Steampunk’d

Holy mackerel! Here I am at midterms for my Fall quarter. Just one more quarter to go and I’m done with my program at FIDM. One of my midterm projects was to design and install a visual display window. A year ago I was taking a tour of the school and looking at all the amazing window displays done by the students, and now my very own is out on display.

Our theme was “Steampunk’d” and my group wanted to try something a little different than the usual dark and grungy feel of steampunk. We looked up different cultures and styles and thought it might be fun to try a (pseudo) Chinese Garden. I already had the dress at home so we went from there.

We really liked the idea and challenge of integrating these industrial gears into nature. We know that nature has this amazing power of growing back and taking over, so we used that inspiration as well.

The photo in this post is just a picture I took with my phone after the installation was finished. I will be taking my nicer camera to school next week to get proper photos for my portfolio.

I was just so excited to share the project I had been working on these last few weeks with my team!

More photos to come.

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Making Magic

I had such a great time designing the set for the pilot episode of “The Adventures of Regular Guy Tim”. The challenge was to make a somewhat convincing wizard’s tower with a relatively small budget. We converted an empty stage into this little magical world. I’m excited to get proper film stills/screen shots to add to my portfolio. For now, I’ll just post a few photos from yesterday’s shoot to show the magical fun we had.

 

And here are a few prop details that probably won’t get much screen time… But they sure were fun to make!

 

Seriously, I had such a blast creating this set. Can’t wait for the next one.

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Making Things!

Within just the last couple months I’ve had the opportunity to work on projects as set decorator, production designer, and window display artist. Since writing my last post I have been able to set my fears aside and focus on the joy that comes from creating things and learning as I go. What I’ve enjoyed the most is having my imagination explode with ideas when handed a project. I’d like to post about each project individually but as of right now I’m up to my armpits in freelance gigs.

I’m looking forward to posting more photos of the projects I’ve been working on. One of my projects was fabricating the props for Nordstrom Window displays (appearing in storefronts the first weekend of September).

This week I’m busy working as production designer for a fun fantasy short – let’s just say I’ve got a lot of magical wizardry to whip up before Saturday’s shoot!

Next month I’ll be designing the set for my old high school’s fall musical, Seussical the Musical. More fun fantasy and imagination work there!

And only 3 more weeks of the summer quarter. Lordy, I hope I find time for my homework and finals.

 

 

 

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Life Academy

I was writing in my journal this morning – pouring out my fears and concerns regarding the future and what I’ll do after I finish school in less than a year. Having a steady job – or even a good paying job – has always felt out of reach for me. Right after high school I decided to volunteer as a missionary for a few months in Ireland (honestly, I just wanted a reason to travel), and when I returned I attended my hometown community college. I received a full-ride scholarship through the theatre department. Free college? Heck yes, sign me up! But once I completed my Associate’s degree I couldn’t decide where to finish off college and get my BA degree, or with what major. I had too many interests. Did I want to focus on acting? Directing? Writing? It seemed too expensive to go to school when I didn’t have a laser focused passion. I decided to go back to Ireland to continue missionary work (actually, I just loved Ireland and didn’t know how to move and work there), but within a year I was very aware of what I passionately did NOT want to do. Returning home I looked into a few acting conservatories. I auditioned and was promptly not accepted. “Fine!”, I thought, “I don’t need school, I’ll just learn from experience and start working in the real world”. With that decision, I moved to L.A to study improv and try working as an actor in Hollywood. I had a friend moving down at the time and it felt like an easier way to move out of my small town to the big city with him than try and move New York on my own. I only planned to be in L.A for a year (here I am now at almost 10 years in L.A and still loving it) but for the past 10+ years I have struggled so hard to make a living: to pay rent, buy food, pay for my car, and afford some lifestyle luxuries (ie: clothes and dining out once in awhile). If I felt poor as a missionary, I felt just slightly less poor as a struggling actor.

Now, here I am back at school (I finally discovered something I had been passionate about all along) but I’m scared I won’t find a good paying job, that I’ll still be underqualified because I won’t have a Master’s Degree in design. I’ll be receiving a sort of Associate’s + degree with my Professional Designation course in Visual Communication. Will that be enough?! I can’t afford to go to school longer right now.

All this to preface my journal entry excerpt I wanted to share with you today. So here it is:

… but why does this nagging shadowy creature called “eductaion” keep tapping me on the shoulder – telling me I haven’t had enough “proper school” to be the professional designer I dream to be? I think there is always this creature lurking behind everyone’s back – whispering into your ear that you are not good enough, you’re an imposter and someday you will be found out.  I think in the arts it feels so much more scary and real because art is so personal and vulnerable.

But, I think with a passion to learn and a passion for the craft you can still move ahead even though you may not be in the brick cube confines of a school. My schooling is the world that I live in, the access to a multitude of books I can find in libraries, to DVD commentaries and trying things out by designing for friends’ projects. This is my lifetime academy. I will never stop learning, I just need to remember this when I fall into the trap of comparing myself to other designers I admire and want to be like. 

I write about this a lot and am constantly trying to cheer myself on when I feel like all the odds are against me…

I know the importance of education but if you can’t afford to go to school or continue to add to your degrees, it is not the be all end all. At least I hope not. So I’m going to see how far I can go just by learning by experience and soaking up whatever information I can.

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Happy

As I head to my last midterm today I just wanted to write real quick and say just how stinking happy I am that I am back in school and studying something I have always been interested in – but never really had the guts to fully commit and study it… until now.

My classes are tough and challenging but I am inspired to keep pushing and do the best that I can because I sincerely want to know how to be good at Adobe Illustrator, and sketching out floor plans and elevation views. With each day of class, I see more doors opening for me and what I might pursue career wise. The fact that I will have a wide variety of options and paths to follow down after graduating gives me so much joy. For the last 10 years I have been working hard at having some scrap of a career as an actor. I felt so boxed in and helpless. I felt as if all the energy to be creative was beat out of me and I no longer felt like an artist. It’s so difficult to see any kind of progress when working on a monologue or going to an audition (even for some really big productions). At the end of the day I felt I had nothing to show for my hard work.

But now, I have hard copies! Work that I have spent hours on, and the visuals to prove it!

More to come. Tests await!

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Back to School!!

School! I love being back at school! It feels so great to be back in the classroom setting and studying a subject I’ve always wanted to learn more about. There was only so much I could teach myself and now with deadlines and grades in the mix, I’ve been pushing myself much harder understanding the realm of visual communications.

So far I’ve been able to juggle the crazy schedule of classes, homework, working at the Dolby, being a mom, keeping our home in some sort of order, and even giving myself a little down time. However, this is only week 3 and the other day I put in my two weeks’ notice to the Dolby. I am very sad to be leaving the theatre that I have called home for the last 6 years. I have loved being a tour guide and entertaining and educating the public about the Oscars and the theatre. I knew there would be a day when I would no longer be a tour guide. There were times when I seriously thought they would scrap the tour department altogether, be we have somehow hung on. And now here I am having to let go of something I’ve loved in order to make room to move on to my next love – whatever that may be.

I have hopes of writing more updates as I go along, but the days slide by so quickly now with so many more projects to work on, I’ll have to let go of hoping to write really great blogs that are insightful and well written…and just write what’s going on and how I’m feeling about it. I deactivated my Facebook account last November, so this is just my little way to still express myself and share what I’m doing with the world.

Ok, back to painting, and cutting, and gluing, and so much more!

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(Insert Witty Thoughtful Title Here)

I’ve been putting off writing this blog for quite awhile because I wanted to wait until I knew what and how I was going to write an amazing blog talking about my next big adventure. But school starts next week and what I hope to do over the next year is write about my experience of going back to school to study Visual Communications at FIDM.

This was a bit of a quick decision to change career paths. At the beginning of October, I came across FIDM while looking up design schools in LA. By mid-October, I had taken a tour of the campus and had a meeting with an adviser. By the end of October, I had applied and created a  portfolio of some sort and was accepted starting the Winter Quarter of 2017. Whew!

I don’t know if I would say I’m altogether changing careers, more like adding more artistic tools to my toolbelt. I’ve been focused on acting for the last 20 years but have always wondered what it might be like to study another artform. I’ve always been interested and fascinated with interior design, style, and decor. I want to know why certain things work, and others don’t.

So I’ll keep this post short. Here on the eve of 2017, my hope is to weekly document my trek back into the school world and to write about this next adventure of mine.

Cheers!

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