I quit my job to follow my dreams... Part IX

I am in my ninth month of making a living in the Arts.  The purpose of this blog is to keep myself motivated, on track and to provide knowledge for those looking to make a similar decision.

Josh Funk-Award Winning Director


July quickly became my most stressful month yet but I kept reminding myself that this kind of stress is so much better than having the general public yell at me on a daily basis for things I can’t control. The cause of my stress came from my inability to say no to projects and for the first time in my career I overbooked.

In order to meet all of my deadlines I worked longer hours and created a production schedule from July through December to stay on track. I also decided not to take on any new work unless I can finish these early.


My ultimate goal is to start an animation studio and I took the first big step in this direction last month by hiring two freelancers to help me build sets, and puppet clothing for a new Michelin Embers stop-motion music video. I love collaborating with talented artists with skills that I don’t have and thought this was a great opportunity to test out their talents. When you work with people who are passionate about what they do, it brings the production to a whole other level. I will post behind the scenes images from this video very soon.


I also finished editing the rough draft of the feature film Dolly Deadly, organized my upcoming animation festival Animation Chico and found most of our judges (I’ll be announcing them soon). I booked a small stop-motion animation job in a music video for director Morgan Barajas and continued to maintain my graphic design jobs on the side.

My short film The Spaceman was mentioned at best-horror-movies.com and won the Honorable Mention Award at the One Reeler Short Film Competition. It was also accepted in the Village of Brewster Film Festival (Brewster, NY) and will be screened there on September 5th.

There are only 3 more posts in this series and then I will write a yearly reflection of my jump into self-employment. If you have any questions, suggestions, or specific things you’d like me to talk about, write them in the comments below.






I am in my eighth month of making a living in the Arts.  The purpose of this blog is to keep myself motivated, on track and to provide knowledge for those looking to make a similar decision.

Animation Chico Josh Funk Director


I think I’m finally settling into my new occupation and no longer look at this as an experiment but a lifestyle. Is it better to have a part-time job or be a full-time artist? I think the answer is really somewhere in between. The job I left paid well, had benefits, 401K, and the trappings up a comfortable life… but since it didn’t fit my skill set or align with my goals it was dragging me down. I stopped growing as an artist because how I spent my day wasn’t feeding me creatively.

It seems that everyday I am coming across something I don’t know. It might be a feature in Photoshop, or a new editing technique for a commercial. I now have the luxury of making the time to learn and enhance my skills because my job requires it. All of these small lessons are adding up and turning into knowledge that is at my disposal for future projects.


June was a great learning experience for me both professionally and personally as I struggled to find enough time in my day to be a father and also meet my many deadlines. Some days felt like I barely accomplished anything at all but I adjusted my expectations, learned how to manage my time differently and I’m now back on track. Every free second counts so I’m spending less time looking at my phone and more time appreciating my family and career.

Most of June was spent editing a feature horror film called Dolly Deadly. I have been involved with this project as an animator for a couple of years but just recently took over the editing responsibilities. My film The Spaceman won another award in The Accolade Global Film Competition, and I started an animation film festival called Animation Chico, to be held on December 12th at the El Rey Theatre in Chico, CA.

The highlight of the month (and year) was flying out to Salt Lake City with my brother Jordan to attend a huge Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror festival we were accepted into called FilmQuest. We met amazing filmmakers from around the world, did interviews with magazines and movie websites, and watched our creation in front of a new audience. My biggest take away from the festival was in understanding that there is a real future for me in film. I still have a lot to learn but I’m doing what I need to be doing. 

Josh Funk on the Stop-Motion set of The Spaceman

Here are a few photos from todays shoot with photographer Brenden PriceMy brother Jordan Funk and I had fun today taking photos with all of the sets and props used on our upcoming film The Spaceman. We wanted to document everything before it was torn down. We had a cardboard, spaceship wall with components drawn with sharpy pens,  a miniature forest set, a cardboard bazooka, styrofoam planet, puppets, tentacles, spaceships and more. 

OUT OF THE WOODS… Into Bazookas!

The Spaceman finally has a beginning, middle, and end filmed but there is still a lot of animation to go.

Jordan Funk - The Spaceman

On October 4th we filmed the last shots of Jordan in Forest Ranch, CA including some truly awesome looking shots with a cardboard bazooka. I’m excited to say that he only has one-day left of filming and it’s with green screen and animatronic tentacles. Jordan will finally be able to shave that beard that’s been itchy… It’ll be my Christmas present to him.  


stop-motion puppet monster

I commissioned puppet maker Richard Whillock to create a second, angrier version of the alien monster for the second half of the fight scene and he did not disappoint. I am blown away by his ability to take my ideas and elevate them. 


I built and filmed a miniature launch bay out of some unusually cool pieces of cardboard I found. It’s a quick shot, but an important one.


I created sound design for the beginning of the movie and started toying with ideas on the piano for the score.


I put together some shots of the spaceship landing and Jordan walking out of the ship. I feel like this added a TON to the story and made everything much more believable… as far as cardboard spaceship movies go.


The best part about being a big brother is torturing your younger brother. I made Jordan pose for some stop-motion animation shots. He says this was worse than having to fall on pinecones in Forest Ranch. You’re welcome Jordan… you’re welcome.

Coming up Next:

- Filming the Animatronic Tentacle

- Animating with the puppets in the miniature forest set

- Green Screen jumping and punching in slow motion

- Animating Cardboard Suit

- Filming backgrounds in Forest Ranch for composites

Source: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/joshf...

Spaceships, Monsters, and Cardboard

This has been a really productive week filming "The Spaceman". I spent a lot of my time putting the finishing touches on the spaceship miniature using cardboard, model car pieces, cut up photographs of cardboard, and 3D printed pieces as well. I then animated the spaceship with lights flickering and movement against a green screen using Dragonframe stop motion software and a drum cymbal stand as a rig (these really come in handy). 

Josh Funk - cardboard spaceship .JPG

Using a GoPro camera and a handmade vortex tunnel out of foam core, black sheets, and fishing wire, I created the effect of flying through a space vortex. This was then composited with my stop-motion spaceship footage. I manipulated additional movement of the ship in After Effects in order to make it even more convincing.

I also began animating the monster puppet that will fight with Jordan Funk later in the film. It took some practice before I got an idea for the character but I finally found a feel and rhythm to his personality. Animating his eyeballs is my favorite part so far.