On November 18th 2011, my mom and I went to the Creative Talents Network (CTN) Animation Expo. It was the third year for this event, although it was the first time for me. When we arrived at the entrance of the Burbank Convention Center where this event was held, we were enthusiastically greeted by Dan Sarto, the Publisher of Animation World Network (AWN) where I am an expert blogger on animation films and events. He told my mom earlier that he really enjoyed CTN Expo which focused on the artists, and it’s a lot easier to meet people than at a huge event like the Comic-Con.
We got our Press/Exhibitor Badges and walked into the Convention Center, where the other Exhibitors were unpacking their supplies. Even though the public had not been let in yet, the Exhibit hall was already bustling with action as people set up their booths and talked with others. Everywhere there were colorful banners and posters that displayed eye-catching art. Arranged on many of the booths were free stuff like pens, tattoos, cards, and candy.
There were many interesting books and movies, but one book in particular caught my mom’s eye. It was on the Animation Magazine booth, a magazine that my mom and I read often that tells a lot about recent happenings in the animation industry. The book was a thick hardcover collector’s edition Anniversary book and compilation of past Animation Magazine Editions. But, amazingly it was only $5! Later, I realized it was a great deal because it was originally priced at $45. The publisher Jean Thoren even autographed the book for me, “Stay animating, I am sure you will go ‘Beyond the Forest’ in the animation industry!”
A book that caught my attention was called Edward the Tree Climbing Dog, which was written and illustrated by Kris Pearn, an animator from the film “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs”. He even drew in my Animation Journal, an idea inspired by Ron Diamond, co-publisher of Animation World Network and organizer of the annual Animation Show of Shows where my film “Ingrid Pitt: Beyond the Forest” was screened as a bonus film last year.
After we checked out the books and bought the Animation Magazine 20th Anniversary Edition, we got some Animation DVD Videos. Tony White, a veteran animator and author in one of the booths, gave me a great DVD called Endangered Species, which tells of a creature called the Animaticus, which symbolizes hand drawn animation, and their role and influence in the world of animation. Tony gave it to us for free in exchange for our Ingrid Pitt: Beyond the Forest DVD.
Mom and I enjoyed catching up with my director Kevin Sean Michaels, and collaborator Bill Plympton who even drew me a cow on my sketchbook! I attended an interesting panel about TV Shows that used Toon Boom Animation Software, one of the sponsors of our film, Ingrid Pitt: Beyond the Forest. We also met our dear friend Karina Bessoudo (and her colleagues) at the Convention, Toon Boom’s Vice President of Marketing.
Also, I found another of our film’s sponsor Wacom’s booth and tried out the Cintiq model. It was a lot easier than using the Intuos model that I already have, but it was hard to figure out how to work on Photoshop, the software that was installed on the Cintiq. It was a lot harder to figure out than Toon Boom Studio.
After a long day, it was time to return to San Diego, but I suddenly noticed a man drawing onto a screen in 3D. I put on the glasses and suddenly saw the images pop right out of the screen. When I showed my mom, she was so excited, she almost forgot about going home! The software is called SANDDE from Janro Imaging Laboratory (developed by IMAX cofounder Roman Kroitor), and my mom had a conversation with the SANDDE representatives. They were delighted to hear that I was an animator using Toon Boom because they were friends with Toon Boom, as both companies are based in Montreal, Canada. I tried the SANDDE software using the “magic wand,” and it was great! It had stereoscopic drawing tools where you can draw in thin air and when you put on the glasses, the images seem to pop right out of the screen in 3D. When I told SANDDE staff there that I could use their software for my upcoming film, Stix, which is about a young boy (as a stick figure) and his adventure with a magic pencil (everything he draws comes alive), they were quite enthusiastic and even hinted that they could sponsor us in the future! What a great way to end a Perrific™ day!Now in less than two months since CTN, I’m proud to say that SANDDE is officially a sponsor to my next animation film Stix, to be made in 3D! I will share my progress along the way, so stay tuned. Press release about the sponsorship:
Perry S. Chen is an 11-year-old award-winning child film critic, artist, animator, TEDx speaker, and entertainment personality, currently in 6th grade from San Diego. He started reviewing movies at age 8 in 3rd grade using a kid-friendly starfish rating system, and has been featured in CBS, NPR, NBC, CNN, CCTV (China Central Television), Variety, The Young Icons, The Guardian, The China Press, etc.