We all wonder about the road we didn’t take. I’m sure you readers have thought about this yourself from time to time.
I always wanted to do something creative with my life. I tried making it as a writer and failed at that in a major way. In school, I actually wrote poetry but it was never published. I also auditioned for a puppeteer troupe while in high school; I was summarily rejected for that. The rejection destroyed me inside and sadness filled me for days. Looking back at that, it’s probably just as well – I know people who work with puppets (like the famous Rapid T. Rabbit and Friends of New York City) and it is NOT easy.
In college, I actually tried to apply for Blue Man Group! In my final semester at Baruch College, notices were posted for Blue Man Group looking for new talent. I wanted to try out, but never even made it. It turned out I was too short (you had to be about five foot ten to even be considered).
But did you know what I really planned to do?
I wanted to be a stop-motion animator. Yes, I wanted to make stop-motion films for a living. I had grown up watching Gumby, the works of Will Vinton and the 1993 movie “The Nightmare Before Christmas”. To be honest, the art of animation was incredibly fascinating to me. It was neat to have a small model come to life through the magic of film. I began to investigate more about animation at my local library – which was the Ridgewood branch of the Queens Library of New York. I found many books that talked about animation such as Make Your Animated Films and Videotapes and The Animation Book by Kit Laybourne. The whole process fascinated me and I read those books many times.
So you’re all probably wondering why I never took that road. Why didn’t I become an animator? Well, money was a big issue. The big problem was that if I were to become an animator, I’d have to hire help. With comics, it’s easy to keep things a one-man operation. For animation, I’d need people to help in constructing sets, building models, and operating equipment. And as for the films I could have made? They would have to be sold somewhere. Who know if any TV station, movie theater or home video distributor would have taken a chance on my material?
I have no regrets in choosing to create Sunnyville Stories. But I do wonder what would have been if I chose to become an animator. I wonder about the road not taken.