"It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves."

Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Coffee Story - Search Within And You Shall Find It

This is one story which has been engraved in my mind and the hidden meaning in this story is so powerful and inspiring that it keeps surfacing on my mind from the deep corners where its been stored for ever. I don't remember where i heard this one, may be it was on TV, movie, magazines or newspaper.

"Its a beautiful morning, slightly drizzling which makes the morning even more beautiful. A person wakes up and decides to start the day by sitting in his veranda which gives him a view-to-die for of the beautiful ocean and having a hot cuppa of coffee.

But he is surprised to see that someone has already made his coffee and his lying on the dining table. He is pleasantly surprised, takes the coffee and walks towards his veranda. He is comfortably settled down and savors the beautiful morning view. He takes a sip of his coffee but is taken aback. The coffee is very bitter. He is so comfortable that he feels very lazy to go and get some sugar and a spoon to make his coffee sweeter. So he decides to have the bitter coffee itself. He is clearly a bit unhappy but then that's the choice he has made.

He has finished his coffee half way thru, when the next sip totally surprises him again but this time in a positive way. The coffee becomes a bit sweeter this time.

He notices that the nearer he reaches to the end of the cup and finishing his coffee the sweeter it becomes. Now he is almost reached the end when he sees something and starts laughing at himself.

At the bottom of the coffee cup there were sugar cubes. All he had to do to make it sweeter was to stir. "

Now it may seem like any other story with a good funny pay off but its a beautiful analogy to relate to each and everyone's of our life.

The coffee is our life. When you have reached the end of the cup and can see the base, we have entered the twilight zone of our lives. We all search for happiness, peace, calm around us and by running over other material stuff like money, fame, prosperity, recognition, attention of others and so on, but we fail to realize that the real happiness lies within us all. All we have to do is stir.

So before its too late, stir and seek inside yourself and i can assure you that, you WILL definitely find whatever you are looking for.


Weekly Movie Recommendations : 31st January 2009 - 6th February 2009

Der Untergang aka Downfall (2004)

Language - German

Genre - Drama/History/War

Directed By - Oliver Hirschbiegel

Cast - Bruno Ganz, Alexander Maria Lara

Whats It About - Traudl Junge (Lara), the final secretary for Adolf Hitler (Ganz), tells of the Nazi dictator's final days in his Berlin bunker at the end of WWII.

Why To Watch It - This is almost perfect cinema, beautifully shot, acted, lit, staged and on and on.

What we have here is an exercise in patience. A film that allows us to watch the disintegration of the largest empire in modern history, from the inside out. Beginning after the start of the siege of Berlin, the bulk of the film takes place in the cramped bunkers below the city, where Hitler and his officers are trapped like rats on a sinking ship, aware of their fate, but not smart enough, not willing enough, or maybe incapable of escaping the fates they created for themselves.

This is a daring, brilliant film with a virtuoso performance by Bruno Ganz as Hitler. He shows us that beneath the genocidal, world changing shell of hatred that the globe knew, Hitler was still that petty, hate filled, failed art-student that he was before becoming the greatest villain in history.

This movie will definitely touch you ! Simply Awesome !

Friday, January 30, 2009

Celebrating Our Mistakes

Came across this nice article about why we should celebrate our mistakes and learn from it instead of brooding or feeling sad over it, because if not for the mistakes we may even cease to grow in life.

Read more right here.


Thursday, January 29, 2009

A New TV Show - Lie To Me : Great, Specially For Animators

Came to know about this new TV Show - Lie To Me, from Andrew's post on Spline Doctors.

This is what Andrew has to say about this show -

"There is a new show on Fox called Lie to Me. It is based on the work of Paul Ekman who has given many lectures at Pixar about everything from Micro Expressions to How to Spot a liar. His stuff is amazing. For animators, its pure gold to understand the details that your face gives away during a conversation."

I just saw the first episode and it was absolutely fantastic and more so when i saw it from an Animator's perspective. So much can be said just by observing some one's face or their body language.

So if you are an animator, you just cant miss this one, but even otherwise its a cool show to watch !


AWN TV Oscar Showcase 2009

Now you can watch the trailers and the clips from the Oscar nominated shorts and features on AWN TV


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

BLUR Studio's New Commercial Reel

BLUR Studios have released their new commercial reel which contains snippets of all the beautiful work they did recently.

I have always liked BLUR's creative endeavors, right from Gopher Broke, In The Rough or Gentlemen's Duel, they have been doing some awesome work in the field of CG and Animation.

So sit back, relax and enjoy the show.


Sunday, January 25, 2009


Came across this fantastic post on this blog - Temple Of The Seven Gold Camels, about "Rules" in any creative endeavor and specially as artists in the field of film-making/animation.

It discusses what rules are, what people think of rules, how rules DOESN'T limit your creativity but rather enhances it, when and why it should be broken and so on.

Absolutely must read for any artists in general and specially for those who feel "rules" restrict them from achieving their full creative potential.


Saturday, January 24, 2009

Weekly Movie Recommendations : 24th January 2009 - 30th January 2009

Genre - Drama

Cast - Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Alec Baldwin, Ed Harris, Kevin Spacey

Directed By - James Foley

Whats It About - An examination of the machinations behind the scenes at a real estate office.

Why To Watch It - You have to watch it yourself, no amount of words is enough to describe just how brilliant this movie is, with spectacular cast and even more spectacular performances and dialogues. David Mamet as a writer and for screenplay is at his best with this one.

Have a sneak peek right here -

Thursday, January 22, 2009

New One Minute Clip From Pixar's UP

New clip from the much awaited Pixar's Upcoming Feature - UP ! This clip was show at SONY CES Keynote. 


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Horton Hears A Who ! Anatomy Of A Scene Featurette On iTunes !

Join Directors Jimmy Hayword and Steve Martino as they give you an exclusive look inside the making of a hilarious scene from the movie.

Go behind the scenes !


Monday, January 19, 2009

Sundance 2009 Film Festival on iTunes !

About Sundance as decribed on iTunes -

The Sundance Film Festival is the premier showcase for U.S. and international independent film, held each January in and around Park City, Utah. Presenting 120 dramatic and documentary feature-length films in seven distinct categories, and more than 90 short films each year, the Sundance Film Festival has introduced American audiences to some of the most groundbreaking films of the past two decades.

Now you can have a glimpse of the festival in the comfort of your own room and chair, thanks to iTunes ! Savour a taste of Sundance in the form of 10 Short Films only on iTunes and for free.

Enjoy !


P.S. - Incase the link above doesnt work, you can browse Movies/ShortFilms from iTunes directly.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

New Animation Magazine on the block : Go Motion Mag !

I heard about this new magazine - Go Motion Mag,  being launched and only when i read about it more, i came to know this one is specially for animators and everything related to animation primarily. Hmmm...interesting ! Though it does have other aspects too like modelling and so on but the focus is on Animation. 

To be frank, i didnt expect much from it. There are already so many "arts" magazine out there and i thought one more added to the list.

Since they had their first issue available online in pdf format and downloadable for free, i thought of giving it a try. And oh boy, i am glad i did. The content of the magazine was quite refreshingly and whats more is that its more about Animation and other things too and not the other way around. 

Their first issue cover story is about Kung Fu Panda and has around 30 pages of Production Notes ! Yes 30 ! Its the most ever detailed about "behind the scenes" of Kung Fu Panda i ever came across online. Fantastic read. 

Some other sections like "Animation Workflow", "Animation Tips and Tricks" are equally insightful and interesting.

Now i can go on and on, so before i spoil your reading pleasure, i suggest getting the pdf right away. 

I am not sure whether the magazine will be available in print here in India, but if you are in US, i highly recommend checking it out at your local book store.

The only thing i hope is that even the forthcoming issues are as interesting as their first issues and considering their first one, i am anticipating it will be ! 

Happy Reading and Animating !

Ciao !


Weekly Movie Recommendations : 17th Janurary 2009 - 23rd January 2009

Genre - Drama

Cast - Kevin Spacey, Jim Sturgess, Kate Bosworth 

Directed By - Robert Luketic

Whats It About - 21 is the fact-based story about six MIT students who were trained to become experts in card counting and subsequently took Vegas casinos for millions in winnings.

Have a sneak-peek right here ! 

Friday, January 16, 2009

Yummy !!! Planet 51 Trailer

Planet 51 is an upcoming animated film directed by Jorge Blanco and written by Joe Stillman. Produced by Ilion Animation Studios for $60 million, it was acquired for US distribution by New Line Cinema in November 2007. As of 9 July 2008, Planet 51 is slated to be released in the second half of 2009 by Sony Pictures Worldwide via TriStar Pictures.

Some screenshots from the trailer ! 


Audio Interview - Andrew Stanton Director/Co-Writer of Wall-E

Ok i may be grossly delayed on this one, but better late than never.

Jeff Goldsmith, Senior Editor of Creative Screenwriting Magazine interviews Andrew Stanton on Wall-E, Pixar and other stuff. 60+ plus minutes of insights and fun !

You just dont want to miss this one.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Jason Ryan 6th Animation Webinar - January 24th 2009, 1PM-3PM PST

Jason Ryan
is having his 6th Animation Webinar on January 24th 2009, 1Pm-3Pm PST.

In this Webinar he will lecturing about Lip-sync, Expressions, Character set up and tips and tricks.

From Jason himself -

"This lecture will really help you to get your Lip Sync blocked in fast. I will be including a Flipbook scene for download as a tool for Lip Sync. This tool will allow you to solve your lip sync for your shots without even drawing a single frame.

The things that i look for when animatioin Lip Sync, like the relationship of the Jaw to the eye mask and how can you relate it to the Bouncing Ball. In this live event, we will take a few lines of dialogue and break it down to find the most important sounds to hit and more importantly which one's not to hit. I will be talking about all i wil be explaining the thinking behind the two frame rule of precding the sound and why some sounds should be hit right on the nose. This two hour lecture will be ofcourse be fully downloadable for future viewing. "

You can watch the Teaser -

P.S. - Incase the teaser link is not working, please visit JRAWEBINAR.COM.

For more info on his Webinars, past Webinars, pricing and other info, visit JRAWEBINAR.COM
For more info on Jason Ryan and his other Animation Tutorial, visit JASONRYANANIMATION.COM

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Do You Really Really Want It ?

I came across this article on AWN which offers advise to help you focus on your goals, decisions and choices ! The author is Pamela Kleibrink Thompson who is a regular columnist on these topics and knows what she is talking about.

Must read for anyone looking to make their life more meaningful.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Nice Write-Up - The Rise of the Animation/VFX Industry in Asia

Came across this article which offers a quite refreshingly different take on the entire outsourcing of Animation/VFX in Asia and other places outside US and how it can benefit all those who are involved. 

I am sure different people will have different views of the article, but whatever view you may have, its definitely a good read. 

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Weekly Movie Recommendations : 10th Janurary 2009 - 16th January 2009

The Notebook(2004)

Genre -

Cast - Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams

Directed By - Nick Cassavetes

Whats It About - The movie starts off with an old man in a nursing home reading a story to an old woman each day. The story he reads is about two young lovers named Allie Hamilton(Rachel) and Noah Calhoun(Ryan).

Why To Watch It - A beautiful romantic movie with some touching performances. Carry some tissues, it can be a tearjerker.

Pixar's Upcoming Feature UP, New Sneak-Peek With Never Seen Before Scenes

Watch It Here !

Friday, January 9, 2009

Shortfilm Endeavors ? This may help !

For anyone starting his or her own independent short film or already working on one, be it in any medium, animation (3d, 2d, stop motion, etc) or whether live action, there is a fantastic article which has some great points to keep in mind while you are on your endeavors with your ideas and short.

The article is by Jim Capobianco, Story Artist at Pixar and Director on the Ratatouille shortfilm "Your Friend the Rat".

Thursday, January 8, 2009

AM Class 5 - Week 1, QNA, Introductions

Another new term begins here at Animation Mentor(AM). This term is significant in a few ways.

Firstly its the term where we start our own independent short films right from story/script till the final render. So its no easy task by any chance, as here we need to combine all the stuff we have learnt so far, in addition to building a good story entertainment wise, learning layouts, cam angles and cuts, how the story flows, whats the entertainment value, how to keep the audience engrossed, in short we our, our own directors in a way for the next 6 months. Class 5 is the first 3 months which involves pre-production in the form of layouts and blocking and Class 6 is the last 3 months where we animate and build upon from whatever we did in Class 5.

Secondly this is the 2nd last term for me here at AM, sort of entering the twilight zone at AM. A journey of a dream which i decided to pursue in 2007, a pssion for animation and for learning it from the best in the business, for which i left my full time job, will be soon completed. Its been more than a year, but somehow it feels just yesterday when i had my first ever week here at AM. Some experiences lasts for a long long time in our life and this will surely be among one of them.

Yesterday had my first ever Class 5 QNA with my mentor and new class mates. My mentor for this term is Cal Brunker !

I must say, i didnt know much about Cal prior to this, but after interacting with him in the QNA, i think i couldnt have asked for a better mentor. Cal has a tremendous amount of experience in this field, has worked with studios like Disney, Blue Sky, to name a few and he being in the thick of things at Red Rover Studios(check out their work, its awesome!), you can imagine the amount of information we are lucky to share from him. Also as a person he is a joy to speak to and to listen to him share his very infectious enthusiasm for everything related to Animation. I am totally excited to see how this term goes and what it brings to me.

I am also lucky to have a wonderful set of class mates. During the introduction we all had to come on the cam and speak a bit about ourselves and it was so nice listening to all my classmates and now friends, as to what brings them to animation, their interests, etc. Also many of them(i guess all) have a lot of experience and are skilled in drawing as an artist, so it would be fun to learn from them about drawing which totally petrifies me a lot of time. :-)

Next week our stories brainstorming starts !

Keep a tab on this space for more !


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Reflections - Looking back and introspecting at the year that just went by : 2008.

Since last week every medium of communication whether TV, Newspaper, Radio, Internet is flooded with shows/articles/interviews about asking people how the year 2008 went for them.

For majority it was an eventful mixed year and one which many would like to forget what with the economy taking a severe beating, the financial global meltdown, the recession slowly but steadily creeping in, job losses, lays off, meager increments(if at all increments), the many terrorists attacks(for Indians) and particularly the last ghastly one at Mumbai which in a way shook the entire world and made everyone realize that terrorism is a bigger threat than what they would have anticipated.

So it made me think how did i perceive the year 2008 and how it had affected me at different levels of my life.

If i see 2008 in general from a broader majority view, the first half was better than the second half. But for me as a matter of fact the 2nd half was more eventful and favorable than the 1st half.

Jan'08 - July'08 :
Looking back exactly a year from now, i have to say that the new year didn't seem to turn out as i would have expected. The after effects of taking a sabbatical from work and getting back to education and learning was something which i had never imagined. It was getting tougher and tougher motivating myself and pursuing my education. Very often i used to feel, as if my life has come to a standstill and even though taking a sabbatical was entirely my choice and not forced upon me, still i felt whether i made the right decision or not. On top of that whatever i used to do, somehow at the last stage it got stuck. I did try for some avenues to get back in the groove of working, both full time and freelancing, but things never really materialized. What was more irritating was that i didn't knew why it was not working. Talks used to start, they seem to get along positively and then just at the last step, it used to get stuck or have an outcome which i didn't expected to happen. Thankfully my family, my near and dear ones, the fabulous community at Animation Mentor(where i was learning) kept me going, i felt i was not alone and that these things happen when once takes a break from work and decides to study further. They were also very supportive of my not favorable work endeavors and motivated me to keep learning and not letting these small obstacles come in my way. I can never thank all of them enough.

In the first half of the year only, my dad decided to undergo a minor surgery for his nose, a problem which was coming back on and off since quite sometime and it was time to get to the root of the problem and remove it completely. Though by gods grace the surgery was a success, the problem was removed once and for all, still after surgery recovery took a bit longer than expected and it was quite painful for him. But seeing him now, the endurance of pain didn't seem much since he is doing great now. Thank you god.

Immediately after this, a new ray of hope came out of nowhere. My family decided to move to Mumbai as it was more conducive for my dad's work and also for my career in Animation in the long run. For me it was totally like a dream. I had stayed in Mumbai previously for about 2 years and i loved the spirit, the enthusiasm of people in Mumbai and in general the city itself. I had never ever imagined, i would go back and that too with my family staying there itself. Suddenly i felt a renewed spirit just for the thought of moving to Mumbai. From then on i was totally engrossed working out the details of our moving, finding apartments at the same time clearing our stuff in our old house in Chennai. It was a lot of work and i was enjoying every bit of it. It was not that Chennai was not good, we had stayed there for 10 years, just that for some reason it didnt offer me anything new, i was feeling as if life had taken a detour. When i used to work outside Chennai, at any holiday from work i used to yearn coming back to Chennai, the primary reason being that my parents were here and i also had couple of close friends staying in Chennai. But then in Dec 2007, one of my friends went to US for his higher education, another one was deep in a relationship and was getting married in June, so may be all these reason combined, i was waiting to move out of Chennai, so when the Mumbai news happened, no one was more happy than me !

In all the crazy busy work of moving to Mumbai, getting things done, a sad thing happened. My maternal grandmother passed away. It was truly testing times for all of us and specially for my mom. On one hand the big move of moving to a new city and on the other hand the deep loss of her mother. No wonder it says that women are more stronger than men emotionally and rightly so. Hats off to you mom for handling both the things at the same time so effortlessly.

On my learning front, I was in Class 2 - Body Mechanics when the year started and was quite excited for this class as this is one of the most important foundation classes for any animator. It was no easy by any means but thanks to my wonderful wonderful mentor Dana Boadway who had the perfect blend of encouragement and constructive critiques, i learned a lot and was quite happy with what i did in Class 2. Class 3 - Introduction to Acting and it was a huge learning experience for me. I stumbled, struggled a lot, used to feel quite de-motivated when things was not working out as desired, but then i was determined to not let these obstacle put me down and kept holding on. When i look back i am glad i never quit !

Aug'08 - Dec'08 :
I was finally happy with a renewed sense and excitement now since we had moved to Mumbai. Its not the moving which is a long process, but the pre-moving and post-moving activities. Settling down in a new city from scratch is no small task, but its not boring also. New city, new house, new environments...the only thing i personally like to remain constant is change. Getting new connections for internet, phone, cable tv, etc etc...opening new bank accounts, finding whats available where near our place for our every day needs...all these take time no matter how much we try to push it and make it happen. I knew i wont be able to concentrate on Animation Mentor during my moving and hence i had taken a break for 3 months so that i can settle down properly and not do my course half-heartedly. And it was a very very judicious decision the way i see it.

It was barely a week in Mumbai, when i got my first good news. I was selected as a Student Volunteer for the upcoming Siggraph Asia happening in Singapore in December'08. I was totally elated. For me getting selected was huge and considering how big this event is, i was feeling out of this world. Whether this was linked in someway of my moving to Mumbai, i dont know, but all i knew was that moving to Mumbai will be a good positive development for me and my family.

In September my Brother-in-law, sister and niece had come to India for their yearly holidays and one month passed faster than i realised. We had gone to Goa for 4 days and had a super time there. Holidays with families and friends are a must regularly as it strenthen bonds and also makes life worth living for.

They went back in October first week and for few days it seems something was incomplete. I guess all good times comes to an end, so that other in-queue good times can happen as well. For me the best time of the year is from October - January, as the festive season sets in. October is the festival of lights - Diwali, which is India's biggest festival. Its like Christmas in US. Everyone is in a festive spirit, loads of social gatherings, good food, sweets...oh i just love Diwali !

Times definitely seem to fly fast when you are having a good time. November already arrived ! It was time to apply for my Singapore visa. Even though chances of a rejection was quite slim for Singapore, still considering what i had at stake, i was quite on my edge from the time i applied and when i finally got it !

It was December ! Just a week for my Siggraph Asia and Singapore trip. I was virtually on a totally different high.

Siggraph Asia and Singapore trip was one of the most memorable times of my life. Though i would cover those in a separate detailed post, but my reflection on 2008 cannot be complete without what happened at Siggraph Asia. Not only did i got an opportunity to be a Student Volunteer, i also got awarded for being chosen among Top Ten Student Volunteers at Siggraph Asia ! I was totally ecstatic !

Also even after Siggraph, i stayed in Singapore for some days and enjoyed every moment of it. I stayed with my Cousins and 5 year old niece and had a fantastic time. Never felt like i was away from home. Some relationships just get better and better as they age, just like wine !

Christmas in Singapore is a feast to the eyes in every sense of the way. The entire place seems to be in the mood for Christmas. The most happening Orchard Road is decorated fabulously. Hordes of people on the streets, all having a great time. The spirit is for sure contagious !

I guess its already been a more than intended long post...so yeah all in all it was a good year for me, leaving out a few events. Cant complain really, rather i am thankful to god for many memorable times, good opportunities and giving a beautiful ending to the year 2008 !

I have no reason to believe this year 2009 wont be as memorable or even more than last year at different positive levels.

I wish you all, the same, believe me.


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Are you on Twitter ?

I hope all of you are on Twitter and are tweeting away to glory !

What ????

You don't know whats Twitter ?

You definitely need to see the video below and get a life !

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Career Advise from Carlos Baena

Carlos Baena has a very useful career advise post on his blog recently which is a must read and so relevant for anyone working in the animation industry and specially for fresher animators.

Weekly Movie Recommendations : 3rd Janurary 2009 - 9th Janurary 2009

Red River(1948)

Genre - Western/Action/Adventure

Cast - John Wayne, Montgomery Clift

Directed By - Howard Hawks, Arthur Rosson

Whats It About - Dunson(Wayne) is driving his cattle to Red River when his adopted son, Matthew, turns against him.

Why To Watch It - RED RIVER, Howard Hawks's masterpiece, is one of the greatest Westerns ever filmed, a saga of obsession and rivalry between a man and his adoptive son amid an epic struggle for survival in the Old West.

Tom Dunson (John Wayne) journeys west to Texas to build a cattle empire and adopts Matthew Garth, a young boy orphaned by an Indian raid. Years later, Matthew (Montgomery Clift) returns from the Civil War and joins Dunson on a massive cattle drive north undertaken to avoid financial ruin. Stampedes and Indian attacks build tension, but it is Dunson's ironfisted leadership that causes the most problems, finally bringing the action to a boiling point that pits father against son.

This bold canvas of the American frontier features stirring performances, including Clift in his first film and Wayne in one of his finest and most complex roles, stunning photography shot on location in Arizona, and a perfect balance of action, drama, romance, and comedy from one of Hollywood's greatest directors.

P.S. - Trailer not available, nevertheless its a great Western movie not to be missed !

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Gift For A New Year 2009

A new year has come. Along with it, it has brought new hopes, new aspirations, new dreams, new goals, new commitments, new obstacles, new happiness, new sadness, new relationships, new experiences, new learning....in short a new life !! It doesn't matter how you were yesterday - 31st December 2008. Whether you were sick, healthy, financially strong, financially struggling, in despair, in hope or whatever ! Doesn't matter at all ! What matters is how you will be this coming year.

You cannot change the past, almost each one of us look back often and wish what if i had done this differently i would have been have been more happier or more rich or more independent and so on. Get this thing straight - you cannot have a better past. But you can definitely change your present and your future. The best thing you can do RIGHT NOW is to just forget the past, forget the bad times but remember the good times. Learn from your experiences and commit to yourself not to repeat those mistakes beginning today.

One of my dear well wisher sent me this
wonderful link and i thought sharing this with you will be the best gift i can give you this new year.

Every time i see this i feel so good and inspired. I am that much more raring to go from that moment itself. Each one of us at sometime face professional and personal challenges. As human beings the least we can do is to encourage others in their time of adversity.

So if you like this clip, please send it your near and dear ones, a friend, co-workers, anyone you care about or who you think can benefit from this.

Wishing you a wonderful new year 2009 !

Life CAN be phenomenal, it SHOULD be and WILL be !