I flew out to California with a stack of demo reels, my flipbook business cards and a whole lot of youthful idealism. This was the summer of 1996. Being a thrifty individual (hobo artist) I flew out on a red eye, stayed at the Santa Monica Youth Hostel and drove around in a Rent-A-Wrek.
My trusty steed, a 1991 Ford Fiesta, cost me $20 a day and I parked it on the street, pumping quarters every few hours. I spent most of the working day driving to interviews or studios that didn't care about my work or my tiny flipbooks, so parking wasn't an issue.
If you've ever stayed at a youth hostel you know about the lack of privacy and security of property. I bought food at a supermarket and prepared it in the community kitchen.
All of the time I spent on the freeways in L.A. aggravated me. Having lived in Chicago, with ample public transportation, I began to loath the entire set up of the metropolitan area. If you love it and it works for you, great. Me, I hate having to get in my car and drive fifteen minutes just to return a video or buy a gallon of milk.
A company called Hypertoons was interested in hiring me. I declined and cancelled my upcoming appointments. I ended up changing my flight and leaving three days early. "I can make it as an animator in Minnesota," I thought.
One of my attempts at this goal was the "Daily Pencil Test". A pencil test is a rush-film version of an animated movie. Before any artwork is transferred to acetate cells and painted, the paper and pencil artwork is filmed. This gives the creators an idea of what the movement and timing look like without too much work going into it.
I reasoned I could create five seconds of animation each day and post it on a web site. How was I going to make money doing this? It was 1997 nobody cared about silly details like that. That's not true. I cared about silly little details like that. I had to pay rent and buy food. Not to mention repaying all of those student loans. That's why there's only this introduction piece and not any episodes of the "Daily Pencil Test".
Every now and again I trot out this idea and contemplate resurrecting it. For now, sketching requests in sixty seconds will have to suffice.