Friday, June 01, 2007

"Milo's Train" and the Auction

Our oldest son's preschool had an annual fundraising event where there is a live auction during dinner. The auction items are things parents have volunteered whether it's their summer home in the wine country, a package trip to san diego or box seats at Giants stadium. A parent who knew I was in school to become an animator suggested that I auction off my ability to make a cartoon. I thought, "No way."

But she was persistent and my wife got into the idea, so I figured why not. I said I would make an animatic starring the child as the protagonist of their very own story. In other words, whoever won my auction item, I'd go over their house, get to know their kid, take a few pictures, recordings, sketches and go back and make a story with their child as the hero, a story that would reflect the child's interest, a little snapshot of their mind at age 4.

But some people were still a little confused as to what an animatic was so I decided to make one for my son, Milo, and showcase that at the live auction event. In addition I printed out a color copy of the storyboards and bound it like a small children's book so people could flip through a hard copy.

The parent who was running the auction event asked me what the item price should be so they could estimate a starting bid. I replied I had no idea since I'd never done anything like this before and I didn't even know what story artists make. So we guesstimated the best we could and came up value of $1000 and a starting bid of $600.

When the bidding started, a number of parents raised their numbered paddles immediately. The bid quickly rose to over $1000. When it hit $1500 the number of bidders dwindled down to three. Then it became a bidding war between two families who happened to be sitting at the same table, right next to me. I was too shocked and embarrassed to look, I just kept my head down. The winning bid was $2000. It was the highest selling item of the night.

Below is the animatic I made for Milo called "Milo's Train".

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