Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Football America: Our Stories Documentary

In case any one missed this, I thought I'd post it here.  This is the documentary that NFL Films made as the culmination of the Together We Make Football Story Contest.  It originally aired just before the game on Super Bowl Sunday on FOX.  It features the stories of the five winners, along with fans across America sharing their stories of why they love football.  I LOVE this film! I'm so overwhelmed that my story got to be a part of it.  How did I get to be one of the lucky few to represent America's love of the game!?  It's all because of you!  Thank you so much to everyone that voted and supported me through out this journey.  I've gotten so many e-mails and messages from Patriots fans, football fans, and other artists and animators supporting me.  It's been an indescribable ride!  One that I'll never forget. Thank you doesn't seem to cover it.  But I'm still gonna try! Please know that you all have my sincerest heartfelt thanks.


Saturday, February 01, 2014

Football America: Our Stories



Here is a short storyboard sequence the NFL asked me to do for their Football America: Our Stories documentary.  (Shout out to Jen Hager and Minkyu Lee for helping me out!)
I was able to finally see the documentary in its entirety this last Tuesday, and I am so overwhelmed and proud to be a part of it!  If you love football in any way, be sure to tune in.  It had me crying right from the beginning! I’m so happy my story could be a part of this celebration of America’s love of the game.  Football America: Our Stories will air on Super Bowl Sunday on FOX at 1pm ET.  Be sure and check it out! It will feature the final of this sequence, and a FaceTime conversation I got to have with Tom Brady.
You can check out a trailer for the film at http://togetherwemakefootball.com 
If you’re interested in prints of my Patriots drawings, check them out here.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Together We Make Football!


video

You guys!  I'm a FINALIST!  You can read the story I submitted below. You can watch the film NFL Films made about my story and help me win by voting for me here:http://on.nfl.com/heidi.  You can vote everyday!!  Voting will end on December 23rd, 2013, and winners will be announced on December 30.  Thank you so much!!
"Not many people can relate to the obsessiveness that I watched 101 Dalmatians with as a child.  I remember sitting on the couch in my jammies with my Pongo and Rolly plush, rewinding the VHS tape for the 226th time, when my mom asked me something that would change my life forever.  She said, "Heidi, why don't you be a Disney animator?"  My whole world turned upside down.  People drew those movies for a living!?  I knew that's what I had to do.  like any ignorant 7 year old, I really thought I could do it.  I wrote Disney to find out what I needed to do.

I knew it wasn't going to be easy.  But Walt Disney said, "All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them." And I believed him.  I took my sketchbook with me everywhere; I spent my life obsessing over getting better at drawing.  I worked like cray. When it was time to go to college I went to the animation school that Walt Disney himself created: CalArts.  I did an internship at Pixar, and, when I graduated, I got the job I had worked my whole life for at Disney.

So I totally wasn't prepared when I was let go and it was taken away from me.

How do you move on when the one thing your life was built around is taken from you?  When I lost it, I felt like a part of my life was over. I lost my dream and I lost my direction in my life. I went through this really dark time where I couldn't even pick up a pencil, because all it did was bring back these memories of failure, and thoughts that no one believed in me or my abilities as an artist.

That darkness lasted over a year.  I was stuck and I couldn't get out of it if I couldn't draw. Football kind of turned into my escape.  I was a new fan of the NFL, and started watching the Patriots for the stupid girly reason that I liked their logo.  My best friend was a Ravens fan and we'd watch both of our games every Sunday.  It started out as a distraction.  But it turned into something much more meaningful.

I spent the season watching Tom Brady slowly break records.  At that time he had thrown 36 touchdowns to just 4 interceptions, posting the highest TD:INT ration in NFL history at 9.0. He was the first player in league history to be voted as a unanimous MVP.  He was slowly becoming (arguably) one of the best NFL quarterbacks of all time.
So imagine my surprise when one night I turned on an interview with Tom and they read his scouting report for the 2000 NFL draft: "Lacks a really strong arm. Lacks mobility and ability to avoid the rush. Can't drive the ball down the field and does not throw a really tight spiral."

I couldn't believe it.  No one believed in him either. Tom was asked, "What do you think the scouts missed?"  His response was, "I think they underestimated my competitiveness." For whatever reason, that spoke to me that night.  He didn't say that the scouts were wrong in their criticism of him.  He didn't refute that he lacks mobility.  He just kinda said that they didn't know how much fight he had in him, and he fought his way to becoming one of the all time best. And for some reason that brought out the fight in me. Through Brady I was able to find my hope again. I picked up my pencil, and finally, I could try again. 
My fight took the form of a story reel for a project that I always wanted to see animated: the Broadway musical Wicked.  I storyboarded a song from it like it was mine to direct.  It was not easy for me.  Not even because the drawings were hard, but because I had to conquer myself to get them out.  I poured my heart into that thing and put it out into the world (via my blog) hoping someone, anyone, would see it and be convinced of my potential.

About six months went by with nothing but silence, when one day I got a text from a friend saying, "Heidi, I think I saw your Wicked video on Entertainment Weekly's website!"...and then from another that it was on Broadway.com, and then another, and another.  My little story reel had gone viral! The support was overwhelming.  I felt like the whole world believed in me. With that as a portfolio piece, along with the amazing exposure, I was able to land a job at Dreamworks Animation. I never got to make Wicked into an animated movie, like I had hoped. But I did get the next best thing: I landed a job on a musical with the creator of Wicked with a director that I love, and a crew that believes in me.

Disney has always been known as the place where all your dreams come true. But of all things, it was football that helped me find the courage to be an artist again.  It was football that gave me my life back.  And for that, I'll spend the rest of my life loving football.
Here is the link where you can watch the video and vote for me. I appreciate all of your support.
http://www.togetherwemakefootball.com

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Together We Make Football



So it's the day before Thanksgiving and tomorrow is a big day for me.  I found out a couple of weeks ago that I am one of ten finalists for the NFL's "Together We Make Football Story Contest."  If you're a football fan then you've probably seen the spots playing during the games where celebrities tell their stories of how football has impacted their lives.  I entered the contest a few weeks ago and told my story of how football has impacted my life.  The finalists have all had an NFL films crew come out and create short film documentaries of the finalists' stories.  Those shorts will be unveiled tomorrow after they announce the finalists during the 3 NFL games happening Thanksgiving Day.  I realize that not everyone is a football fan.  But I feel like my story is more about the struggle that comes with being an artist.  I went through some really tough times a few years ago leading up to the moment when I finished my Defying Gravity Storyboards. I lost my dream and one of my best friends in the same day. I lost all of my confidence. It was a struggle that I don't think a lot of people can relate to.  But I do believe that most artists can.  And I just hope that sharing my story will help other artists who are struggling with their own demons and feelings of inadequacy. I hope it helps you find the strength to keep going. Because all that really matters is that you keep going.

I've been in Boston this past weekend and was able to catch the John Singer Sargent Watercolors exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts.  I saw this quote next to one of the paintings, "Sargent's picturesque scenes of leisure belie his own constant labor.  He worked all the time; as one friend recalled, 'a holiday meant simply a change from the work of the moment to the work of another description.'"

It made me think of this other quote by Milt Kahl, "I got accused over the years of being a fine draftsman.  Actually, I don't really draw all that well.  It's just that I don't stop trying as quickly.  I keep at it. I happen to have high standards and I try to meet them.  I have to struggle like hell to make a drawing look good."

Being an artist is not an easy thing.  Hold onto your courage and hold onto the people that believe in you.   The story I submitted is below.  I'll post the short film here once it's live.  And if you feel so inclined, please share and vote and share again!  Voting will open on Thanksgiving Day and end on December 23rd.  You can vote everyday. Winners with the most votes will be announced on December 30th.

"Not many people can relate to the obsessiveness that I watched 101 Dalmatians with as a child.  I remember sitting on the couch in my jammies with my Pongo and Rolly plush, rewinding the VHS tape for the 226th time, when my mom asked me something that would change my life forever.  She said, "Heidi, why don't you be a Disney animator?"  My whole world turned upside down.  People drew those movies for a living!?  I knew that's what I had to do.  like any ignorant 7 year old, I really thought I could do it.  I wrote Disney to find out what I needed to do.

I knew it wasn't going to be easy.  But Walt Disney said, "All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them." And I believed him.  I took my sketchbook with me everywhere; I spent my life obsessing over getting better at drawing.  I worked like cray.  When it was time to go to college I went to the animation school that Walt Disney himself created: CalArts.  I did an internship at Pixar, and, when I graduated, I got the job I had worked my whole life for at Disney.

So I totally wasn't prepared when I was let go and it was taken away from me.

How do you move on when the one thing your life was built around is taken from you?  When I lost it, I felt like a part of my life was over.  I lost y dream and I lost my direction in my life.  I went through this really dark time where I couldn't even pick up a pencil, because all it did was bring back these memories of failure, and thoughts that no one believed in me or my abilities as an artist.

That darkness lasted over a year.  I was stuck and I couldn't get out of it if I couldn't draw. Football kind of turned into my escape.  I was a new fan of the NFL, and started watching the Patriots for the stupid girly reason that I liked their logo.  My best friend was a Ravens fan and we'd watch both of our games every Sunday.  It started out as a distraction.  But it turned into something much more meaningful.

I spent the season watching Tom Brady slowly break records.  At that time he had thrown 36 touchdowns to just 4 interceptions, posting the highest TD:INT ration in NFL history at 9.0.  He was the first player in league history to be voted as a unanimous MVP.  He was slowly becoming (arguably) one of the best NFL quarterbacks of all time.

So imagine my surprise when one night I turned on an interview with Tom and they read his scouting report for the 2000 NFL draft: "Lacks a really strong arm.  Lacks mobility and ability to avoid the rush.  Can't drive the ball down the field and does not throw a really tight spiral."

I couldn't believe it.  No one believed in him either.

Tom was asked, "What do you think the scouts missed?"  His response was, "I think they underestimated my competitiveness." For whatever reason, that spoke to me that night.  He didn't say that the scouts were wrong in their criticism of him.  He didn't refute that he lacks mobility.  He just kinda said that they didn't know how much fight he had in him, and he fought his way to becoming one of the all time best.  And for some reason that brought out the fight in me.  Through Brady I was able to find my hope again.  I picked up my pencil, and finally, I could try again.

My fight took the form of a story reel for a project that I always wanted to see animated: the Broadway musical Wicked.  I storyboarded a song from it like it was mine to direct.  It was not easy for me.  Not even because the drawings were hard, but because I had to conquer myself to get them out.  I poured my heart into that thing and put it out into the world (via my blog) hoping someone, anyone, would see it and be convinced of my potential.

About six months went by with nothing but silence, when one day I got a text from a friend saying, "Heidi, I think I saw your Wicked video on Entertainment Weekly's website!"...and then from another that it was on Broadway.com, and then another, and another.  My little story reel had gone viral! The support was overwhelming.  I felt like the whole world believed in me.

With that as a portfolio piece, along with the amazing exposure, I was able to land a job at Dreamworks Animation.  I never got to make Wicked into an animated movie, like I had hope.  But I did get the next best thing: I landed a job on a musical with the creator of Wicked with a director that I love, and a crew that believes in me.

Disney has always been known as the place where all your dreams come true.  But of all things, it was football that helped me find the courage to be an artist again.  It was football that gave me my life back.  And for that, I'll spend the rest of my life loving football.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Dragons: Riders of Berk

Wow.  Two posts in the same year!?  Progress.

A little over a year ago, I got loaned out to Dreamworks TV to work on the How to Train Your Dragon  TV show.  I got to storyboard one act of one episode.   The experience was kind of awesome and kind of hell.  Ha ha!  I loved the crew and my director.  And I was super excited that they gave me an action scene with these characters . I mean who doesn't want to draw flying dragons?  But I felt pretty overwhelmed by the TV schedule and the amount of time I had to finish the drawings. So I worked myself into the ground on this production.

You know you're working too hard when you're driving home on the 101, see a plane flying across the sky, and instead of thinking, "Look!  A plane!"  its, "Oh, there goes a night fury."

This episode, Race to Fireworm Island is set to air tonight on Cartoon Network at 7:30 PST. If you want to tune in.


The set-up for this chunk is that Astrid, Hiccup, and the gang are preparing to battle a villain named Alvin by playing a game of tag.  It was meant to be pitched digitally so hopefully you can click on one drawing and flip through them that way. Enjoy!