I watched a lot of cartoons and movies. I draw incessantly and carry a sketchbook everywhere. I work in animation and self-publish my books. There are monsters in the streets, don't wear red. Mad bulls and monsters hate that color. I still watch cartoons.

Monday, June 28, 2004

A Saturday with Animators

The launch of the 2D Expo seemed to have ambled into wakefulness on a Saturday when most people who already gave at the office cannot be bothered to arrive somewhere other than their own back yards. But people did show up. Not in numbers that could overwhelm and thinking about it later I was very happy about these very people who did make it and no more.

There was no glamour to it. The exhibit room was spare and the campus of Woodbury, tucked away from the hubbub of commercial Burbank, was quiet and airy enough to wish for a hammock instead of being in a room to hear people talk about drawn animation. But there they were. Names and faces you've seen associated with the production and support of multi-million dollar productions over the decades but now without the trimmings of big studio regard--and not to mislead, there weren't many there. The faces in the crowd all wanted to hear and see what could happen this afternoon. I hear the organizers say that they could have advertised it better. I would agree, but then later in the day who could say, maybe it was just the genius of the approach. A silent call to those who would come, with no promise of any gains or glory other than perhaps a confirmation that there are others out there wanting the same things to happen.

I also came because of several people. Jerry Beck and Amid Amidi for starters. As the voices of Cartoon Brew they made it clear that they walk their talk--and their talk is about their passion for animation, its heritage, its people, past and present and its future. Their site was the only site other than ASIFA's itself that advertised the event and if you think about it, given the rather remote pseudo location the internet is, it is amazing that people showed up. Stuart Ng was there with a pared down collection of enticing books. If you haven't visited him at any of the few conventions he does go to then you still have one gold mine of book buying joy waiting for you. If you are an initiate then you understand what being hooked on that catalogue of his means. He is also good people and cares as much about the history and craft that all of us in animation and drawing do. Jim Capobianco, a good friend who's making a short on his own and forges on without checking the clock. I just knew he had to be there so I nudged. Throughout the day I was seeing people and meeting new ones and that made the trip all the more worth it.

I could name drop a gaggle of people but will resist-—I’m so deathly afraid that I'm forgetting or misnaming people. Here's some photos of those who were in the panels and in the audience. You can play a small game of Name that Animator.

Standing To Be Counted. I have to congratulate all of you who did show up. Panelists, participants and exhibitors. I am probably typical of the membership of the union in that I am nearly deaf to its plight and immovable about helping out. Maybe it's my years in it not doing a thing or maybe I am ready to do something now, I can't say. But to see people show up to this gathering was...well, inspiring. A cornball word perhaps but I can't use another one when this one fits. A timid sense of pride for every panel and every seat taken in that room. These people showed up and made by their very presence a vote to keep something alive. Not much may be done and not one job may result from this and I can only muse about what could be in some day yet to be when more are there to be counted, and it would not be a day about superstars and giant projects but would still be about what these few made of this nameless Saturday afternoon.


"Leonardo" made a good splash and seemed to have charmed the room right off. I can see Jim's face light up to hear the crowd's reaction and I can almost draw the word balloon over his head, all the years of working on it seems to be worth it. Earlier I was afraid that he would be dismayed by the rather spare attendance and a visit to the exhibitor tables could douse anyone's enthusiasm--it was a quite small. But it was all about the substance of the people we meet there. I will seriously consider getting a table there with our books and showcase the short(s) if they do this again. So, we made new contacts, saw old friends and showed a small appreciative crowd what we've been up to. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon. Even if we did have to drive a few hundred miles for it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great "report" of what the Expo was about. I was actually surprised that it was as well attended as it was, and more surprised that there didn't seem to be the wanna-be's and the walking wounded that I expected. Just talented and capable people still drawing animation, happy to share some inspiration and energy with each other.

But, god, those seats were uncomfortable.


P.S. 'Leonardo' was a joy. Hats off to Jim for keeping at it.

11:00 AM

Blogger Ronnie said...

Good to hear, Kevin. I'll pass it along to Jim. You're right, it was just the right people with the right mindset that made the day as successful and pleasant as it was. That balance is worth keeping.


11:34 AM

Blogger Leticia said...

It's very nice to see that rhe 2D Expo was a hit...at least for the group of 2d animators!!
Leticia Abreu
ps: I was not happy in the game Name that animator.

6:02 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man, I bet that was super exhilarating to be at. I wish Seattle had things like this to go to. Some day I may just have to move to LA to experience the experience. :) And to get the turn out that it seems to have gotten seems pretty cool considering it wasnt published a lot. Just goes to show that 2d will never die, as it shouldnt. Is Leonardo anywhere on the internet? Or hints of anything? drawings?

It's always nice to read your comments about what's happening.
Take Care
Jason Newkirk (newsquirt)

2:44 AM

Blogger Ronnie said...

Thanks for posting, Jason. L.A. does seem to be a hub of all these activities and rightly so, since the gold rush of money in them thar animation hills of Glendale/Burbank brought all us animation types into taking the gamble along with them gian studios. Since the community is kinda in its doldrums we're having to wake up and see our purpose more clearly. More gatherings will pop up and groups will form to try and make a go of it. A stint in L.A. might be good. I did it for over ten years and it certainly is good for networking.

I've no pictures of Leonardo released by Jim yet. I'm leaving that for him to launch on his own website--still to be opened--and I know that he's got plans on how to really spring it on people.

So, watch this space for further developments.


10:58 AM


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