August 29th 2023

In and out of work projects and working on some personal stuff in between. I've bee thinking a lot recently about how I want to someday work on some passion projects involving my own OCs. Like any gay autistic I have about a million of them, but a couple of storylines that have been evolving, no joke, since middle school and even before. And as someone who works in the arts, this feels like something I should be able to do. I should be able to make something of this, that's what artists do. Plus, I want that respect from other artists and employers that having a passion project like that gets. What do I have to show right now? Some cool dolls, sure, plenty of technical capabilities, but I have nothing to show for my mind, my storytelling ability, I want people to take me seriously there too! I want to be the cool artist who spent all their free time on one big passion project, the one that was so filled with the urge to create that they just had to get it out, this one thing.

And so I have two projects rattling around in my brain, I just have to pick a medium, pick which one I want to focus my energy on. Or maybe just pick the one that is the most different from what I'm currently doing for work, to avoid burnout from the overlap. Maybe I should talk to more people, get an idea of which they would like to see more. The first is something that I know would directly help my career, I've been thinking for a while about making a stop-motion short featuring my OC Bruni, who I've already made a doll/puppet for which makes a half decent stop-motion subject. I don't want to be a stop-motion animator, I don't have the patience for it, but I want to be part of the community, I want to make props and costumes and set dressings, maybe write scripts. I love the medium.

The other idea is to make a website for my character Ray, a 90's/early 2000's blog/business site for his ghosthunting career. That one's a lot more writing, a lot less making stuff (I do have to code a website, but that's not the time-consuming part). Plus, grabbing an actor friend (I have one in mind) to play the character for photos and occasional audio recordings.

They're both work, but they're different kinds of work, and I ca't decide which one would be easiest for me to focus on at the moment. I want to get something done, I want to have something to show for it. I'm not used to actually putting my characters down where people can see them, usually I start from the other direction. I don't usually make things with a character and story in mind, I start with the simple question "can I make this". "can I make a cloth-and-clay doll?" and when the answer is yes "okay now what can it tell me about the character it wants to be?" i just wing it, the character comes afterward. Even Aster was a fun little side project thrift store plush before he was a character.

But Bruni has pages and pages, literal centuries of story and backstory. What do I choose? What highlights what I love most about him, what I think people will connect to the most? Same with Ray and his ghost pal Marlo, where do I start? That one's a little easier at least, a lot more cohesive and a lot less magic system to describe. But that's all writing, that's scary to me. A quick animation would mean storyboarding sure, but I can get away with not doing dialogue. On the other hand, I am making things for work right now, physical things, sets, costumes, even tiny puppets, and some variety would be nice, would be good for me.

On the third hand. I already have a passion project over at the Raggedy Ann Revival Effort.

August 24th 2023

I am officially, as of today, no longer using tumblr unless they fix a bunch of the recent issues. The lack of icons makes it basically worthless to me, I can't tell who is posting anything. I also just don't... want to use it anymore. If I could, I would only be here and discord. I don't even like to use instagram but it's the only place I know some of my friends, and there is no better place to find cutesy memes to send my partner. I need an instagram feed that is ALL cutesey memes. Maybe I'll do that. I also use it as a low-key portfolio while I procrastinate making on official one. And though I probably don't need it on my phone for that, I'm bad enough at remembering to post my recent projects without also having to send myself the photos to use my computer.

I guess i just need to get more comfortable using neocities, and find a way that it can fulfill that hole that social media has left. It's really fun ot make stuff here, sure, but the lack of social interaction is something I either need to get used to or get out of my comfort zone and find for myself.

August 22nd 2023

I originaly started a blog on my other more proffesional website, but soom realized that, surprise! I couldn't talk as openly as I wanted to with the idea that future employers would get an easy link to it.

So this is me finally starting my blog here, because writing daily was actually really helpful. Also, big surprise.

I've been in a weird sort of place the last few days. On Saturday, I got to see the LAIKA exhibit at the MoPOP and on Sunday I saw a local screening of a documentary about six animators from the area. Art stuff, not commercial, although one of them had worked for a studio I knew about so I had seen her in another documentary that screened locally last year (I'm trying to stay up-to-date and connected, it's part of my job, after all). But experiencing other people's work like that always has the same effect in me of making me incredibly restless to do something myself. Finish something. Be that person who can dedicate months, years, to a project. In between work hours and chores and deadlines. Sunday night I was incredibly restless during dinner after the movie, all I wanted was to get back to working on something.

But I have a job, in fact, I have two! Sort of. I am already moving towards that, I already have creative endeavors that, while not a passion project of my own creation, are artsy and weird and are with great people and good companies that will definitely look good on my resume. And I DO have that passion project, two and a half years in the making, but it relies on other people, and currently a lot of legal back and forth, so there's only so much that I can do on it. It's not the quintessential little artists' endeavor, me in my room with a camera and a pen or a stop-motion puppet, slaving away.

I've been feeling this pressure to pick, go all-in on animation and stop-motion and build up my own portfolio to prove I'm just as artsy and intellectual to have a place there, or do that same thing in the theater world. I guess I'm leaning towards theater now, that's what I'm actually getting paid for after all and my director/producer loves having me around, he says things like I better work with him on a few more shows before I'm too successful for him to afford working with me. Which is sweet, but I can't imagine being at that point. I barely know what I'm doing. I've fully accepted the existential crisis of being just out of college, a year away from breaking up with my partner of three years I had been living with, it just seems that no one else has. Or they assume I haven't, that I'm not acutely aware of my age and my stage in life. I go out with friends, have a movie night, leave in the morning with a convenience-store breakfast eaten on the bus home and I say to myself "this is exactly what I would write if I wanted to represent this part of a character's life". Like a long, artsy movie. Foreign, or maybe Wes Anderson.

But I like working in theater, I like the collaboration, I like showing up for load-in and being told what to do for six hours and going home sore as hell. I'm afraid of people assuming I know more than I do, of catapulting me too far ahead before I've paid my dues and learned my lessons early.

I want to talk about the show I'm working on right now, so I'll start at the beginning. I'd worked for this director before as a stagehand, loading in & out, ushering, that sort of thing. And I had worked for the other director from this company (they own it together) as a stagehand/actor. He contacted me about mid july asking for pictures of some of the puppets I'd made, and at that point asked if I'd be able to make something like my fabric dolls for a show he was working on.

Which in itself was already incredibly exciting. So of course I sent some photos over and we talked it over and I was now part of the puppet team for the show! But at some point the other writer of the show added into the script that this puppet (human, about two feet tall, direct manipulation bunraku puppet and the third main character of a three character play) was made out of wood. Just casually, written into dialogue. And instead of change this, he decided he was just going to make her out of wood! So where did my part in all this go? At first, I was just given other stuff to work on (the set, mainly) as he worked on the puppet, and was told when it came to the head I would be doing the paper mache over his sculpted form. The busy-work, the messy stuff, which I was perfectly fine with. But as the set and the other puppets moved forward he depended on me for more and more of my design input, he trusts me with it. Which surprises me, I guess. Not that I don't think I know my stuff, I spent two years of community college on it after all, but surprised that anyone this early on would respect my opinion and my artistic input. I guess I also assume that as the director/producer/designer of weird artsy shows since the 90's (some of which toured nationally and even internationally) he knew what he was doing, but it turns out he had never made a solid puppet like this before.

Sorry for the whole lot of backstory, but what I guess I'm getting to is this. He was struggling figuring out the joints and decided to schedule a meeting between him, myself, and the house woodworker to try to figure something out. Of course, the set guy is wondering why the hell anyone is asking him, he doesn't do puppets he does sets, any why not bring someone in who actually knows what they're doing/ And I'm just sitting there for a while because I don't want to talk over anyone. Before, he had asked me if I knew anything about engineering, and I had given an unsure "no", I don't really think I do compared to the kind of stuff I look at. Well it turns out I'm much more of an engineer than he is and that was enough, because when I finally did open my mouth to explain an elastic-based ball-and-socket joint he went See we don't need to bring someone else in, we have the genius right here! And man, that was exactly why I wasn't opening my mouth.

I wasn't even positive it would work! It felt like a weird game of telephone, me trying my best to remember what I had seen other people do and explain it to him. He didn't seem interested in looking up any of the original places I had come across the technique, it wasn't even anything fancy, it was from watching Dollightfull!

But there's where we get to the crux of things, I don't want anyone to take my ideas and my suggestions as fact. I'm just out of college, I don't know shit! There are 5-6 hyperfixations I'd consider myself an expert in and a handful of other things i have enough experience in to help someone with some basic problems, but I'm figuring this out as I go along as much as, if not more so than, anyone else.

After rehearsal the director often drives me home, at first because it was still 90 degrees out and now because it's late (it's not that late, I've taken the bus home from the theater later). I usually end up talking about something I'm interested in or working on, and he seems pretty engaged. I hope he's actually listening though. My friends (and now even my therapist) have joked that the two producers are going to leave the company to me someday, they've latched on to me so quickly when it's only been a year or so since I've started working there. But I'm in the business right now of not planning more than a year or two ahead.