Once upon a time (here being specifically Tuesday August 28th, 2012), in a land not unlike our own, season one of the ABC tv series “Once Upon A Time” was released on blu-ray and dvd. Many moons before, under the darkness and cloak of secrecy, a message was borne by the mystical Email Eagle over the Fios Forest from the far away shining land of the West to a humble artist peasant.
It’s been a very surreal journey for me doing the illustrations for the special features of “Once Upon a Time” (Disc 5- Opening illustration in “Building Character,” and the illustrations in “The Story I Remember – Snow White”…sneaky peak HERE). It’s extraordinarily bizarre to see my art playing on our television when I created it literally less than 12 feet away at my desk in the next room. Logically knowing -but not tangibly grasping- the reality that countless others will see it too, gives me this overwhelming urge to either yelp or giggle. To borrow a sentiment of a balding Scicilian…inconceivable.
Some of my most fond and earliest memories are with fairy tales and Disney – watching the well loved white plastic VHSs, and bedtime stories and library adventures with my mom and sister. “The Little Mermaid” was the first movie I saw in theaters at the ripe old age of 4, and I decided soon after I was going to grow up and become a mermaid and work for Disney. Present day me is emphatically un-mermed – but twenty three years past my declaration of destiny, my heart triple jumped, shot putted and sprinted when the art director told me she was passing my sketches and illustrations on for approval to Disney. From their inspirations, through my hands, to LA, to ABC, to Disney went my work and with it an amalgamation of hope, anticipation and a healthy dose of what my husband lovingly calls “becStress”.
There’s a process I go through when I create art that usually goes something like this: Idea, Excitement, Panic, Loathing, Resignation, and finally Love. It was a whirlwind project that was here and passed in less than a month, so each of my stages were distinctly accelerated. The pace of the adventure zipped, but I learned so much along the way about the process of approvals and revisions and I got to work with an incredibly supportive and helpful team of producers, and an endlessly encouraging Art Director.
And then, as quickly as it all started, it was done. My illustrations were praised and green lighted, and the waiting began. It started to feel like I had imagined the whole elaborate scenario, and I was held to a vow of silence till its release. It was like having found the best most can’t-be-topped present for your sister and having to wait four months till her birthday to give it to her, all the while jumping up and down with your hands over your mouth gleefully mumbling “it’s going to be soooo good!”. So, I did what any anxious Waiter of Things would do and pre-ordered the box set on blu-ray and resigned myself to epic impatience.
Two teeth gritting days after the rest of the world could go out and buy it in a brick and mortar store a small, unassuming cardboard box finally arrived on our doorstep. My nerves climbed the roller coaster track and chugged and halted as Hubs and I zoomed through the menus of 4 discs before finally finding the right title in the special features on the last one. The split second last moment of Not Knowing rippled by as the featurette blinked to life.
Even thesaurus.com fails to embellish the proper words for the excitement and gratitude I’m oozing in being a part of something so remarkable. Rarely am I at a loss for words, but I’ve struggled articulating this chapter in my personal fairy tale. Thank you most eloquently with multiple adjectives of appreciation to Herzog and Company, “Once Upon a Time,” and my husband and family for allowing me the honor and privilege to do what I love for a living.