Animation Hellhole and CalArts Memories, Part 2

Since the last post went over so well, here’s another with even more excruciating detail over the former life as an animation student, complete with color and randomly inserted characters this time.

Above shows my walk on campus from the dirt lot where I parked my truck (which was the same color as the dirt itself, and thus nicknamed The Dustbowl. It was silver, btw). Or, going back to the early-early school days, it shows when I had to bus and walk to class. The bus didn’t have any stops by the campus at the time, so it was about a mile from the nearest drop at the Mall. I remember one time walking to class as my animation teacher drove by and waved. I got my license and truck soon after.

(Finished version of the previous panels. Alternate caption: Hard At Work.)

Some further WIP panels of the campus at Allan Hancock, at least as how I remembered it. The courtyard just outside Buildings L and M, where the Music and Art/Animation departments were located.

Liberties taken with the accuracy here. I just remember being surrounded by trees, one pine in particular set inside a bricked-in mini garden, the rest of the courtyard was given over to the ceramics program. Folks from our department would be outside half the time working on their projects, but once the fine arts classes would split it was officially the break spot for the animators, to shoot the sh*t or get snacks from the vending machines over at the M Building.

To the east behind the salamander and where the chimera girl is sitting, there was a veranda with jacaranda growing off of it, which for some reason sticks out in my mind as… I don’t know what the technical term is for a memory that defines a particular time and place, but that spot would be it. Sort of like a slow truck-in or -out of a dream sequence in a film. Especially during the afternoon and early evening when the sky behind would get that persian blue (ignore the rushed coloring) and the treetops would burn orange from the setting sun (again, ignore the Crayola treatment), the whole of that stupid little courtyard was magic.

Still is, if it hasn’t been torn down by the Hancock trusties for some unneeded multi-million dollar shiny box of a complex.


Animation Hellhole and CalArts Memories, WIPs

Unfinished beatboards of my time at Allan Hancock College’s animation program, and at CalArts’ Character Animation program, 2001 to 2005.

An excerpt from the Blogspot post:

The actual animation hellhole was literally a renovated janitor’s closet inside the Arts Department at Hancock. It still had a working sink and some leftover mops, but it was also stuffed with state of the art second hand animation gear, both digital (two pieced together PCs, security cameras, a VCR) and traditional (an animation disc with several 80W bulbs cooking overhead and underneath).

…Keep in mind that for most of us it was pre-internet, pre-Amazon, pre-smart or even cell phone. You got by with what you could find and took it all in with the company of friends.


I’ll also add that the later apartment across the street from CalArts was a single bedroom joint where several of us lived, and that despite being on a nicely up-kept bit of property would tend to have water issues with both the sink and ceiling. Adventure Time’s Pen Ward lived a few buildings over and ended up having most of his stuff ruined from water seeping in through a bedroom wall. Beautiful Woodglen Apartments of Santa Clarita, Ca.

To add to the fun, the place was completely transformed into a PC Bang / arcade by Kevin the original tenant before the rest of us had moved in. Several high end PC stations networked together (the first time I’d seen or even heard of a liquid cooled computer), practically every new console and series of titles released at the time (XBox, PS2, Gamecube, GBA).

The picture here only captures the first year of living at Apartment 131, when it was just the Cube 5 folks and the occasional Halo playthrough. The years after were a bit like living on the deck of the Nebuchadnezzar but with LAN parties practically every day, a steady rotation of character animators coming over to take a break from working at the cubicles for some Counterstrike and Halo death matches, or Ravenshield and Sturmovik co-op for the more dedicated. Is pretty amazing any of us got any schoolwork done at the time, let alone films.

Maybe I’ll follow this up with another set of panels showing what that all was like.