Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Tristan has Graduated!

Once upon a time, there was a little boy who loved to draw and build. He dreamt of imaginary places, big cities and faraway lands. He drew maps, construction sites, outer space and goofy goober sundaes.
One day, this little boy was gifted LEGO and suddenly, a whole world opened up. Every moment of his waking (and probably dreaming) hours was spent in the Magical Land of All Things Lego. 

At some point, he discovered LEGO stop motion films. This young boy wasn't a stranger to film or animation. When he was a babe in arms, his parents took him to the movies; to meet masters such as Ray Harryhausen, Stan Lee, Martin Scorsese and Tim Burton; on regular weekly trips to Golden Apple Comics and every July to San Diego Comic Con where he could, "be with his people."
This young boy had a big dream. His dream was to be a, "great filmmaker." He looked to his current heroes: Genndy Tartakovsky, Pen Ward, Stephen Hillenburg, Craig McCracken, and Lauren Faust. Where do all great filmmakers go? California Institute of the Arts, aka Cal Arts. He decided that's where he was going no matter what. He put all of his eggs in one basket, applied and was accepted. With the help of his advisor, he was granted a generous scholarship. He got his foot in the door, set his course and stuck to it. 
He took the courses he wanted to and worked hard. Once while waiting for approval to take a course in a program he wasn't a part of, a faculty member said, "You're not listening. It doesn't matter what I'm saying, you're just going to do what you want to do."
In the spring of 2018, the boy decided he wanted to jump in and work on a big film. He applied to work at a special FX company in Canada. He was assigned to two films (Predator and Dolittle.) He may have jumped up and down in the parking lot of outside of an ice cream parlor but there are no photos and he will deny it if you ask, so it's best that you don't and just take my word for it. In May, he packed his bags and set off on his grand adventure. 

In Montreal, he battled freezing cold, ice and snow. He was far from family but he made new friends and was open to new adventures. He lived in an apartment with no heat (not telling his parents this until after he left.) He met a, "very, very smart" young woman and fell in love. 

While at the film studio, he worked on several major films including Predator, Dolittle, Aquaman, Call of the Wild, Shazam, Dumbo, Pokemon Detective Pikachu, X-Men: Dark Phoenix and Artemis Fowl. For his first film, Predator, his received his first screen credit. In a theatre in Hollywood, his parents cheered, pointed and clapped when they saw his name on the big screen. 

He worked hard on nine major films until the spring of 2019 when he decided that school was calling to him. He wanted to cross the finish line. He wanted his diploma and another film of his own under his belt.
Late Summer 2019 arrived, the young man and his partner settled into a place of their own within walking distance to the school. They were devoted to their studies as well as to each other. 

In 2020, Samantha returned home to study while Tristan spent his last semester excited about being a senior and dreaming of his graduation. Then in March, the world became a science fiction film. Tristan moved back home, back to his childhood bedroom where his adventures began many moons ago. He finished his classes while working for a major film company next to the LEGO that started all of his dreaming.

Last Friday, the young boy who had dreams of becoming a filmmaker graduated. 

This isn't the end. His story is only beginning. 

Congratulations, Tristan! Your father and I are very proud. We are excited to see you write your next chapter. 



When you're at the movies, please consider staying for the credits. It's not just actors and directors who make films. Each of those names floating by you played a part in what you are experiencing. 

5 comments:

Alex Bodnar said...

What a wonderful a touching tribute! Tristan is an amazing student and artist! I wish him nothing but the greatest success! Cheers, Tristan!

splendeurcaisse said...

Congratulations to Tristan!

MissBooksmith said...

I love this story. ❤️

Pam Knutson said...

Oh Kelly - Congratulations! What a wonderful post for such an incredibly creative young man. I loved reading every single word about his journey and look forward to all the things he does next...and in love too! Time to give you and David cudoes as wonderful parents who watered and fertilized his amazing imagination and dreams. Growing up with such a creative Mother and surrounded by your commitment to your joyful work really has shown him what is possible. I am so happy for you all as I remember reading so many posts about your pride and joy in what he has been doing and creating for so long.
I relate as a Mom...my son Sam is now 25 and is a musician, artist and amazing photographer. I love watching him fly and joyfully create.
“Oh Happy Day, Caloo Calay he chortled in his Joy!!”
Well done Tristan and Mom and Dad!!
Xo Pam in Mpls.

Kelly Kilmer said...

Thank you for your kind words and support!! <3