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I will survive!

Back, back, back in the days of early cable internet and faster-than-dial-up connection–and almost a decade before YouTube–I came across this animated, creative, delightful and giggle-inducing version of Gloria Gaynor’s amazing song, I Will Survive.

I watched this “Alien Song” (as it was titled by the creator) again and again … and again and again. It never failed to make me laugh. (I even used it strategically at times when I needed to laugh: needed to get out of whatever funk I was in.) Also around this time with my scant collection of CDs, I had a disco-classics CD; and this song was on it;  I listened to it, I’m sure, hundreds of times. Many hundreds of times.

Earlier today, something trigged a memory of this song, so I went looking for the video; but I was only finding poor-quality copies of it on YouTube. Wisely, the animator had embedded his name in the video, so I looked him up: Victor Navone. I found his version of the video upload as well as his story about how this animation changed his life. Check this out.

This is the clip that launched my animation career. I started teaching myself CG character animation back in 1998, and this was the third test I animated with my alien character, “Blit”. It was meant to be a simple lip-synch test, but I decided to have some fun with it and give it an ironic ending. I posted it to the CG Char forum for feedback, and the next thing I knew it was going viral (by email; this was before YouTube). Among the thousands of emails I received about it was one from Pixar, asking if I would like to interview with them. The next thing I knew, I was a professional animator. It’s weird how things go!


Thanks to Gloria Gaynor for the great song.

Some say follow your passion; follow your bliss; do what you love. He did, and look where it took him! And look at how many people he touched and influenced over the years. I’m one of them! If you’ve watched any Pixar movies over the years, you’ve probably seen his work. Here is a beautiful and short highlight reel of some of his work.

And, yes, you will survive. Whatever it is, whatever is going on: you will survive. What happens TO us happens FOR us. Yeah, it usually takes some time (sometimes years, sometimes decades) to see the “FOR,” but, truly, no one escapes trauma, disappointment, raging despair, loss, desperation or hopelessness in this life. We each just get those experiences in the particularly specific-to-us ways we do, and we each get to decide who we want to be and become in the face of them.

It’s a journey. It’s a marathon. It’s life. And it’s glorious.

yes, i did survive!

Holy heck. I just had another memory related to this song pop into my mind. Around 1999, I was in a terrible situation. ‘Tis a longer story for another day and one of the many, many stories in my life stemming from a deep sense of unworthiness that manifested in some pretty insane ways. But, anyhoo, I found myself sued for 120 million dollars. Yes, I was being sued for $120 million by someone whose intent had little to do with money and everything to do with power and making me beholden to him interminably.

Like I said, another story for another day. But, what I remember when I came out of the court house, victorious, was when I got in my car, my classic-disco-songs CD was in and set to play (of course, because I had maybe ten music CDs to my name and this was my favorite at the time which I played again and again and again and again). When I started my car, some other song was playing; and then–without me touching a thing on my music console in the car–the CD jumped over however many songs and started to play I Will Survive!

I sat there dumbfounded at first. (How … why did my CD player just shift songs, midpoint while playing another song, no less?) Then I burst out laughing, full of relief and fully aware that in whatever machinations of Universal Support, of which I don’t know the workings, I knew, 100 percent, I was supported, and this song being “selected and played” by whatever Forces were out there was a direct and specific communication to me: Yes, I will survive! 

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