities you get here, to be awesome at animation. In fact, there are so many opportunities now in India.. even in Calcutta.

And speaking of the 11 Second Club, I tried my hand at last month’s competition. I wasn’t too proud of what I did but it was my first time and just an attempt to make sure I keep at this animation thing. I think most people didn’t like it cause I didn’t have a creative scenario going on. I read all the instructions about how you shouldn’t spend too much time on the looks and modeling, and went ahead and assumed you can’t be creative with it, which was rather silly of me. But anyways…I made some changes to it. It’s still not perfect obviously. But I’ve a lot on my plate now, and I think I should start off with simpler exercises- like with body dynamics and stuff- before diving into dialogue and acting. I haven’t even formally learned how to lip-sync yet.

Redone Entry

I recently bought a tablet (Intuos4 Small) and downloaded a trial version of ToonBoom. There’s a lot I want to do in whatever’s left of Summer, but I don’t have too much time. Nevertheless, I’m going to try. I’ve never used a tablet before so I have to get used to sketching on that, and also, animating with it. I realized a few days back that I’m really not equipped to do any one thing. Yeah, I made a traditional hand drawn film that got a lot of recognition, but apart from drawing on paper, I really don’t know how to do much of anything else. I know bits of different things, but not comprehensively. The last few days I’ve been pretty demotivated about the skill-set RIT’s given me so far and about the fact that I haven’t really had much responsibility given to me at my internship because I don’t know anything extensively yet.

Train Doodles

I think I just need to get back to the workflow to start feeling good about myself again.

So, the past few weeks while I was rotoscoping mindlessly, I got myself hooked onto the Animation Podcasts, Spline Casts and Animation Mentor Webinars. While all the talk of CalArts being The Place to go for animation kinda got me disconcerted, I learned SO much about the industry just by listening to all these people speak. It’s awesome, really. Really inspiring.

Train Doodles II

Anyway, looong post! So the next few weeks, I really need to get started on translating footage. There’s about 160 Gigs of it that I got from the filmmaker last week. Now that my exam’s over, I can spend time on it. But at the same time, I also have to practice animating with a tablet, brainstorm viable ideas for my next film (and decide between 2D or 3D!) and complete at least ONE polished 3D animation exercise good enough for a reel. Because believe it or not, I’m already worrying about next Summer. I've already kindof started thumbnailing an idea, but I think the idea's still too ambitious right now.


And just so you know- if you ever have one of those days when you feel negative about your work and feel kindof worthless- donate to charity. Sounds clich├ęd, but at least you’re doing something. It really does make you feel good.

Enjoy the 100 degrees!!

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