Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Information about NAD Center

 Following my last post, I have contacted the person to have information for the 3D classes. To put the right words, the school is the NAD Center, well deemed in Montreal for 3D. It was a good idea to call him, since it seems there are a lot of freelance 3D artists who goes there for the updates. So, there are classes for those not in company and not in a group (they make the groups themselves).

I have two options. I haven't choose yet, since each has its advantages and disadvantages...

Option #1.
Choose customized classes; you select on a list of classes/software that I would like to take (with the option to take them all if I'd like!) Each class are 2 or 3 days at school. For example, for 3Ds Max, the classes you can select are:

  • 3ds Max Essentials Techniques
  • Animation Rigging
  • Character Animation
  • Modeling and textures
  • Lighting and renders
  • Special Effects and simulation
  • Maxscript
According to the classes schedule, I could start right in mid-May, or at fall. Since I already have a trip to France this summer (to go visit my boyfriend's family), I think it would be best to wait fall trimester. Furthermore, to start classes in 3 weeks, it would be very short notice! If I chose to go back to school, I intend to quite my job, where I need to advise two weeks in advance...

This option is more affordable, short, and I think there's no exams, so no grades, no stress. On the side of inconveniences, I would be relatively left to myself (the classes being really short, like workshops, I'll have to study and work to deepen my knowledge, at home, alone (okay, not exactly alone, since my boyfriend is ready to help me =P), I'll have to be very self-disciplined to practice the softwares and build a folio by myself. Once those steps done, I would also be by myself to find a job and I don't have much contacts in the fields... Since the nature of the classes/workshops, I would not be allowed to loans and grants like for a "full class"

Option #2. To do a Baccalaureate of 3 years. The 3D courses are normally at the level of college (here) and it's the first time that I hear they go to university. It seems that the NAD is already offering Certificates (1 year university) and now, they are opening the Bacc. It's so recent that I have trouble getting all the information! For example, I can't find the cost of that program, nor the inscription date. The next briefing for the Bacc. is May 27th.

On that hand, the advantages and disadvantages are directly the opposite as the Option #1. The formation is very long, so long time without job / income, plus the fees for university (if the college's level program is 16,500$, I would expect that it would be double or triple for the Bacc!). But, I would have a solide folio, a lot more coaching during the period of learning, a better diploma that would open more doors, and wouldn't being garantie, I would also have more chances to find a job through the contact of the school... And it's an official program, so I would be eligible for loans and grants.

So there, I'm plunged in an intense reflection, calculating costs, etc. On one side, quicker, cheaper, but less chances to find a job; on the other, very long, very expensive, but a lot of chances to find a job...

Right now, I think that 3 years without income, at this point of my life, seems a little... absurd! Three years! If the program starts this fall, my daughter would be 5 years old when I would finished, ready to go to kindergarten! And necessary, no other babies during that period, otherwise I would be in the deep bottom! Anyway, nothing is planed yet...

P.S. Since the last 72 hours, I have accumulated so many ideas!! I recently said that I don't have much ideas for visual projects... I think I wasn't putting myself in the "context" to do anything. Now that I am, I'm submerged by ideas (which can be dangerous to target too high and do bad 3D because the project was to complex for my level or abandon because I'm not satisfied...)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Dead End

This week was shaken by news reflections...

Did I ever mentioned before that I don't like my job? I have to precise: it's not a Calvary; it's secure, with an incoming that is not misery (though it could be more...), I'm permanent and all, and though I don't have friends in my department, those people are not bad or mean, on the contrary! It's simply that I don't like what I do now. I never liked to play with numbers, even if I have the ability.

For the last month, I felt bad: I'm tired, sometimes exhausted, I have frequent nausea, headache (which is rare for me!), etc. At Easter, I started a cold; normally, it would have affected me for few days, maybe a week... This time, it's still kinda there (I don't feel infected anymore, but I feel my lungs still irritated, I have a bad cough that accentuate my nausea, or sometimes, I regurgitate. It's as if I'm pregnant, despite it doesn't make sens with my cycle. My boyfriend already bought a pregnancy test, but I have to wait the right moment in my cycle in order to be more accurate. A long week plunged into doubt. More than once, I told my boyfriend: "If I'm not pregnant, I don't know what I have, but I don't feel right!"

Two weeks ago, I was seeing my best friend. She was telling me, once again, how it was unfortunate that I have a job as opposed to my talents and passion, and most importantly, a job that underpaid (according to her opinion) ;o) She helps me in my reflection to find something else, but still... The studies I have in my resume are obsoleted, I have one small work-experience on that field, but so long ago now... On the other hand, I have no schooling for the things I do have work-experience. I'm on a dead-end! I'm not attached to the company I'm working for, but I receive no call when I apply else where, which I think is normal, if you look at my path... Who would want to hire a secretary / receptionist / accounting clerk who studied in Fine Arts or 3D computer graphics? Who would want to hire a digital artist that has almost no experience and who the schooling is older than 10 years past? You see what I mean? Dead end!

I was going through a phase where I was trying to go with the flow, with the element I have. My objective is to buy a house, I was putting money aside like a squirrel... enduring the killing boring job, telling myself that it's worth it, for the house, the family and all... I have to accept that my situation is not that bad (even if it's not was I was dreaming of...)

Everyone, friends, parents, repeat to me that EVERYONE hates his/her job. My dad, who enjoys it, rather says: "Even when you do like it, 75% of your tasks won't be pleasant..." and I haste to reply: "Yes, I know ... When I write a book, I like to write it, but I hate to correct it and retouch it... The writing takes me about 30% of the time, the rest is revisions! But at least I know it's for a project dear to my heart and if I don't do it, I'll have to live with an unfulfilled project or badly done... It's already much more pleasant than working on something that I don't like at all!"

This Thursday, I was speaking with a good friend who, his own way, pushes me to help me getting out of it. His brother works at Ubisoft Montréal; he (my friend) already proposed that I give him my resume, so he would leavet it to his brother. I was excited at first (it was during winter), but after reflection, I don't believe I could... I mean, it's been so long since I've worked on a digital project, or simply a drawing, I wouldn't be able to get that job full time and hope to be up to the deadlines! I need to take the time to get back to it, do somethings, and furthermore, the 3D methods changed so much since I left school, back in 1999... To be realistic, it won't work!

Telling it so that way, to my friend, this Thursday, he simply asked: "Then, why don't you take an upgrade class?"; effectively, this could be a solution... But you know, you think about it twice, when you're a mother, before leave everything behind like that! Ten years ago, even 5, it would have been possible and maybe easy (if I don't count the fact that I wouldn't have been able to pay for those classes), but now? Then he told me that there is an assistance program of "last resort" for people in the impasse that need a return to school. He was a cook once, for 4-5 stars restaurant, and then he developed an allergy to seafood. He has used this program to redirect his career.

What would we do without friends?? =) I've search to web for that program, but I haven't found anything yet. I would need to contact the "employment insurance" to have more details.

I also started to look for upgrade classes or other formation that could please me, keeping in mind that the goal is to find a relatively stable job, that would permit me to purchase a house. The first time, in 3D, I didn't understand the consequenses of my choices, on the long terme. I was so persuated that I would succeed; I have been so stubborn. I must not let myself go and do, for a second time, the wrong choices!

I found digital classes for the press, also 3D classes with the latest software, and video editing classes...

I went on an excited wave for the movie editing, but I'm so bad with sound mixing that I'm not sure I would be great in that... I'm also afraid of the number of job offered in Québec, but that, I don't know, I never checked... Never thought of it before.

After, I asked myself if I wished to go back in 3D... I never showed you... Here's some stuff in 3D that I "dare" showing; it's old, 2001. (I will not retrace my student 3D demo, because... I'm not sure I would be able to stand it!)

I need to precise that I was in team to do those images. Following the client request, I did the sketches. Someone else (today, my boyfriend and father of my daughter ^_^ ) did the 3D models, then I came back for the textures and materials (in other terms, coloring and emboss). The adjustments of the camera and lighting, we did together (he on the technical side, me on the artistic side).

Yes, I would probably be pleased to do 3D again =)  I was looking for schools in Montréal and I got stroked by a truth: I already did the class! Dah! I already did the tests for the entry selection and all of it... I don't want that again! Not again! I simply want an upgrade, to be up to date! It seems there's only one school that could give that kind of class... for company! I'm alone... Well, I think I wound still contact them and ask about my case... see if I could got through that door...

Then, Saturday evening, 22h (10pm), looking for other avenues, other alternatives... I fall on a school (I heard about it before, by reputation; I simply forgot about it), that offers classes for "the writing of movie". I stood speechless! I had tears in my eyes! At nine year old, I was saying: "When I'll grow up, I'll write movies!", I chose 3D movies a bit to follow that dream, but meanwhile, I also discovered the novel and the writing for novels, which also please me a lot. But scripting classes... I can't say why, how, I don't know... I always though it wasn't existing! I snuffed myself swearing about my own stupidity, I read the program... the deadline for the entry (and the submission of a project) is May 12th. May 12th!! Normally, when I present myself for the inscriptions for classes, it's the drama of my life, I'm ALWAYS few days late, and I have to wait a whole year or so for the next entry... But this time, I'm two weeks and a half ahead...

I immediately wrote an email to my dear Elisabeth Vonarburg. I needed her opinion... because the Quebec cinema is not really on the side of fantasy and science-fiction... I won't hide it, it wouldn't be worth it, here, now, with my objectives, to go back to school if there's no job when I get out! I was feeling as excited as when I started in 3D, wanting to do everything, see everything, try everything, no matter the cost; I badly chose the 3D school the first time (20% of the students were accually finding a job in the area of 3D; I'm on the 80% that did not succeed on that part... though, it's in that school that I met my boyfriend, in 1999; I'm still with him and we now have a beautiful baby girl!), school that I think closed... It would be really idiot from me to get on my big horses and redo the same mistakes!

Following my email that had an overwhelming lenght, poor Elizabeth (she's a writer and translator, she's not afraid to read, but still...) I went to bed. It was past midnight. At 2 o'clock, my daughter got up to see me, she was sick, the poor one. She regurgitated several times in the bed ... while my boyfriend was changing the sheets, I changed her pajamas, mine, and I tried to relieved her... The night was short.

Right the next day, 9am, I had the answer from my dear Elisabeth. This woman, my mentor, is really incredible! She took the time to mention that she is presently overwhelmed and that she is quickly answering back... but her email, on a Sunday morning, was as long as mine! ^_^ You have no idea how much I worship her, for her talent, for her wisdom, for "her" and how small I feel compared to her generosity!

To say it simply, she answered what I needed to hear. The cinematic reality in Quebec is not the same as in the U.S.A. Although I think it would be exciting to do this course, I don't think it would be a good idea for my goal of the moment, meaning to have a training, to get a job (not to follow a girl's dream that could lead me in another dead end after turning in circles for over ten years!). Perhaps it will be for later, the scripting class. =)

I know, my text is getting really long... But there was still an important detail to verify before engaging myself in anything: the pregnancy test! This morning again, nausea... I had to eclipse myself to the bathroom; I had nothing in the stomach, but it wanted to get out anyway... I first wanted to wait to Monday for the test, but I couldn't wait any longer... According to the recommendation of the vendor, more we wait in the woman's cycle and more the result will be accurate. I needed to know. Hell, for one day in a whole month! It's negative.  At last, now I know!

So, I think I feel sick because of my job. In her response, Elisabeth was talking about the choice between "risk" and "security", choice that everyone faces one day or another, or several times. If everybody who's telling me they don't like their job, it seems that for me, it's really destructive. I still need something somewhat safe to have a roof, heat during winter, food on the table, especially when there's children around the table. I simply hope to get something in the middle... something relatively stable, relatively secured, while following, at least a bit, my passions and keep the head off the water.

For the moment, I can't wait for the week to beginning, not to go to work but to get in contact with the school that offers upgrades for 3D professionals; I'll check with them if there would be a solution, though I'm not in company or in group... =)

Thank you again Elisabeth! =)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The first "Lost Pages" ?

Like I mentioned in my last post, I didn't have much time lately to work on my project. On the other side, what's great about a writing project, is that it needs a lot of thinking, which doesn't need any material and can be done almost anytime and almost anywhere!

So, recently, I let my imagination walked around... To mention it without spoilers, the first book of the series should (unless I change the plan of the story, which is always a possibility) open with a character that, right at the beginning, is remarked by his absence. It's really a character that "should have been" in the story, but since he's not, all changes... and that gives birth to the plot. So, it appeared to me that I must know ALL about that character, so all the story elements that turns around him can be enriched, even if he himself is not there.

As a starter, according to the main storyline, I knew that he "came from afar", he's another race (we talk about humans, even if it's a fantasy manuscript) ;o) , from another island, but I was missing so many details, among the most important: "why did he left home?"

While I was busy with life, I have meditated on his story; I quickly understood that it would become an interesting short-story for the "Lost Pages"... but more I was answering to the necessary questions to develop the character and the plots of his life, more I saw the extent that those anecdotes have taken... I wrote a plan for that part.

I am still a novice writer, and my lack of experience prevents me to be able to estimate the number of pages that the story will take, only based on my plan. I'll have to write it to know. But... I think I have enough material to write a whole small novel of approximately 200 pages, that would hold by itself (as much on the interest of the story or the plot)! I can be mistaking. Maybe it will be 100 pages... But it's definitely more than 20 pages!

Suddenly, I found the situation pesky... On one hand, I think this story is interesting to tell. I personally think that this "absent" character is really attaching, therefore I think it's good to know his whole story. But on the other hand, for the series I'm preparing, I'm not sure that his whole story would be pertinent. His story, as interesting as it is, remains anecdotal for the series itself. So, I don't know if I should put it on the series or on the "lost pages"...

Anyways, it's certain that I'll write it. I'll see later were do I put it... In worst case, a literary director will take the decision (no matter what I choose, s/he can make me change everything!) ;o)  But, let's just say that I recognize myself here: I wish to elaborate a small story, like that, and I remains incapable to do it in short! It seems that my favorite canvas is definitely the novel and not the short-stories. I feel stuck in a short-story format; not enough room to express myself... like sleeping in a phone booth! No, I'm clearly a novelist, since the beginning (I could say since always, since I've started writing "with the serious goal of publishing" from the age of 9)!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Working on the map

Hello everyone!

Long time since I wrote in this blog. During the Easter off, my daughter caught a cold that touched all three of us and waits to leave us in peace. Since the last two weeks, I have an stunning tiredness and I can't go to bed later than my daughter. At work, I also had to catch up my time during my lunch breaks. As a result, I had very little time to work on my project.

I still worked a little on my map. I finished the global drawing of the archipelago and I'm satisfied with the result. I started to draw details of the principal island of the story (it's no use to do the ones where there's no action in the story!), meaning rivers and forest. On the first version of the map, I have the feeling that the rivers don't make much sense; I had to rethink their emplacement. And about the forest... the first version of the map was like a thousand years in the futur, so it's clear to me that forest / plains are not quite the same! There again, I'm satisfied. So I've advanced on the map, though I would have like to have more time to do even more...

On the text side, I'm at the point where I have to find names for the secondary characters. There's a lot. I took the time to sit and think about a logic in the selections of names (names from the same region looks alike at some point, but will be different in another region or for another tribe). It's really boring; a head breaker! But it has to be done.

Then, I have to put that aside and come back to it later, to revised and see if names make sense, if they don't look too much alike, don't feel too strange, if they don't sound like another word or expression (which would make them laughable), or if they are too hard to read... There's nothing worst to get to a fantasy novel where the main character, for example, is named "Schrenald", who's a super-hunter of "degnetefultakatari", which live at "Tretalvashtekar", and the wife, Taka ("intruder" name because it's too much different of the rest), feels lonely, away from her man... see what I mean?

To me, more a character is important in the story and more his/her name should be relatively agreeable to read and easy to remember! I don't mean that they should all be called Jack and Julia, but still! There's a way to find fantasy-like names without sounding completely ludicrous!

So there it is!
Until next time!!