Saturday, August 25, 2007

First week at Ambient :)

I just finished my first week at Ambient Entertainment in Hannover, Germany. It's still hard to believe that I'm actually working on a feature film - it's so freakin' awesome! I played around with some rigs the first day, got an introduction by the supervisor and met the people (most of them) that are working at the company. Everybody is super nice and I already know I'm gonna love it here. My first shot was approved by the supervisor today and that was a really really good feeling :). I'm really looking forward to spend the next 4 months here. I feel sooo lucky going straight from school and into being a character animator at Ambient.

Hannover is really nice. It's tons of people everywhere, but
it's still kinda quiet and relaxed here. A real contrast to LA which was really busy and actually also a big contrast to Norway. Wherever I go, people are very very nice and if they don't speak English (most do though), pointing and gesturing works totally fine.

Being away from my wife is a lot harder than I thought it would be, but she's probably gonna come pretty soon to check out appartments (wonder why she don't trust me about that). Hopefully within a couple of weeks we have found something and she's gonna move down here as well. Looking forward to that :)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Back in Norway

Monday evening, we got back to Norway after 24 hours of traveling. Everything went fine though, no delays or anything, but still, traveling that far and across a bunch om timezones are exhausting.

The past three weeks has been amazing. I've met soooo many awesome people and experienced so many great things. The highlights (animation-wise) has been meeting Sean Sexton and Morgan Kelly at Dreamworks, the AM Graduation ceremony/reception and meeting Dean Wellins and Glen Keane at Disney.
Non-animation-wise, the dinner with Kari and concert at Hollywood Bowl (wedding-present from Elaine) was totally awesome! Every day during our trip has been fantastic, though. So many great memories that we can surf on and bring back on days that suck, for years to come :)

Things are going really fast. On sunday I'm flying down to Hannover, Germany to start my new job as an animator at Ambient Entertainment. Yooohooooo! I'm going to work on a feature film!!! It's soo amazing. I told Bobby Beck about this at a reception in San Diego last week and he jumped up and gave me a huge long hug. What an awesome guy! Also got tons of congrats from Shawn and Carlos! It feels so good that 18 long months (amazing months tho) of hard struggle pays off and I guess Bobby, Shawn and Carlos feels that too, that all the work that they has put into the school actually gets us students jobs in the industry. There were lots of people I met during Siggraph that has gotten jobs as professional animators lately and it's freakin' awesome! Animation Mentor rocks big time!!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

In fact - An AWESOME week!

There's so much going over here that it's hard to consume it all. It's kinda overwhelming. Early Wednesday morning we took a cab out to Sea World and watched an awesome show with the killer whale Shamu. Then we spent the day walking around the park looking at all the animals. It was pretty cool. In the afternoon there was a ReelFX/Animation Mentor Reception where a bunch of AM students and industry professional got together to chat and have fun. I got the chance to thank Bobby, Shawn and Carlos personally for starting the school and totally changing sooo many peoples life, including mine. I also met my Class 2 mentor Robert Russ and had a really nice chat with him. The rest of the evening we hung out with some awesome AM'ers and had a really great time.

Thursday we went to the convention center to catch a talk by my class 3 mentor, Michelle Meeker and she recognized me right away, which was really cool. She was really busy and everybody wanted to talk to her but I was able to have a small chat with her before she started her talk. She talked about the making of her short "When I grow up" and it was really inspiring to see how she'd done it. It made me wanna make another short :) After the talk we left San Diego, had a nice stop at La Jolla, and went back to LA and relaxed at our hotel for the rest of the evening.

On Friday we had an appointment with Elaine's Class 5 mentor, Dean Wellins at Disney Feature Animation. Kari, Elaine, another of Deans students, Ryan and me headed out to Burbank, superexcited to get a tour at the historic ground where it all started more than 80 years ago (not exactly the same building tho, but still). Dean is co-directing Rapunzel with Glen Keane and guess what, we met him too. Yep! Shaking hand with one of the greatest animators on the planet was totally awesome! After lunch, Dean showed us around the studio and walking around there, watching all the amazing concept art from upcoming Disney movies, was totally mindblowing and super inspiring. It was really amazing of Dean to take the time off to spend time with us. What a fantastic guy!

We spent the rest of the day at Disneyland. It was okay, but way too many people and too long waiting times to get a superfun experience out of it. But it was a nice ending to a fantastic going-to-remember-for-the-rest-of-my-life-day :)

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Totally Crazy Week

Holy Molly! This week has been totally crazy so far. The AM Graduation Ceremony on Monday was beyond fantastic. Very emotional and a perfect ending (kinda) to 18 amazing months at Animation Mentor. It was followed by a graduation reception which was awesome too. To meet all the people I've been sharing the AM experience with was sooo great!

I also got a 4 1/2 month job-deal yesterday. All the details ain't sorted out yet, so more about that later, but its sooo amazing and surreal. 2 years ago I had no idea what animation really was (i thought moving stuff around was animating), and now I'm gonna work as a professional on a feature film. Wow! It's almost too good to be true!

Siggraph is also so overwhelmingly huge. Spent a lot of time at the exhibition yesterday, but no way we could get thru it all. Animation Mentor also have a bunch of stuff going on. Gatherings, presentations, talks,'s so much going on in such a short time. Love it :)

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Graduation Day

We had a quick flight from SF to LA on Saturday, met with Elaine in LA and drove down to San Diego, way too early Sunday morning to catch a Siggraph course about how they dealt with the food in Ratatouille. It's amazing how much detail they've put into that movie.

Sunday night, we met with a bunch of awesome AM'ers and had a very nice dinner with drinks after. It's amazing how fast you get along with fellow animators without even knowing them in advance. All we share is the passion for animation and the AM experience, but thats totally enough to get the connection immediately. Fantastic! Everything is set for an awesome week in San Diego.

Today, Monday, is the big day: Animation Mentor Graduation Day! A little bit nervous, but mostly excited. There's gonna be a big ceremony at the Convention Center followed by a party with all the graduates and their guests. They've also invited recruiters and industry professionals. It's going to be great!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Just being tourists

Our stay in San Francisco has been really great. Usually I tend to be very uncomfortable with doing just nothing and I was kinda worried that I wasn't going to be able to relax, but I really have and it's truly awesome.

We've been 100% tourists and been doing all the regular tourist stuff like going to the Golden Gate Park, hung around Pier 39 and Fishermans Wharf, taking a boat trip under the bridge and around Alcatraz etc.
It's been great!

We also met with Haokun Liang, a classmate from a couple of classes at AM. We had a very nice evening with dinner. Tomorrow we're leaving SF and head back to LA where we're teaming up with Elaine to carpool with her down to San Diego, AM Graduation and Siggraph. Yay!