stop motion, some thoughts...

I’ve been working on an insanely difficult project in my real job. It’s a huge undertaking that I’ve made even more difficult by adding in stop motion elements. I LOOOOOVE stop motion. To me it’s one of the really magical things of cinema. I love the problem solving, the designing, the building with real materials, the focus on details and the absolute tediousness of the work. One mistake and you’re starting that whooooole scene all over again. Period.

It makes me hold my breath, crawl around on the floor, lift heavy objects, get glue and paint on all of my clothes, sweat under lights for hours—for a few seconds of footage. But to see something that I made, come to life is incredible. I love it.

Having said all of that, I need to save it for my own projects because it’s incredibly time consuming. No one in their right mind can really fully grasp the time it takes unless they too are insane enough to do it!!!

Our very 1st film project was a silly little stop motion in 2005-ish. Mariela and I are a team with stop motion. Together we can do anything. A couple that has been together for 17+ years, that can bicker about the dumbest things, are calm and collected for 4 hours animating a 10 second sequence together. It’s like our zen place. Each piece moved in rhythm, we sweat, we barely breathed and we finished. No bickering. No arguing. It was pretty beautiful. We should do it more often…


"My Aunt Donna ain't no fuzzy."

I’ve searched this entire week for peace. I know that the normal process of getting older is losing people that you love dearly. But my Aunt Donna was one of the most influential people in my life, from the time I was born. I feel like there’s a giant hole in the world now. She was my protector, my savior, my discipline, my motivator, my confidence. She taught me to love photography and cameras, my love of crafting and making shit with my hands…and she was the funniest person in my life.

Scan-AuntDonna 6-e.jpg

She ran a beauty salon out of our house. I was an orphan and so were my 2 siblings. We were orphaned frequently, sometimes my mom would just leave us in apartments and call my Aunt Donna to “come get us, she was leaving.” Aunt Donna would drive hours, like Steve McQueen in a Dodge Caravan to save us…

 Girl Scout camp, 1985

Girl Scout camp, 1985

She put me in school, fixed my hair, made me pose for pictures and told me to be confident:

“Get out there in your swimming suit, don’t let them stop you. I’m gonna get my fat ass out there! I don’t care what anybody thinks.”

She became a girl scout troop leader because I needed one. She was THE BEST girl scout troop leader there ever was…she had a giant van for all of her felt and glitter, she took us on amazing trips and taught us to make everything. I was so proud to call her my aunt. When I was drowning, she saved me—from the shore. When I was smart-mouthing, she chased me down. I was young and thought she was too big to catch me, but she defied her size in every way. She could outrun me at 12. She could out-swim me my whole life.

When my brother needed her, she saved him, repeatedly.

The day my family broke apart forever — it was Aunt Donna that saved my sister from foster care. She dropped everything and ran to fight to keep my sister in the family. I always looked up to her and not just because she was radiant with the world’s perfect tan and not one hair was ever out of place. I looked up to her because she had a heart of gold and a bitingly funny sense of humor. Because she cared about everyone, but with her charismatic gruff exterior.

She gathered the family around her table like it was her job. She brought happiness into my life every time I saw her…and that is why I feel so terribly guilty for not being there to lay her to rest today. She was always there for me. Always.

But I’ve battled my demons all week, the same demons that I was trapped with as a child in this 40 year battle—my mom and my grandma. The four of us have gone around this circle for so long. I had to end it here. My mom has ruined every funeral she’s ever attended and even some that she didn’t attend…I absolutely could not risk being the reason for a scene at my Aunt Donna’s. I had to give my family the respect she deserves. All she ever wanted for me was to get out of that bullshit…So I will say goodbye to her in my own way. But in a way that she would appreciate, working on a crazy craft building set for my job. That’s the girl scout she made…

I love you so much, Aunt Donna. You are the fabric of every part of who I am.

Thank you for always saving me and for teaching me how to use a camera. It’s sooooo much of the person behind the lens. Thanks for lighting my life.

**This is one of my favorite moments. Clearly my exposure was off, but it’s still one of my favorite memories. Her photo and mine, with Uncle D over my shoulder. Forever.

Gold Dustfree Woman

I won an Emmy!!!???

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here's a thousand pictures of one of the craziest nights of my life! 

I'm so honored to have worked on this incredible story. It was also terrific to spend a little time getting to know Brian. And as he said,

“we’re tied together forever now!”


I couldn't be happier about least given the extremely unfortunate circumstances that brought us together. I'm proud of the three of us for turning fused and melted metal into gold.


* more and more photos *


Dun tah ta daaaa!

My new job is awesome. My work has been in Gizmodo, Newsweek and I’ve even had to set up a Google alert for myself!?!? But the greatest thing is that I feel pushed further with graphics than I ever really thought possible. I had started to feel a bit dull and bored with graphic creation because it started to feel hollow and meaningless. Churning out lifeless storyboards felt like a grind (other than the occasion amazing project as I mention below)... but now I’m constantly trying to actually learn and visualize extremely complicated science breakthroughs AND trying to figure out how to show them to the rest of the world. It is so challenging and I love it!!

Speaking of challenging — Cinema 4D. Whew, what a learning curve. I feel like I start to get it or at least the basics of it and how it all works and then feel like I have to start all over again the next time. I’m trying to get myself on a routine of working on it so the latency doesn’t keep hindering my progress. Luckily in the coming weeks I will have all sorts of reasons to hang out at in my new studio space and struggle through it. My new iMac PRO is arriving any moment and at that point I plan to bury myself in that studio and make some real progress.  

But before that, I will be attending the regional EMMY awards because...well, I’ve been nominated!!!! I’m still pretty much in shock. I really want the artist (who’s work I surgically animated) to win. I know that means that I would also win, but I don’t really care about that. The nomination is enough for me. He lost every-thing. That gold trophy won’t bring his stuff back, but it would certainly honor the struggle that he went through to not only survive, but to share it in a way that is so meaningful to so many people. I love love love that I had the opportunity to work on this project. It was painful to stare deep into the pixels of such pain in people’s lives, but it came at a time when I needed it, too. It took me out of my own free fall and forced me to care more about all of them. I am forever indebted. 


 This is me dressed (I hope for Halloween) as my uncle, a welder mechanic that taught me to make stuff. And gender is just a I can make it what I want.

This is me dressed (I hope for Halloween) as my uncle, a welder mechanic that taught me to make stuff. And gender is just a I can make it what I want.

Another dream to come from all of this is the opportunity to wear a tuxedo. It’s one of the only “men’s costumes” that I have yet to disrupt. I’ve always wanted to, but it just never lined up nor could I ever really afford it. Thanks to my guardian angel, Stanford, I will be rockin it tonight. And I never stray too far from my roots, so I’ll have my red accents shoutin’ #gostanford “on the runway.”  


It’s funny that I’ve married my crazy wife four times and have yet to wear a tux!! We even went to a startup Christmas party PROM and chose the 70’s leisure suit look instead. I was waiting for this moment...

wish him luck!🤞

Silent Movie Silent Film Title Card: Free Download

Back by very popular free silent movie title card!  

by Farrin N. Abbott, CopyCatFilms
by Farrin N. Abbott, CopyCatFilms


Please note: I am a professional video producer and I do not appreciate major brands, networks and professionals using my design WITHOUT crediting me as a source. You see, I created this design because there was a lack of available options. I spent many days getting it just right and as a result I decided that something so common should be widely available. I decided to share, asking for credit when used. I would also appreciate a comment with a link to your work. It's not required, but I would like to see the creative ways it has been used around the web.

And as many people have over the years, please feel free to ping with links of use that you discover, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (s2 ep9) -- I'M LOOKIN' at YOU. Have some class.

Also note, I am not interested in helping you format this for a powerpoint or changing any feature--unless of course you are looking to hire me. I'm sorry but that's just reality.

Here are the links to download. And here is the link from 2010 with lots of creative examples where it's been used. Thank you all for sharing and making the internet a creative and inspiring place to work!

Photoshop Versions (AE version is too big for hosting these days):

Silent Movie Title HD

Silent Movie The End Title Card HD

Silent Movie The END Title Card NTSC DV Widescreen

With respect,

Farrin N. Abbott CopyCatFilms

Diving Back Into JavaScript

Never thought I'd say that again, but here I go... In times of transition and change, I like to consume my thoughts with learning new shit. Perhaps that's why I have so many crazy skills that I pull together in weird ways? Anyway, I've done a lot with website design and html5 building over the years -- most were all related to a video experience of some sort. Clickable choose your own adventures and such.

But a few weeks ago, I was talking with a few amazing people about the future of education and my spark for coding was reignited.  I'd like to dive into Unity, but for now I'm going to see this out with JavaScript. I've made it so far and I really think JS helps a lot with After Effects expressions. I just don't want to build a crappy website as part of an online project. So I won't.

Maybe I'll find a reasonable bootcamp. Maybe I won't. Maybe I'll just learn straight from the damn books -- just as I have with everything else.

When I was young, I remember everyone in my family talking about one of my cousins that never played tennis (a faux pas in my family) so he read a book about it and immediately became one of the strongest players. It kinda blew my mind and changed my perspective.

Eons ago, I printed out the entire Final Cut Pro manual and learned video editing front to back using that giant binder. Worked for him and it worked for me. I haven't stopped self teaching myself since.

...And hey...we spent Christmas in Paris this year. How amazing is that???


the Sandman

This is a very personal story that gets to some of my roots. If you're interested in reading more of this story, I would turn to the internet. There's enough clues... I don't think we hear about the side of prison life from children going to prisons. I've watched in shock as the media and hollywood fell into the pit of prison life infatuation, romanticization or whatever you want to call it. I realize that people are trying to shed light on concerns that incarcerated people are treated unfairly and something should be done about it. Don't get me wrong, I applaud the intention. But I grew up seeing the world quite the opposite. I grew up going to prisons every weekend to visit someone. Life seemed better for them on the inside. It was bad for us when they were gone. My grandma would cry daily and work herself to the bone to send them money for "necessities." I was never allowed to join the school band even though I was obsessed with music. Instruments were too expensive. Holidays were sad and uncelebrated.

It was even worse when they returned. They would come home to large neighborhood parties with more stuff than I ever had -- tv's, fans, posters, music collections...and after only a short time they would have sold their stuff off for drugs or cash and turned to taking what little I had. My walkmans were turned into tattoo guns. My nintendos pawned for drugs.

They came back looking healthy, well rested and more muscled and bulkier than ever. Their release days were the darkness of my childhood.

This is just one of those "release days" that I wanted to tell. It was a way to get it off my chest, but as a result I really learned a lot about my mom during the making of this animation. I realize that I would have fallen right into this trap. He was like her Stevie Nicks -- shining up there on stage. A dream come to life, for her. And I realize that her life has just been absolute shit. None of it was my fault, but I'm sorry. I will always love her and always feel that it is my job to protect her. This is where that feeling started.


----------------------------------- Technical stuff: I wanted to make an animation project using my ipad and photoshop for a change, so I did. It started as an audio podcast, but I felt that it needed some visuals. It was meant to be quick and fast, but turned into months of work. Limited free time, moved to San Francisco and kind of a long piece to animate.

Animation, Sound and Design: Farrin N. Abbott


A Couple Rebel Top Gun Pilots Flying in San Francisco

It's been a rather exciting few months around here. We set up some homemade dynamite and turned our lives upside down, gave up the huge loft in the cushy suburbs and found an amazing (smaller) apartment in San Francisco. I should add that we NEVER have a hard time finding a place when we want to, but SF is an entirely different beast. I know everyone says that, but we went through everything to get this place. We lost $800 on an apartment and we spent our lives to get settled. It was FULL of challenges. One of the biggest challenges was fitting our giant apartment of stuff down into (still a large apartment for San Francisco but) a much smaller place. It was the most stressful and secretly exciting part for me. I love a design challenge and my life is my top design priority. Mariela was amazingly patient during the whole process. She talked to me about dining room tables until she fell into a daytime coma about it. Surprisingly, it was after the table was completely standing in our dining room! She really stuck it out with me. The most wonderful thing she did was to make a giant 11x17 to-scale printout of our new apartment floorplan. It really melted my heart. Most people would think, big fuckin deal. But it really showed how much she cared and how much she really knows how my crazy mind works about this shit.  She even painstakingly helped me make to-scale paper versions of our couch, bed, desk and fantasy dining room table options!!! That's love.

I went to work designing and planning like a madman for the next month. I reconfigured the layouts a million times and the day we moved in -- my plan was completely in motion. I knew where everything needed to go and it was brilliant. It IS brilliant. Our apartment is finally done and it's time for a party!!!

I'm sensitive to my surroundings. I can only get to my creative zone in a creative environment. I've worked myself stupid to achieve that. I never forget where I came from -- a tiny, crumbling shack of cockroaches. My environment is important, perhaps a little too much. But I firmly believe in living for right now because tomorrow may never happen.

Never dreamed that we would end up in San Francisco though! It feels like a dream and I'm scared to wake up. And then I wake up to floor-to-ceiling windows! I'm so grateful for the chances I've been given and the fact that I've leapt onto them at every opportunity. It's the one thing about my unstoppable Granny that I always didn't like -- she doesn't handle change well at all. She fights it tooth and nail. I've always tried to embrace change. I owe that to Mariela. She's the leaper in our family and she pushes me to jump.

We've changed so much during the 16 years together that we're almost unrecognizable from when we met. Somehow we always manage to change and morph around each other. Sure, there have been mistakes and veers off path, but we find our way back to the sea (as Stevie says).


So now our home studio is alive and well and I'm not fussing over bookcases and dining room tables anymore. I've been focusing my energy on an animation project that I hope to finish this week. But I always get upset and restless when I start to finish a project, like "what's next??" "is there anything else that I can do?" "where do I funnel energy now?"...

It's silly really, I have about 500 projects going at once right now at work. But I'm constantly looking for that path. I know I'll find it if I just keep going. Interests are not my problem, I have about a 100 things I want to learn right now. I just have a hard time figuring out where I should narrowly focus my attention because there are sooooo many things I want to do.

  • I want to get our podcast going again, like regularly.
  • I want to focus on photography again.
  • I want to edit our Europe footage together.
  • I want to tell more stories with animation.
  • So do I dive back into character animator? Maybe that's a great plan for the next stroll down memory lane...

I also need to dive into some code and fix this website theme, upgrade or move everything to SquareSpace...? I'm just not convinced that it can handle all the customizations of Wordpress. I always feel like it's a platform for people that have no idea how to code html or css. Obviously from everything that I've said just in this post you can tell I like a lot of control. :-/

Anyway, I've rambled on enough with this overall life update. These are a few of my favorite photos and events of the past few months, getting settled in San Francisco:

  • Roomba busted up the 18 year old RENT poster frame and carried around shards of glass for a few hours, thoroughly terrorizing the kitties.


  • The amazing dining room table that we finally bought on our 16th anniversary. I love sitting right next to my espresso machine, working for hours facing a floor-to-ceiling window. We've come a long way, together.
Bliss: Working so close to my espresso machine
SF is so dramatic, I love it.
  • Drag shows are our favorite past-time. We made Rupaul Drag Race Watch Parties a part-time job. Here are some hilarious pictures of our adventures. Talking to Eureka was probably my personal highlight. I love her because she's fierce and hilarious.
  • And I have to say, I was actually terrified at the final showing of Peaches Christ Showgirls! It took me 10 years to make it to a showing. She never disappoints. Only in San Francisco would you find yourself running from a drag show in fear! I love you, Peaches. (Please let me redo your website and work with you on media projects. ♥)

Chrome Niko Camera Bag Sling In Action

I'm so thoroughly impressed with the Chrome Niko Camera Bag sling that I bought over a year ago that I absolutely have to share. I've used it more lately, and especially most recently for our gigantic European adventure over the Christmas and New Years holiday to London, Paris and Madrid. It was my only bag used for the 3 week trip (with a small rolling suitcase that held my laptop). It held absolutely everything that I needed and actually made the long haul home even better by protecting some beautiful artwork by a Parisian street artist! I am just blown away by how much it held, how great it worked, how the buckle made it easy to snap around the pull arm of my luggage...seriously incredible. This small camera bag is a must have for anyone traveling with camera equipment:


ITEMS CARRIED, at the same time:

  • Joby DSLR Tripod
  • iPad Pro w/Apple Pencil (yay even the cap survived!)
  • Over the ear headphones
  • small moleskine reporter w/blackwing
  • gloves (flip over mittens with fingerless!)
  • Canon 60D
  • Shure Lenshopper DSLR shotgun (mounted!)
  • Osmo Mobile Gimbal (LOVE this thing!!!!)
  • Canon 24mm pancake lens
  • Zeiss 35mm lens
  • analog pencil case & sharpener
  • Peak Design camera strap (must have)
  • lens cloths
  • all the power cords ever (iphone, Apple Watch, Osmo, headphone)
  • charger and extra 60D battery
  • 2TB hard drive
  • California bear hat
  • Art from an adorable little man drawing along the river in Paris, outside of the Louvre.

The only small note is that I would like to see the heavy seatbelt Chrome buckle in black or even a smaller version for this bag--it got me stopped at several boarding gates because it makes the bag seem larger when over the shoulder because the chrome seatbelt is very prominent. They now offer a camo version with the black buckle but I would like the black on black option, I'm not into carrying camo at the airport, or really anywhere for that matter.


Coming Out of the Darkness with Art


Website is busted, again. I like to think of it as another robot in my life...roomba, hue lights, sonos...wordpress! I'm not losing another weekend to trying to fix our portfolio. I have another site for that anyway. It seems to work flawlessly, thanks Tumblr. I'm proud of myself for getting our podcast feed working again! We're terrible about making them and that's the only way to be successful at it, I know. But that's not our goal. Each one is a success to me. This is all a longer story, put together in various pieces of media. I won't limit myself to one. --But I've been inspired, a lot lately by a few remarkable podcasters and that does make me want to do them a little more frequently. However, I am trying to get a really long video edit done before we leave for EUROPE! I want to finish it for many reasons. Namely, my travel hard drive needs to be free!

The edit probably won't happen though. I have about a million things to do before we fly around the world. The point of this post is that I want to say what a horribly hard couple of weeks it has been for many of us. I've only found solitude in art. I look to artists to say the things that need to be said and with our support, they will. So support local art and artists!Support public media and real news sources. I am so saddened by the recent Pew research that said most people get their news from Facebook that I haven't even been able to return. There has to be more for us. I don't know about you, but I don't want my news curated by childhood friends from my hometown. Do you?

Don't get me wrong, I really miss hearing updates about the people in my life that are scattered through time and huge distances. The separation has added to the darkness of the days. But I don't want my worldview shaped by a tech company setup to share college stories on campus. I lived #startuplife and it's not for me. (A wonderful life experience, but it ain't me.) I've enjoyed trying to immerse myself in local culture and art, as part of my job, but it's so fulfilling for my life. What an incredible opportunity. California is more than I could have dreamed and we dreamed about it for more than 10 years!

I'm a Capricorn though. I like to be absorbed in work and the more I work, the more it all becomes a melding of what I love to do with my days anyway.  Speaking of, I bought the best book about hand lettering recently. I'll write more about that later. It's kind of for work, but I'll be sure to share any horribly drawn lettering projects here! :) I am a sucker for an artists story--the passion, the drive, the determination to never give up. It fills my heart with drive. I need to fill my wallet with money so I can afford font making software...where's the open source!?

We attended an art event at the Embarcadero last night. Well, it was really a maker event -- people building really cool shit with crazy tools. It was terrific! We are so anxious to move to the city now. There's so much to do. The opportunities are endless. But I have some anxiety about leaving this gloriously soft life. It's a process that is going to take me some getting used to. Until then, I will continue to hack Waze to give me the rich people routes to the city. I'm serious. They route me to 101 every day, but I can beat their time by taking 280...stop pandering to the Teslas and let me drive! I'm Waze royalty damn't!

Speaking of royalty, if you're in the market for a good show about a woman's rise to power and a country that supported her, please check out Netflix's The Crown! That gave me a lot of comfort about the state of women (in other countries anyway). Great Britain has had something like 6 or 9 queens...I'm scared I'm going to love London too much...*God save the queen!

*whatever God that you may or may not believe in.

Strange Times

The point of this - the whole reason I’m writing this is just to tell you to get high and go see Dr. Strange.


After the most atrocious thing ever to happen to America, getting baked and watching a trippy film just sounds like a good solid idea, doesn't it? Really cuts through the “what did we do wrong, who’s to blame?, things are going to be the worst, what is he DOING?, maybe he’s alright, let’s give him a chance" soundbite journalism that has taken over our wretched lives.
We'll be raided again!

"A mean nasty republican town."


Instead of listening to any more junk journalism, just go to the movies. You’re much better off.


After this fiasco, LinkedIn really started a daily news feature and bogus stories are already getting shared. This is the current state of affairs: Headlines for you, courtesy of a job board-business card-networking in a box social site. It’s bad. So just ignore it.
[Cool news jobs in your area - just share this story!]


I haven’t gone on the big one since the election, shhhh. In the interest of full disclosure I did share some Michael Moore from another site and I think I shared a petition (but I might not have). So it’s officially been almost two weeks since I’ve been in the bubble. Feels good. On a similar note I’m on juice cleanse and everything is starting to feel better there too.


I needed the cleanse because we poisoned ourselves with gin on Tuesday. Everyone in America drank on Election night didn’t they? I don’t even drink (other than margaritas with food and the occasional fancy cocktail with ‘sour’ in the name) and I tried to keep up with F on Gin & Tonics as the states were called. Neither of us had eaten and things were looking grim on TV. Our only food was salad I had picked up earlier so I tried to eat it. Not great but I powered through. Things got bad in our house as they got worse on TV. F mysteriously disappeared during my prayers for Michigan.

She came back much later, but still before Michigan was called and she said she needed a shower, but she couldn’t use my shower? No, definitely not come upsairswithmeIneedaquickshower. So I did and Michigan and Pennsylvania still hadn’t been called and there was still hope for this country but there was no hope for my shower. My toilet was untouched and my shower looked like a salad shooter riot of dark pieces of kale and carrot sticks stuck to every surface. I started feeling sick from the gin and puked in the toilet. Before I flushed I looked at the scene - completely disgusting.

 Vom everywhere: a foreshadowing.


what have we done???


We passed out, woke up abruptly at 1am, learned the awful truth, bitched, went upstairs and left my shower until morning.

The only good thing that came out of the election was legalization of recreational marijuana.

And what better way to celebrate than to go on a little visual escape. F doesn’t generally do movies, but this was IMAX 3D and I basically spent $47 dollars on tickets a week before, so we had to go. I gathered up all of our weed: smokable, vapable, and edible and met her in the city. We ate cannabis cotton candy (see my secret weed tumblr where I review this awesome stuff) and cannabis chocolate espresso beans and I vaped Pax but F is still too paranoid to vape in the city because “it’s still illegal to do on the street."  No, I am not kidding you.


It’s still out. It’s still playing in 3D right now and if I had any friends that liked to do that sort of thing, I would go again and again and pay ridiculously high prices for seats that vibrate and compare the 3D to 2D and catch all the little easter eggs. But I don’t. So you should go see Dr. Strange and get really high. You’ll thank yourself.



especially if you can't emigrate right now.


Uber for the Rest of Us

Okay, it's time for some real talk about the uber infestation of the world.But first, let me go on record saying that I am all for the sharing economy. I love AirBnB, I take uber and Lyft as often as I can. I share my own creative works to be reused and spread around the world...


Settling In-PR Dreams

Well life is once again a whirlwind and half the time I think I'm still dreaming, but then I wake up on the highway and realize I'm driving one of the most beautiful roads in the country on my way to SAN FRANCISCO...again!!! Yeah, I just finished my first month at...are you ready for this: a TV & Radio station! Don't worry I'm not on TV (yet) but I have an amazing new job doing what I love -- media production. But I'm not writing about my job. I just want to write about the fact that I was told not to chase my dreams in media production. It was never malicious or hurtful, it was real, solid, sound, careful advice that I should pursue something that would enable me to find stable work. The truth is, I wouldn't be here without that stable solid education that I will be literally indebted to until the day I die! But it was never what I wanted to do and that's okay too. It made me have to really work for my media making skills and I'm grateful. I'm grateful that I didn't spend 4 years studying a medium that would change by the time I graduated. I've seen too many "classically trained" filmmakers rest back on their education like it's a card to never have to learn anything new again. Well wake up, this is a digital medium changing faster than software. This isn't the history of the Ming Dynasty...No, I'm actually really glad I studied a whole range of stuff that still interests me. I didn't study one thing.  I spent the longest amount of time in engineering and the skills that I took from that are absolutely invaluable.  The systems and processes thinking and problem solving curiosity never leave. But all along the way I've been trying to tell stories with new mediums and I'm never going to stop.

I spend a lot of Saturday nights working on silly graphics and production workflows but I know that eventually it's going to give me exactly what I want:

  • freedom to work at home in my studio
  • a house with an amazing private pool (think Chelsea Handler's pool)
  • a new black convertible Porsche (911 Carrera, not a Boxster).

I know, it's the little things in life, right... --But wait. Before you go judging me just remember that I grew up an orphan in a cockroach invested shack in a terrible neighborhood. My grandma used to work her hands to the bone for pennies left from your pizza tables. We lived hand-to-mouth every single day. I'm not sorry for wanting more. I work for it. I'll never quit working for it.

By the way, here's the damn puppet that I worked on forever until one day I just decided I was going to write a script and produce something with it and I just did it! So glad I did.

Stranger Storytelling

I'm sorry but I really don't get the fascination with Stranger Things. I think it was just an algorithmic assessment of what we should all like and find novel from the 80's slapped together in a terribly shoddy storyline with an obnoxiously screaming Winona Ryder...made by a couple of guys that had only just been born at the time it was set. We didn't say douchebag, we didn't chill in cars, we didn't have cordless phones in poor homes in the Midwest just yet, fellas.  Shame on you, Netflix. Do your research and stop marketing this kind of quasi-storytelling. But smooth move using a Stephen King font and almost making it look like its his name in the intro. Clearly it's working. (For some.)

Now go back and pay rights to Stand By Me, E.T., Stephen King, Stephanie Powers (that mom!?)...the list, I'm sure was generated for you before this even began.

Illustrator Storyboard Template Download

I love finding holes in the internet that I can fill. I searched for an Illustrator template after discovering that is precisely what keeps causing me such huge delays in the design process when moving to After Effects.  In my efficient obsessions, I keep trying to skip that step and then my projects immediately become:

  • a tangled web of graphic files that are hard to visualize at one time
  • impossible to create a more cohesive style
  • hard to reuse elements

Sure I create color schemes and burn through post-its like a monster, but I want to be able to see them all together.  I know others do this and quite well I should add, but I've really been researching the workflow of others as well as my own and realized today that I just keep skipping it...

So this is my new workflow plan:



Anyway, I decided to make a 1080p video size animation Storyboard Template for Illustrator to force myself into this habit from now on. Thought I'd share.  Maybe someone will find it instead of spending their Saturday night formatting a grid with script notes!

If anyone finds this helpful, I'll be back with an update on using a variation on this workflow to work with Keynote animation projects...soon.

By the way, I put the scripts on one layer and backgrounds and swatches also on their own layers in the template setup so that the export to After Effects or split to their own files will make it all a little cleaner. That is THE goal in this life, right.

Use the Illustrator export "Save as" feature to split the artboards into individual scene files to make animation within After Effects possible (because the damn dynamic link is still 10 years away from dynamic).

Cheers, F



I almost never go to the doctor, preferring to work it out for myself with the sage wisdom of plenty of liquids and letting nature run it's course. When that doesn't do it, I also enjoy practicing medicine on myself and others who will let me until I get it right. Who doesn't? medievalfolk-medicine

This week, though, I finally gave in to the medical industrial complex because I have this thing happening in my ears that won't go away. It feels like voodoo or someone won't shut the fuck up about me - burning like hellfire and itching deeper than anything should itch - so I gave up and went to the doctor.

And wouldn't you know, this doc in her glossy clinic (that also has it's own app) prescribed. folk. medicine.  They had an assistant wash my ears out with a warm spray solution of H2O. I was then instructed to go get some vinegar, mix with water and douche my ears out every day with a syringe you can get from the baby aisle. I got some drops too. They are for your eyes, but you can use them for your ears.  Note: Cannot be prescribed vice-versa.


It is any real surprise that in my old age I just want to move to the English countryside and run a little surgery where I can practice medicine myself? Maybe join a ladies guild or something...


Little Red Riding Hound

I came across an old file recently that really made me laugh. It was all of the original photos and page layouts that I created sometime in high school...???  We had a lot of labradors around at the time and decided that we needed to recreate a story with them, for some bizarre and hilarious reason.  So we dressed them up and used real film to take the story photos we needed.  My sister and cousin were instrumental in wrangling and dressing various dogs and struggling through setups.  MD encouraged me and my weird storytelling need, as usual. So since I found all of the originals and I miss my labradors, I decided to whip them together and learn the basics of Adobe Muse at the same time...because I'm a nerd and that's fun for me. Yeah, here she is:

Little Red Riding Hound



Molly was not your typical Labrador. She was a plus-sized model. Fact.

Viewmaster Remastered (for Download)

I had a crazy idea that I needed a Viewmaster slide for a lil video project. I started digging through our collection because of course, we have quite a collection. Not very surprising really. Anyway, the scanner let me down (bright colors, no texture) so I rigged up a viewmaster slide on a tripod. Took a picture. Composited out all the pieces I needed...and decided to share it, just in case others need it for similar random creative projects.  And as usual, if you use it, I'd love a credit and share the link with me. I love seeing something I've made, in action in other projects:

Jem Viewmaster slide


DOWNLOAD Template PSD and Viewmaster Slide Sound (recorded from a vintage metal viewmaster)

City Museum

My favorite quote lately is Mariela saying:

"I don't workout very often because my gym is halfway across the country."

City Museum in St. Louis is her "favorite place on earth" and absolutely my favorite place in the Midwest.

We met in St. Louis. I went to school there. And I learned about art, history, culture and people by going there often in high school, courtesy of M-Dog. It's a magical place for us.  It was so fun spending the day with M-Dog at "Willy Wonka's Junkyard," recently:

Pro Tip: Knee pads are a GAME CHANGER.

**All of the images used in this video are taken with our own cameras -- even the Viewmaster slide, which I will share soon for anyone out there needing it for their own weird media projects.

Thanksgivable Thoughts

Last week, I spent the day at a winery, got drunk on the best wine I've ever had— (and I've Christmas'ed at the fucking Ritz. No joke.) ...went to an after (read: pajama) party with hilarious new people, convinced my lady to go to ikea!!! Made it all fit and could still (barely) shift! Had a Bloody Mary brunch in the sun. ("First assholes there.") Life feels then why and the hell am I always waiting for the other shoe to drop? Well, November is a time to give thanks, so I'm gonna start a mind dump. You're always a loser if you never celebrate the victories:

  • Mariela always believes in me. It doesn't matter what it is—she's there to cheer for me. "She makes me think I can do things that I can't—yet."
  • I'm thankful for the life we've built together and for the adventures that always bring us closer, finding our way back, trackin ghosts through the fog...there are no words for our bond.
  • The stories! Our stories are our children. "We're married to music." It saves my soul. "In my darkest hour..."
  • She sees me in a way that no one else does. She's blind to gender, but loves whatever I am...
  • I'm thankful for the way her hair and cleavage catch the light just right...creeper, yes. But I'm a photographer, c'mon that's obvious!
  • I really appreciate that she just lets me decorate the shit out of everything...even though it drives her crazy to go to ikea. —She does! Once in a while...
  • I'm so lucky that I found The Abbotts. My life has been a remarkable whirlwind since. They'll never know the real opportunities they've afforded me on this journey of trying to grow up. I love seeing them. In all shapes and configurations. Our visit to Chicago included one of the best brunches with the Abbotts. We laughed (mostly at Mariela) until we were sick. They appreciate her almost as much as I do...❤️
  • My friends. Both old and new. Where would I be without you? You're the real fighters. The true allegiance. You've been able to stick through it with me, at my worst—only because you make me my best. I feel like I've been on a tour of friends lately and it was such a great ride. Thanks for all the laughs and phenomenal stories and fun (and drinks).
  • I'm so grateful to California...accepting us with open arms at a time when we really needed it. That includes some short, but very meaningful, relationships. I'll carry the lessons you taught me. I'll pay forward all the greatness you brought to my life. They were noticed.
  • I'm grateful to have a meaningful job that challenges me to keep leaping for the stars. I love startup culture because it challenges me to my very foundation. It's so exciting for someone like me.
  • My past and the women that made me strong. You saved my life with your examples of strength and courage.
  • The worthless men that showed me how things should be different...and to the few good men that proved it.
  • My beautiful amazing dream car...every day when I walk up to that car, I'm thankful. (Even more thankful when the turbocharger kicks in and it whines like a beast!)
  • And especially for all the interesting people out here that want to do things differently and that want to see how others are doing it even more differently. I'm so lucky to be here at all...

And that's why, I try myself into the ground. Cuz I don't want to ever let any of you down.

I know I do, but we get through... Thanks for staying on this crazy road.

Mariela still "brings me to my knees." I'm so thankful that she just walked right into my life and refuses to leave. A true rarity in a world of fleeting connections.

Her and Adele just be sayin: