Stories from the strange past

Making your own stuff is hard- some times things get rough- but you have to always keep moving forward- I'd like to share an old story from the making of my 2007 film We are the Strange.

The year was 2006... I was in the middle of doing the stop motion animation for We Are The Strange... I had a small studio that I worked in with my Digital SLR camera to shoot the frames and my Macbook Pro that I used to preview the shots...

I used to cry when alone in my studio because I thought the animation was so shitty and childish, the film meant so much to me and it was looking horrible- so I wasn't on top of the world doing the animation at that point...

I went to a local art show opening one weekend with a few of my friends... as I was talking to someone in the middle of the show wherein there was 40-50 hanging around... one of my friends kneeled behind me while I was talking to someone else and two others shoved me from the front causing me to flip over backwards, landing hard on my back... I was wearing a backpack- and in my backpack was my laptop...

I stood up and opened my laptop- the screen was totally smashed- with weird lcd shards leaking fluid... I showed it to my "friends" and asked them why they did it- they had no answer- they said they would pitch in to buy me a new one- I never received a single dollar from any of them...

I couldn't afford a new laptop so now I had no way to preview my work as I was doing the stop motion animation for the film- I could of stopped and waited till I could buy a new laptop- I could of blamed my friends and quit- but I didn't. I decided to shoot blind, with no preview at all. I figured if animators like Ray Harryhausen had done all the awesome stuff they did while shooting blind that it would make me a better animator if I shot blind, so thats what I did.

So I redid all the animation I had done before blind and thats how I did it until I finished the film...

I took photos of the smashed LCD screen and actually used the images to create the skies that were in the end of We Are The Strange. So not only did my friends breaking my laptop not stop me, I actually used it to my advantage to become a better animator and to use the broken screen as a design source for the film.

So I didn't quit and the film was finished and I'm working on my third today.


I'm sharing this because maybe you'll be in a similar position- friends betray you- alone with broken/inadequate equipment... but you know thats the time when you show the world your passion... and that my friend is what this shit is all about!

It doesn't matter who doubts you or abandons you or betrays you... it doesn't matter who believes in you or not... if you believe in you and you believe in your cause YOU WILL make it to the end and YOU WILL grow stronger because of it.

Things are GOING TO GO WRONG -sometimes one after the other for long periods of time BUT that's just to test you! That's just to see if you have what it takes... thats just to see if you believe in what you're doing...to see if you have the PASSION- and if you get past those tests nothing will ever stop you!