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Following Her Passion Wherever it Leads

Meet Thu Vu Kim Nguyen aka Kimberley

She’s not rolling with the Disney princesses. Her favorite Disney animation is The Little Mermaid “because Ursula is the best villain. She wants something and she goes after it, plus the Ursula animation is incredible.”

Kim is very much like Ursula. She sees something she wants and she goes after it, no matter where it takes her.

Thu Vu Kim Nguyen aka Kimberley is now a VFX Compositor for Stoopid Buddy Stoodios. She’s also one of my neighbors and one of the people I have gotten to know in a neighborhood Facebook group. How lucky are we to have such a creative spirit in the neighborhood!? 

Kim grew up in Vietnam going to the neighbor’s house with her sister to watch cartoons on the neighbor’s black and white TV, before her family got their own television. She watched shows from the Soviet Union like Nu Pogodi!, the Adventures of Buratino, and Hedgehog in the Fog. The fun stories and colorful pictures entertained her though she didn’t understand the languages.

One of Kim’s fondest memories growing up in Vietnam is of her father renting a VHS player for her 5th birthday party. He brought home Hayao Miyazaki’s My Neighbor Totoro. The story is about two sisters who take care of each other while the mother is recovering from an illness and the father is away a lot. Kim remembers the story fondly because she herself has a sister who she is very close to.

Fortunately Kim’s parents are alive and well and supportive of her creative career. Growing up Kim’s parents encouraged her and her sister to study abroad, so leaving home in a big way was almost mandatory. Her sister, who is three years older, left home for the Netherlands. Kim left a few years later to study Animation at the Queensland University of Technology in Australia, before completing an MFA in Animation at the University of California, Los Angeles in the USA. Kim’s parents, although supportive, were not expecting her to strive for a career in animation.

“Asian parents have high expectations, mom is a dentist dad is a pharmacist, so they wanted me to go into the medical field.”

But Kim loved animation. In animation, “anything can happen. Whatever you dream of I can make it happen and. I’ve tried all sorts of styles.”

It didn’t take long for her parents to see Kim’s enthusiasm for animation, so as long as she was happy, they would be happy for her. They said, “whatever makes you happy, we’ll be proud.”

When Kim was in middle school a group of French artists came to her class as part of a French-Vietnamese bilingual program she was a part of and showed the class how to create hand drawn animation frame by frame. It was her first experience making an animated film and the animation flame was stoked.

Kim is also a fan of the old Disney animation cels where you draw them by hand on animation paper, retrace them on the cels, then you paint in the colors, like Snow White. It’s a long painstaking process but the results are phenomenal.

Since graduating from the UCLA Film and Television program with an MFA in Animation, Kim’s dreams have come true. She has worked for the likes of Bix Pix Entertainment and Stoopid Buddy Stoodios. She’s worked on the shows SuperMansion, where a bunch of aging super heroes live in a house like Big Brother and Robot Chicken with its pop culture parodies, both shows being voiced by many talented actors. One of her favorite episodes of SuperMansions had the super heroes fighting pigs who were Nazis.

A talent for animation are only some of Kim’s skills. She has dabbled in stand up comedy, ostensibly to get over her fear of speaking in public, and she would like to create and write a television show. Considering she is flourishing in a country completely different from her country of birth, I’d say she’s pretty fearless.

Virtual Reality classes were offered for the first time during her final year at UCLA, and it turned out to be her favorite. The professor was supportive in helping Kim develop those skills. The class received support from Oculus and the professor introduced the students to the Oculus Launchpad. The program requested project ideas from students. Kim’s project was chosen and she had to build an interactive storybook in which she did all the drawings in VR. It was the story of a little girl who goes to a restaurant to eat noodles with her father.

Check out the announcement of the Oculus Launchpad winners at Oculus Winners

The project became her thesis and now it’s available in the Oculus store. From that project she got a job at Vrenetic where she stayed for a year. Once Vrenetic pivoted to other projects apart from VR, Kim returned to Stoopid Buddy.

Kim believes in the power of VR to connect people with one another on an emotional level by using VR to allow people to use the five senses to experience another’s reality.

“Many issues we have in our society today came from a lack of understanding one another’s lives and backgrounds. The more we know, the more we can be open-minded to others’ way of living which could be completely different than ours.”

What better way to understand another human being than by walking in their shoes.

“Imagine instead of telling someone about an experience that I have, I can let them experience it themselves in VR. Whenever someone shares with me their childhood memory, I often wish that I could go back in time, be part of that story, and be able to feel the emotion resonated in their mind.”

Kim’s own project titled Hot Chocolate tells the story of a girl who had to adjust to her new environment after recently moving away from home. The one thing that gives her comfort is hot chocolate. On an excursion in her new city to get more, she has an encounter with one of her unhoused neighbors and it changes her perspective. Take a look at this award winning adorable piece of art at Hot Chocolate

Kim’s second project is a satire of wealth and domestic life called, General Dupont Doing Laundry. It’s a short film using CGI animation in which an 18th century aristocrat does laundry on a theatre stage. The project was featured in several festivals. Enjoy this quality work General Dupont

As heart warming as Hot Chocolate is, Kim has a preference for NSFW animation, so look out. From the Tumble Leaf kids show to Robot Chicken on Adult Swim, Kimberley Nguyen’s taste in animation is eclectic and subversive.Let’s see what she comes up with next. Check out her work at www.fatcatrolling.com

Email: fatcatrollinganimation@gmail.com

Instagram: FatCatRolling

Facebook: KimNguyen

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No Such Thing as Green Stars

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That’s Bull Sh*t

Here’s a fun read for you!
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Yes, you matter. Your Monday Motivation.

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Marisol’s Story

https://vocal.media/fiction/marisol-s-story

Giving you a little Dia de los vibe…Have a read. Feel free to share.

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Hey y’all! I’m still writing.

https://vocal.media/fiction/three-card-spread

I just changed the location. Click on the link to check out my latest. Enjoy!

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Life Meditation Musings Quiet Reflections Uncategorized

Quiet Observations

The sounds of everyday life.

The gleeful shouts as my neighbor’s kids play.

The pounding of a broom as someone airs out their rugs.

The soft breeze rustling the tree branches.

A distant fire truck racing by.

City traffic on a faraway city street.

The ting ting sound of a stirring pot as someone makes tonight’s dinner.

Spoon to cup during the stirring of tea.

The smell of fresh laundry wafting in the air.

The way the sunlight hits the pavement.

Hear the quiet parts easily, see the subtleties in daily life, smell the faint scents in the air.

Looking out my window and witnessing the fullness of a quiet day in life.

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Changes Meditation Musings Pondering Reflections Uncategorized

Pandemic Contemplations

  So, it’s been a minute. The pandemic, coronatine, quarantine, whatever we are calling it, gave me a nice brain fog.  I inhaled in shock and it took me a really long time to exhale. I, like everyone else, was caught by surprise. I’m not a stranger to a lockdown. When I need to focus inward or learn something new, I’ve quarantined myself many times.  I don’t want the world disrupting my learning curve, so I was not completely opposed to a shutdown. I, however, have never had the experience of the entire planet having to shutdown with me.  I can take it. I can go with the flow. Can everybody else?

  Is “shock” a good word for the feelings I felt? You bet! I know how to be quiet. I know when I need to be quiet to allow new information in. Most of the planet, I’m not so sure about. At first I was grateful for the rest. I saw it as an opportunity for the planet to reset.  How long would it take I wondered. How long would it take for enough people on the planet to learn to think in new ways? 

  After my initial panic, I started to see it as a beautiful opportunity to pivot. Pandemic contemplations I’m calling it.  We all have an opportunity to look at our lives, to really look at our little worlds, our bubbles, and decide what we love, what we really don’t need, and what we can live without. We can look at the things, the many many things we can let go of.  It can be a nice surprise to see how much we can really don’t need and can let go of. Honey, people are cleaning out closets, and garages, reorganizing homes and giving away massive quantities. It’s freeing.  How long will it last?  Will this new way of being stick? How many people will it take to create a tipping point for the whole world to change?

  There are a million conversations to be had right now. How can we maintain the good things this world slowdown is showing us? The air is cleaner. The world is quieter. I cannot tell you how much I love waking up in the morning and can actually hear birds chirping! I also love the fact that I don’t hear people rushing off to places in robot fashion without taking the time to think about why they are doing it and if it’s really what they want, or if it’s worth it.  

  Cooking meals, eating with the other members of the household, gardening, baking breads, putting together jigsaw puzzles, crafting in hundreds of new ways, rediscovering what a slow existence is and how good it feels.  Going deeper. I love it, but I know not everybody does.  Not everyone wants to sit with their thoughts.

  Here’s the good thing though, many people welcomed the opportunity to sit with their thoughts.  They didn’t even know they wanted to do it but here’s this opportunity.  The whole planet didn’t have a choice.  

We’re discovering what the definition of real power is. We’re seeing what real power looks like, or is it that we have the time to define for ourselves what real power is? We can define for ourselves how we want to participate in the world.  You know what? That can be really scary.  We’re accustomed to having the world dictate to us what we should be doing, and now in a quiet world, in a world shut down, we get to decide for ourselves how we want to participate in the world.  The world had to get sleepy for its wakeup call. I being a contrarian, I being the person who doesn’t always want to follow a crowd is pleased at the prospect of a shift.  

There is so much more to discuss, so I’m going to take these pandemic contemplations in small bites. How are you doing?

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Changes Inspiration Meditation Musings Pondering Reflections Uncategorized

You’re Welcome?!

I have a new friend.  I’m not sure if I like her.  She shows up when she feels like and she affects the way I behave in the world, the way I feel, and how I act with others.  She wears a pink skirt and combat boots.  You’d think with the pink skirt that she’d be nice, but those damn combat boots give her so much attitude.  I don’t know if she is a friend or not, but what I know for sure is that she is not going anywhere.  She’s made that abundantly clear.  

One minute I’m fine. I’m living my life and doing my thing and the next minute there’s a furnace in my midsection that decided to turn itself on high heat.  I didn’t make any requests. I didn’t over-exert myself.  In fact, I was keeping my mouth shut and minding my own business.  I very politely disrobe, if I’m alone of course, and I stand in front of a fan. Five minutes later it’s over and I hear Perimini’s (that’s what I’m calling her) quiet cackle in the background.

Was it something I said?  She’s persistent and quite capable of kicking my a$$. She’s made that abundantly clear.  I don’t know.  Do I love her?  Do I hate her?  I’m not sure how I’m supposed to feel about her.  I find myself wondering how long she’s planning to stay. Here I am looking at cute babies in the vicinity and cooing over cute cartoon and commercial children.  What did I do to you Peri? 

On days when I feel like I’ve had enough, I think about how I can get rid of her quietly without her knowing I’m plotting against her.  I still don’t know if she’s a friend yet.  Would she answer me if I asked her how long she’s planning to stay?  She’s not very forthcoming, and even if she knew, I’m not sure if she’d tell me.  What does she want?  It can’t be just to torment me.  What’s her message?  Can she possibly deliver it in a much easier way?  Maybe without all the hot flashes and the night sweats.  She’s not the one who has to wash the linens after all. 

Does she know she’s the reason I have a thousand and one new fragrances? This situation is throwing my Ph balance off.  I’m not saying I stink.  I just don’t smell quite like myself, and my skin is dry from sweating all night. So, not only do I have to spend more time doing laundry, I have to spend extra time looking for a variety of fragrances that I wouldn’t normally wear, fragrances that work one day and other days not so much, which is the reason why I have so many now.  First world problem, I know.

I want to make friends with her, but I also want her visits to be as short as possible,  If she can’t do that, maybe she could just not be so disruptive.  Is she saint or is she sinner?  Does she love?  Does she hate?  Is this what neutral is?  Can I request a different comforting angel, a less intrusive one?

   It’s hard to explain if in the middle of a conversation, I start dabbing my forehead with one tissue, then a paper towel, then several paper towels, when there have been no outward signs of a significant temperature change or exertion. You didn’t see that part where I just finished a HIIT workout, but that’s what happened…just not on this plain of existence.  Does that sound like a reasonable excuse?  No.  Okay.  I am still sweating like I just finished that HIIT workout though. Just sayin’.  It’s possible.  Wait!  Does it count as a workout?  The steps were done in spirit.  Does that mean anything?  I want it counted somehow.  

  I drift off to sleep and I’m fine. I’m in Goldilocks territory, not too hot, not too cold. Then Peri makes an appearance.  My sheets are soaked.  My hair is soaked.  I’m wide awake trying to find a dry spot on the bed.  Why isn’t anybody else awake for this? Should I take a shower now or wait til the morning?  Am I going to towel off? Rub myself down with one of my many new fragrant oils?  Will I be able to go back to sleep?  

  The philosophers and spiritualists say that if you wake up in the wee hours then spirit is trying to tell you something.  OK, first can they talk to me at a more reasonable hour?  Second, does nature’s alarm need to be so darn dramatic?  What about a feather or a gray cat walking across my path at noon, and not like 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning? Can Peri relay that message to the spirits for me?  Is she one of those whispering spirits, that someone gave a sledge hammer by mistake?  

 

I appreciate that she’s here to usher me into the next phase of my existence.  I really do.  There’s a horizon over which I look and she’s right next to me pointing and letting me know that’s where I’m going.  Then she pushes me out into traffic.  You’re welcome?!

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How ’bout you.

Roses are red.

Violets are blue.

I haven’t written here in a while.

I’m certainly due.