Friday, November 22, 2013


As usual, I am insanely off-schedule with my blogging. Being Social Media Girl for the National YoungArts Foundation kinda does that to me. Like, oh, I have things to say about myself? And I'm supposed to spend MORE time on social media??

But also, I'm very happy to be able to share me-things with the world. Yay, things!

To go in chronological order, (and yes, this is how outdated I've gotten) the Cartoon Brew Student Animation Festival finally premiered my first year film "i" back in September. I did an interview with them, and then watched my film look nice on Vimeo, and sighed in thankfulness. Here's the article:

i from Cartoon Brew on Vimeo.

More excitingly, in my opinion, I made public for the first time live footage of my first staging of "i" back at CalArts in October 2012. This is real:

"i" performance footage from Isabela Dos Santos on Vimeo.

Then, it was YoungArts' birthday, and I made this for them. You can click on it! Oooh, programming: And then I produced the second episode of YoungArts TakeOne:

Also, Camille A. Brown's "Mr. TOL E. RAncE" continues to show around the country, and you should go watch it! I made animations for it, but also, it's a really important show. It seems like fun and entertainment, but it hits you very deeply at the end and I think it's doing a lot to update the conversation about race and stereotypes, and in a bigger lens, just about identity and compassion in general. I'm writing a blog post for YoungArts reviewing 12 Years a Slave (which was beautiful and made me cry for weeks) and I'll talk about working with Camille on this. For now, check out upcoming performances and go see it!

And, finally, today I received my very first Vimeo Staff Pick! For "I met a robot at a ballet once." It's so nice. Jason Sondhi must have known it's my birthday tomorrow (WOAH, cake day tomorrow). My favorite part of is his comment: "this is heavy." It makes me think of suitcase tags.

"Some emotions in life should come with this sticker."

If only I received a Vimeo Staff Pick every time I checked in overweight luggage for a flight. I'd have a lot of Vimeo Staff Picks.

Currently working on making a ton of handmade little (like 2.5" x 2") children's books, end-of-semester things, animating on Aron Bothman's upcoming film, and my upcoming thesis project. Stay tuned for updates (maybe).

Monday, September 16, 2013

YoungArts TakeOne

I did something crazy while working with YoungArts this summer. I decided to get my friends and make art for ourselves. It evolved a lot from my original pitch to the collaborative result, but we ended up starting a web series of cover songs. The catch is that the performers do not talk to each other ahead of time--and we only give them one take. As we kept calling it, "it's like a high-stakes jam session." It's great.

Happy to say now:'s the performance video!

Plus Tyler edited an awesome Behind the Scenes feature:

Of course, I also am responsible for that little intro animation, which features the yet-to-be-released (but I guess now they're partially leaked) t-shirt design characters for YoungArts Week 2014.

YATO has been a really cool project. I mean, that's an understatement because I'm extremely sleepy right now and can't begin to properly express my feelings towards this group of kids and the feeling I get from making art with them, even if I couldn't be there in person. It's just so...right. You don't get that often in life and there shouldn't be any hesitation to hold on to it when you do. This was my attempt to get a couple of artists to do what they love with the people they love, at a time when we all kind of forgot that was available for us (or, for them. I'm still stuck on a hippie-infested ant hill in suburban Los Angeles). It meant a lot to me, and I was jealous not to be there with them, but satisfied that they were more-than-pleased with the experience. Plus, like, WHATTHE--how did they do that! And here I sit with my key frames...

Anyway. I hope you enjoy what we created, and that you stay tuned for more! Off to bed.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

For more premiere-related news:

I made my most recent animated film-of-sorts public yesterday. Enjoy this quirky existential crisis, "I met a robot at a ballet once.":

I met a robot at a ballet once. from Isabela Dos Santos on Vimeo.

And for the record, I did go to a ballet this summer in NYC after making this film (American Ballet Theater of course, with Daniil Simkin performing that day BECAUSE WHAT A GORGEOUS DANCER HE IS). While I did not have a robot sit to my right, there was a middle-aged woman there who after the first intermission magically transformed into an old lady, and at the second intermission that old lady started up conversation with me about how much of a gem Daniil Simkin is and about what it takes to be a truly captivating artist, that intelligence and being truly human to your audience will take you further in life than talent alone. Close enough, I suppose. She did not eat her playbill, however.

But, anyway, it was a good day in my life. The weather was nice and I ate Goldfish snacks by the Lincoln Center fountain.

EDIT September 2013: I got word that "I met a robot..." is off to Amsterdam to cause life crises internationally at the KLIK! Animation Festival. Yay!

Monday, June 24, 2013

A Year Later...

I'm happy to announce that "i" will finally come out of its password-protected cave, thanks to Cartoon Brew's 2013 Student Animation Festival! The line up of 8 films will begin premiering one film per week starting July 8th, so stay tuned for the exact date. Actually, all films look fantastic, so stay tuned to Cartoon Brew regardless and watch them all! Thanks to Cartoon Brew and JibJab for the big smile on my face. Wheeee. *high-five*

See the full line-up here:

As Bill T. Jones says, "Art is a participation in the world of ideas," and I think it's important for me and others not to see a work of art as something definitive, but as a sentence in a big conversation. So it's time for more sentences. Maybe one that has to do with chocolate.

Ooooh, chocolate.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Post-UNPLAY Post

Alas, I am back from NYC where I had the very wonderful opportunity to be part of Conrad Tao's UNPLAY Festival, which in my words was an exploration of the classically-trained musician's (or any artist, I like to think) role in the modern world of technology and mainstream ideals. The music was awe-inspiring and I was happy to be surrounded by the people I love the most: young nerdy artists with the most insane ambitions.

I performed June 11th, which was the first day of the three-night festival, Conrad's 19th (yeah, I know) birthday and the release day of his first full-length album "Voyages." There were some technical scares along the way (as always), but it all turned out rather nicely and my extreme gratitude goes out to Conrad and his crew for the opportunity. Here are some records and reviews of the night:
"When Mr. Tao opened with “iridescence,” a bubbly piece for piano and iPad included on “Voyages,” his performance was accompanied with an abstract video by Isabela Dos Santos...Sriracha closed with “i,” a winsome jazz-pop ballad by Kate Davis. Ms. Dos Santos, shadowy behind a translucent screen, danced along with her projected animations..." - Steve Smith, NY Times

The Galerie Project also reviewed that night of the show and said some very nice things about everyone's work, along with providing a couple of Vine clips.

"One of my favorite performances of the night. Isabela Dos Santos performed a live interpretive dance in cooperation with her short animated film, “i.” At moments, Dos Santos seemed to blend into the animated figure she was mimicking." - Dan Ragan

YoungArts also very graciously provided live streaming of that night of the festival, which is now available online for the world to see!

My work was featured in the opening number "iridescence," an experimental animation compiled on VDMX (with the technological support of Matt Broach), which was hooked up to Conrad's equipment so he was the one triggering the images through his piano and iPad. And around the 48-minute mark is my performance of "i" although it's a bit difficult to see me through the scrim on this recording. Conrad rearranged Kate Davis' song and Erika Thompson provided the lovely Beach House-y vocals. I danced.

The rest of the show is even more fantastic, so whenever you're sitting around and want some good music and performance, you should watch it allllllllll. I particularly recommend the second number, "leaves," with Caleb Teicher on percussive dance, and then the one with the trio of toy pianos. It's a cute one.

And finally, thanks to everyone who attended live or online! Hopefully some more exciting things are on the way for this summer, but for now, let's all enjoy the sunshine.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

I met a robot at a ballet once, but I can't tell you about it just yet.

Hello from Florida!

It's humid here.

I finally managed to render out an internet-friendly copy of my new animation "I met a robot at a ballet once." but I can't share it with you just yet. Real soon, though, I promise (maybe)! For now, here is a last-line spoiler still from my film (oops):

Does this make you cuuuuurious?


Also, just a reminder, I'll be flying out to New York City in one week! I'll be there June 6th-14th, and on June 11th for Conrad Tao's UNPLAY Festival I'll be performing my dance/animation creation "i" live (with live music, too!) and also projecting some interactive animation things for Conrad's new original song "iridescence."

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

News and Things


It's time for a more factual update:

First of all, I'm super excited to share that a few weeks ago I received notice that my dance/animation film from last year, "i" was chosen as a Regional Finalist for the Student Academy Awards. COOL. I was very happy to find out, and a little less happy to then hear I did not make it to the final rounds the following week. But I'm so honored to have been a regional finalist that I keep forgetting I didn't win. Because, yay, they like my film!

And more about "i"--

I'll actually be performing it live in New York for Conrad Tao's UNPLAY music festival! Check out more info at this here link here, and also here's a cute photo of me with my projected monster friend from "i" back when we performed it live at CalArts last semester:

I'll also have as part of the festival a new experimental animation to be projected during the performance of Conrad's new original composition, "Iridescence." It's colorful and hypnotic. So, if you're in the area, go to the festival! There's great talent involved, and you get to see me dance.

In other news,

I wrote an extended monologue about time travel that was accepted into the Digital Arts Expo that will be happening at CalArts this Thursday, May 9th! It's my writing debut, I suppose. It'll be fun.

I'm also working on exporting the animation I made as my designated yearly short and it's just a little something along the lines of an animated storybook poem about an existential crisis, entitled "I met a robot at a ballet once."  It'll be screened at the Bijou Festival at CalArts on Monday, May 13th at 10am (good morning!), and also Thursday, May 16th at midnight at the Cinefamily Theater in LA.


I am fighting my way through the war zone that is the end of the semester, waiting to hear back from LAIKA about a summer internship, and soon I'll have to pack to head back home to Florida for the summer. Really I'm just ready for some cheesecake and/or raspberries and to lay in bed catching up on RuPaul's Drag Race and sleep.

And to end on something silly and entertaining, here's my semester's project for my motion capture class, with fellow YoungArts alum Kyreeana Alexander's tap dancing turned into bunnies. Cute funny bunnies.

Mini Bunny Cabaret Show from Isabela Dos Santos on Vimeo.

P.S. Do you like how I bolded things that are extra important?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sunday, March 3, 2013

New Reel for 2013!

How exciting! I made a new reel. In other words: Portfolio Day at CalArts is near. 

I've included a lot of new footage that hasn't previously been pushed around the interent, so, enjoy the new-ness:

2013 Animation Reel from Isabela Dos Santos on Vimeo.

I also suspect some updates to this blog design soon... Hope y'all are having a good month of March!

Life Things

I appreciate that this article doesn't just say, "It'll all be better soon!" but rather that you never know what will happen, that you have to figure out what it is that will keep you happy when you inevitably face those shitty spans of life. I don't know if I know what that is for me yet, but this article made me feel good about the uncertainty of life: