MASON TO ANIMATION
Hi everybody and welcome to Courtney Mason Illustration!
My goal is to translate written and verbal ideas into visual imagery that is colorful, compelling, and clearly communicate the objectives of the client. I pride myself on my versatility and am confident in my abilities to tackle any challenge both effectively and efficiently. I am open to creative opportunities in a variety of markets such as but not limited to Graphic Design, Advertising, Editorial, Book Publishing, and especially Post Production for Entertainment.
My "dream job" is to someday have a career within the animation industry. The holy trio or trifecta of skills will be in character design, storyboarding, and character animation. I have experience in experimental animation, stop motion, claymation, 2D and 3D animation using Autodesk Maya, Photoshop, and Final Cut Pro. In 2011, I received a grant from the Women's Education and Leadership Fund to conduct a study of animation through research and practical application. I learned the fundamentals and foundations of 3D animation through the Ianimate Advanced Character Animation Program and I am continuing my education through Animation Mentor School for Character Animation online starting this upcoming fall 2012.
I am very much a team player, but also a self starter and driven towards success. Since I was a child, I was an entrepreneur, a quality I believe I enherited from my father. This sense of leadership and drive has always helped me optimize every opportunity and has given me confidence in the value of my ideas. While I am very dedicated to clients needs before my own needs, I always feel like I have something to learn and something to give.
Friday, July 29, 2011
California bound: Chasing the dream!
I fell in love with everything I saw more and more, radiating overwhelming good feelings as I continued to roam the campus. I felt at home...that this is the right place for me. Literally, my heart was surging through my chest. We spent the late afternoon by the pool, and that night, I got in touch with Alice Wong, a UHA alum from the illustration program and a current grad student at SJSU. We met up at a sushi place called Kazoo in Japantown for sushi. Her insight on California life, the animation program, and the industry itself was sensational. She explained everything with so much spirit and charisma that I couldn't help but hang onto every word she said. She told us her story of how she adjusted to west coast living, the initial obstacles she had to face, and all the wonderful things she has learned in light of difficult situations. She was open to all my questions and gave me an un bias perspective on everything, which was very helpful. After dinner, I met their new puppy (a beagle named Bagel) and their room mate, whose boyfriend works at Blue Sky.
Later, we went to a nearby small Italian restaurant with HUGE portions. My artichoke bisque coupled with a baked brie in honey with grapes and crackers was delicious. We returned back to our canvas cabin, got cozy, and fixed ourselves some wine and gossiped a little bit. I found myself drifting off into sleep, but waking up now and again to hear what sounded like some frisky kitties. It was pretty funny at the time...definitely didn't envision falling asleep to the sound of lions roaring and grunting, but I eventually got used to it.
Day 5: Dream Works here I come! Today I met with my Ianimate professor Bill Tessier to grab lunch and tour the studio that houses my dream career. In order to get onto the campus, we had to get special VIP passes (which I kept and will scrap book eventually). After those were made, we walked along the pathway, and it was than that I became overwhelmed and awe-struck by how truly dream like the atmosphere was. The campus was abundant with beautiful fountains, coy ponds, exotic flowers and ivy which weaved along the archways and around the winding paths. The main courtyard was surrounded by benches and tables (for lounging and dining), an outdoor grill, and table games. The grounds themselves were filled with young brilliant people; I didn't see one face over forty years old, but the the majority were young males in there 20's-30's.
The rest of the day I transcended from nirvana and we grabbed dinner at a place in Valencia called "The Elephant Bar" which was a fun animal themed restaurant (couldn't help but keep up with the elephant theme). And had some great appetizers and a cool beverage. The town of Valencia was upscale...kind of reminded me of West Hartford...but with palm trees and much more spread out.
Day 6: Cal-Arts tour today was interesting to say the least. We got onto campus around 11 AM and had an info meeting specifically tailored to the film/video department and what major programs we were interested in. Although I do want my masters, the program for undergrad character animation sounded exactly like what I wanted to do. She explained it as "highly narrative linear way of storytelling through character." Experimental sounded a little more painterly, which isn't to say I wouldn't also be interested in learning as well, but mainly I want to focus on one aspect of animation and that would be character. Our tour guide was over dramatic and condescending to say the least (that's an understatement, but I'm just being honest) which was a little bit of a turn off. The very cool thing about this school was that it was founded by Walt and Roy Disney in the 60's after the making of Snow White for the purpose of collaborative arts. It is also the birthplace of Pixar, John Lasseter, Brad Bird, Tim Burton, and many other great directors and artists. I got to walk through their character animation department, knowing that the 9 old men and Walt Disney himself used to roam these hallways, and that within itself was inspiring. What wasn't inspiring was the tuition price...and the acceptance rate...and what I would have to do to get accepted, let alone go there, would take me forever and a hefty penny. So, maybe not the best choice for me...but I will try not to be biased and keep an open mind.We spent the remainder of the day shopping at Valencia's giant Good Will and a very cool oriental themed warehouse that I loved!
Overall, I have to say this is the most inspiring and enlightening trips of my life (and that is saying something considering the places I have traveled in my life time.) I think I learned as much about myself as I did about the programs and the industry. My heart swelled where I felt I was the right place...around the elephants...at DreamWorks Studios...and at SJSU, and driving through the winding back roads of California. I now have my direction. I have seen the promise land, and it is good. I know what I have to do to get there. And I will fight to make it mine. I will have to start a new chapter of my life...leaving the people I love behind and the things I know to be familiar and safe. But its a choice I can't help but make. I have to do this...because if I don't put 110% into this pursuit, I will be letting down a life time of dreaming. My inner child inside me will die and suffocate in some dead end 9-5 job, and I won't let that be my reality.
I have been very blessed with family and friends to support my passion. Nobody ever told me to become a dentist, or a teacher. Everyone who my art has touched or inspired have been so encouraging. It's those people who believe in me that get me through the long nights in the studio when my energy and creativity is drained. And I cannot thank them enough for that. My mother, my life coach and practically my art manager planned this entire trip for me. Because she knows how much I dream of a life in California, a life making art for pixar or dream works...a life that includes palm trees. It tears me apart thinking I will be so distant from her, and my dad, and my brother. But I am hoping the ones who love me most will follow me.
if not physically to California, at least keep in touch :)