Tuesday, April 11, 2006

welcome to disney world

This is only somewhat related to animation and not at all related to the internship stories I've been going on about, but for some reason my last trip to Disney World popped into my head this morning as I was driving into work. Particularly, I was thinking of a very very un-Disney-like event that occured just as we arrived for our first day at the park.

I was with two friends of mine who had never been to either of the Disney Parks so we were taking our time and looking around as we entered the park, while most patrons rushed off towards their favorite rides. As we passed the big pond around Mark Sawyer island we suddenly heard a strange noise. Upon approaching the fence we saw a duck swimming around in the water and making a huge quacking racket. It seemed to be pursuing something and then swimming around in circles frantically. We eventually realized that it was quacking at a large heron standing at the edge of the island. We realized this just in time to see the large bird tilt it's head back and swallow a duckling. The whole scene snapped into place with the mother duck harrying the calm heron from a safe distance, and a small crowd of ducklings milling around cheeping piteously out in the water.

Welcome to Disney World! Fortunately, surprisingly there were no kids around. We, meanwhile, were a bit traumatized for a few minutes.

Don't worry kids. Huey, Duey and Luey actually have NO natural predators. Those ducks were, um, animatronic.


Monday, April 10, 2006

Would you consider yourself an artist?

Faith Hubley never asked me much about myself. No personal questions aside from the usual "how are you?." I have no idea what Emily told her but I have the feeling that Faith didn't even know if I was interested in animation at all. I'm pretty sure I heard her remarking negatively about computer animation once and I was glad that she didn't seem to know. It's no surprise that she would have issue with digital animation considering her "computer" was a remarkably old electric typewriter *thing* that you could put disks into and type on a 2x4" screen, and she refused to upgrade.

Anyway, one day she completely took me by surprise with the question "would you consider yourself an artist?" It wasn't, "what are you studying? "what do you want to do with your life?" or your typical sort of questioning of an intern. Just that.

It took me by surprise because it was the most directly personal thing she had ever asked me and she never came close afterwards. She was looking at me expectantly and warmly and with a glint of curiosity in her eyes. She was obviously genuinely interested in my answer.

I hesitated for a moment and probably looked like a deer caught in the headlights. This is FAITH HUBLEY. She wants to know if I'm an artist. *panics*

"Well, I'm not sure. I don't think so. But I'd really like to be."

I don't know what she saw in that answer but she was obviously amused and happy with it because she smiled knowingly and warmly as if she knew something I didn't, and walked away. That is my strongest memory of Faith Hubley.

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Saturday, April 08, 2006

faith hubley

So I had the great opportunity to intern with Faith Hubley about 4 years ago in her impressively located penthouse apartment by central park. Surprisingly, I didn't even seek out this internship. It basically just fell into my lap. I was interning for her daughter at the time, Emily Hubley, in Maplewood New Jersey. Emily is a Hampshire alumn like myself and she likes to take on Hampshire students.

When Emily and I were working out the details of the internship she asked "how would you like to intern for my mom in NYC as well?" Now, I'm ashamed to admit this but I'm pretty sure I had NO IDEA who her mom was. Or at least I had some minor idea because one of my professor's was a close friend of Faith's so I'd seen a couple of her films but I didn't realize just what a big deal she was. So I said yes because who am I to pass up on an opportunity to get two jobs on my resume for the price of one. :P Yes, that was my reasoning. *sigh*

So the big kick in the head came when I walked into her apartment for the first time and right there on display in her living room were ***FOUR*** yes, four academy awards. Right about then I started to feel way over my head. Now, keep in mind I am not a traditional animator. And at this point in my life I was a really crappy animator and artist. And here I was expecting to be useful to this huge prescence of a woman. I was terrified. I was also very very painfully shy at this point in my life. I'm still shy but not nearly as bad. So Faith was terrifying. Let me explain.

Faith was very friendly and outgoing and very strong willed. She was also very expectant. You did things her way or she'd be very put out. If you bothered her at the wrong time she let you know. If you didn't do something right, you better damn well go do it right as fast as you possibly can. She had a rule that if her door was closed, STAY OUT. Ask her assistant if you can come in but don't bother her while she's working. It threw her off and she had to start over on whatever she was working on.

One time I really needed to ask her how to do something and her assistant said it was OK to go in. I approached Faith and she started freaking out. Get out get out! I have to start over now! You should've asked to come in!

I fled the scene as quickly as possible and fought back tears in the living room. She came out soon after and apologized for being "rude." She seemed rather eccentric in this way, snarling tiger at one moment and understanding motherly figure the next.

I feel like I really missed out on a great opportunity to get to know her better if I hadn't been so shy. Faith really just radiated the fact that she was a remarkable person. She's one of the few people I've ever met who so obviously fit the bill of someone who SHOULD be successful because that's just the sort of person she was. It just made sense that that was how she would end up.

I have a couple other stories but I'll save those for next time.

Anyway, My menial jobs included recording and typing up her page counts/exposure sheets/scene charts (I still have these actually) for Northern Ice, Golden Sun, wiping eraser dust off her drawings (seriously ;) ), making some calls, making runs around the city to the post office and bank, etc..., organizing her personal photo albums (with such images as her hanging out with Robin Williams and his wife), organizing her file cabinets for many of her old films (I didn't realize what a treat it was to see this stuff at the time :P ), and running downstairs to check her mail.

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