Animation Mentor Adventure

Chad Swanson’s Journey at becoming a Character Animator!

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    Siggraph ’09 New Orleans w/ Animation Mentor

    Posted by chad3d on August 9, 2009


    Let me just start off by saying this years Siggraph was a blast! The convention center was huge, It lacked nothing from the Los Angeles  center. I think the Exhibition floor might have been a bit smaller. The Animation Mentor students started off the week on Tuesday by gathering together in the Lobby of Hall H.  It was great meeting other students from all the other classes as well as a bunch of graduating classes. The Alumni where just as eager to meet other students as the upcoming classes.


    After we got tired of each others awesomeness we hit up the exhibition floor and job fair. There were plenty of studio’s there looking for some animation talent.  Lucas Arts Animation, ILM, Ubisoft, Red 5, Rhythm & Hues, Blue Sky, Animation Lab, Pixar and Moonbot just to name a few.  There was a ton of lectures and animation going on between the  computer animation festival and the conference. After that started to wind down the AM crew went out to DBA in the french quarter to do some more mingling. Mentors, students, and  industry professionals all got together and met and talked over a few drinks.

    studio collage

    Then came the AM packed Wednesday! We started off the day with an Animation Q&A with Shawn Kelly & Industry Experts. Paul Allen – Mentor and Senior Character Animator at Terminal Reality, Bryan Engram – Animation Director at Reel FX Entertainment, Robin Linn – Artist Management at Radium/Reel FX Entertainment, and Scott Benza – Animation Director at Industrial Light and Magic where answering questions moderated by Shawn Kelly.  Many great topics where covered from what studio’s look for on your reel and how likely it is for someone to complete a feature film by themselves.

    CIMG0577CIMG0578Q&A Panel

    After that was the Birds of a Feather event Bobby and Shawn. They went over the Demo Reels that were submitted with a fine toothed comb. It was wonderful to hear every little thing that catches peoples eyes when they look at your reel. What kind of things would actually be a better idea to just scrap and take off your reel as apposed to leaving it on there and hurting you. After that event carried a hour longer than it was scheduled a few of us went over to the Disney booth to get a Disney animator look at your work and and review it. When we where done with that we came back to the birds of the feather room and Bobby and Shawn where still out in the hall giving others there Reel reviews. What great guys taking the time to do that for the AM students. I definitely have to give them props for taking the time to do that!


    The day finished off with a after party at Gordon Biersch. Was a great time rounding up all the potential AM students as well as the crew and students to end the lot of the AM events. It was great times meeting Becca, Molly, Shawn, and BOOM. They really did a good job keeping AM alive at this event as well as all the volunteers. Thursday things started to wind down and I got to talk to a lot of people about reels and new studios opening up. I was talking with some fellow students about last years LA Siggraph and how it compared. On Tuesday it was so easy to walk around the exhibition floor and see everything. At that point I was thinking that there was not as much to do because it was smaller. By the time Thursday rolled around I could safely say that New Orleans ’09 was the best Siggraph I have been to. The smaller crowds made it so much easier to meet people and get a lot of one on one time with Alumni, and industry professionals to look at my work. Plus the unofficial goodbye dinner/party with the AM students on Thursday night made it all worth it! We really did it up and I can’t  wait till next year!

    GB partyCIMG0623CIMG0624CIMG0576


    One Response to “Siggraph ’09 New Orleans w/ Animation Mentor”

    1. Thanks for the pictures, Chad! I’ll be posting a few of them on Facebook soon, giving you the credit for the awesome shots, of course!

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