May '10     

Historians tell us that the most important ingredient for a Renaissance is an openness to new ideas and external traditions. For example, the Great Renaissance in 14th century Europe resulted from the new cross fertilization of biblical traditions, classical Greek philosophical traditions, and Islamic influences.

In this same spirit, The Creative Talent Network (CTN) presented its first animation expo at the Burbank Marriott Convention Center with a cross section of technologies and talent coming together to create the medium we know to be “Animation”.  This event demonstrated the value of this talent and of keeping our mind and eyes open to the many opportunities that are ahead. So with much anticipation and preparation the doors opened to world-class animation talent from Ireland, England, Germany, Canada and the US along with a very special endorsement from one of if not the most influential cartoonists of this century, Ronald Searle.

“I am happy for my name to be used in association with the CTN-Xpo.  I am very pleased to be honored like this & quite surprised that people still think of me!” ~ Ronald Searle.

I have seen this event in my head ever since I started the Creative Talent Network in 2004 and I physically started doing events for CTN about 4 years ago with smaller events like networking gatherings at Gordon Biersch, gallery shows at Van Eaton Galleries, and book signing events like The Animation BookLook that ended up with over 40 artists and 575 people in a tent in the street in Studio City where it was 112 degrees and I knew then it was time to get that idea out of my head and into reality.

Someone said to me "Tina, there's no difference between cooking an 8 ounce hen or an 8 lb Turkey except one is bigger." Well they were right and this was bigger - a lot bigger. There's the venue, the city, the permits, the sales, the marketing, the business/legal, the insurance, the multiple crews for AV, lighting, technical direction, exhibitor management, the decor the everything and then the everything else. About 6 months into it, I realized this was really big.

I started the brainstorming or viz dev process for the eXpo in 2007 and actually signed a 3 year agreement with the Marriott around Spring of 2008 - which happened to be before the big economic meltdown. As we got into 2009, it appeared I was going to be producing this first time event in the worst economical climate in decades. Everything changed overnight. Now that banks were closing and credit was frozen, people thought differently about investments and making business deals with a newcomer and I think it was right around then I became a member of the 4am club every night. But you just have to keep going. There is no other way to go but forward.

The hunched and goofy descend on the Burbank Marriot.

But I am thrilled to report that for our first year we had over 2,800 attendees including professional designers and animators, art students, animation studio executives and recruiters in attendance. Conference rooms and exhibit floor burst with creativity. Attendees saw presentations and live demonstrations from award winning creative artists. There were hours of networking, special screenings ('The Secret of the Kells" and "Waking Sleeping Beauty"), and dozens of artists actually got jobs.  It was just an amazing weekend where everyone left with more than they walked in with thanks to the volunteers, the exhbitors, sponsors and the incredible production crews and most of all thanks to “the talent” .

Burbank’s Deputy City Manager Joy Forbes:
“We are proud to host the first-ever Animation Expo. Our city is known around the world for its state-of-the-art studios and production facilities. This will be such a tremendous occasion for the most talented animators in the country and we look forward to their arrival in November.”

And to show their support, Burbank Mayor Gary Bric made an official declaration proclaiming “Animation Week” in the city of Burbank each and every year encouraging everyone to attend.

So mark your calendar and join Flip at the best ‘NEW” event of the year when The Creative Talent Network will once again be "IN THE HOUSE" putting "the talent" center stage on Nov 29-21, 2010.  If you register before May 31 you can get the same prices as last year and use our Flip special discount code for an additional 10% off: FLIPX10.

See more of the CTN eXpo here!

Some testimonials from those who were there....

Carolyn Bates - Producer DUCK Studios
"I am blown away by the CTN - Expo, and I am so glad to be a volunteer on something so wonderful. Thanks for putting this together. It's one of the best things to happen to animation in L.A., and for our industry, and for the future of animation. It was so nice to run into so many old friends and to be at a place where the artists, not the studios were the stars. Count me in for next year's CTN Expo!"

Eric Beckman - President GKIDS
"The grassroots support for "The Secret of the Kells" is phenomenal. Everyone who has seen the movie has fallen in love. After the Creative Talent Network Expo screening literally dozens of animators came up and asked to help spread the word-and the result is the ASIFA and Academy Award nomination."

Erik Caines - Animation Graduate CSULB
"I really can't tell you enough how much of a success the Expo was this weekend, but you must already know that. CTN did an absolutely amazing job! The animation industry is greatly enriched by all that you have contributed to it! I know that for me personally, my journey and pursuit throughout the industry has been enhanced ever since my teacher turned me on to CTN's network for students, Animation Alumni. You really have made a difference in my life. I can't say thank you enough. This weekend blew my expectations out of the water! The people I was able to talk to and the connections I established would never have been possible without an amazing expo like this. I had a awesome interview with Jana Day over at Sony, Scott Morse from Pixar gave me some great story tips after checking out my portfolio, and sharing breakfast with Max Howard is something I'll always remember. That's just to name a few of the highlights from the weekend. I've been trying to break into story on the studio level for awhile, and wanting to work professionally as an artist in the entertainment industry for most of my life. It's a pursuit that I'll never quit on, but does prove to often take a lot out of me. Thanks to your amazing talent network and great events like the Expo, I'm encouraged and re-energized to keep working even harder. Again, THANK YOU! I hope I'm in a position in my future that I might be able to return the favor. Looking forward to doing it again next year! "

T. Dan Hofstedt - Animator
"It was fantastic. CTN deserves a standing ovation for putting it all together. It was great seeing so many people from past projects and studios under one roof. It was inspirational seeing so many artists' personal work on display. Good forums and panels and demos. All in all a fantastic event that I'm already looking forward to next year!"

Peggy Flynn - Arts Coordinator, Burbank Unified School District
"CONGRATULATIONS on a hugely successful first year!!! I am apologizing in advance for my gross over-use of the "!" but I just have to convey how thrilled I am that everything went so beautifully. Thank you for working so hard to make sure BUSD students were able to be a part of it. I've asked them to send me some reflections of their experiences that I will definitely share with you. I hope you realize the impact this event had on our students. You may have set wheels in motion for the rest of their lives. That is some gift!"

George Scribner - Painter
"I want to tell you I was really impressed with the event and thought the CTN team did an amazing job pulling this together. I'm never going back to comi-con and I heard that from others as well."

All images for this article are the property of Tina Price.

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