In the spring semester of my first year at DCAD, I was still headstrong on staying in the Fine Arts major because I thought it was the only thing in life I was good at. Not to mention I loved doing it. However, I was required to take a 4D class. The head of the Animation department taught my class, and on top of that, most of his Animation students were there too. I felt uncomfortable at first, like I didn’t belong. In the very first assignment, I struggled — a lot. Luckily, I pestered my teacher with a million different questions, which he happily took the time to answer and show me. I eventually started to pick up the things he was teaching me and figure stuff out on my own as well. I was learning and getting better every project we did.
I slowly started to feel like I belonged there, and I could maybe stand my ground alongside the Animation students. The projects got harder and took longer, but surprisingly, I liked them. I liked working long, hard, and getting frustrated because at the end the result was always so rewarding. I would finish a project with excitement and astonishment that I, a Fine Arts major that could only ever do abstract paintings, could do something like Animation. My teacher encouraging me and supporting me every step of the way is what eventually led me to start considering switching my major. I believe what pushed me into switching was one of our last 4D projects.
I was normally doing funny, cute, or odd little projects up until this one. I decided I wanted to do something different, something dark, that would surprise my class and evoke emotion for this “from page to screen” project. The main idea of the project was as to pick a quote from a book, any book, and create a video based on your interpretation of the quote. Now I’ll have you know that I have a bit of an obsession with supernatural and fantasy books. Especially vampires! The creepy eerie kind, not the sparkly kind. At the time of this project, I was in fact reading one of my vampire series. So naturally, I decided if I wanted to something dark for this project, I should use a quote from these books I was reading. After a while of considering numerous good eerie quotes, I decided on one.
Now having read the whole book, I knew that the author had in mind for this quote. However, I was the “author” of this video, and I decided out of context this quote alone could be interpreted differently. I decided that my video for this quote would be like an old horror film. Someone is in the shower behind a curtain when suddenly they become paranoid, calling out to make sure no one else is there, but their paranoia gets the better of them as their breathing becomes rapid and uneven. Soon all they can hear is their own unsteady breathing and the sounds of dripping coming from their shower. To add to the emotion of my video, I cut my audio and visual abruptly to complete silence and darkness. Lastly, to get my “old school” horror film vibe going, I added a grainy kind of texture to my video and stripped it of its color. By the time I finished this project, I was extremely excited to show everyone.
In class, my teacher and fellow students reacted just as I intended them too. They were stunned. I wanted to give them something that would leave them feeling just as uneasy as the character in my video and boy did I accomplish it. They loved it but were overwelled by its eeriness as well. This page to screen was an epic win for me, and afterwards, I explained to my teacher how much fun I had preparing and making this. I believe this was the project that made me want to switch majors. I wanted to do more. I wanted a challenge. My teacher agreed that I could fit in with his Animation students and that my work was good, if not great. I was honored to have him think so, but I knew I would have a lot more to learn if I wanted to be good enough to stand in the Animation world. I decided to take that challenge. Not too soon after this project I made the switch. My teacher made the effort himself to change my courses for my second year.
Since then, I’ve made a lot of progress. I’ve learned so much more. However, I will always look back at this video and be proud of myself. This video was my first step toward Animation, and I hope you will enjoy it just as much as I do.