IRELAND! - Teaching a Seminar and Seeing the Sights!

 

I'm back in Canada after having an amazing time in Dublin, Ireland!

I was asked by the FAS / Screen Training Ireland centre to create a 3-Day Advanced Animation Seminar for Industry professionals. The seminar was really well received. The students all had different areas of focus, so I adjusted the course 'on the fly' to adapt to each of their needs.

I had many professional examples and lessons prepared covering all areas of Flash Animation. Character Animation, Expression Changes, Dialogue and Posing, Special Effects design and Techniques, Prop and Character Design, Camera tricks, and all sorts of professional "Tricks of the Trade".

 

You can read more about the seminar in the new "Seminars"

section of this site, at the following link:

SEMINAR - Advanced Character Animation in Adobe Flash - Dublin, Ireland

 

The course was very well received, and many other studios are interested in having me train their employees in-studio. I also had the pleasure of meeting several studio owners and talking about the industry there.  I am very impressed with what I saw and enjoyed seeing the behind the scenes.

The first 5 days of my time in Dublin were focused on the course and providing the best seminar I could. On the last day, everyone joined me for a pint afterwards. We all made sure to say a proper goodbye and make professional connections online before parting ways.

 

The next day was the first day to really see Ireland... and what better than to head to the hills in Howth, Ireland! It was a perfect weather day with the most amazing ocean view, and high-cliff hiking trails... only a 30 minute drive away from downtown Dublin. Every view was a work of art. I took so many pictures that day. Thanks to my friend, Anna for showing me the sights!

 

Over the course of the week, I saw a lot of Dublin on Foot. Enjoying live street musicians, great little shops and cafes, going to pubs.

Here's a video I recorded of the amazing guitar and vocal talents of Sara Lou, one of Dublin's up-and-coming musicians performing live on Grafton Street.  She does an amazing acoustic version of "Billie Jean" by Michael Jackson.

...and her cover of the song "She Said" by "Plan B". I bought a CD from her guitar case before wishing her well, and moving on. I've sent her copies of these videos and they're already creating quite an excitement from her fans.

There were so many great street musicians... playing everything from trumpets, drums, tin flutes, accordians... to complete 3 and 5 piece rock bands with amps. Several pubs offered live guitar and violin music in the Grand Irish tradition. On every street, I noticed just how many musical instrument stores there were in Dublin... that really says something about the culture there.

 

One night, I ended up at a club and was invited to sit with some people in the VIP section. One of the guys I was hanging out with, was Felim Gormley, who is the actor / musician who played the Saxophone player "Dean" in the 1991 movie, "The Commitments". This club is where all the rock stars hang out when they're in Dublin. There was an area in the back corner of the VIP section that is reserved at all times for Bono of U2.  Unfortunately, Bono didn't show up that night... (he was there 2 weeks prior I was told)... but when he didn't show I made sure to get a picture sitting in his spot!

 

After touring my friend John's studio, "JAM Media"... he invited me to his company's 10th anniversary party.  It was on the friday after I was suppose to fly back home, so I got on the phone with the travel agent and switched the flight... buying me an extra 4 days in Dublin!  I am so glad I did, as it was great to celebrate this milestone with John and his team.  They know how to throw quite a party!  I was also thrilled to meet up with some former Fox Animation collegues at the party.  It has been over 12 years since I saw them. Thanks again to John, for the invite!

 

With my extra days, I also made time to see incredible original art like Albrecht Durer etchings at the Chester Beattie Library, and old original paintings and etchings at the National Art Gallery.  I found myself stumbling upon "Dublin Castle" which is literally in the middle of a parking lot in a city-government area.  After a few tourists left, I had the whole inside church to myself, and took many many photos of the amazing hand-carved architecture and stained glass.

I had such a great time in Dublin, it was hard to leave... but all good things must come to an end, I guess.  My flight(s) home were a long trip, only to return to a snowy blizzard... which thankfully has been replaced with warmer spring-like weather.

I won't soon forget my time over there... in fact, it may not be long before I return there again. Ireland is an amazing place and there's a lot more to explore.

~ Mike