Saturday, July 30, 2016

Yay for Sarah May: Self Help for Animators

Sarah Bates' 2007 FLiP article "Animation Brat" was reposted the other day as a precursor to this brand spanking new interview with her, where she talks about her latest online venture, Yay With Me. Sarah has been doing a self-help blog and podcast called Help Me Be Me that is so fantastic, it has prompted me out of my widower's funk and refueled my interest in old passions like FLiP.  "Self Help for Animators" is a bit of a misnomer; her blog is not aimed at animators specifically. But it does touch on many emotional and psychological issues creatives wrestle with daily.

FLiP: What prompted you to create  Yay With Me?

Sarah: Back in 2010 while I was writing commercial scripts and shooting spec spots, Zooey Deschanel asked me to contribute to Hello Giggles, a pop-culture site for women which she and two other savvy gals were about to launch. She’s my best friend since kindergarten, so I immediately said yes though I didn’t know what I was going to do about the content. My first thought was, “I’ll just be hilarious and Tina Fey will hire me on 30 Rock.” I thought my blog would be the perfect forum for promoting myself as a comedy writer – I pictured Tina Fey running across a shoot-out and immediately sending me a plane ticket. That is… until I started writing blogs.

In my opinion – there’s so much fluff out there that is of no value to the world and I didn’t want to make more of it – in other words, listicles are not my style. I started asking myself, first – what do I have to offer strangers that’s of unique value, which as it turned out – was the most important learning I’ve done for myself. Hence, the current content I create for Hello Giggles – a blog called Teaspoon of Happy.

Once I started thinking in terms of value, the blog became about translating the greatest learning I’ve done in my life – all of which came through hardship.  That insight – I call it “the why,” - is what I try to give to audiences, because truly it’s the missing link to making change of any kind.  You just have to be able to understand what caused the symptom and then you can figure out the solutions.  More importantly, you can forgive yourself because you can finally see it’s not your fault, you’re not broken – the blocks you are hitting are the same ones I’d hit, if I lived your exact life experience. Success comes from having the right tools, and a lot of us haven’t been given the right ones from our own lives.  Plus, a lot of the catalysts for stuck-ness are painful, complicated, and layered, so I take them apart and make them understandable – in my own words (A lot of them are cuss words).  I do a lot of research, but I learned the majority of what I preach through personal experience – including years of therapy with an amazing psychologist that I can’t thank enough.  If this were an Oscar ceremony I’d thank Dr. Sharon Flynn – she gave me a gift I can never repay.  And if you’re in the LA area – she’s practicing!  I highly recommend her to anyone who needs to do some self-work.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Animation Brat

The following is a re-post of one of my favorite articles from the old format FLiP, from 2007.  Enjoy! - Steve

by Sarah May Bates

advertising art director/copywriter/voice-over/commercial actress, and former “animation brat”.

When asked to write this, I have to admit I had no idea what the term “animation brat” meant. Animation and animators are really all I’ve ever known and are still a central inspiration and influence in my life. I grew up with “cool” parents, but when you’re a kid, you don’t know that kind of thing. It was just normal to me. For context, my mom is Carolyn Bates (former BG artist at Fred Calvert, Xerox checker at H&B, moved up from Duck Soup Ink & Paint to Disney producer), and my dad is Nick Bates (Vis FX supervisor at Pepper Films in Los Angeles)*. Everything cool about me stems from my parents, which in certain social spheres, I don’t necessarily cop to. My first exposure to Miyazaki, John K, Tim Burton, classic Sam Raimi - my parents. I was always inspired to draw, be weird, create.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Steve Speaks!

I was honored recently to be interviewed for The Tiara Talk Show, a podcast series created by Tammy Tuckey.  The show is about all things Disney, though it is not a Disney production.  Since its premiere in August of 2013, Tammy has done 103 interviews, with the likes of Debbie Reynolds, Ed Asner, Don Hahn, Jerry Rees, Gary Trousdale, and now me.  Slow news week, I guess.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Nancy Beiman: "No Longer Proud" To Be An Academy Member

Photo: Gary Krueger.
Nancy Beiman, supervising animator at Disney, Professor at Sheridan, and friend of FLiP, has told the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences that she is "No Longer Proud to Be a Member of This Organization". 

Nancy announced her intention to resign her membership following the new rules which have been hastily introduced following accusations of racism in the current roster of Oscar nominees.