Welcome back, little Brunksters! I’ve had a very unstable year thus far, which has hindered many of my creative projects — but nonetheless, I’ve persevered and now I’m back on course.

We built this city on rock ‘n’ roll. . . And LEGO bricks.

To begin, in early 2017, my job at Dynomighty Design in Brooklyn, NY was going south (so to speak) as the company declined rapidly. In February, my position was nearly terminated due to downsizing, but instead was cut to on-and-off part-time, eventually ending in April. I was unemployed for that month, and although it technically meant more free time to work on creations, instead I had to use available free time to find a new job. Also without being able to spend any money, I couldn’t get new camera equipment and LEGO pieces. At the end of the month — and through the rest of summer — I worked as a freelance part-time graphic designer in Midtown Manhattan. While no longer kvetching about being broke, I focused all time and effort into my stop-motion Alice in Wonderland video project.

You may recall my early animation tests from May, but after that I delved into shooting the actual raw footage for select scenes. In June and July, I turned my attention to animating a few difficult parts of the movie, but sadly in early August, my freelance position at that Manhattan company ended. Now I needed to focus all attention to getting a new job if it meant being able to continue working on this video. I shot a few key scenes and continued animating as much as I could with my available resources, notably a teaser animation test with the iconic White Rabbit (voiced by me):

This White Rabbit video was animated and edited in the middle of September, as I was still job-searching and giving the realistic thought of moving back to Pennsylvania if I couldn’t find a new position. Quite frankly, I was so burned-out from constantly attaching my resume to job applications and subsequently filling out the same information manually (a hundred times), that I wanted to just go back to Central PA and launch a business. My idea was to perhaps take out a small business loan for new camera equipment, and become a self-employed contractor for shooting real estate photography. When all hope seemed lost towards the end of September, I was contacted by the U.K. company Williams Lea Tag about a job I applied for previously: a graphic designer role for Goldman Sachs! After several weeks of background checks, interviews, and assessment tests, I was soon hired, and by late October I began a new white collar position in the Financial District!

At the time of this update, I currently work as a graphics specialist for financial services at Goldman Sachs, though Williams Lea Tag, located in Lower Manhattan near the World Trade Center. With everything gradually stabilizing as I recover from a shaky and uncertain past few months, I’m picking up where I last left off to continue animating this Alice in Wonderland video. I’ll admit that I’m a bit scatterbrained from not being able to focus on the video directly, as I didn’t have a structured, regimented lifestyle since 2016. In other words, in previous years (namely 2014 and 2015 especially) I worked normal 9-6 hours with steady employment as a graphic designer, so my evenings and weekends were focused directly on various projects such as my electronic LEGO DL-44 Blaster and my mosaic Luigi sprite portrait. Back in those days, I would simply wake up, go to work, come home, and go straight to completing awesome electronic LEGO projects. From the end of 2016 upwards, my employment was sporadic and uncertain, which although technically gave me more free time, this also meant less money, and more worrying about if I could continue living in New York! 2017 wasn’t like a long, ongoing vacation where I could have fun, but more like a recession with having to sustain on ramen noodles and constantly refresh Indeed.com!

My current forecast is to pay off my debts, get new camera/computer equipment, begin editing the current raw footage, and the continue to animate more of the video. Although I wanted this raw footage to be finished before the end of the year, sadly I didn’t anticipate Dynomighty going out of business so soon, nor did I foresee my freelance position over the summer to randomly end instead of hiring me full-time. My new job is actually a lot more difficult than originally expected, but I’ll continue with it to see how it goes. Being a high school dropout without a college degree means it was a million-to-one chance for me to get a job at one of the world’s largest financial companies, but I proved everyone wrong!

But anyway, enough of that: I also recently turned 33!

-Baron von Brunk

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