Chapter 16: Party! Party! Party!

This week was a pretty momentous one for us. I (Heather) finished my training at work!!!! I've been doing something called the MPC Academy for the past 12 weeks. Basically there aren't enough visual effects artists in the industry so the studio MPC offers 3 month training followed by another 9 months of employment with them to help young artists break into a difficult industry. This job is the whole reason we embarked on this crazy journey to Montreal. It has been a lot of work, tears, and craziness, and I have learned so much in the past few months here. I and five others were hired out of a very large pool of applicants, so just getting hired was a huge deal for me as I was switching fields pretty much. All my experience comes from Animation, and this is live action work, and I have very limited experience in lighting which is what I now do. They try and hire only people they think will be successful in the program as it is such a large monetary and time investment, but it doesn't always work out. One of the people I started out with didn't end up "graduating" the program with us. It was pretty shocking and we were all heartbroken for him. He was let go the day before we finished, so that definitely put a bit of a damper on the celebrations.

My fellow lighting trainees were Tiffany, Nicolas, Carmen, Frank and Terry. We are all very different, but found a great sense of camaraderie as we stayed late and came in early to get our work ready to present twice a week. They are really great artists, and I am so happy to have gotten to know them more over the past few months! We have all been put on to our shows and I am so excited to start work on Monday on my first feature film. You'll be able to see it in the theatres and everything!! (I can't say more now, but I will keep you posted when it comes out.)


This weekend seems to be the weekend that everyone was planning parties and get-togethers. It has been really crazy. we had a little graduation ceremony at work, there were work parties for both of our jobs, we had a white elephant gift exchange, our church had a Christmas party, and some friends had a pot-luck as well. We definitely overdid it, and some hard decisions had to be made. In the end, we had a blast this weekend, didn't sleep enough, and didn't get to do everything we wanted to haha. But we had a great weekend anyways.

Our White elephant gift exchange was awesome! We filled up our house, and it looks like we may need more seating before the next gathering. So we can invite more friends obvi. For those of you who don't know what it is, let me explain. No, there is too much, let me sum up:

  1. Everyone who comes brings a wrapped gift less than 20$ in value (or what ever you are comfortable with)
  2. You draw numbers for who chooses first (the least desirable is choosing first)
  3. You choose a gift, unwrap it and ooh and ahh. (or laugh and moan. depending)
  4. The next people to choose picks either a fresh gift from the pile, or they can steal something someone else unwrapped. If you steal a gift, the person who had it stolen can pick a new gift from the pile or steal a different person's gift.
  5. Each gift can only be stolen 3 times.

 We had some really funny gifts, I think one of the favourites was Devin getting a purse, and working that purse all evening. look for the man with the purse in these photos, he is pretty fab. One of the best and most desirable gifts (i think) was a large abstract painting our friend P.O. had made! (he is french so that is pronounced like "pay oh" not "pee owe" haha) Hurray for more artist friends!

I feel like this week a lot of people have been asking us how we like it here in Montreal. Actually we love it. The city's culture is amazing, and the people here are so warm. Their warmth almost makes up for the freezing temperatures of the city. Almost. No but really, so far the cold hasn't been so bad. We have really been prepared with the winter wear we have bought, so this kind of cold hasn't been too much yet. I'm sure it will get there, but I'm feeling like "if this is -20, I can totally handle this. inside."

What else did we do this week than party? I am having a hard time remembering right now...

Love Heather