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Bittersweet feelings / 2021 comes to a close...

2021 is coming to a close, and I have a lot of bittersweet feelings.

This time last year, I got married, went on my honeymoon, did three PR stints for the Amsel documentary, and celebrated Christmas…all within a week. It was a busy time, but I was feeling rather hopeful about the future. The Trump and COVID eras were happily coming to an end (or so it seemed), and I had just begun a yearlong animation program under Don Bluth.

The disgusting events of January 6th might have served as a warning knell for the year to come. I lost a few beloved friends in 2021 -- including my cousin and godson, my last surviving uncle, a former lover, my lawyer, and a sweet, softspoken little cat named Carly. I miss them all. As if 2020 wasn’t rough enough.

The Bluth program ended right before Thanksgiving, and I’m glad to have done it. It was a rare opportunity for me to finally have the time and money to invest in myself for a change. I’ve been a lifelong fan of traditional animation, and having Don as a teacher is an honor as well as a formidable creative challenge. But after a full year of struggling with all my class assignments, I reverted back to being a silly fanboy when Don and I had an hourlong private Zoom chat during our last day together. We talked about our lives and careers, and our hopes for the future, the state of filmmaking and animation…and I finally mustered up the courage to ask Don about his aborted plans for a proper sequel to THE SECRET OF NIMH. (And no, I’m not going to share them!)

However, I am happy to share that Don has written his autobiography, and it’s going to be released later this year. I’ve always admired his creative background. It’s much more varied than just in animation; he’s also worked as a theater director, set designer, songwriter, playwright, and screenwriter. One of the joys I took from his class was his broad knowledge in storytelling. And as any experienced animator will tell you, the art is far, far more than merely drawing pretty pictures.

I’ve had another big change in my life as of late. In the beginning of October I started a Digital Graphics Project Manager position at Deluxe Media, Inc. It’s been a thrilling – and challenging – experience so far. (Then again, the best opportunities always are!) I’m continually impressed by the scope of the company’s work, and am excited to be a part of their team.

I hope 2022 brings you all joy, good health, and success. I also hope that:

1.) I’ll finally be able to take that former-wedding/now-much-delayed honeymoon vacation cruise that’s been rescheduled several times over the past two years, and...

2.) I’ll be able to continue doing interviews for the Richard Amsel documentary, including some that have been in the works longer than I can remember.


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