Friday, November 2, 2012

Trinity Animation: Land of 400,000 Hits.. and growing

On October 20, MAPA Director Dylan Dietz attended a special reception at the home of Trinity Animation President Jim Lammers.  The party was a public celebration of Trinity’s animation depicting the studio's visualization of a proposed C7 Corvette design for 2014.  The animation went viral on YouTube, exceeding 400,000 hits in August.

This all began in November of 2011, after Jalopnik and other sites leaked details of the design, which had previously been kept secret.  Trinity designed their animation based on what they thought the car would look like, employing the company’s trademark realism.

We caught up with Lammers who shared a few words on the success with MAPA.

MAPA: What does this amazing social media response mean for Trinity Animation?

LAMMERS: For starters we are actually animating a car project now, in fact a Corvette related car project. It's our first commercial car work and we're really glad to work on it. This is a company that makes retro bodies and puts them on modern cars, so people can have classic looks without giving up any modern safety or performance.

MAPA: What can you tell us about the challenges that went into designing your Corvette spot?

LAMMERS: The challenges were particularly unique compared to our usual work because the target was unknown. So we weren't modeling something we could see, we were trying to build something from little glimpses and hints. It was a real challenge and a lot of the time it seemed like we were in the mode of a car designer ourselves. That's a big part of why it took so long; there was no way to know if or when we had it "right."

MAPA: We heard that you had some criticism. What was that about? 

LAMMERS: YouTube criticism is unhelpful, people there seem to delight in simply saying silly things, or one-upping each other in vulgarity. I never read it. But we did get some thoughtful and constructive thoughts on the site, which was fun.

I think our car is a good first impression of what it might look like and the ONLY 3D reveal of the car to date.

It's easy to make one drawing of one angle, like car magazines do. But it's much more rewarding for the public to see the car moving and to see it from all angles! I am fairly certain the final GM design will be better and sleeker but we did the best to combine Jalopnik's predictions with our own best guesses to make something close enough to be interesting.

MAPA: What's going down with Archer?  You shared a sneak peek at the party but what can you share with Trinity fans?

LAMMERS: We are halfway through season 4 production and we've had a chance to preview a few of the early episodes. Adam Reed continues to shock, delight and entertain with his scripts. It seems like he has huge amounts of new places to take this cast and this show. I don't know how he can keep the funny turned up to 11 show after show but he does!

MAPA: Tell us about your musical contributions to your work.

Jim Lammers on the Gibson

LAMMERS: I really liked being able to put my own music on the Corvette video and having hundreds of thousands of people hear my work. I wrote something I thought would make good anticipatory "film score" like music, and then played guitar, cello, drums, bass and keyboards to put all those parts together. I only did the cello on the opening jaws-like segment as the sun shines into the opening doors of the warehouse. But the other parts I played straight through. I wish I had time to have done it in a proper studio for better fidelity (particularly with the drums) but I wanted to get the video done and out before it was old news!

MAPA:  Thanks Jim for your responses and all your warm hospitality.

If you want to go behind the scenes of Trinity’s C7 concept animation with High Res Wallpaper Images of this car, click here.

Catching Up with Arie

Catching Up with Arie
The West Coast Adventures of
MAPA Artist Arie Monroe

This month, we catch up with MAPA Director Arie Monroe and her personal adventures in becoming a Hollywood animator.

For those of you who don't know, Arie took her amazing talents to Los Angeles recently...not an easy thing for a girl leaving her family here in Kansas City. But Arie says she plans to learn what she can from the big boys and then use those skills back here at home. 

For now, she learns dozen of new faces each day as a caricature artist at the Universal Studios theme park.  (Word is she is also moonlighting as a character clean-up artist for an undisclosed studio. She can't say where MAP-Animaniacs but trust us when we say it's a big one.)

"I love drawing caricatures," Arie says. "You really get to interact with a variety of people and personalities and you learn to add their personality traits to the drawing of them. They really enjoy when you pull out their personality in the illustration. ...Animation is like acting with a pencil."

We asked Arie to give us the lowdown on her California adventure.

"My work has started evolving again, Monroe says.  "I felt like when I was in Kansas City my work became stagnant. So this is good."

Here is the rest of the interview:
MAPA: How has life changed for you since moving west?

MONROE: Well one of the major changes is I went from a freelance artist to a full time job. Currently I work as a Caricature artist at Universal studios while I look for animation work with my main focus being on character design, story and clean up. I had a friend that recommended my work and I got a little freelance stuff which I do after I get home from my other full time job. I am trying to get myself stable and soon I want to start updating my blog with new work on a regular basis.
I am also preparing for the CTN Expo. I am looking forward to it because I get to talk to studios directly and hand out samples of my work. Hopefully it will lead to a higher paying animation gig.

MAPA: Have you changed as an artist?

MONROE: My work has started evolving again. I felt like when I was in Kansas City my work became stagnant.  So this is good. The freelance is challenging because I have to think in a very different way from doing spot illustration, sketch cards and caricatures. I am also looking forward to actually animating more.
My roommate is also an animator and we are working on a project together.

MAPA: Tell us a little about what your day is like going from one job to another.
MONROE: I love drawing caricatures. You really get to interact with a variety of people and personalities and you learn to add their personality traits to the drawing of them. They really enjoy when you pull out their personality in the illustration.  It’s not just about drawing what you see but also about drawing what you feel: a very important key to animation.  This allows me to put that into practice. Animation is like acting with a pencil.  Today a friend at work referred to an animator as a really shy actor. In fact many of the people I work with are also aspiring animators and do a variety of art styles including abstract painting and fine arts.

MAPA: How's the commute?

MONROE: I recently bought a bike. Because Cali is pretty warm year round you can get a lot of places on a bike. It’s cool because I can do everything I do with a car. You can really deck out a bike with baskets and lights and mirrors so you can travel around town and do your grocery shopping. I am getting a lot of exercise. My commute to work is about 45 minutes but I hope with training I can get it down to 30 minutes. Buses also have bike racks so sometimes at night if I don't feel safe I can get on the bus for part of my ride home.

MAPA: What are you learning about the process of animation?

MONROE: I am learning a lot about the studio work flow.
I currently do character clean up.  A person designs characters on model and then I clean up the roughs so that they can have time to do other things quickly. It is challenging balancing both to be honest. Sometimes they want artwork literally the next day or two and because I work full time I have to try and get it done as fast as I can.

Last week, I pulled an all-nighter to finish the project by morning and get it turned in and then slept 2 hours before going to Universal for work. 

Because I am freelancing, I don't have to go to the studio.  I just email in the project or Fed Ex if that is necessary.

I feel like I have a lot to learn though.  I have a mentor that has been coaching me through some things.

Overall I am enjoying the adventure of being out west. On my next day off I am planning to visit Little Tokyo for sushi and shopping with some co workers/friends. It’s been fun seeing new things and meeting new people.

The BlueCat Screenwriting Workshop Returns to Kansas City!

The BlueCat Screenwriting Workshop Returns to Kansas City!
November 18th, 9:00AM – 6:00PM
Innovation Cafe
2029 Wyandotte St.
Kansas City, MO 64108-1942

Full Registration: $195 (Limit 7)
Regular Registration: $45

Gordy Hoffman, the Sundance award-winning writer/director (LOVE LIZA, A COAT OF SNOW)
and founder of the BlueCat Screenplay Competition, returns to Kansas City to lead a
screenwriting workshop on November 18th, from 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Winner of the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at the Sundance Film Festival for LOVE LIZA,
Gordy Hoffman has taught screenwriting at the USC School of Cinematic Arts in Los Angeles,
as well as led workshops all over North America, Poland and the UK. He has served as a
panelist for the IFP Script to Screen Conference in NYC, Women in Film’s Script DC
Conference in Washington, DC, and the George Eastman House Film Festival, as well as a
judge for the McKnight Screenwriting Fellowships in Minnesota. Gordy Hoffman founded the
BlueCat Screenplay Competition in 1998 and remains its judge. He’s currently writing a movie
about a comic book trade.

Participants read seven screenplays in advance of the workshop. During the workshop, Gordy
provides direct and in-depth feedback on each screenplay, with everyone encouraged to
contribute his or her own thoughts and concerns.
Each writer will leave with great sense of what they can do specifically to improve their
screenplay, as well a better awareness of where they might properly develop as a professional
screenwriter as a whole. Not only do you learn from the focus placed on your screenplay by the
workshop, but also by the examination of the six other scripts of the day.
Screenplays can be first drafts or rewrites, incomplete or partial, with first time writers and
veterans all welcome. Scripts are due 10-14 days prior to the date of the workshop.
Note: Screenplays submitted to the workshop are not eligible to be entered into the BlueCat
Screenplay Competition.

Do you want to participate, but do not have a script to submit at this time? Regular registration
for the workshop allows you to attend without submitting written material, read the scripts in
advance and still participate in the discussion.
For more information, please visit: