2nd. Annual CCA Animation Alumni Day


When I arrived the campus looked empty, only to discover that everything was being held in front of Founder's Hall. I thought it would be a campus wide thing ,but it's just the Animation Department. There where maybe 40-50 people including students, faculty, alumni, and guests. Here's how things played out.


12:00PM: Thing's are kicking off! I see Rick our department chair, food and Yan, a fellow animation student.

2:00-4:20PM: After a great BBQ cookout and finally getting to know the names of other animation students in my class; it was nice to hear about the ups and downs of life after CCA.

4:30PM: Steve Purcell is here and I had a great opportunity to talk with him before the lecture (thanks JH for introducing me) about his work as a director on "Toy Story That Time Forgot". While I can't share much about the interview since I didn't ask his permission to interview him, I did find an interview he game at Comic-Con last year with Christina Radish of the Collider: 



I do however have the audio of the lecture for those students who couldn't make it posted below. Steve cover so much information from his beginnings to where he's at now and heading. Mostly, he emphasized that "every chance you get to work on a project... treat it like it is the only opportunity that you have to do it." He also gave insight into the various cultures of CCA, Pixar, LucasArts, ILM and other great moments to listen to. Enjoy!

3B9CF3: How to Spend 43 Hours on a train...

Well it's big... I utilized two out of the nine hours sitting in Dallas' Union Station scheduling my time, while I'm on this journey. I've never taken the train further than up to Connecticut from North Carolina and vice versa, so this chance to travel West on the rails was a must for me. One thing you almost always get on a train is time to burn. But it's especially nice to have that time while you are on the move. It can so often be the best combination of peaceful and exciting.

Much of the time I'm spending catching up on films, drawing, taking pictures, and listening for stories. I decided to take the train in the spirit of Walt Disney, who to came to California by train with a dream. I have a great seat here with passengers who have children and ample room to stretch out and work. I fried two chickens and have a bag of dates, walnuts, 6 Honey Crisp Apples, some Newman's fig bars, and a gallon of water. We were suppose to be on our way 8 hours ago, but the train was delayed coming from Chicago. This worked out for the best since all of my bags weighed in over the allowed limit and my Pelican case with my iMac was to large. So, I ended up shipping two of the 5 bags via FedEx. 

Day One: 

7PM- We're moving headed to Los Angeles with our first stop in San Antonio around 1AM. I'm starting the trip off with the film Silver Streak.

10PM- The Darjeeling Limited

1AM- San Antonio? No... Train is delayed. We won't be there till 3AM, so I'm listening to Steve Reich.

3:20AM-  Just arrived in San Antonio and boy do I need a Coca-Cola! There's a fourth minute layover while. The hitch up to a new engine. 

3:40AM- What I thought would be a simple run to the snake machine turned into an ATF inspection of my itinerary. Luckily I bought a couple of Snickers bars to go with the Coca-Cola's, so I'm ready for whatever comes next.  

Day Two: 

11:34AM- Just woke up to the sound of what I thought was my daughter Caitlin singing, it was one of the children behind me.  I wish Amtrak offered waffles on the breakfast menu...

3PM- I had chicken and a Coca-Cola for lunch and did a quick study in watercolor of the view from my window.  Saw a couple of guys run for the train at one of the multiple stops along the route, I guess they went for a smoke break. I've been trying to monitor the trains speed using my Suunto Ambit 3 watch and the speed doesn't seem right. We are traveling between 45 and 73 mph., which seems a bit slow. Anyway... I'm about to start watching the Goonies, and then I'll follow it up with Krull before I focus on dinner and we should be in Arizona by 8PM. 

Back to the Future...

What? The train is going to be how many hours late? I thought that I would show up two hours early at the Dallas Amtrak and, it's almost time for my departure; with only one of the six hours left of me waiting before I board the Texas Eagle Line from Dallas to San Fransico. 

A lot of emotions have been brewing lately, being away from my family has been the number one factor; so to take the edge off/pass the time I watched Risky Business when I found out of the delay, which has lead to a lazy day of film viewing. So far I've watched Risky Business, Tron, Black Rain, and now Romancing the Stone. Taking notes and eating Pirate Booty, I love not having to work for anyone right now; even if it's only for a couple of weeks. 

I really don't want to bore everyone with a play by play of my day, nor feel that I'm important enough to warrant it. So, just know that things are picking up on this site starting today. In the meantime, You can check out the new entries into the Laika Blog, as well as the PIXAR Braintrust Blog

-Mister Kennedy

Rounding Out the Year...

The new year is upon us and I will begin post more once I start the second leg of my venture West on January 10, 2015. As I've stated in previous posts here, a lot has taken place over the course of 2014. From postponement of attending CCA in the Fall to this coming Spring semester, to relocating my family from Chapel Hill North Carolina to Texas. The past four months were the toughest I've dealt with in a long time, being away from my family as a whole. But, it did allow me the opportunity to reconnect with myself. Once again I would like to thank everyone for their continued support in the "You've Got A Friend In Me Pledge" which has and continues to aid me in paying for my schooling at the California College of the Arts in Oakland California. 

Over the next posts I plan on sharing some plans that I've been working on since leaving Chapel Hill back on 12/13/14. Also, Ive started two additional blogs that will focus on LAIKA Animation Studios and Disney/PIXAR Animation Studios. I'm hoping to contribute more of my technical ideas on pushing the industry further on these sites, as well keeping readers up to date on studio/personnel news. This site will continue to follow my journey as I head through CCA's animation program, new artwork and enrichment opportunities, and anything related to reaching my dream of working at Disney/PIXAR or LAIKA Animation Studios. So hears a toast... to the unmade future of 2015!

-Mister Kennedy

Live Simply: Day 0

After working for almost a decade at each employer, I would like to thank Chad and Ann at Great Outdoor Provision Company for allowing me to work at the best outdoor gear shop I've ever been in, as well as helping to add to my Patagonia collection. Also, I want to thank Micki and Matt for allowing me the opportunity to work in an environment that allowed me to observe human action and behavior on an everyday basis at the market. I would also like to mention the unheard of ability to, take a leave of absence on both GOPC and the Weav. for the past three summers. That time allowed me to travel to California to attend CalArts, visit San Francisco, and venture back home to Connecticut. It was a honor to work among yourselves and my peers. Now it's time to get on with my dreams...

Many Thanks-

Mister Kennedy

Live Simply Day 04

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Sorry about the slip in posting every other day. Yesterday was my fathers birthday, he would have been 70 and very proud of where I'm at in my life. Just so happened that I received word that my room assignment had been confirmed and I have my first place in California. Overall, my father always tried to push me away from becoming an artist, due to that lack of his understanding of what the medium of animation involves. Yet, he always found a way to encourage me to continue with my dreams of becoming an animator. Below is video I shoot while working that night at Great Outdoor Provision Company, showcasing my excitement and relief of worry!

Live Simply: Day 8

As the days get shorter I've been focusing more on creating a map of how I plan on attacking my studies to insure I do my best in my studies at CCA this coming spring. Specifically, I've been working on how best to position myself for success over the summer internship/job quest. The question I keep running across in my thoughts is how can I be most efficient in my time usage, and apply that time to develop my goals. At times recently I've had thoughts of will I be able to surprise myself once I get out to San Francisco? Similar to when I moved to Chapel Hill in 1998. After all, I don't want to waste a moment of this opportunity. When in doubt and I begin to get these moments of the future that's ahead of me, I tend to watch a select few films to go things rolling.

I usually start with Empire Strikes Back, then an 80s film in the vein of Over the Top, and finally something that fits the mood I'm in at that moment. Somehow I find myself watching at least one animated feature a day as a method of R&D. Yet, the movies of Pixar hold a special place in  understanding what I'm striving towards each day. And when it comes to my favorite Pixar film or for the matter directors, it's pretty hard to make that statement, since each film and its director pulls a certain emotional nostalgia out through their cinematic approach.

To me the Pixar Braintrust, the group of talent that shapes what the overall film will represent, needs each part to pull off the quality that we've all become accustomed to viewing each year. One of my favorites is Andrew Stanton, for he has a way of delivering adventure every time. Here's another interview from Andrew Gordon's Spline Cast podcast series featuring Stanton, who was hired as the second animator at Pixar, for your enjoyment. Also, take a look at an interview he gave to DP/30 on the Disney/PixarAcademy Award Winning Feature-Film WALL-E