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review 2019-01-13 00:03
Brilliant autobiographical graphic novel of how to move to LA and break into the animation industry; inspiring, honest and fun
I Moved to Los Angeles to Work in Animation - Natalie Nourigat

This is an autobiographical how-to graphic novel of how Natalie ‘Tally’ Nourigat made her move to LA from Portland to work in animation as a storyboard artist.

We find out from her clever storyboards, and her neatly printed text (both in superb detail), how she started out working as a comic book artist back in Portland with dreams of working down in Los Angeles, CA, and how she managed to make that daunting move and get her foot in the door.

Not only does she tell her own tale of ‘how she did it’, she reveals the pros and cons of her living in ‘La-La Land’, she helps aspiring artists and animators figure out if it’s really for them by really delving into the difficulties of the job search and realities of the animation and entertainment industry, and gives pro tips for making it from some others working in the community. 

 

I do have to say I had a particular interest in how Natalie approached this topic (a move to LA for work in the entertainment industry), as I wrestled with this decision myself back in the late 90’s when I worked in film production.

I would’ve given my left arm (not my right one, because then I would’ve been useless doing my actual on-set job as script supervisor) for an adorable, as well as fascinating and informative graphic novel like this. At the time, I felt absolutely lost when it came to doing something like this, and making a move from Seattle to LA (and mine would have been for all freelance work, not for a regular job at a studio, although my aim was to join a union) was beyond daunting. I did make quite a few trips down to the LA-area to stay with friends, as Natalie suggests, and even took some short freelance film gigs, but social media back then was not what it is today, I didn’t drive, and I think ultimately I felt like a move was too hard back then. I also continued to have a lot of film work up here in Seattle. Where were you when I needed you, Tally?

 

What Natalie has done with this graphic novel though, has taken a lot of that fear (something I recognize) and made the process seem so much less daunting and anxiety-inducing than it would otherwise be. She is honest but upbeat, positive but realistic. LA isn’t for everyone, even if it’s the place of your dreams, and even if you’re talented.

But this will give you a brilliant outline to follow should you give it a go (it would work quite well for anyone searching for an entertainment studio job or making a move to LA for certain steady film/TV jobs).

 

BOOM! Box Studios might be on to something here. Maybe this can be a ‘thing’: I can envision a whole series of these, and if these graphic novels were suggested by career guidance counselors for young adults, can you imagine the enthusiasm?! My goodness!

Ultimately, this kept me engaged all the way through, and I’m definitely not trying to find a job in feature animation! But this is superb.

 

 

*One thing that kept coming up that I couldn’t stress more and I’m so glad was included: a lot of success and getting work is due to luck and timing. So so true.

Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/2669947384
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review 2018-12-01 01:30
What kind of superpower do you have?
El Deafo - Cece Bell

El Deafo by Cece Bell is the autobiographical account of the author as a little girl after she contracted meningitis and became deaf. First point in this book's favor: The illustrations are absolutely delightful. If you were a fan of the Arthur cartoon growing up then you'll love her artistic style as it's very reminiscent of that. (The characters are all rabbits.) She focuses primarily on her experiences using the different hearing aid devices that she had growing up and how isolated it made her feel. Bell doesn't shy away from exploring her shame and 'otherness' in comparison to her family and friends which I think is refreshing in a middle grade book. The way that Cece ultimately copes with the changes and difficulties that she's experiencing is by creating an alternate persona where she uses her deafness as a superpower. (Check the picture below for an example.) I personally really loved the references of such classics as Batman (with Adam West) and one of my faves M*A*S*H. I don't know that younger readers will appreciate that as much but I thought it was a great touch. Included at the end of El Deafo is a little informational blurb about Deaf culture so if parents are reading with their kids (or teachers with their students) it makes a really awesome learning tool. I loved that kids are getting to see a character using a hearing device in a medium that is easily digestible and conveys the message that no matter what our abilities we are all 'super' in our own ways. 9/10

 

An example of the art writing style. [Source: Goodreads]

 

 

If you don't follow me on social media you may have been surprised/confused when I started posting a new review every day this week. I did this because I didn't want to play catch-up like I did earlier this year with books I've finished but not yet reviewed. However, I'm not seeing a ton of engagement in these posts so I want to get your opinion. Are you enjoying the more frequent posts or do you prefer once a week and you don't care when they go up? Please comment below with your thoughts! :-)

 

What's Up Next: Cici's Journal: The Adventures of a Writer-in-Training by Joris Chamblain with illustrations by Aurélie Neyret. 

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2017-03-25 02:41
Infinite Tuesday: An Autobiographical Riff - Michael Nesmith

Wow, this was an interesting book. I did not know a lot of things about Michael Nesmith, but I do now. I could amaze you with the trivia I learned, but you will just have to discover it for yourself.

Okay, okay, did you know that Davy Jones was on the Ed Sullivan show the same night as The Beatles were for the first time? He was starring in the play "Oliver" and was with some of his cast mates. Don't remember him being on the show? Seriously?

Michael Nesmith calls his book an autobiographical riff which is exactly how its written. I thought it was funny while reading the book that he sounded like an old musician. I don't really remember The Monkees being known for their musical abilities but apparently they had some. Well, at least Michael had some.

Thanks to Crown Publishing for approving my request to read this very interesting title and to Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2016-11-13 17:33
Book Review: Travels with my Father by Karen Jennings
Travels with My Father: An Autobiographical Novel - Karen Jennings Poignant and lyrical, TRAVELS WITH MY FATHER takes the reader on a meandering journey through past and present. I'm not overly fond of memoirs - usually finding them dry, dusty and too factual - but, through the lens of coming to terms with her grief at her father's dying, Jennings has woven a masterful record of life to which everyone can relate. Whether describing the small and personal details of her life (the "desperately ugly" ashtray she thought belonged to her grandfather) or minor details of her travels (the visit to a museum in India, filled with mouldy, stuffed animals - "a bat has fallen off its perch and has been put back so that it stands on its feet"), Jennings's writing is vivid and vibrant. It is also searingly, at times painfully, honest ("The Jenningses do not speak of things that are unpleasant or relate to emotion in any way"). She often mentions her struggle with depression; her disappointment in the smallness of her father's life as he got older. As one reads, her words wrench emotion from one - too often, this is deeply coloured with melancholy and a quiet despair. At one point, her father said to her "Oh, girl, why do you have make things so difficult?" There is no linear pattern to the stories and anecdotes filling the book. The reader is effortlessly carried along a stream-of-consciousness exploration of a period in the author's life starting with her father's death and ending with the scattering of some of his ashes in Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. (A delightful scene near the end of the book, which reflects the end of mourning and the beginning of a new phase in her life). This adds to the sense of being personally, intimately involved in this journey of a daughter working through her grief at the loss of her very human, but much loved, father. There are no order to our memories, and TRAVELS WITH MY FATHER reflects that in its seemingly rambling (but exquisitely crafted) style. Whether it's a lesson on the history of the places she visits on her travels triggering a memory of her childhood, or the discovery of a new notebook of her father's triggering memories of her family history, or her new lover's bow legs reminding her of her father, Jennings's masterful control of her subject and her dramatic use of words creates a compulsive need to continue reading. Despite the ending, at that point when Jennings finds in her father's notes a reassurance of the very ordinariness of life that ties together all the threads of an ancestral line stretching both backwards into the past and forwards into the future to a time when she, too, will grow old and die - her acceptance of the cycle of life, in a way - when I finished reading, a darkness persisted, leaving me unsettled and edgy all day. In a way, my lingering sadness is a tribute to the high quality of Jennings's skill as a writer, but my more optimistic personality prefers to leave a book filled with a brighter sense of hope.
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review 2016-04-10 16:54
#CBR8 Book 36: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian - Sherman Alexie,Ellen Forney

Arnold "Junior" Spirit doesn't exactly have an easy time of it. Born poor and hydrocephalic, it's pretty much a miracle that he survived infancy. Suffering from stuttering, his over-large head, bad eyesight and frequent seizures, he's routinely picked on by both children and adults on the Spokane reservation, finding solace in basketball, his drawing and his best friend Rowdy. 

 

When Junior transfers away from the school on the reservation to get a chance at a real education, Rowdy feels deeply betrayed, like Junior's sold out his heritage and he loses the only friend he's ever had. If he thought he was an outcast on the reservation, being the only Native American in an all white high school, 22 miles from where he lives, Junior is in for a rude awakening. Stubborn and fiercely intelligent, he's still determined to prove to everyone that he can make it, without giving up his Native American roots in the process.

 

This book slayed me, as they say. I was a blubbering wreck from the second chapter, when Junior explains to the reader that the worst thing about being poor is that when your beloved dog, a stray mutt, gets sick and needs medical attention, there is absolutely nothing that can be done. Because I listened to this in audiobook, I was straight up sobbing on my way to the grocery store, which is really quite embarrassing. This book, which straight up broke my heart a little, also made me laugh a lot, so it's really not a complete sob-fest. It's a semi-autobiographical account of author Sherman Alexie's own life growing up on a reservation and deciding to go to an all white high school so he could gain enough credits to go to college.

 

For all that there are funny and uplifting passages, there is so much to feel outraged about too. Junior losing his dog because his family is too poor to take it to the vet. His father's alcoholism, his mother's crushed potential, his sister's depression. The fact that the books used to teach Junior in the reservation high school are the same ones his mother used thirty years earlier. The systematic abuse his friend Rowdy is victim to. The fact that most of the people in Junior's life are helpless and hopeless and their children will be as poor and as hopeless as them. So much grief, misery and death, caused by the continued oppression of the Native Americans. 

 

This is such an important book and it's so well written. It frequently appears on the banned books list in the US, probably because of the honest and open way it deals with teenage sexuality, poverty, alcoholism and drug abuse, bullying, inappropriate language relating to race, physical appearance, disability and sexual orientation. I think every teenager should be made to read this book and told how much truth there is behind the apparent fiction, so they realise just how privileged and lucky they are and can see just how it's possibly to remain strong and resilient in the face of so much adversity. 

 

Because I got this as an audio book, I was not able to look at all the illustrations that accompany the paperback version of the book. I plan to buy the paperback for just this reason, and I am seriously considering making this required reading for the 10th graders in my English class next year. It's certainly a much more important, interesting and engaging book than snooze-fest waste of space The Catcher in the Rye

Source: kingmagu.blogspot.no/2016/04/cbr8-book-36-absolutely-true-diary-of.html
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