1 month ago
so you may have noticed some new Let's Play bumpers recently... I'm super happy that people have been getting into them the past couple of weeks. They've been a really fun project for me and I'm looking forward to making more. It's been interesting, because aside from having a lot of creative freedom to go make cool, weird stuff I've been sort of tapping back into a music background that I haven't touched in a long time.
I played tenor sax all through high school and dabbled in other things but eventually got busy with life and kind of put it away. Every so often I'd take it out (if you search for my name and Mandom you might find something particularly horrible) but I wasn't really playing any sort of music with any regularity. Working on these Let's Play bumpers, and needing a giant collection of random 4 second pieces of music has been an opportunity to get back into it.
A quick trip to Guitar Center procured a guitar to USB cable and after plugging it in, It's been really fun stretching my brain and coming up with new bits of music. Whenever I finish a bumper, I export it, open it in Quicktime and set it to loop and then let it play over and over again while I doodle on my guitar or keyboard and try to figure out what goes with the music. Some of the pieces are better than others, but they're four seconds and they're mostly texture for the background so maybe there's some fudge factor?
Tonight I was messing with some sound design for another work project that needed to get finished and started fiddling with a free synth called the TyrellN6. I guess it was designed to make things that sound like the Blade Runner soundtrack. I haven't quite found Tangerine Dream sounding stuff, but there's some neat stuff in it. It's cross platform so go grab your audio recorder of choice and mess with it.
It's still super early, but this summer for VFX Lab at RTX we're going to do a hands on workshop. It's been so much fun making these little bumpers that I thought it might be cool to do it as a group. Who knows, maybe they'll make it on to the channel. So, if you're coming to RTX, make it a point to bring your laptop and a camera (or both) and we'll make something together.
What's been your favorite bumper so far? Any ideas you think I should do next?
5 months ago
A few weeks ago I got an e-mail from an acquaintance at the art institute of Austin who asked if I might be willing to give the commencement address at their summer/fall graduation ceremony today. At first, I honestly wasn't entirely sure whether I should do it but I thought about it some more and decided to say yes. Thought you might like to read what I told the graduating class this evening. Hopefully it's not too long.
Graduates, teachers, families, thank you for being here today. As my gift to you, I promise that I’ll be brief. Congratulations graduates! You did it! You survived and finished one of the biggest projects of your lives and today it ships. You have all accomplished something in your time at the school that will be a great landmark for you that you can launch off from.
My name is Brian Behm and for the last four plus years I’ve been the motion design director and a visual effects artist at a local Austin production company called Rooster Teeth. There’s a chance you may have heard of us. If you haven’t, that’s fine. You’d be surprised at how many people haven’t. A common follow up that might be handy to keep on hand later might be, “So… you guys put videos on YouTube and you get PAID for it? There’s money in that?” You might also ask “Do Roosters even have teeth?” For the record, they don’t.
We create popular web series like Red vs Blue, RWBY, the Slowmoguys and a lot of other video game culture and humor content. This year we finished our first feature film Lazer Team. (In theaters everywhere, January 27th. Go see it!) I spent a good chunk of the summer working with one of your alumni on finishing the visual effects for that movie. Shout out to Colin Jimenez.
When I first got the invitation to speak at this ceremony today, I have to admit that I was both really flattered and quite surprised. I had to re-read the e-mail twice. I expected to see a request to pass along an introduction to one of our founders, not to have it directed to me, a behind the scenes designer who has many fewer twitter followers. In any case, if you personally, were really hoping for one of the Rooster Teeth founders, Burnie Burns initials are also B B, so as you move forward from today, if all you remember is that someone with the initials BB from Rooster Teeth spoke at your graduation, you can make that leap.
As a designer and a VFX artist, most of the time my audience is internal. I’m always thinking about what I can do to entertain our community with my work but I’m mostly focused on figuring out what’s in the director’s head and trying to make that a reality. There’s an inward focus. you could call it designer as psychologist. As you move forward as artists, learning how to do that is going to be one of the most important things you can do. The keys are patience and learning how to ask good questions. Earlier in my career I didn’t always have that patience. You probably won’t at first either. Client’s can be pernicious and in a stressful situation we don’t always respond the way we probably should.
A wiser mentor took me aside at one point and reframed the client/designer relationship for me. 90 percent of the work is yours. It just is. A client is going to give his input on what you’re working on, but you’re going to be the one who narrowed down all of the choices that they’re reacting to. Even after they give you a list of changes, you’re going to make decisions about how to interpret those instructions. You’re controlling an awful lot of power. When I learned that, and really applied it, I was able to start taking some of the ego out of the process and I started to do better work.
The big thing that I want to talk to you about today though is almost simpler than that. It’s a word you already know. Yes. I know it’s not long and you probably use it every day, But I want you to look at it and apply it to your life. Yes is the one word that has done the most to change my life over the course of my career. In improv there’s a concept called “Yes, and”.
If you’re doing a scene with someone and they say, "I'm an orangutan!" and you say they aren’t, it ends the scene. If you say, “well, you’re quite fetching for an orangutan, fancy this banana I just picked?” the scene continues on. Yes opens you up to things and Yes is how I ended up at Rooster Teeth.
Graduates, as you step out into the world, yes is going to be how you build your career. Find your friends around you and when they ask if you can help with something… say yes. When I was asked to do this speech today, I had the option of saying yes or no. If I said yes, (and I did or this is some kind of really odd dream) the improv game continues. If I say no, it doesn’t. You say yes to things because saying yes moves your career forwards. While you know what will happen if you say no, nothing, the status quo, you never know what will come from a yes. It might not be anything, but it might be someone seeing that thing you did and asking you to do something else. If you say yes to something, and you care about that project and make every effort to make it the best that it can be, the yes’ multiply.
My wife and I moved to Austin seven years ago from Colorado. We’d originally moved there with a company that I was working for at the time and after a couple of years, the company went out of business. We were both really passionate about film but we weren’t around people that were doing film. That’s another piece of advice: go find your community. If you have something specific that you want to be doing, go be around people that are doing that thing. We knew that if we were ever going to be doing film and entertainment work we were going to have to go somewhere where that was around us. It’s not impossible to start something on your own but the amount of energy that it takes to create something where nothing exists is exponential compared to going somewhere where that thing is going on. It’s a great way to make a giant leap in your career as an artist.
We plugged into the film community here. Hanging out around the Alamo Drafthouse, we made friends with a collection of film geeks, bloggers and production people. There was no attempt to network. We just wanted to make friends. Traditional networking is a lousy way to actually network. Getting into a fake situation where everyone is passing out business cards and trying to charm someone into doing business with them doesn’t create actual relationships. You get home from the mixer and you’ve got a stack of cards. What good is that? But if you build friendships and you’re around when that person needs something, it’s a lot easier to be able to step in and help.
One of the first things i did as we arrived was to volunteer at SXSW. As a guy who had a lot of video production experience, I was able to work with their editorial team. Editors aren’t necessarily designers and being around the editors that were working on the team led to opportunities to make motion graphics for some of the videos.
You know that cliche piece of advice that if you find the thing you love to do you’ll never work a day the rest of your life? It’s not true. The reality is that you’ll probably work harder because you’ll love and care about it, but there’s still an immense amount of fun. Getting a SXSW badge to sit around and have fun playing with graphics for a video was a pretty great opportunity and it was another case of saying yes. Hold on to that thought for a moment. Those SXSW titles will turn out to be important.
I mentioned earlier about how you don’t know where a yes is going to lead. As we made friends and got into situations where we could help our friends, I ended up working on a film called My Sucky Teen Romance. A coworker had agreed to help our friend Emily Hagins produce her third feature film. Emily got a lot of visibility for making a feature length zombie film when she was 13 years old. She made a second film a couple of years later and was gearing up for her third. They couldn’t figure out how to shoot a mirror shot where this teen girl who’s accidentally been bit by a vampire discovers that she can’t be seen in mirrors anymore. I told them I’d take a stab at it. Saying yes to that led to me working on the poster for the release, the titles, the web site, thirty more VFX shots and a lot of other little things. We got it into SXSW. It got bought and had a small theatrical release. Other friends were watching and they asked me to work on their projects because of what they’d seen me do on MSTR.
One of those friends, it turns out, was friends with the Rooster Teeth founders. I saw that RT was doing a lot more visual effects work on Red vs Blue. It looked fun. I thought it might make sense to see if this friend would connect me with them. I didn’t even want a job. I just wanted to have something cool to work on. He connected me, and they asked me to send over a reel. Unbeknownst to me, Matt and Burnie had made a decision earlier that year to hire someone who could do titles. I sent them a reel of title design. That reel had a lot of those shots I’d done at SXSW. They thought it was really, REALLY cool that I’d done work for SXSW. I couldn’t have known any of those things. The job was never posted anywhere. They hadn’t started the process of finding someone, they just knew it was something they wanted to add to the company. Because I had said yes in all of those other things, it put me in a position that I wouldn’t have otherwise been in.
In any entertainment story there’s usually something that’s not replicable. If you want to be Robert Rodriguez and sell your El Mariachi film to hollywood, it helps that there are not NEARLY as many people doing the same thing in the 90s and Sundance hasn’t blown up to what it is today. It was way easier to get in. Rooster Teeth doesn’t exist if Microsoft and Bungie don’t give their own yes to us using their Halo game. That’s a pretty huge yes.
In my case, if I hadn’t said yes to those other things, I wouldn’t have been in the position that I didn’t even know I needed to be in to get my job at Rooster Teeth. It’s not replicable, but in other ways, this philosophy is entirely replicable. You can make friendships and help your friends with things. You can put things out into the universe. You can create. All of these things are eminently replicable. You just can’t be sure exactly what the outcome is going to be. You can just be sure that the outcome will be greater than it would have been if you’d done nothing.
One word of warning, say yes to things, but say yes to the things that you’re capable of or that are just beyond where you are. None of this is about getting into a situation where you’re in over your head. Ultimately, it’s up to you to learn what the yes’ are that you should be going after. Use your gut and train it.
I want to close with a small section from Seth Godin’s most recent book What To Do When It’s Your Turn (and it’s always your turn). It’s a sort of benediction.
“Tell the truth”
“We don’t know wht you see. We have no idea what you’re thinking. We need your contribution, your vision, your truth. Yes, for a long time, for most of your life, we demanded you ask for instruction and that you comply. We’re ready now though. Ready for you to show up and to lead us. Ready for your contribution. We are ready for you to tell us your truth. Not THE truth, but your truth. The truth of the world as you see it and as you wish it to be.
Thank you for your time today. Now, if we hurry, we can all make it to The Force Awakens.
6 months ago
Update, The end of the tour is apparently free right now on Amazon. Go watch it.
Trying to get back in the habit of journaling and thought I'd jump in, while I'm thinking about it, and do a little write-up of things I've been taking in lately and what I might recommend. Hopefully it's at least sort of interesting. I'll break it out by category.
Last weekend we sat down and watched Inside Out, Mister Holmes, The End of the Tour and Me, Earl and the Dying Girl. I thought all four were for the most part worthwhile. The End of the Tour though really felt like something particularly special.
The End of the Tour is a road trip movie about a journalist spending time with author David Foster Wallace as he finishes his book tour for Infinite Jest. I've never sat down and read Infinite Jest (it's War and Peace length at more than 1,000 pages. If you DO want to spend time with big gigantic books, I might recommend that you read some Neal Stephenson instead. I think he's much more accessible. Go read Reamde. It's a fun ride) but I've always thought he was an interesting person and the film was an introduction to him in a way. Jason Segal plays Wallace and it's a great performance. All of the Foster material in the book that the film was based off of was basically transcriptions of tapes the author had recorded on the actual trip so Segal's performance has a lot of force behind it because at heart it's Wallace himself.
In the behind-the-scenes, the director talked about how he really wanted to explore someone getting the chance to spend time with someone they look up to. That it's a universal thing that at some point, we get to meet someone who's a hero and spend a brief moment with them. Sometimes they live up to what we think they are, but inevitably, we discover that there's a lot more nuance and grey than our black and white perception of them. Hearing that, it made me think about situations where I've been on both sides of that coin and I was able to kind of relate to both characters.
I love road trip movies. Some of my favorite films actually are road trip movies. If you wanted to do some sort of road trip movie deep-dive you could do worse than to start with these
Untitled/Stillwater (Cameron Crowe's director version of Almost Famous)
Sullivan's Travels (Preston Sturges' writing is so electric that even though his films are from the 30s and 40s they're still feel extraordinarily fresh. Also, if you happen to be a fan of the Coen Brothers O Brother Where Art Thou? there's a lot of Sullivan's Travels in that movie)
The Muppet Movie C'mon, I have a soft spot for the Muppets. This still has the best song the muppets have ever recorded in it. I don't think all of the film holds up, but this gets a nod just for the fact that Rainbow Connection is in it.
It Happened One Night from the same era as Sullivan's Travels, Frank Capra directs a really funny (and surprisingly sexy for the time period) screwball comedy with Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable. If you've only know Gable from Gone With the Wind, I love him MUCH more in this movie
(last but not least)
Paper Moon This is still in black and white but actually from 1973. Tatum O'Neal became the youngest person to ever win Best Leading Actress at the Academy Awards with her performance in this film. It's an AMAZING performance. I've gone on too long already, so if you want to know more, go read this article http://www.newnownext.com/best-movie-ever-paper-mo...
Ok, back to The End of the Tour -
One of my favorite podcasts has become The Moment With Brian Koppleman. Koppleman is a screenwriter that got his debut a few years ago with a Matt Damon poker film called Rounders. He's a really insightful interviewer and the conversations that he has on his podcast every week are always really intriguing even if the guest is someone I haven't heard of. When The End of the Tour came out, Koppleman did an episode with David Lipsky, the author of the book it's based off of.
Really, all of his episodes are worth listening to, but one other I might recommend is his recent discussion with director Tom McCarthy
This is way longer than I'd intended for it to be, so I'll wrap things up. A couple of last recommendations.
Daniel H Wilson's Robogenesis. I listened to the audiobook of Robopocalypse a couple of years ago on a road trip. Written in a format like that of World War Z, entries in a journal about the robot apocalypse, it made for a dynamic audio book presentation. I'd heard there was a sequel but hadn't gotten around to grabbing it when it came out. A friend recently read it and raved about it so I picked up a copy. Like a lot of second acts, it's a much more interesting story because they don't need to do any set up. All of the world building has been done so we can get right into the meat of the story. If you like war movies, robots, AI and hey (bringing it all full circle) road trip movies, Robogenesis has something for you. It's also written to be a standalone so if you haven't read the first book you can get into it and not have anything particularly huge that you're missing out on.
Titus Andronicus - The Angry Hour. Could be my album of the year. Great stuff. If you like it, you should also look up The Hold Steady.
Beach Slang - The Things We Do To Find People Who Like Us also on my list of great records this year
8 months ago
Over the course of Lazer Team post-production I've been keeping a sort of cheeky Spotify playlist of songs that remind me of being up too late working on a project. Now that we're at the end, I thought it would be worth passing along. There's some dance pop, some rock, some indie, basically a whole smattering of what I listen to on a regular basis. It's so good to be close to being done! Can't wait for people to see the film.
Here's the link. https://open.spotify.com/user/flabbyironman/playli...
9 months ago
figured I hadn't really posted a stack of stuff that I'm working my way through lately. This is (most) of the pile that's accumulated over the last month or so or I've just started to get back to working my way through.
The Charisma Myth by Olivia Fox Cabana is worth a read just for being a little more self aware about how you carry yourself. I'm really looking forward to reading her next book on brain chemistry and hacking.
Here's a lecture that's more related to Charisma
Todd Henry hosts one of my favorite podcasts (The Accidental Creative) I've only just started his new book but the first chapter was interesting.
Really getting a lot out of Judd Apatow's Sick in the Head. It's a series of interviews he's done over the last 30 years or so with comedians. I think it's going to become required reading if you want to understand comedy.
What I talk about When I talk About Running was a recommendation from a screenwriter and podcast host named Brian Koppelman. His podcast The Moment with Brian Koppelman is worth listening to and this has been an interesting entry point for Murakami. I feel like he's an author I should be in to but haven't ever gotten around to reading. I started to listen to an audio book of 1Q84 but got sidetracked. This is making me want to pick it up again. The book is, in theory, about running but it's more of a philosophy of life book.
Still need to get into Ernie Kline's Armada. Maybe after I'm done with my part of the film
9 months ago
A quick update on portfolio reviews at RTX next weekend. It looks like most of the slots are currently full. I extended times on Friday and Saturday to open up a couple of extra places for people to fill in. I'll send everyone an e-mail more than likely Friday morning with a final location for where we'll be meeting. Looking forward to meeting all of you.
9 months ago
Koen Wooten, who helped produce the current season of Red Vs Blue has made himself available for a few sessions from 1:30 - 3:00 on Sunday. I've added the time to the calendar so if you'd like to sign up, go ahead and fill out the form. There's also one other slot that opened up on Sunday for someone who'd like to go after it.
Happy 'almost' RTX.
For the moment, all slots are full. I'm working with some coworkers on opening up a few more slots. As soon as I know more, I'll post another update to let people know things are back open again.
I've finally posted this year's form to sign up for career advice at RTX this year. Like I've mentioned in the past, this isn't a job interview, but a chance to talk to a design/creative professional about stuff like what working at RT is like, about life as a designer or visual fx artist (if you're a 3D artist you're included in that), feedback on your portfolio and advice on taking your work to the next stage. This year I have three sessions of 10-15 minute appointments available on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
If you have interactive or video work you'd like for me to look at, please make sure that you bring something to show me your material on like a laptop or a tablet. I'll have my phone, but with only ten minutes there's not a lot of time to pull out my cellphone and make sure that something works. It's easier if you have whatever you want to show ready to go.
Here's the link to a form that you can fill out so that I can be better ready to talk to you too.
Looking forward to seeing you at RTX next week.
10 months ago
Hi everyone. Greetings from your currently off in seclusion graphic designer and friend Brian. It’s been a long time. I think quite often about sitting down and posting a journal, but most of the time I’m just racing around trying to figure out what else I need to get done. I was doing some reflecting tonight on something I was reading and thought maybe it’d make a good journal entry.
I’m a reader. At any one point in time I’ll have four or five books in various states of completion spread around the house, my cell phone, my office, my car, the bathroom… It’s always been something that I’ve felt was important. Sometimes it’s reading for enjoyment, but most of the time it’s me trying to stretch my brain and make it just a little more elastic.
The not so hidden secret of film sets (at least the regular sized ones) is that one is always hurrying up and waiting. In the case of post-production one is always hurrying up and waiting for something to finish preview rendering. It causes little bits of time that add up. You can try to make use of that render time by switching to another task, but sometimes that’ll screw up your preview render and sometimes that will make you lose your train of thought. It turns out that when I’m working on a creative problem, multitasking generally isn’t something that does me any good. I always have books around anyway, so I got into the habit a few years ago of reading a few pages while waiting for renders. For whatever reason, apparently reading doesn’t run down the same pathways of my brain that the creative problem does so i can switch back and forth pretty easily.
This summer, as I’ve been working on Lazer Team I’ve worked my way through a few different things. Towards the end of June I listened to an audiobook of The Martian while I worked on deadlines for Comic Con. If you haven’t read it yet, go read the book before Ridley Scott’s film adaptation of it comes out later this year. It looks like the film version is going to be good and I’m really curious to see it, but I think a big part of a Robinson Crusoe type story is the passage of time, and spending 10 hours of an audiobook with someone just feels different than a two hour film. Also, it’s really funny and I’m not sure how much of the humor is going to be conveyed on film. Word of warning, it turns out that listening to an anxiety ridden adventure thriller novel while on a deadline to get something done can build a certain level of anxiety in you. Maybe it spurred me on to get my shots finished and turned in (if you were at Comic Con, let me know what you thought of all of Gavin’s helmet graphics)
After that it was Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods. We recently had a neighbor install a ‘tiny library’. Tiny libraries are these little community run boxes where you can grab a book or bring some books to share with others. As a book geek, the idea that I can take my dog on a walk and grab something from the little library on the road while I’m out kind of tickles me. I’d seen a trailer for a film adaption (not sure about it, but it’s got Robert Redford and Nick Nolte wandering around in the wilderness so maybe it won’t be bad) and happened to see it on the shelf. A good sign that a book is crunch worthy is that it allows you a certain amount of escapism. Can I send my brain somewhere else for a few minutes? A Walk in the Woods is a travelogue about walking the Appalachian trail. Last year I started to think about some plans for biking from the MN/Canada border all of the way down to New Orleans along the Mississippi. The idea was to do it as a charity ride, maybe even ride into RTX but for various reasons it didn’t happen this year. Maybe in the future. It’s something on my bucket list (also California across to the east coast), The book made me laugh and feel at least a LITTLE bit like I was out in nature so I guess it did what it was supposed to.
Saturday, while I was at the office working on Lazer Team, I started in on a book by Donald Miller called Scary Close. Donald’s most known for a book he wrote in the early 2000s called Blue Like Jazz. It’s an interesting story about a young conservative evangelical Christian kid transitioning to life at a college in Portland that’s anything but that. It’s a book that meant a lot to me as I was learning to be an adult on the other side of being a somewhat sheltered kid. A few years ago, I worked as a VFX supervisor on the film adaptation of the book. I’ve got a soft spot for Don. I like the way he writes and I try to read whatever he puts out.
The new book turns out to actually be a self help book. Don discovered that he wasn’t being an honest person. He was editing what he wrote and polishing it so that he looked better than he actually did and he was putting on an act. That extended into his relationships. The story goes into the counseling that helped him sort through some of those issues. I got to a section today where he was talking about how as he became more well known for his writing he got more and more cautious. There was a great quote from The Now Habit by Neil Fiore that kind of punched me in the stomach.
“…the more success we achieve the higher the rope. As we gain something, we have more to lose. Success causes a ravine beneath our careers that grows more deadly, creating a kind of fear of trying. He said the fear of letting people down is one of the primary reasons people procrastinate. “
As I was getting into my work on Lazer Team, I really experienced that. I’m responsible for all of Gavin’s heads up display in the movie. There are a lot of people who do HUD work who I really live up to. The idea that I was going to be working on something that I wanted to be as good as what they were doing ended up being really paralyzing. I know that I was not particularly pleasant to be around as I wrestled with how to make this design look as good as I felt it was supposed to look. Every time I got stuck I’d get more frustrated which would make me more concerned about performing which would make me more paralyzed. I was kind of a neurotic mess. Eventually, your brain tells you that it’s time to get to work and the design problems start to solve themselves. But I’m not always patient when I’m in the middle of it. It’s amazing how low our pain threshold can be even after we’ve trained ourselves to be able to work under pressure.
My very first Rooster Teeth crunch book was Ernie Kline’s Ready Player One. Going back to the theme of escapism, that pushed those buttons. I forget where in Red Vs Blue season 9 that fell, but I think it was just before I got to work on the flame thrower scene. Tuesday, Ernie Kline’s new book shows up. I’m sure it’ll end up being one of this year’s crunch books.
The other big crunch books from RvB Season 9 were audio books of the three of the Enders Game books (Enders Game, Speaker for the Dead and Xenocide). The Enders series has this technology called The Ansible that allows distant locations in space to be able to talk to each other in real time. If they try to travel to those places, the theory of relativity keeps the people traveling at the speed of light young while everything in the current time scale continues to age. My dad had inoperable but slowly progressing cancer at the time. I remember that as I worked on RvB and listened to the books and talked to him on the phone, it felt like I was on another planet unable to be home. Last year I dealt with some of the same thing as I worked on episode 11 of season 12. This time, instead of my dad it was my mom and I was trying to get episode 11 out the door. I don’t remember what I was listening to, (I think it may have been Neal Stephenson’s Reamde, I do remember reading that while I worked on lighting Gavin’s crotch on fire for the Barenaked Ladies’ Did I say that Out Loud.
I’ll never forget that the last time I talked to my mom she was praying for me that I’d finish my deadline so that I could come up. I tried to tell her there were more important things for her to worry about and that I’d be there as soon as I could. She said ok and by the time I got there she was mostly comatose.
Anyway, lots of books and lots of memories. I’ve still got several weeks to go on Lazer Team before we wrap. Thankful that at this point it mostly looks like the drama will be just focusing in and working on getting everything delivered… and in between the preview renders, I’ll be doing what I always do, chugging away on a book.
10 months ago
Hi everyone. Greetings from your currently off in seclusion graphic designer and friend Brian. Itâ€™s been a long time. I think quite often about sitting down and posting a journal, but most of the time Iâ€™m just racing around trying to figure out what else I need to get done. I was doing some reflecting tonight on something I was reading and thought maybe itâ€™d make a good journal entry.
Iâ€™m a reader. At any one point in time Iâ€™ll have four or five books in various states of completion spread around the house, my cell phone, my office, my car, the bathroomâ€¦ Itâ€™s always been something that Iâ€™ve felt was important. Sometimes itâ€™s reading for enjoyment, but most of the time itâ€™s me trying to stretch my brain and make it just a little more elastic.
The not so hidden secret of film sets (at least the regular sized ones) is that one is always hurrying up and waiting. In the case of post-production one is always hurrying up and waiting for something to finish preview rendering. It causes little bits of time that add up. You can try to make use of that render time by switching to another task, but sometimes thatâ€™ll screw up your preview render and sometimes that will make you lose your train of thought. It turns out that when Iâ€™m working on a creative problem, multitasking generally isnâ€™t something that does me any good. I always have books around anyway, so I got into the habit a few years ago of reading a few pages while waiting for renders. For whatever reason, apparently reading doesnâ€™t run down the same pathways of my brain that a creative problem does so i can switch back and forth pretty easily.
This summer, as Iâ€™ve been working on Lazer Team Iâ€™ve worked my way through a few different things. Towards the end of June I listened to an audiobook of The Martian while I worked on deadlines for Comic Con. If you havenâ€™t read it yet, go read the book before Ridley Scottâ€™s film adaptation of it comes out later this year. It looks like the film version is going to be good and Iâ€™m really curious to see it, but I think a big part of a Robinson Crusoe type story is the passage of time, and spending 10 hours of an audiobook with someone just feels different than a two hour film. Also, itâ€™s really funny and Iâ€™m not sure how much of the humor is going to be conveyed on film. Word of warning, it turns out that listening to an anxiety ridden adventure thriller novel while on a deadline to get something done can build a certain level of anxiety in you. Maybe it spurred me on to get my shots finished and turned in (if you were at Comic Con, let me know what you thought of all of Gavinâ€™s helmet graphics)
After that it was Bill Brysonâ€™s A Walk in the Woods. We recently had a neighbor install a â€˜tiny libraryâ€™. Tiny libraries are these little community run boxes where you can grab a book or bring some books to share with others. As a book geek, the idea that I can take my dog on a walk and grab something from the little library on the road while Iâ€™m out kind of tickles me. Iâ€™d seen a trailer for a film adaption (not sure about it, but itâ€™s got Robert Redford and Nick Nolte wandering around in the wilderness so maybe it wonâ€™t be bad) and happened to see it on the shelf. A good sign that a book is crunch worthy is that it allows you a certain amount of escapism. Can I send my brain somewhere else for a few minutes? A Walk in the Woods is a travelogue about walking the Appalachian trail. Last year I started to think about some plans for biking from the MN/Canada border all of the way down to New Orleans along the Mississippi. The idea was to do it as a charity ride, maybe even ride into RTX but for various reasons it didnâ€™t happen this year. Maybe in the future. Itâ€™s something on my bucket list (also California across to the east coast), The book made me laugh and feel at least a LITTLE bit like I was out in nature so I guess it did what it was supposed to.
Saturday, while I was at the office working on Lazer Team, I started in on a book by Donald Miller called Scary Close. Donaldâ€™s most known for a book he wrote in the early 2000s called Blue Like Jazz. Itâ€™s an interesting story about a young conservative evangelical Christian kid transitioning to life at a college in Portland thatâ€™s anything but that. Itâ€™s a book that meant a lot to me as I was learning to be an adult on the other side of being a somewhat sheltered kid. A few years ago, I worked as a VFX supervisor on the film adaptation of the book. Iâ€™ve got a soft spot for Don. I like the way he writes and I try to read whatever he puts out.
The new book turns out to actually be a self help book. Don discovered that he wasnâ€™t being an honest person. He was editing what he wrote and polishing it so that he looked better than he actually did and he was putting on an act. That extended into his relationships. The story goes into the counseling that helped him sort through some of those issues. I got to a section today where he was talking about how as he became more well known for his writing he got more and more cautious. There was a great quote from The Now Habit by Neil Fiore that kind of punched me in the stomach.
(continued in the comments)
1 year ago
This week marks the release of our last two RWBY prints from artists Josh Budich and Alexander Iaccarino. In the interest of people being able to get their prints before Christmas we thought we'd go out with a bang.
Josh recently had a big anime show at www.slashfilm.com/joshua-budich-anime-art/]Spoke Art in San Francisco (take a look at his beautiful Princess Mononoke print from the show which just made me more excited about what he could do with RWBY.
Here's what he had to say about his print.
"Getting a chance to work on something entirely new to me, like Rooster Teeth's "RWBY" series, is always a treat for me. When trying to find an original angle for depicting the pop culture lineup of usual suspects has been exhausted, an opp like this is a very welcome change. This is especially true when the content is as good as RWBY! I decided to tackle the most central-character in this first piece, "Ruby Rose", but my heart belongs to "Nora". Love me a redhead. BOOP!'
Earlier this year I saw an Akira poster that had been done by an artist named Alexander Iaccarino. It turns out that Alexander had just recently moved to Austin and he was excited about the opportunity to do a piece. I'm really stunned by what he's created. Hopefully you will be as well. Here's what he had to say.
"I was extremely excited to work with the Rooster Teeth RWBY team on this project. The studio was very encouraging and assured in my vision after viewing my extensive body of work pertaining to anime influences. A body of work in which RWBY fit right in. This piece encapsulates the epic scale of RWBY's origins. I decided to portray the team coming together as a group, facing the many enemies and creatures from season 1. Present and dangerous are the Grimm, White Fang, and Cinder Fall ominously lurking in the shadows. The artwork is much like the show; powerful heroines who stand strong surround by insurmountable odds
Josh Budich's print is a 2 color 12x36 screen print on 100lb Cover Cougar White
Alexander Iaccarino's print is a 5 color 18x24 screen print on 100lb Cover Cougar White
Both are limited editions of 250, 59.95 and will be available at 4pm central time on Friday at roosterteeth.com/store . Both are signed and numbered.
Printed at Nakatomi Print Labs
Motion Design Director and visual fx artist at Rooster Teeth. I make the stuff in a video that makes you say, "whoa! that's bad-ass".
Other than that, I also like to find cool food trailers and watch movies with my wife, hang out with my daughter and I've also been known to harass the RT Sponsor chat with painful movies embedded from YouTube.
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