Saturday, February 13, 2010

Home is where the heart is

First off, I wanna say: Hi family and Jami!! Thanks for reading my blog. haha. Also, thanks to my 40+ subscribers! Yall are so nice for being interested in my college program. Thanks so much.

Secondly, for the past couple of days I've been struggling with keeping up with my schoolwork from home. I'm taking two classes: College Algebra which starts in a couple of days and Creative Writing: Memoir which I've had for a month. Not only do I not really have the time for the work load required for these classes, but my memoir class is making me incredibly homesick because I have to write about my life outside of Disney in great detail. It makes me miss my family so very much. Its also difficult explaining Austin, my hometown, to guests when they ask where I'm from. Before I came here, I honestly could not wait to get the hell out of dodge. I love my family and friends but I needed a change desperately. Here, I have that change and its amazing the difference it makes in my overall feeling of accomplishment in life. I don't feel as stuck here. I feel like I'm actually moving forward in something, as opposed to just doing the same thing day in and day out.  I feel like I'm actually developing a talent, photography, as well as developing my social skills. I'm a pretty outgoing person in general but I think I got so comfortable at home that I stopped progressing and in the end, I wasn't gaining anything. Its really hard being away from home and I want to go visit so terribly, but at the same time, there are days where I feel like I could stay here forever. I'm incredibly torn and I wish they'd just build a Disneyland in Texas already.

My step-sister Kayla is getting married in the first week of April and I got a couple days off from work approved and booked my flight home. Its still two months away but its better than the three months I have left before I move back home.

I wish money weren't an issue and I could just fly home next week to see everyone.
Such is the price you pay for moving away I guess,

Miss you my dearest friends and family <3

Monday, February 8, 2010

Love in the Hundred Acre Wood

So Wednesday, when I said I was working in the UK with Pooh and Tigger, I didn't end up doing that. They put me back in Future World. SO, yesterday I finally made my way there and I absolutely love it back there.

Basically, you meet Tigger and Winnie the Pooh in the back of this tiny toy store in the corner of the UK pavilion, so people hardly know its there and just happen to walk into the store, see a character attendant and a photographer, walk around the corner and BAM! there's Winnie the Pooh and Tigger too. They have it roped off so the attendant just lets one family in at a time and its amazing having the meet and greet set up like that because the families can take their time, which makes it fun for everyone and makes for great photo ops. A few more pluses of the location: its inside, they play the Mary Poppins soundtrack, and three or four times a day The British Invasion play Beatles covers right outside the exit doorway. Plus Pooh is adorable and Tigger is hilarious.

And the room, oh the room! I absolutely adore it. It has my DREAM library feel. Its amazing. I'll have to take pictures and post them. Ah, it wisks me into day dreams just thinking about it.

Additionally, on our big break during the day, Tigger's best friend said "I just wanted to let you know that you're a really good photographer. You were getting all kinds of really great candid shots and you were very helpful during the set. Thanks so much!". Aw shucks Tig. haha.

The day before, I also got a chance (5 hours) to work in Epcot's Character Spot. Boy is that place something else. Its cool because you wait in one queue for the fab 5 (Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Donald, and Goofy) but that also means that there is a constant line for every character the entire time the room is open. You can't take water breaks or stretch breaks or get this freaking camera off my neck breaks at all. Its consistently go go go until someone comes to take your post for a few minutes. I hurt my wrist pretty badly just taking so many pictures with that massive camera. I had to get a support brace at base at the end of the day and have been wearing it ever since. Its getting better but there are times where yesterday I would hold the camera a certain way and feel a shooting pain up the length of my forearm. Just thinking about it makes me hurt. Hopefully I won't be going back there for a while and I can recover.

Shortly, in other news, I've been here over a month now. Its a weird feeling. It feels like a week and a year at the same time. Working in Disney World on the college program feels like an alternate reality from the rest of the world. The rules of time and space bend continuously here. Never do I know what day of the week it is or understand why three in the morning feels like nine. This may not make sense but it feels like instead of there being time (in a general since, as a noun) to fill with things to do, I have this linear toe-to-heel list of events that progress time along. Time answers to events, not the other way around. haha. I love it and at the same time, its kind of scary in a Twilight Zone sort of way.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Character Training

On Sunday, I had my character training. It started out by me not checking the schedule that says where I am each day so instead of being at Animal Kingdom, I went to Epcot as usual haha. So I clocked in on time, but I was an hour late to the actual training. Turns out they were just piddling around so it wasn't a big deal at all. We got to train with seven characters and their best friends who had only been here for a week. It was nice that it was set up like that because it was less pressure for each of us. We set up in the stage area where Pocahontas' old show was in a big group. It was 4 photographers and Baloo, Big Al and Wendell from Country Bears Jamboree, Rafiki, Brer Bear, Launchpad McQuack from Tail Spin, Tigger, and Bolt. It was sooo fun. My first set was with Baloo, of course, because he's my absolute favorite. We danced a lot haha. Next was Bolt and let me tell you, he is one big puppy! He towers me. haha. He's absolutely adorable though and his fur is so very soft. After that I got to work with the country bears to see what its like to shoot two characters. It was definitely more challenging, especially since they are giant bears, but it was a ton of fun to watch them play. After that I worked with Launchpad for a bit and then moved on to Tigger who was very bouncy. I don't know how a tiger can have that much energy. It was wearing me out just watching him.

Over all it was a really fun time. Character shooting is so much more tiring than icon shooting. With icons, you pretty much stay in the same spot and just play with distance and portrait/landscape changes. With characters, youre constantly moving to make sure you get a shot of every little detail in the interaction. You move (run) from side to side and youre standing or squatting or on your knees completely with almost every interaction so you aren't looking down at a kid or getting the back of their head in each shot. Its exhausting. I think it also didn't help that there were no character attendants to work with that day so the Photopass people had to play both parts and make sure the lines were functioning and people had their autograph books out and to the right page, etc. Ive been told most character situations aren't that tiring because, well, there aren't 2 character lines to each photographer and we'll have attendants to help us out.

Today is my first on my own character shoot. I'm going to be in the UK in the World Showcase from 12:15 to 6:30 hanging out and shooting with Winnie the Pooh and his friends from the Hundred Acre Wood. I'm pretty excited about it but there's a lot of details that I don't quite understand. Hopefully they'll be easy to pick up on and things will just come naturally.

Oh and also, I had my 30 day review on Monday with my manager Rachel. She was incredibly nice and helpful. I got quizzed on my guest service and photography knowledge and then we went over my pictures. She said she was thoroughly impressed with how well I'm doing and that I have a "natural talent for composition". Also that she didn't expect me, as a CP, to be doing this well. Its not hard when you like your job. Speaking of, last night was my first time in the World Showcase and I got to work on the bridge to the International Gateway and take pictures of Paris lit up ever so beautifully. It was awesome to take a picture of something new that I could actually move guests around to get a different looking shot. It was awesome, I love it there. My second to last family came up to get a picture and afterwards they were like "Wow, you're awfully peppy for this time of night!". hahah. I just said "Well, I'm really happy to be here!" and she said "You gotta love Disney World!". And then we high fived. haha.

Yep, you gotta love Disney World.