Hey there! (waves) This is my first Looney Tunes fic, so im new around these parts. I'm hoping I can do the characters justice, but if you have any advice for me, id be most appreciative.
First things first, I'd like to say that in reality, I really am an Animations student, and this fic actually started out as a show I'd like to do later in life along the same premise. After talking to my friend 'A Scribbler' She convinced me to try writing it as a fic first to see how people responded to the idea. It's at least a little original right?
Also, I don't know if you've ever read the Animaniacs fanfic 'Reality check' also by my friend 'A Scribbler'. This is one of the most amazing Animaniacs fics I've ever had the pleasure to read, as well as 'Family' by 'The Middle Warner Sibling'. I owe both authors a big thank you for treating us to such great stories and helping me learn what makes a good story. They both have inspired me so much so I highly recommend you read both stories when you get the chance.
As a side note, me and 'A Scribbler' are planning a crossover between Reality Check and Insanity Breach, so there will be some allusions to the story in mine as its taking place around two years after, a little after Reality Check 2: Insktained takes place. So I recommend once you get done here, you read that too.
Alright, I'm done yakking, enjoy the chapter please!
Disclaimer: I do not own Looney Tunes.
So, you want to know what it's like to be an animator huh?
Well, I'm still learning myself, so I can't give you the professional opinion you'd probably like more. But I'm the only one here right now, so I guess you'll have to deal.
I can give you some firsthand advice though, from my own experiences with my…rather unique mentor.
Everything I've learned, everything I've done in the past few months I give credit (and blame) him for. But I'll warn you, this story isn't exactly 'the norm' it's gonna twist around everything you think is normal, and everything you think is strange and spit it back out into one big package so you can't even tell the difference anymore.
That, among other things, is what it means to be an animator.
But I'll get into that later, if you've read this far, I'm going to assume you're gonna stick around to hear my side of things. So there's some things you should know
My name is Jessie, I'm an animation intern at Warner brothers studios, and this is a first hand account of my slow decent into madness at the hands of a smug, carrot loving, Hare.
The California sun beat down on the back of my neck as I fumbled in my jean pocket for my keys. Even though it was technically January, it was still warmer than what I'm used to for a winter month. Growing up in the north on the east coast will do that to a person.
I couldn't help but miss the snow as I ran my tongue over my lips in concentration, opening the door to the apartment building I had just returned to for my second semester of my Freshman year of college. My throat was already parched in the dry air, but at least it wasn't humid. Gross.
I pushed the door open and slung my duffle over my shoulder, heaving both of my other suitcases up the stairs and closing the door behind me. That left me with three flights of stairs to climb before I'd reach the floor I lived on. I steeled myself and grabbed one, promising myself a tall glass of iced tea from the gas station next store once I was done. By the time I had gotten both up the stairs, and unpacked, I was too tired to follow through with that promise. I flopped onto my bed face first. I could forgive myself this once, I was tired.
My quilt made a faint 'poof' sound, unused to being laid on after I had been away for the winter vacation. A month and a half since I had been here, despite the heat I had really missed it. And as much as I loved my family, I had missed my freedom.
The blanket was obstructing my need to breath, so I rolled onto my back, staring up at the ceiling and walls so we could get reacquainted. I smiled at the familiar characters on my posters staring back at me. Apart from the photographs of my family and dog on my corkboard bulletin on the side, every one of them was of a cartoon or anime. That had gotten me a few odd looks from my now vacated roommate. The girl had spent most of the first semester either passed out on the couch, or out with her friends, only coming back to change and bring back with her a faint musk of whatever weed they had decided to smoke that night. I wouldn't complain as long as she didn't do it in the room. It was an art school, I wasn't gonna try and tell people how to live their life. She was a nice girl but I couldn't say her presence was particularly missed, mostly cuz I never really talked to her anyway.
But I digress, now the other half of the room was bare, and until the school found some other kid to stick with me, I had some walls to cover, I couldn't leave the room half naked, now could I?
As I strode across the tiled floor with my bare feet, I faltered when I realized she had forgotten the full length mirror she hung on the back of the door. My reflection looked back, not exactly disgruntled, but not exactly thrilled either.
I ran a hand through the hair I had left on my head. To begin with I had short hair that hung a few inches above my shoulders. It wasn't curly or wavy, but it wasn't exactly straight either. It kind stuck up at odd angles like a fledglings, and always looked messy, but in a sort of attractive way, I have to admit. Pink, blue and yellow streaks peaked through the light brown tresses. Last semester I had shaved the other half of my head, like I had seen a few other girls do. I thought the style looked cool, and hey, I'm in college, this is the time to experiment and express myself. Who cared if it wasn't 'in the norm'
My eyes traveled downwards to see the rest of me which I admittedly wasn't as proud of. I was chubby, maybe 60-70 pounds overweight. The good thing was that I was tall for my age, so it kinda almost balanced itself out. It was still noticeable, but y'know, life is short. Eat a taco ad have a slice of cake and enjoy yourself. If people got a problem with that, Haters gonna hate.
Mom had told me several times I had a 'endearingly eclectic style' Today my outfit was mismatched stockings of stripes and polka dots, along with my converse and some purple legwarmers. Along with that I had a jean skort on, slightly frayed at the edges, and a purple tank, covered by an orange over shirt with the sleeves rolled up to my elbows because of the heat. It was a funky outfit, but I liked it because it did a good job of quieting down another detail about my body I was a little more sensitive about.
I am a huge nerd, but my point is that there was more to me than that.
I shrugged, turning away from my reflection and carrying on. I found that there are a lot more interesting things to look at than myself.
After a few minutes I pulled out my laptop and logged onto Skype, expecting to get a video chat from my dad soon. He had warned me he was gonna try to call around the estimated time I would arrive. No sooner than I was pinning up a new ninja turtles poster, that I heard the familiar chime of someone trying to call. I reached over to accept it.
"Hey Dad." I greeted, grinning at the familiar face.
I love both of my parents, a lot. But my dad was, always had, and always will be my best Bud. He was like a big kid himself.
I remember watching cartoons sitting on his lap on Saturday mornings, or when I was sick from school. He raised me on classics, such as Looney Tunes and Thundercats, as well as exploring new ground that Disney or nicktoons, or Kids WB would come out with. Looney tunes would always be my favorite to watch with him though. I think it made him happy to watch something with me that he used to watch as a kid too. He also got a lot more of the obscure jokes of that time and would explain most of them to me if I didn't get it at first.
He smiled back at me, leaning back in his computer chair so I could see him better. Even now I could see a poster of The Looney Tunes hanging in the
"How ya doin kid." He said back, peering into the screen to try and get another look at my room.
"Just getting unpacked, breaking in the fresh meat," I held up one of the posters he had gotten me for Christmas and he laughed.
"Glad to see you made it through the flight okay…can't say I'm not a little disappointed though. Part of me wanted you to come running back through that terminal and grab my hand and demand I come with you, like you would when you were little."
I rolled my eyes, "I'm a big girl dad, and-"
"And this is your time. I know." He cut me off good-naturedly, even though I was gonna say that people would ask questions about a 40-soemthing year old going to art school when he was clearly the scholarly type. Dad was an editor for a paper, and an English teacher in a private high school. One I thankfully didn't have to go to.
"It's just I can't help feeling a little jealous. Seeing you all excited to go and explore the world makes me want to go back to college too, you know make a fresh start." He said. I raised my eyebrow and cocked my head to the side questioningly. Dad sounded…different. A little more wistful and out of it than he normally was.
"Why? What's wrong with your life now? Are you having money worries again?" I asked, examining my father a little more. Come to think of it, everything about him seemed off at the moment, I remember noticing it on a lesser scale over vacation. He was pale, and….he looked old. I mean yeah he was getting older as I was but before now he had seemed to be doing it gracefully, still possessing a sort of childlike glow to him. But now he seemed just seemed tired, like Father time had decided to drop a 100 years under his eyes.
"Dad talk to me is everything okay?" I said, getting a bit worried. He shook his head though, and waved his hand negatively. A good sign that he was clamming up on the subject and wouldn't go into it further. Dang, I had it when he did that.
"It's nothing, adult problems darling, nothing you need or should be worrying about."
"I'm an adult too, or did you forget." I grumbled under my breath reproachfully and he gave me a half smile.
"Stubborn as a mule, just like always….I miss you already, little girl." He said, staring at me sincerely and I felt my minor annoyance soften.
"Miss you too." I said back, giving him a smile. "It'll b summer break before you know it, and we'll still talk on skype."
"and I want weekly reports. I need to see the latest master piece whenever it should come about, "He said dramatically and I snorted, "Speaking of which, you said before you left that this semester was when you were going to do your internship."
I brightened, I had been dreaming of being an animator since my freshman year of high school after realizing I could actually make drawing random characters and creating stories for them a job. So I had come to a big-name college in California, where most of the big name studios could potentially notice me. And if I gave a good interview with my counselor, that would up my chances of scoring an internship with one of those big-name studios. Do that math here, if I did an internship and they liked me, it meant a good chance of having a job when I was out of school.
"Yeah, I'm meeting with my counselor tomorrow. I still need to sort through the questions she told me I should be ready for."
Dad grinned, excited for me. It seemed to make a little of his paleness go away, but not completely, "I won't keep you then. Take it easy Kid, try not to work yourself too hard while you're there. Remember to have fun too….but not too much fun." He said sternly.
I smirked, waving a hand dismissively, "Don't worry, half the guys here are either gay, or boring."
"That's my girl. I miss you, and love you."
"Love you too." I said, giving him one last smile before disconnecting the call. His sick pallor still worried me a little, but I also knew I was prone to worrying about nothing, so I tried to push it away for now.
I had other things I needed to concentrate on.
Mel Hardaway had been in the animation business for nearly 27 years, and had worked for Warner brothers for even longer. He had been involved in countless projects, whether he was actually assigned to it or not. Sometimes, his fellow animators just wanted his advice, a second opinion. With his clear stance as a patriarch with the warner brothers company, it made sense for him to be present when the Animation board met to discuss new possible recruits.
The Man yawned in the plush office chair he was situated in, Fiddling with his cap and scratching at his beard. Dull, the same type of dull he had seen last month, and the month before that. The same, readymade, pre-trained animators with some freelance experience hoping to make their dreams come true. Mel didn't fault them for that, and some of them actually did have talent. It was just….there was no spark, no adventure like there used to be.
As his fellow board members chatted over a picture and interview of some guy that Disney had passed along to them, Mel took a sip of his coffee. He noted that somehow it too seemed frightfully dull than normal as he browsed through the twenty something other applications. All neat and white and fresh pressed and ready to be accepted. Same thing as always..
That was when his hand bumped into something on the very bottom of the pile, it crinkled uncertainly at the meeting, and he moved the other applications out of the way.
There was a little brown package, considerably less confident looking than its peers. The address to the studio's P.O box number was scrawled messily, as if rushed, on the front. And right on top, in parenthesis was his name "Mel"
Curious, the man took the package and opened it without a word of warning to his fellow employers, after all, the package was addressed to him. He pulled out a crumpled note first, as well as a small flash drive, and other information collected in a large stack. He read the note first
I know that Warner Brothers hasn't taken on any 'greenhorns' for some time now, but I remembered how you always told me that you looked for a 'spark' and well, I think I found one. She certainly has a spark of her own anyways. So I sent you a few pieces from her portfolio as well as her resume, and a recording of our interview. She's looking for an internship, as required for all our students. I hoped that maybe it couldn't hurt to send her your way at first. I figured the best way for you to determine if she has the right stuff or not is to hear her answers for yourself.
Mel smiled, Elaine and him went way back. They'd been friends in college and remained that even now that he was a big wig animator and she a professor at a local art college that happened to produce some of the most successful artist in the country. If Elaine thought that highly of this girl, then he had no choice but to listen to her. Heck with the day he was having if an alien was applying he's listen.
He pulled out the USB and plugged it into his laptop, which until now had laid forgotten at his side. He inserted his ear buds and sat down and listened, ignoring the curious looks his partners were giving him.
The interview couldn't have been more than ten minutes long, Elaine never like to beat around the bush. She liked to give concise, to the point questions that mattered, and it appeared this Jessie Verillo thought around the same lines. Her answers were sincere, and thoughtful, and she wasn't nervous like most kids her age would be discussing a potential internship. She was casual, treating the important meeting like it was a normal conversation between friends. That must have earned Elaine's respect, it certainly won his.
By the time they had gotten to the last question, Mel had a goofy looking grin on his face with anticipation.
"Alright Jessie, just one more question. If you could pic where you would have your internship, where would it be and why?" Elaine's voice asked. Mel smirked when he heard Jessie make a disgruntled raspberry sound,
"That's the hardest question you've asked so far, jeez," Jessie laughed, "To be honest it's hard to say. I don't wanna say anywhere specific so I don't insult anyone, but I think it would have to be someplace where they'd be willing to let me experiment, really get a feel for what kind of animator I want to be, and what kind of stories I want to tell. As you can probably tell from my sketches, my focuses are kinda sporadic-heh,"
It was true, Mel mused as he flipped through a few of them. She had everything from goofy looking Saturday morning esque characters to serious and well proportioned characters scowling back at him.
"But I think as long as I can explore and have pad of paper and pencil with me, I'd be happy anywhere. I don't really want safe, I've been safe for the past20 years back home in new England. I'm out of the nest now and want adventure, test out my wings yknow? Heh, that sounded so corny it's not even funny.."
And the audio cut off. Mel smiled, Adventure huh? He thought to himself bemusedly, Let's see if I can make that happen.
Feeling a familiar tingle of excitement start in his fingertips and shoot up to his brain, Mel stood and cleared his throat, though it wasn't really necessary. The room had already been staring at him as he grinned or laughed at the recording he'd heard, browsing through some papers that had so many doodles on them the paper was wrinkles slightly.
"I think I found someone" He said cheerfully. He had to approach this carefully. What Elaine had said was true, Warner brothers hadn't hired animators, let alone students, for a long time. Nearly ten years in fact. Up until two years ago, the CEO of Warner brothers had forbidden to have any inexperienced faculty come to be employed. So they would hire or recruit animators who had spent their training days at Disney or DreamWorks. The dregs, leftovers, people who no longer needed to Explore and come up with something new like Jessie did. They just sat and drew the pictures they were told to. They drew them very well, true, and the pictures came out like gold. But there was no excitement to it.
And any applications like Jessies they did get, would be shooed away to Disney or some other studio for their training, and by the time they got back, whatever 'spark' they may have had would be gone. Mel knew that would not only be a diservie to do to Warner brothers now, but also to Jessie.
But now Warner Brothers had a much more lenient (less psychotic) CEO, and Mel thought it was high time they had a change of scenery.
"Alright Mel, lets see it." A woman in a blue business suit held her hand out to see the file, and Mel handed her work to her, "What's her name?"
"She certainly has potential," the woman said offhandedly and her associates murmured in agreement around her, "How old is she?"
Uh oh, "She's a freshman in college."
They all froze in time, it would have been comedic if Mel hadn't felt the need to go on the defensive.
"I do like the look of her work Mel, but perhaps it would be better if we send her on to Disney for a few years until her schooling is over, and then she can try again."
Mel planted his hands on the desk, "Why? She's not looking to be paid, Annie, she's looking for an internship. To learn. And She wants to learn from us"
It wasn't a lie, she did want to learn, from someone, and her file had been sent to them.
The woman, Annie, and several of the other members of the board looked uncomfortable. Perhaps even a little frightened.
"Mel, have you forgotten what happened two years ago? The incident with 'The animator' and the 'deanimator'. We were lucky to cover our tracks then. Bringing in someone who isn't experienced with this line of work…it's too dangerous. I'm sorry but-"
Mel stood up to his full height and glared down at her, knowing he was probably acting like a spoiled child who wasn't getting his way. H happened to feel his mood was justified though,
"For god sake, that's why we have Confidentiality contracts! When are you people going to stop hiding in the ground and open your minds to knew things, like the good old days! Yeah we've made handsome work, but it's never the same raw experience! Telling the same stories over and over again, that's all we've been doing the past ten years, and I'm sick of it! And I know the audiences out there are probably sick of it!" Mel finished, taking off his cap and running a hand through his hair, ignoring the abashed looking associates of his.
Annie was the first to recover, smoothing her blazer and steepleing her fingers in front of her, "Say we do take this girl's application for an internship. Who would act as her mentor?"
Mel grinned in his usual boyish way that usually had the other animators worried. It usually meant he was going to spring something really unexpected ont hem.
"She's gonna learn the same way I did, I've already got a few in mind-"
"Mel, no one's been taught…that way… for years! Not since you!-"
"And there hasn't been an animator exactly like me for some time now. Has there?" He said quietly. He didn't like to flash around his skill like that, but in this case he had to. For the sake of the studio.
Annie was silent, and he knew he got her there. He folded his arms.
"Look, if I gotta pull rank on this one, I will. I've been here longer than any of you, I'll draw up the contract myself, I'll talk to Jack.." At the continuing looks of doubt he was met with, Mel struck gold "I'll act as her 'mentor' when in the public. If any of these 'dirty little secrets' you guys are so paranoid about get out, any at all, the blame will fall on me."
Immediately the other members of the board perked up, and he rolled his eyes. Cowards.
Annie pursed her lips like she was eating something sour, before finally sighing in defeat.
"Fine Mel, Call who you want. But remember, if it falls apart, it falls on your shoulders."
"yeah-huh," Mel said dismissively, already gathering his belongings and hitting speed dial n his phone. He excited the room cradling the phone in his shoulder, shrugging on his jacket and shoulder bag as he waited for it to pick up,
"Hello? Yeah it's me," Mel said grinning at the voice on the other end, "Remember how you told me you were missing the old days at the studios? Well get ready for a trip to the past."
He paused as he waited for the elevator, listening to the unknown persons questions, "Yeah, I found a new kid. She's got talent, still rough, but with some polishing…Yeah 'spark' exactly what I said. I'll fax you the info. I think you two would get along, she's a real spitfire. Should prove interesting. So what d'you say? Wanna be a mentor?"
There was a pause, and Mel laughed, "I'm don't know, but I'm sure with some persuasion she could learn to like carrots, 'doc'"
I bit my lip to keep from beaming like an idiot as the bus pulled up to the gates of Warner Brother studio. Woah….just woah. Never had I thought I'd actually get to intern a place with as huge a name as that. Elaine had pulled me aside and told me that the last time a student had been accepted there was over a decade ago. Eesh, no pressure right?
My stomach was in knots and I was hard-pressed to keep from skipping down the steps of the bus. Waiting for me at the gate was a guard, and next to him, a guy wearing a name tag saying 'Mel'. My mentor.
We exchanged pleasantries and introductions, and he set about giving me a brief tour of the lot. I felt a bit stars struck, so I didn't pay attention to a lot of it, just sort of smiling and nodding. Until of course we got to the animation studio.
I grinned, trying to take every detail in and memorize it. A real animation studio! This was where I had been dreaming to work for years! And here I was, living the dream. And unpaid dream, but at this point I didn't care if I had to live in a cardboard box if I could just study here.
Finally we came to a door that led to a classroom sized room filled with tons of animation equipment as well as a desk with ever tool needed to make hand drawn animation, as well as a computer for digital. My god it was like Christmas. My lip was almost bleeding I was biting it so much.
Mel laughed, "I take it your excited to get started?"
My head bobbed dup and down so fast I must have looked like I drank half a tank of coffee. I'm such a dork.
Mel laughed again and waved me into the room a little more, "Then I should probably introduce you to who's really going to be teaching you the ropes. Wait here."
More than a bit confused, I didn't see what else I could do but lean against a desk and wait. If Mel wasn't my mentor then who the heck was…should I be worried? Should I find that pepper spray my brother snuck into my purse before I left home.
Nah, better not. Now was n time to get paranoid. And if it was, I'd just kick where the sun don't shine and book it if I need to.
Please don't make me need to. I like it here…
I jumped and stood at attention when Mel came back, hearing someone following him. I grinned as if I wasn't just planning a potential escape from a dangerous situation.
Mel smiled back reassuringly, "I'd like you to meet someone very well known around the Warner Brothers studio. He's agreed to act as your mentor as well as introduce you to a few friends of his as needed. Trust me, you'll learn a lot from him, he's been around the block a few times."
"Eeh, Hey Mac. Don't go makin the kid think I'm older than I am."
Jessie felt her jaw slacken at hearing the Brooklyn/Bronx accent. No….way….
There, in the flesh-er-suddo flesh and ink, was Bugs bunny. Munching on a carrot and leaning in the doorway like he was the coolest thing ever. A cartoon character…right I front of me. and he was smirking like he expected how my eyes were popping out of my skull.
My mouth opened but at first no words came out. Well what was I supposed to say? Nice to meet you? Big fan? Oh my god reality is a lie?
I swallowed all of the previous thought and ignored Bug's and Mel's amused looks. I could be professional about this.
"…Sweet." Was what came out of my mouth, and a grin the size of Manhattan
Hands…hurt…lots! So there's the first chapter. Hope I've caught your interest and I hope you join me for the second chapter. Also feel free to leave me a review and tell me what you think.