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Exposing their creativity

Pioneers in animation field learn from one another, offer tips at art expo.

November 21, 2009|By Zain Shauk

BURBANK — The first Creative Talent Network Animation Expo kicked off Friday at the Marriott Hotel and Convention Center in Burbank, drawing hundreds of students and professionals for an exhibition in a region that is widely acknowledged as the animation capital of the world.

The event featured seminars from innovators like “Hellboy” comic book creator Mike Mignola and entrepreneurial animator Don Bluth, who split off from major studios to create “The Secret of NIMH.”

The event was an opportunity for animators to learn from industry pioneers, while also promoting their own work, said Tina Price, who founded the Creative Talent Network.


It made sense to hold the event in the Glendale-Burbank area, Price said, because major studios like DreamWorks, the Walt Disney Co. and Warner Bros. have animation operations here, along with offices from Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon.

“This is where it all happens,” she said.

Although animators have other events where they can learn about new trends and projects, most notably the annual Comic Con expo in San Diego, the Burbank event was an opportunity for attendees to differentiate themselves as individuals, they said.

That was the case for animator Jose Lopez, who had worked on feature films, video games and cartoons, including “The Batman” for Warner Bros. Animation.

Lopez was proud of his work on major projects, but was promoting his independent work by selling a sketchbook featuring one of his concept characters, “Mariachi Samurai.”

“People thought it was really interesting, and they bought into it,” said Lopez, whose character’s dual role as a mariachi band member and samurai warrior was exciting passersby.

While Lopez and other animators had success in larger projects, they often have difficulty marketing their own skills apart from those of the larger team with which they work, he said.

“It’s very hard outside of the industry to get your name out,” he said.

While established animators were displaying their work as exhibitors, students and other up-and-coming artists made their best attempts to get their names out as well.

Many walked up to booths for Disney TV Animation, Warner Bros. Animation and other large firms that were at the event, introducing themselves and offering copies of resumes and displaying sketchbooks and portfolios.

“Some people are trying to get into the industry and the best way to do it is with effective networking,” said Jeremiah Lowder, an outreach representative for the Los Angeles Film School.

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