Even more Festival Updates!

My friends! Life has been incredibly busy lately! If you’re in Portland, Oregon, you should go to the Region One screening for the Student Academy Awards. Yours truly has been nominated as a Finalist for ‘Can We Be Happy Now’! *EXPLODES* This will be a free public screening on Wednesday, April 24, beginning at 6 PM at the Northwest Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium (inside the Portland Art Museum at 1219 SW Park Avenue, Portland, OR).

Can We Be Happy Now‘ adventures on, winning a Best Animated Short prize from my hometown, Fallbrook, and a trip to North Carolina to present with a kajillion wonderful student filmmakers. Another rapidly-approaching screening is at the International Family Film Festival on the 5th, if you’re in Hollywood! (I’m sorry to say that I won’t be there). And if you’re in Toronto, you can see it in late July!



It’s quite an honor to win a prize for animation from my hometown!


A big shock was receiving a copy of the local paper, the Village News, to find my face on the front page! This really delightful article was written up about my film and musing on the local wildlife for inspiration.

Also, my late-highschool-early-college mentor, Dr. Lori Miller, wrote a lovely article about our relationship and how mentorship can truly direct an individual to reaching their goals. I’m really thankful for all the guidance I had on my journey from surviving highschool to conquering college and living a life of blissful animation!



The amazing folks at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, hosted the fantastic film festival and conference, Visions, where I was super fortunate to be among many wonderful filmmakers whose films were selected from their undergrad. We reveled in a cornucopia of filmmaking, from animation to documentaries and bizarre sci-fi eyecandy and deep drama. So many wonderful friends were made here, including the talented Bridget, who was my roomie — who was roomies with my roomie’s roomie. DID YOU GET THAT?! The universe imploded and then spat itself out again; only her amazing diagram can explain the magnitude of this crazy coincidence. Go look at the rest of her blog, while you’re at it! Here’s us (Bridget’s in the middle), along with Brianna, who was our super-enthusiastic crazy fun driver/guide/new friend!


Can I just say that filmmakers are some of my very favorite breeds of people?! SO MUCH TALENT IN THESE PICTURES.


International Family Film Festival

The next screening will take place at the Pickford Theater of Raleigh Studios in Hollywood, CA for the International Family Film Festival. The screening is at 2:30 on the 5th of May, and tickets are available here for $10. Unfortunately I will not be able to attend.



TAAFI will take place at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto, from July 26-28th. Hello, Canada!

Film Festival Updates!

‘Can We Be Happy Now’ is going to some screenings, and I’ll be going with it! First off, enjoy a photo of my mom and myself all dressed up for the Annies!


The Annies were an ABSOLUTE BLAST (as you can tell in the photo!) I got to meet other student filmmakers and spun Oscar Grillo’s Annie. The show was plenty entertaining and it was such an honor to attend! I even stood in line next to Brenda Chapman on the red carpet. I’ll definitely be getting a ticket to go to next year’s show!

The Visions Film Festival & Conference of Wilmington, North Carolina will be on the 5th. I’m honored that I’ll be able to attend and do Q&A, along with participating in their 1-hour-1-take video race! The folks there are enthusiastic and it sounds like it’s a big film party every year.

The Fallbrook International Film Festival (I’m a local!) has nominated CWBHN for best animated short. It will be screening on the 6th and the 8th; I’ll be in attendance on the 8th!

And, if you’re a member of ASIFA, it will also screen for the general membership meeting on the 7th at USC. I’m really excited to be a part of a panel for that, too!

If you have (or happen to be) a child in Texas, CWBHN was also just accepted to the Modern Summer Kid’s Flicks Series.

Looking forward to the adventures this film is taking me on!

Doug TenNapel original!

I attended CTN-X and was fortunate to see Doug TenNapel (creator of Earthworm Jim and a bunch of wonderful comic books I encourage everyone to collect) do a 45-minute demo of a sporadic comic page! Look!

And then, I was the super-lucky person who was quick to buy it– It’s framed on my wall right now. I really admire Doug’s fearlessness both in storytelling and inking. Draw details, then slather them with ink; force the lighting into submission! Make your readers lose all hope for your character and tie up the story in the last 6 pages! I was flattered that he enjoyed my hiccups. To be Yoda about his demo, “inspired, I am!” I wanted to upload the page here so everyone else can enjoy a good look at it.


Can We Be Happy Now‘ screened for two audiences today! The viewers were primarily children. It was very interesting seeing (and hearing) their reactions and interpretations. It was such an honor to answer questions and see that it’s meaning carried over to non-English speakers.

Speaking of which, Germans have got everything figured out; Berlin is amazingly efficient.

Sight-seeing continued with the Brandenburg Gate, a blocky memorial, some Wall remainders and a random art gallery. Oh yes, and all sorts of interesting people on the Underground trains!! Plenty of pictures are being taken (and scarves make nice jackets for rain, I discovered late tonight). Also, Caran d’Ache makes the most amazing ballpoint pens!

Right, and you can purchase lederhosen and the female Oktoberfest equivalent at the mall. Sorry, I didn’t drop the $400 for an outfit…



Goin’ to EUROPE!

Hallo!! I’m really excited because in five days, I’m going to Berlin for the REC-Jugendmedienfestival, where ‘Can We Be Happy Now‘ will be playing on Friday! I’ll be there until the 16th, when I’ll fly over to Paris until the 22nd!!!

Excitement. Yes. Much! First time ever in Europe! First time ever trying to cram so much foreign language into my noggin! First time ‘Can We Be Happy Now’ screens internationally! First time I may run into gypsies… let’s hope not. MAYBE I’LL COME BACK WITH ONE OF THOSE GREEN HATS WITH A FEATHER! I’ll be equipped with my iPhone and Moleskine sketchbook, so I’ll post updates when I can! Wheeeee!

Thanks, CalArts!

Proudly sporting a degree in Character Animation. Booyaaah!

There’s me eagerly anticipating graduation! I like that at CalArts we can wear whatever we want for graduation… kinda like how we can do whatever we want academically whilst attending (taking all sortsa fun classes across departments, I mean; stylistically, too).  There was a girl on stilts, a mermaid, and the guy in front of me had a party favor hat. We even had fireworks this year! No butterflies were consumed by bats (those who attended last year will remember this).

I thought it would be nice to do a little review of the last 4 years to see just how much of an impact this place has had on me:

  • 14 films (over 23 minutes of animation)
  • I built a pink, fluffy, interactive cat
  • Played in two gamelan ensembles
  • Jumped from two stories onto bouncy castle
  • Two films played at the Producers’ Shows
  • Other work screened for Music Tech and Theatre
  • Grown a true appreciation for homemade food
  • I opened my EYES to this crazy world!
  • I feel like a lil’ alien observing a foreign planet everywhere  I go
  • (That means I now take observation to a level I didn’t know existed)
  • My appreciation for creativity/art has exploded into a happily-varied bookcase
  • I LEARNED HOW TO THINK– or approach projects with the large and tiny details all equally in mind.

I must say that watching Can We Be Happy Now on a ginormous screen framed by two large Mr. Oscar statues was definitely a highlight that I would have never dreamt of when I got that acceptance letter way back when.

Things I learned at CalArts…

  • It’s possible to live a ramen-free college life
  • Design sensibilities can apply to any medium
  • Coffee, when saved for crunch time, can power one for three days straight
  • Expect at least a weeks’ worth of technical difficulties for large projects
  • Never run Arduino’s Serial Monitor without a delay (or you get a brick)
  • Snuggies for the win
  • Not to spill tea on a keyboard (during crunch time especially)
  • Don’t leave your car alone (or its battery dies)
  • Frozen Yogurt and fudgesicles make lovely meals
  • Don’t open a fridge that isn’t yours
  • Hugs make everything better
  • Bounce and share ideas
  • Open *all* the doors
  • yoooooou caaannnn doooooeeeeeeeit!

It’s bizarre– I was just going through my old blog entries from the beginning of CalArts and I don’t think my opinion of the place has really changed much. It is a very exciting place to be, there are lots of opportunities and you will always be surrounded by the most incredibly talented people and teachers. No regrets– that place was fantastic! I’m looking forward to working with everyone now that we’re “out in the world”, or I guess that could be rephrased as “not being required to attend classes”.

I wasn’t taught how to draw as much as how to think– how to design, how to consider story, how all the elements of a film need to compliment each other; how to people-watch, what details to take away… In the end I feel the acute observational skills obtained through attempting to improve my animation has given me the pleasure of enjoying everyone’s little mannerisms, paying attention to what makes their character… Some things I would have viewed in a negative light before CalArts I now have learned to laugh at. Laughing’s good, right?! I do lots of it (along with tea-drinking) and feel great. And way more mentally-satisfied artistically than I did four years ago.

Going into CalArts,  I didn’t expect quite the diversity I found. It was really easy to get stuck in one mindset, but once you shake yourself free of the cubicles and get out to see a show, you really feel refreshed… Even Friday-night lectures left me that way. I found it was important to not take it for granted and often remember how special a place it was, that all these people were there, together. Working, sharing, eating, drawing, not sleeping… It was a lot of fun!

I feel like that’s me– a happy little Tahnee-plant! (See, it’s black and white striped, that’s the identifying feature). I feel that I’ve learned how to learn. I clearly see where I could improve or discover new aspects of art/filmmaking, and practice what I discover and then keep growing and growing. Each one of those little branches is perhaps waiting to blossom into a full tree trunk… I feel that I’ve been left with a lot of opportunities and know what to do to keep improving. This is all very exciting! I got a really solid planter with good soil and got off to a nice start when in school, and now I’ve got the whole rest of my life to turn into a huge, whimsical, animated happy tree.

Hopefully I can drop little inspiration-seeds into other planters and make more happy animation trees grow!

And I think that’s a nice note to end on for this blog post!