"Dear Dad, Love Maria"

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Austin Preparations

I have packed up for Austin. I can't wait. This will certainly be a filmmaker's world premiere to remember, I guarantee. Sarah Albright, my photographer friend, will be documenting the trip. We fly out Thursday at 1:10 PM. I can't wait to step out of my comfort zone for a few days and just experience the town and the festival. Dear Dad, Love Maria shows Friday Sept. 11th at 6:30 PM as part of the Centerpiece: Antique program. Afterwards, I'm doing a Q&A, which hopefully, can be videotaped and then partying and networking fun. I also have interviews that are being set up that I'll post links to on Twitter and on here as well. I feel very legit as a filmmaker now. Next post will be from Texas! I'll try to do some sketches while I'm down there as well.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Motion Graphics Attempt

As the teacher's assistant for the precollege animation class, I was responsible for creating the titles for their animation show. They wanted to call it Cake. So I tried to create my first motion graphics sequence. I think it looks pretty cool.

Created in After Effects CS3.

Cake Opening Titles from Vince Mascoli on Vimeo.

Friday, July 10, 2009


Dear Dad, Love Maria was selected for the Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival! It will be showing Friday September 11th at 7 PM in the "Centerpiece: Antique" program. If you're in the area of Austin, TX, come on out! I'll be in attendance for the weekend. Come on out for my world premiere!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

First Festival Selection!

DDLM got selected to play in the Queer Fruits Film Festival in Byron Bay, Australia, December 29th & 30th. This is the first of hopefully many film fests I get selected for.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Facebook, Festivals, and Fortitude

There is an official Dear Dad, Love Maria page on Facebook now. That'll be a good place to review what showings of the film are coming up and different random smatterings of news. So please, take the time to become a fan, I'm trying to promote myself here.
I haven't gotten any word back from festivals yet. But, I have added a few more to the list of hopeful festivals.

  • Sundance Film Festival
  • Rehoboth Beach Independent Film Festival
  • California International Animation Festival
  • ION International Animation Festival
This brings the total up to 13.
In other news, I am still searching for jobs to keep the money coming in so I can save up to move back to Philly as soon as possible. Just gotta keep looking. I'll be working as a teacher's assistant come July, but I still need another job to make extra dough and get out of here sooner. The plans are to work on the freelance stuff I have now and work full time somewhere that isn't animation related and network and try to get my studio off the ground. That's the plan at least.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

DVD Swarm

I'm mailing out seven DVDs to festivals tomorrow. I'm super excited. I really hope they take them. The list of festivals I've applied to so far:
  • Ottawa International Animation Festival
  • Angelus Student Film Festival
  • Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival
  • Reel Affirmations: The Nation's LGBT Film Festival
  • Animation Block Party
  • Chicago International Film Festival
  • Boston Film Festival
  • Queer Fruits Film Festival
I hope to see some acceptance letters. I'm hoping to make these working vacations. One can dream.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

DDLM on Sale NOW!

Dear Dad, Love Maria is officially available to be bought on DVD. Check out the PayPal button on the side. Please be aware that each disc ordered is basically burned when ordered. All who order will receive a frame from my film (I'll try to not make them the boring ones). As well as a PDF of another short story about Maria (which actually was half written before the film and was a big basis for reference for her character, and the latter half written in last half of production). The PDF will be emailed to you, so please include your email address in the order comments. Thanks!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Amazing Film

Holy crap! This film is awesome. It's a freshman film from CalArts. I must say this is just incredible filmmaking. David Ochs is going to be a force to be reckoned with.

Monday, May 11, 2009


Dear Dad, Love Maria won best animation at my senior thesis show tonight. I'm very honored and still don't believe it actually happened. It feels good to say, and I'm very glad that my film reached people. My favorite moment of the show being when one of my friend Tiffany's friends, who I never met before came up to me and told me she loved my film. Thank you to all my fellow seniors, my family, Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley, and to the amazing animation faculty. I think this year was an amazing year for animation and that the quality my class put out was amazing. I can't wait to see the successes we accumulate in the future.

That was the speech I never got to say, I just wanted to let everyone know how grateful I am for them. I learned a lot this year, and I am eager to continue learning.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Ode to Joy

After much time, effort, doubt, frustration, and curse words, Dear Dad, Love Maria is officially done! Stress has lifted and the endorphins are rushing in. To celebrate I played this video:

It felt very good.

Monday, April 27, 2009

New Production Still DDLM

New still for Dear Dad, Love Maria. It's gonna be done in two weeks. I am beyond stressed out right now.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Animation Influence Two: Pat Smith

Pat Smith came to lecture at my school way back when I was a freshman. I had never heard of him before, but was pretty sure that at that point wanted to go into animation. And hey, why not go see an animator? Pat made a deep impression on my animation. I learned from him to love the mistakes. That showing the underlying structure to a drawing and just being messy, brings life to your character. Perfection has never been one of my strong points. Learning that it was okay to make mistakes, to revel in them in fact was just a great revelation for me. From then on I admired Pat and his messy drawings and his ability to do stretchy, taffy-like transformation that I've recently tried to incorporate into my own work. My hope is that it comes off as a good homage to his work.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Animation Influence One: Don Hertzfeldt

I have been very influenced by Don Hertzfeldt. But not in a way most people would think, I don't really do crazy random humor, like his earlier work. While I really love those films, what I'm really influenced by The Meaning of Life and Everything Will Be OK. I would mention in there I Am so Proud of You, but I haven't watched it enough times yet and it's style is basically the same as the first chapter. I have been influenced by the atmosphere his films create. The beautiful sadness that surrounds his characters and scenes. The way Hertzfeldt percieves the world with this curiosity for finding the everyday and putting it in a different light has changed the way I percieve things as well. It gives his stories a reflective quality that makes everything in the world a little more beautiful, even if it is sad or strange. Everything Will Be OK was one of the main catalysts into creating Dear Dad, Love Maria which was originally going to be written and shown in a similar style to EWBOK. Now my film is very much more similar to The Meaning of Life, with my use of color. Either way, I really have a lot of respect for Hertzfeldt's work and his storytelling has influenced me and will continue to influence me for years to come.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

DDLM Trailer 1

DDLM Trailer 1 from Vince Mascoli on Vimeo.

I plan on adding a few more shots and replace the in-progress ones with their finals. I like the trailer though. It feels epic to me.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Pencil Test - DDLM

Maria Explains Full Animation from Vince Mascoli on Vimeo.

New pencil test for DDLM. Maria is trying to reason with her father.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Fran Krause Visits

Fran Krause, NYC independent animator, came and gave a lecture at my school. I really like going to these things, I wish we could have more. Just having these people who know so much more than you there just makes you want to talk to them and pick their brain. I'm trying to learn as much as I can about employment in the animation industry and he gave a lot of good advice. I really am disappointed I wasn't able to show him my current animatic for Dear Dad, Love Maria because of my 4 PM class, but I think I'm going to email it to him when I finally do the clarification work that I need to do.

For those who don't know who Fran is, he has created a number of cartoons with his brother Wil that have gone around to different festivals, including one of my favorites from Ottawa The Upstate Four. It's a pilot he made for Cartoon Network. Here's another fantastic pilot he made for Cartoon Network, Utica Cartoon:

Doing a post like this has made me decide to post an influences blog. I'll work on a list and then put it up in a few days.

Monday, February 23, 2009

How to Create an (Student) Animated Short on Your Own

First, think of a story. Tell it to all your friends. Laugh about how funny it is, or ruminate about how emotional and poignant it is. Tell it again to all your friends. Insist you’re working on it really hard to make it good. Believe that you’re going to be nominated for an Academy Award.
Bring the first draft to school. Make sure you were up all night the night before stressing out over storyboards that are poorly drawn and on loose leaf paper because you used up your sketchbook over the summer making cartoon characters that make little to no sense. Make sure to tell it to the teacher with as much enthusiasm as you can muster after not sleeping, which is, surprisingly, a lot. Look at their deadpan face. Start over again.
At this point if you have not given up on your story entirely, you should at least be open enough to criticism to make what you have better. Finally, redo your storyboards and fix everything. Stop believing you’re going to get an Academy Award nomination. The teacher gives you a go ahead that seems more like an okay but you’ll be sorry than a you have something good here, keep going.
Make a basic soundtrack that sounds horrible, scout around for someone who has a voice for what you’re looking for. Wish you did a silent film.
Begin to animate, feel the rush of making your drawings come to life on screen. Feel the thrill of flipping the pages and feeling your characters move and talk and act.
Believe you’ll be nominated for an Academy Award. Continue like this until you’re halfway through your piece.
Feel the stress of other classes and all the animation you have yet to do. Become depressed. Stop working on your animation. Wonder why you ever decided to do something so crazy. Wonder why animation gets such bull from the American public and why you can’t be taken seriously as an animator. Wonder why you even care so much about that. Worry about future jobs. Worry about graduation. Sleep a lot. Feel sorry for yourself and feel like you’re letting everyone down. Talk to your therapist. Stop believing you’re ever going to be nominated for an Academy Award.
Try animating, all the while being distractable and unhappy. Begin to hate your animation. Hate yourself. Pick up a scene one day and draw. Remember how good it felt when you first started. Get a new burst of energy. Contiue to believe you won’t be nominated for an Academy Award. Instead, you just want to finish your film and see it on the big screen at your thesis show.
Finish animating. Feel good about yourself. Move into post production and feel bad again, but a kind of bad where you still can work. Get excited when you finish rendering a shot. Making sure to backup your film in triplicate because of the 3 harddrives you’ve destroyed in one way or another in the past three years is evidence enough to that. Work on your sound design, wonder how to make anything sound good.
Finish the film and put it on DVD. Play a pirated version of the Hallelujah Chorus to celebrate. Get excited to see your film finished. Get nervous about your family seeing it. Go see your film. Feel good that you finished it.
Get excited about doing another film based on this story you’ve been kicking around. Tell it to all your friends. Laugh about how funny it is, or ruminate about how emotional and poignant it is. Believe it will be nominated for an Academy Award.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me

I turn 22 today. Going to see Coraline in 3D tonight. Full review later.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

DDLM Update

After posting the awesomeness that was the Coraline swag. I feel obligated to post an update on DDLM. Things are going better than I felt they were going. I really have to hunker down and do a bunch of easy shots for next week, but as long as I work every night I should on schedule. All in all, if I follow the schedule, animation on the film will be finished by April 8th, and then I'll be compositing and doing sound design work up until we have to hand film in. I'm thinking about downloading the Hallelujah Chorus to play after I finish rendering and exporting and compressing my film.

I will blare it and gaze up into the ceiling and proclaim my film finished. Still a long way to go on that though. Gotta keep working.

Coraline Swag!

The UArts Animation Department got the coolest surprise ever today. We received a giant box of swag from Laika for Coraline. Vee and I said, "Holy Crap!" simultaneously and darted up the stairs. I got everything that was available (without doubling up) and was quite excited for the rest of the day.

Four pens:

Two button sets:

A poster (I actually grabbed this one from Fat Jacks Comics, but the same one came today.):

And a t-shirt (which I was stoked for):

I have to say, I love viral marketing and free stuff. Especially free Coraline stuff. I am going to see the movie in 3D on my birthday, February 15. I can't wait. The story is just awesome and the animation looks great. I hope it is as cool as my expectations are for it.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Nearly Complete Goals for Winter Break

Just finished drawing the closing shot of my senior thesis. It took about a week to finally get the animation done. The shot's about twenty seconds long and is the first time i really had to choreograph a shot to music, so there were set frame limits I had to hit. Which actually, more often than not, meant I had to add frames to my timing charts to get it right. Thankfully the most often of number where I had to do that was eleven frames. Which meant I would figure out the timing for five inbetweens and then inbetween the inbetweens. In the end my timing charts looked like this:

I'm shooting it tomorrow along with the animation for my opening shot, which are just two loops of animation that have to be composited together in AFX. I can't wait to get down to business finishing up those shots. The opening shot just needs the animation cleaned up and dropped in for it to be complete. The closing shot needs to have the background and a few clouds to be built, then the lighting has to get set up in AFX and the camera moves and all that jazz. That's gonna be really fun. Maybe i'll get the animation for the second to last shot done so I can shoot that too and have even more stuff finalized for DDLM.

Gonna start putting together a new reel soon so that I can start selling myself or something. I probably should start trying to find a job. I really hope I can get something I can tolerate that's here in the city and then work on a new short on the side. I'm still trying to figure out what to do if I have that teacher's aid job, should I get a part time job with flexible hours so that when I start at school, I have the time to work that job and the other job? These are questions I should find the answer to soon.

I'll post some new art to finish off this post.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Helpful Tips for Animating a Short

Jim Capobianco of Pixar has been making a short on his own called Leonardo. It looks cute, and I'll probably see it at a festival sometime soon, but what I'm really interested in are his little nuggets of wisdom about making a short animation. I found his blog through CartoonBrew and now I'm passing it on here because I just have to share this. He has great ideas and I figured it would help out my fellow seniors pushing their way through their thesis.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Opening Camera Move 1

Well I've been doing some work on DDLM and I worked out the opening shot basically but I need to smooth it out. I'm trying to figure out how to do it without messing with what I've already done. But here's the shot basically without any animation. I'll post the smoother version later.

opening title camera move - DDLM from Vince Mascoli on Vimeo.

Any help is appreciated. The current camera move was made by parenting the camera to a null object and separating that objects XYZ axises that makes the camera easier to move in a single direction but it makes the movement stiff and bumpy. If there's some expression that can be used to curve the path that would be awesome. My guess is there isn't so I'll be working on a null object that has a bezier curve path to solve this one.