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Editor's Notebook

Greetings from AWN's new Editor-in-Chief.

Heather Kenyon

First and foremost I would like to say how happy I am to be joining the Animation World Network family. I'd like to thank Ron Diamond and Dan Sarto for offering me this exciting opportunity. While I have only been here for a few weeks and still feel as though I am grasping at straws, I have already felt very welcomed by not only the in-house AWN team but also by their supporters around the world. The virtual network of people that I have been "introduced" to over the ether is amazing, and I am so looking forward to becoming a part of this community. I am also looking forward to increasing the interaction between animation professionals, students and enthusiasts worldwide. By striving to accurately portray the complete animation arena, I hope to present a lively forum of ideas that leads to discussions about what is happening, both good and bad, in our medium. I always encourage you, the readers, to take an active part in our magazine by contacting us and letting us know your comments or what topics you would like to see in the future. Only with your input can we truly meet your needs. This ability to interact, directly and quickly, is what makes an Internet publication so special. This is your magazine as much as it is ours.

It is fitting that the first issue I am working on is dealing with education and jobs. In my former position as Manager of Production Information at Hanna-Barbera Cartoons, recruiting talent was one of my duties. It is interesting that the problems I saw time and time again have been echoed by many voices from around the world. Recruiters are in desperate need for talented, experienced people. Students are desperate to break into this business that has been labeled a "gold mine." However, many of them fall short on basic drawing skills and the understanding of the process of animation and why it is unique from other mediums. One of our articles, however, highlights a promising trend. "The Digital Demand" by Tammy Glenn describes a new scholarship program that joins government and industry together in order to prepare students for a career.

Not only are lawmakers beginning to see the usefulness of the arts but perhaps we are beginning to see some much needed funding coming back to school art programs. Industry is also awakening and beginning to ask how they can become more involved with education. Seventeen studios and entertainment companies collaborated with Santa Monica College in order to create its new media program. Silicon Graphics has not only supported schools like the University of Southern California and the University of California at Los Angeles but has also embarked in a training program in conjunction with Human Resources Marketing Services. The pair have ensured that Warner Digital, Pacific Ocean Post, Four Media Company, MediaLab and Sony Pictures Imageworks will review the work of top students who complete the course.

In this issue, Alice Carter also examines the ACME Virtual Training Network which proves that while computer training is the talk of the town, traditional skills are also still in heavy demand. MCI, GTE, Bell South, Pacific Bell, EDNet, VTEL Corporation, schools and Warner Bros. Feature Animation have teamed up to bring professionals directly into classrooms. It is heartening to see that while everyone agrees that computers are going to play a prominent roll in the future, they also agree that strong drawing skills remain supreme.

Furthermore, I would like to add that as the industry becomes more involved in schooling, I hope that our institutions do not become production lines pumping out automated replicas. It was so refreshing to read the alumnae surveys that we received. Both Wendy Jackson, the Associate Editor, and I enjoyed the excitement that leapt off the faxes we received. These alumnae loved their schools because they loved the absolute freedom in which they could explore the expression of themselves. We should always remember education should inspire and not just train.

On a sad note, a true friend to students, Phyllis Craig, has passed away. A 45 year animation veteran, Phyllis was working at Film Roman in the color key department. Phyllis started the internship program there, and through her involvement with Women In Animation (WIA), headed up the Youth and Education Committee. Numerous students have been counseled by Phyllis, and as a result have found their way into studios all over town. She is a great example of how one individual can help students find the animation community more accessible. Every time we got together, we would all wait to hear Phyllis' most recent success story. Phyllis, always cheery, always helpful and always sincere, would tell of a student who now had an internship or had just been accepted into a wonderful university or art program; and always Phyllis would say it was because they were a great kid, not because she had arranged an interview or a tour or a lecture, etc. With a student addition here, and a student addition there, I think we are all better off thanks to Phyllis. Next month we will feature a tribute to her. If you would like to contribute a remembrance, photograph or drawing we would be more than happy to include it.

Please send us your materials by June 10th.E-mail: editor@awn.comFax: 213-464-5914 Mail: Phyllis Craig TributeAnimation World Network 6525 Sunset Blvd, Garden Suite 10 Hollywood, CA 90028