Monday, June 06, 2005

A Day In the Life of an Animator: Haiku

Some time in the late part of 2004, word was spread around the Reel FX office that we were going to be featured in some local business publication. As part of that project, the call was put out for folks to write little blurbs about what it's like to work at the studio, with the typical "day in the life" summary being specifically mentioned.

I tossed the idea around a bit, and decided to do the "day in the life" treatment, but compose it in Haiku form. I'll admit it's not pure Haiku (i.e. there's no mention of a season in each three-line verse), but it follows the Haiku meter restrictions, which was my primary goal. To date, the article has yet to be published, and I have no idea if my submission was even going to be included, so I'm taking the liberty of publishing it here first. (For what it's worth, the specific scenario described is purely fictional.)


A Day in the Life of an Animator

Walk in the front door.
"Good morning." Check for new snacks.
Up three flights of stairs. *

Animation room.
Three fellow pixel pushers
Share the tiny space.

Log in. Check mail. None.
What am I supposed to be
doing today? Hmmm...

Interesting thing,
Character animation.
Bringing stuff to life.

Today's task is to
Make a fat bear do a flip.
Google: Bears flipping.

Plan the shot a bit,
With the final goal in mind:
Three seconds a day.

Set the key poses.
Looks pretty good so far. Wow...
Lunch time already?

Gather the crew and
Walk to Tony Roma's. Mmmm...
Wedge salad and soup.

Back to work we go.
On to breakdown poses. Aargh!
Cooperate, knees!!

Three-thirty!? Curses!
Must work faster...focus, man!
Dailies are at five!

Four-fifteen: Almost
Finished...just a little more...
No!! The program crashed!!!

Four-fifty: Lost work
All made up, final polish
done. Off to dailies.

Please approve the shot.
What? He's flipping through a tree?
Where'd the tree come from?!

Set changes...again?
The set was locked! Okay, fine...
I'll do it over.

Pack my bag, head out
To catch the six-thirty train,
Look back on the day...

Interesting thing,
Character animation.
Bringing stuff to life.

Tedious? Perhaps,
But in the end, it's a joy
I would never trade.
* Before moving to our spacious new digs in a large converted warehouse, Reel FX occupied three of the four floors in a small converted coffee factory.


RyanWatson said...

That is a very very well done "A day in the life". It makes the job sound super fun..oh is :) I'll try and post more times with a comment for you. Which reminds me, I need to get something new up on my blog in the next few days.

nub said...

Outstanding poetry there.
Heck, I even like the coffee factory. Did it smell like coffee?

Justin Barrett said...

All the coffee grounds had long been removed before Reel FX occupied the place, although that would have been greatly preferable to what we did have, which was the scent of the garbage bins from our neighbor, Hooters. Ugh!

paula said...

Saw the comment you left on Jenny B.'s site so trotted over here. The haiku is very informative as to what you animator folks do. Also, you've got a nice, easy writing style that's got a relaxing sense about it. I enjoyed the blog-read. Enjoy blogging!