2015 was the year of staying busy, I was kept busy with work, teaching and working on earning my bachelor’s degree along with day to day life. Busy is good but I usually have my camera by my side but this year it just became a bit more of a challenge. I also spent a lot of time studying and working so having a camera by my side would mostly be images of my desk. It was a good year but if I could change anything it would have been to have seen more friends when I had the chance. Denise also had lots of changes with work and leveling up in her craft of the culinary arts.
Though I didn’t have my camera by my side, I did have my phone at all times so much of this year was documented via camera phone. This is probably going to be a more common thing but I will make an effort to explore DFW more in 2016. We have such a large and great area here and there is much to explore but it requires us to get up out of our seats and do it. This year showed me a lot about what is possible and I got to work on some great fun projects along the way. I hope to make time for the new projects and adventures in 2016. I hope to add you to the review of 2016
We did start the new year trying new food with friends. With Alex and Donna’s new kiddo on the way and little Zac growing up fast we had a chance to see our friends the Flores’ at a local Dallas burger dive. They would move later in the year to become locals to Richardson and we are happy to have them closer to us. Hope to see more of them in the new year!
In February we celebrate Josh’s birthday and on this night we got together to chow down and watch bad movies. On this night, we watched Deathbed: The Bed that Eats. It was as glorious as the name makes it sound.
We also had a visitor in February but I don’t necessarily mean this little guy, I mean the fleas that came with him. This guy was out in front of our house one afternoon which was odd during the day. He was picked up by animal control and released. A few days later we ended up with having fleas on all our guys inside so we had to deal with that for the first time as homeowners.
In March we got some serious weather and snow to come with it. Dallas doesn’t often get snow but when we do we get it all at once. Our snow fall was some of the most we’ve ever had in one night. It was our own little Hoth for two days.
Because of our constant changing weather in the area we ended up with the most rain on record for Texas in a very long time. We decided to invest in our garden with a rain barrel and a little plastic owl to help keep the birds out from the garden.
From December of last year I was working on a fun game called Evil Robot Traffic Jam. I was making various pieces of art and working on helping build the website. While working on that the Richardson public library, which is across the street for us, got a 3D printer for public use. It was great to have quick access to printing so I took some of the models I worked on and a few others to give the printer a test run. I hope to get my own soon
An upside of being a contract artist working from home is how I use my time. For lunch breaks instead of eating right at noon I would take bike rides around my area which is a good 12 mile or so ride. Last year after getting in my wreck on my bike and surgery I wanted to get back on the trail again. I had to take my bike back into the shop for repairs as it had some damage from the wreck but once she was up and running I was back to lunch time rides. I did that for as long as I could until I took a onsite freelance job.
Pics from my rides around Richardson
Many people are quick to judge Dallas for being a place that folks just carry guns and yell “yeehaw” shoot’n in the air. Well turns out we have lots of things including a great art culture that is getting bigger every year. ATAMA is one of those places awareness to many that we have lots to offer. They have various art shows and sell great art along with vinyl pieces. It is an inspiring place for artists of all types to visit and on this night Alex and I went to check out one of those art shows.
One of the many jobs I do over the year is teaching at SMU. I really enjoy teaching and the rewarding feeling I get from teaching students more than just the tools but the skills needed to be a person in a creative field. In an interview with Kathleen Kennedy, she noted that maybe the most important skill in the field of creativity is communication. I do my best to teach that working together and working to find solutions to difficult problems is how you can succeed in the industry. Talent and an eye for creativity rise up when communication and obstacles are cleared from the way of making art. On this day in May, we got to see our students show off their work after 16 weeks of making a Capture the Flag game.
With my freelance jobs, teaching and working on my degree, my trips to conventions was very limited this year. There is a great amount of local conventions but the one that really is my go-to is Texas Frightmare Weekend. Nothing new to those who read this blog every year but TFW is the midpoint of the year for me. I get to see friends, meet new people and get inspired by those around me. So many film nerds and this year was no exception. This year I had the opportunity to meet a few directors while at TFW. I thought as a way to continue to push me to do my short films at some point I asked these amazing women to sign my script to inspire me. It was such a great experience and I think this 10th anniversary of Texas Frightmare Weekend was one of my favorites.
Our friend Emily this joined a Roller Derby league up in Denton which is pretty rad. I did learn a little about the sport a while back but with a friend tearing it up on the track it was awesome to see her kick some ass on the track. A group of us made it out to her first track appearance and she did not let anyone down as she really made a name for herself this evening.
Things slowed down for a touch as the summer started and while I had plenty to do why not add a little more to my plate. Alex and I had been talking about starting a project here in Dallas. We needed a place to do it and people willing to join up. We teamed up with A Galaxy Called Dallas to start an artist Zine called Warp 11. It’s been a lot of fun and a good deal of work but in the end it’s totally worth it. We have had a great group of folks and it is always fun to sit and chat about pop culture and draw which I do not do enough of as it is currently. We are 8 issues in as the writing of this blog!
Things really started to pick up and I was headed out to the Silicon Valley to work with the CastAR group on getting some content built for them on a fast turn around. I was in California for a little over a week working on some great stuff with some great folks. The extra bonus part was the 30th anniversary of the Amiga event taking place the weekend I was there. I was about 10 years old when I got to play with a friend’s Amiga. This event was really inspiring and amazing as a culture like the Amiga clubs is not like anything we’ve seen in a long time. We may never see a period with technology like this again. Hearing all the stories from the developers was a once in a lifetime experience. Along with late nights watching horror movies and an entire season of American Horror Story with Rick made this job a lot of fun.
As soon as I returned from California I was on to my next freelance gig. This job was with local Dallas studio ReelFX and would be my toughest project since Star Wars Kinect. The project for the November release of Hunger Games. This project took most of my time for the rest of the year. I was lucky to work with such a talented team and be apart of such a huge marketing push for such a big movie
August came and went quick but not without a stop from Kevin Smith. I have always enjoyed his films but I think I enjoy listening to his podcasts and thoughts on pop culture. He is also an inspiring person to listen to as much of what he talks about is very relatable both as a creative person and just a person living day to day. If you ever have an opportunity to hear him speak live I highly recommend it.
As October arrived I was able to get back to doing some things for myself. We had some great events going on in the area including Back to the Future Day and Garage passing through town on their 20th-anniversary tour. Seeing that I did not get a chance to attend my 20th high school reunion, seeing Garbage live was a nice makeup.
There was a new addition to the group this year. Alex and Donna gave everyone a new gang member, Anthony Flores. Welcome to the world little guy
After a busy end of the year it was nice to celebrate my 39th birthday with friends at our annual stay-cation far up north. Rick came down and we enjoyed movies, board games and nice weather staying by the lake. It was nice to keep the tradition up for the 6th year in a row. It is always a nice time to reflect on things and prepare to end out the year.
Austin Cline, an old former co-worker, got married and we had a little bit of a Terminal Reality reunion that evening. It was great seeing a chunk of the old team. After all this time everyone is doing well and still looking out for each other. It is these relationships that the game industry creates that is often not mentoined in articles about the business. It was a great wedding and a great time has had by all.
We ended the year by making a quick vacation trip to New York City. Denise has been wanting to go and things worked out that we were able to do a quick weekday trip and catch the city a week before Christmas. It was all booked and minus a few hiccups at the airport we had a great time while in city. We stayed in the lower east side. It was a great area and the trip was just awesome. Eating great food and taking in all the culture of the city really makes you understand how one can fall in love with that city. You get a real sense of what our country is all about in a city full of people from all around the world who call themsevles Americans. I really look forward to going back.
2015 went by faster than most but in a good way for me. I hope to document more in 2016 but I also hope to be as busy as I was in 2015. I will make an effort to take more photos but I will also make a real effort to get my short film made. Looking forward to seeing you guys there!
Game I worked on this year!
Places and things