[The helpful GPS. Rest of the photos are up on my flickr account.]
This past weekend Jake, Evan, and I took a road trip to Atlanta, GA to visit Gaijin Studios and other friends in the area. It was a looong drive, about twelve hours. Good to know that i can take a trip with the guys and not kill them during the trip. Luckily I was able to sleep for most of it as with how short i am, i can lay down in the backseat somewhat comfortably. Which worked out on the way east as i was able to wake up about mid-day and do a shift in driving. We were on the road from dark skies pre-sunrise to dark skies post-sunset.
Everyone at Gaijin gave us a warm welcome and let us putter around the studio for a few days. I hope we didn't get in the way too much as they all had a lot of work to be done. Just being around them was a good vibe though and it helped bring up my spirits a bit. It's been a rough few months and being around that sort of environment really gives me a good outlook on things. We also visited Sam at Radical Axis, where they do Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Squidbillies. Getting to meet Sam in person is really awesome. I wish we had more time to hang out with him but his weekend was pretty booked. Tom and Casey gave us a quick look at Studio Revolver which is a pretty wicked work space. They're great guys, it was nice to finally meet them in person. Being able to put a face to a screen name really helps my later years memory. Tony and Sarena hosted an afternoon lunch at their place out in the sticks. It wasn't too far, but for me that 's a lot of hills and trees. Seeing Tony's home work space was great; he has an awesome yet simple setup. It was a great afternoon of food and friends. Getting to know Karl a bit more was hilarious; though his description of Fallout 3 and its expansions will lead me into finally getting the game. Which will also lead me to doing NO work. Anyways, we also got to see Little 5 Points with Dwight from the podcast Sidebar. We met up with Swain briefly but something came up last minute. They're great guys with a wonderfully insightful podcast. We ate at The Vortex which offers absolute monsters of a burger. I think I'm still digesting it.
We did the figure drawing session that Gaijin hosts at their studio. It's a great thing to have done, especially with the guys there to give crits and input. For one the 20min poses, i didn't even bother drawing and watched Brian work. Just watching him work was educational, i just wish i was across the room to see Tony work too. If any of you are in the Atlanta area, you should be hitting this up every week. I am jealous that we don't have something like this in Dallas.
All in all, the trip was great. Seeing everyone's work space was awesome; but honestly what I found interesting was seeing a glimpse of their home life. All people talk about in this industry is the heavy work grind, deadlines, and editors. But what about the family, the kids, and the friends? Everyone i met this weekend i had already looked up to as a friend and professional, but now i have a newly gained respect for them for also being such wonderful and dedicated people. Having to work 14 hour days is grueling enough, but having to also be a husband and a father on top on this is an amazing feat. It's something that we rarely hear about and should really be aware of, especially for those of us trying to make it in this crazy industry.
Thanks to everyone I met on this trip, you made it freaking awesome!