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Things I’ve done before, or outside of, my current job.

My current Demo Reel

I’m a producer and loving it, but every now and then I get to get my hands dirty again. Here’s a collection of some of my artistic work from the past few years:

Cyanide & Happiness

I worked on the first three seasons, and weekly shorts, of “Cyanide & Happiness”. I went from being a part time production assistant to producing the show. I joined the team at a very pivotal time and was honored to help the studio grow into a talented and loving family of artist and creatives.

The weekly shorts (careful, they’re not for kids) can be found on Explosm’s YouTube channel.

A writeup I did about the first half of season 3 can be found here.

Why am I posting old projects?

People are fragile.

When we only see the best work a person has done and the projects that have been roaring successes we perpetuate the idea that failure is abnormal and should be shunned or hidden. When job hunting, this makes more sense. You want to put your best foot forward and show yourself in a good light.

I don’t want to do this. If you are here on this site then you are interested in learning about me. And who I am is a culmination of both my successes and failures. Some of my previous projects or side projects are things I am proud of, and some are things that I’m happy I learned from. This is my past and I think it is valuable to show in the framing of a postmortem.

Fright Lite

Fright Lite was the short film I made in my senior year at UT Dallas. I got to work with a bunch of talented people and have very fond memories of the late nights toiling away in the computer labs to make it a reality.

Primary Role: Project Coordinator
Secondary Role: Lighting & Compositing Artist

Student Animation Website

For almost 3 years (June 2012 to February 2015) I ran the website www.studentanimations.com to promote and encourage animation students round the world.

The site featured student work from students in various countries (Greece, Australia, Israel, and the United States to name a few) and had a strict policy to not profit off of sharing the work of these students. This, inevitably, led to having to discontinue the site.

For the site I conducted dozens of written interviews, researched and contacted dozens of animated short film creators, designed (and re-designed and re-designed) and programmed the website, created all of the graphics for the website, and edited every piece of content that was published. Doing all of this on my own added up to a significant amount of time each week, which was preventing me from moving on to other projects and was difficult to maintain while starting my career (as anyone going through crunch time at an animation studio while working on side projects can relate to).

My goal with the site was to promote students who made good work and to help connect them with people who appreciated their work, linking directly from the short films featured to the students who made them. In asking for their information, and time invested to do an interview talking about their films for the site, I aimed to show good faith by not profiting or distracting from their work with ads or other forms of monetization. In hindsight, this was incredibly naive. The model I had built had no way to support itself and while others believed in the goals of the site, mainly to promote good student work, the time it took to produce content for the site at the quality standards I had set was not feasible.

I originally designed the website as a class project in my first web design class at UT Dallas (with Cassini Nazir who to this day was one of the most inspirational educators I have ever met) and I believe because it was designed originally as a class project its ability to support and maintain itself was flawed from the beginning. I always considered programming it so that students could submit their own shorts and interviews so that the content would be generated in a way that involved minimal commitment on my end, but the website never got to a readership level to support that. I also considered looking for sponsors to be able to stick with the ad free mission goal, but going that route would have taken a more significant time investment than I was able to give at the time and I believed that if I were to go that route I would have needed to make the site into more of a full time project.

In the end, I do not regret the time I spent talking to and celebrating the incredibly talented students who made the amazing short films we featured on the site. Not for a moment. I still believe something like this resource should exist. Young artists making their first animated films need to learn from each other, not just established professionals. Only learning from what are presented as the very best student films in the world is like only studying film by watching the Oscar winners for best picture. Hearing the same advice on “How do I get a job?” and “What shots should go on my demo reel?” over and over again misses the point of education in the first place: not to get a job but to explore and grow in your field to the point where you’re ready for a job in the industry.

I hope one day that something like the resource I worked to make is developed in a sustainable way. If you are trying to make something similar, or just want to know more, I would be happy to elaborate on details about my experience (please see the Contact Me section of this site).

Bird in a Cage

Bird in a Cage was the first project I ever worked on, and also the first project I ever directed. Roughly 30 students worked on this project outside of classes over the course of about 2 years from script writing to completion. It was my first adventure into managing people on a creative project and I am proud to say that 1) we finished the film and 2) we learned from the project and grew in our creative disciplines.

Primary Role: Director
Secondary Roles: Preproduction, Texturing, Lighting & Compositing, Additional Effects