Talky day

Thursday’s schedule was heavy on people talking. So I went to four lectures/panels/presentations. The first was on Adult Swim, which I’ve never really watched, but I was curious because I know it’s popular. They talked a lot about how they figure out what does and doesn’t work for them. One of the Oregonian bloggers wrote a pretty comprehensive account of the presentation, so I’ll just link over there.

After that, I went to the “Get a Job” panel, where I discovered that finding work in animation is a lot like finding work in any other interesting field. Get out there, talk to people, and don’t be an asshole.

Then, after lunch we had two big presentations by Aardman and Pixar studios. Aardman is best known for Wallace & Grommit, but they recently had a foray into CG with Flushed Away. Gary Rydstrom from Pixar showed off their first four shorts (and they’re still fun, even though CG work has gotten much more detailed since then), along with his directing debut, a short called Lifted, about the driver’s ed for alien abductions (I think they’re showing it along with Ratatouille, their latest feature film). He used the film to explain how the process of creating a Pixar film works, from the initial storyboarding, to character development (in this case, it involved a lot of mucking around with green hair gel), to the initial computer animation process, to sound, lighting, and finally the finished work. The Aardman presentation covered many of the same areas, but with a heavier focus on the character and story development process.

Then, after a quick dinner with family, I walked over to Wieden & Kennedy for Scott McCloud’s lecture on making comics. He’s done an amazing job of breaking down how and why comics do what they do. Even if you’re not a comics geek, I would recommend his work to anyone who’s interested in any sort of visual communication. We also had a special bonus presentation from his daughter Sky, about the family road-trip they’ve been doing since September to talk, teach, and promote his books. They have a group blog on Livejournal where you can follow the trip and find links to Sky and Winter’s video interviews with comic book artists.

Last, I went to the installation event. I know I’ve been saying how amazing and incredible and fun everything has been this week, but this exhibit was especially awesome. (I’m also comforted to know that the pros are having a similar experience.) Wow. I’m so sad that the best pieces were only one night, because I want to see this again, and bring everyone I know.

Subterranean Heart is a composite of projected animation and live performance. Well executed, with compelling imagery. I loved watching how everything fit together.

Pika Pika (whose film I saw Wednesday) was also there, doing a live participatory performance of their work. I’m feeling so inspired after seeing all of these amazing creative things this week, and this sort of light drawing is definitely something to experiment with.

I also loved Conveyor Belt, The Street, and Intra Muros. I really wish these could be shared with more people. The works that were set up inside PNCA are open through Saturday, at least, so you can see a sample of the non-performance and indoors creations.

Am I caught up now? Amazing. And there’s still more to come, today and tomorrow. I’ll have lunch and then head back downtown for another round.

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