Thursday Think Tank: That Time I Went to an Animation Festival in France

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The Thursday Think Tanks are semi-random thoughts that may not necessarily fall directly into the category of finances, but I still feel are worth sharing. Read at your own risk!

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I’m a big animation fan. I love all animated films, whether 2D or 3D, and there was a time when being an Animator was all I wanted to do.

For me it started young. I loved traditionally animated Disney films, and while I can draw a decent comic strip or two, I didn’t have the chops to be a Disney Animator by any stretch. So I collected memorabilia, went to Disneyland as often as I could, and drew little comic strips on the side to get me by. Here is an example:

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I actually got pretty good at in, and wound up getting a low-tier syndication contract offered to me, but that’s a story for another time…

Back to animation!

When “Toy Story” came out, I knew I had found the solution to my problem. I didn’t have to draw perfectly, as long as I could understand animation principals as they applied to things like timing and movement, I could do this awesome thing that was sweeping the world by storm called, “Computer Animation!”

So I enrolled in night classes at an art school, and 3ish years later I was hired into my first gig as a professional Animator in games at Microsoft.

One of the perks of working for Microsoft back then was that I got to choose one festival a year to attend. For animation there are several, but I figured I’d shoot for the stars and ask if they’d pay for me to attend the Annecy Film Festival in Annecy, France. This yearly festival takes place in a sleepy little French town that snuggles up to the Alps. It’s a stunning location, and one that isn’t cheap to get to or attend.

To my utter shock and surprise, they agreed!

I didn’t have any other animators in my group, and so I didn’t really have anyone to go with. I also didn’t have much experience traveling abroad, other than a short trip or two to the UK. Both of these bits of information came into play almost immediately.Read More »

A Fun Approach to Being Broke

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“So this blog serves the purpose of creating what I feel is valuable entertainment, but it’s also a coping mechanism for me of sorts. After all, if I really stop to think about the fact that I have  OVER ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS in credit card debt, I’ll probably just pass out. However if I think about having that same amount of debt, but then see a cute little drawing of a guy with a shovel… It can’t be that bad right?”

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First things first! As you can see, I’ve removed the stat tracker from the top of this post showing how much credit card debt I have remaining, and I have instead moved it over to the fancy new graphic on the side bar to the right over there.

I felt like it was cluttering up my posts to have that sucker at the top of each post, and since the numbers really don’t move from day to day, it was often just a stagnant piece of information that felt better served to the right.

As I was making the little graphic of the dude with the shovel on that chart, I got to thinking about whether or not my approach to debt is the right one. I don’t mean in terms of what I’m paying and where, but more in terms of the fact that I’ve created a semi-sweet, light and fluffy blog about effectively being broke.

I pepper the tops of posts like this one with fun little illustrations, and then spend several hundred words talking about just how close I came to losing my home and putting myself and my family in a really ugly situation. It can be quite the contrast!

Humor has always been a defense mechanism for me. When I get nervous, or when I am put in tense situations, I tend to crack a lot of jokes… usually of a self-deprecating nature. It’s something I’ve done since was a kid, and continue to do often as an adult. So if you ever happen to be in a situation with me where I am obviously desperate in my attempts to make the group I’m with laugh, chances are it’s because I feel WAY outside of my comfort zone.

I was up in the mountains once and had a guy pull a revolver on me and two of my friends. True story. We were driving up to a keg party in the mountains, and as we crested up over a hill in my pickup, there he was on horseback, pistol drawn, pointing it directly at my face. He then told us that his son had put his pickup in a ditch about a mile up the road and needed to be pulled out. The gun was just a “motivator” as he called it. To make a long story short, I was so scared and cracked so many jokes as a result that by the end of the night both the son and the father were standing at a campfire with us drinking beers and laughing.

Again… defense mechanism.

So as you can imagine, when it comes to writing a blog chronicling the really dumb situation I put myself in, I try to find to add some levity.Read More »

A Boy’s Blog About Being A Broke Buffoon

I’ll keep making the posts as entertaining as possible if you folks continue to share the blog with people you think might enjoy or find value in it.

Starting Debt (01.01.19): $126,310.77
Current Debt: $109,710.00
Total Paid Off: $16,600.77
Income Going to Savings: 2%

January of this year was a rough month. I didn’t feel like doing much of anything other than wallowing in my own sadness of stupid mistakes and financial misfortune.

Let’s keep in perspective just how bad the shock was that I had received: I literally thought I was going to lose the house I had bought less than 1 year prior.

So if I wanted to wallow for just a bit, I feel as though I was entitled. You don’t give a pig an entire pen of the deepest mud you can find and not expect at least some wallowing.

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Tangent: Did I mention I was raised in the country? We never owned pigs though. We owned a buttload of cattle (around 3,000), and had a goat at one point, but no pigs at any point. I know enough about pigs to know they wallow and they enjoy mud, but please don’t expect lots of pig facts in future posts. It ain’t happening.

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We had no earthly idea how to dig out of this mess, and there were lots of options thrown about including filing for Chapter 13. Which in the book “How to Mess Up Your Life” is a chapter that falls right between the much more exciting chapters of Chapter 12: Booze and Chapter 14: Buying Your Spouse a Vacuum for Their Birthday.Read More »