The last few days were abuzz at CCS with the Entertainment Conference. Friday night after class was a dinner with the Entertainment Conference folks and the fun filled folks in the Career Services Office. We mowed down food at Atlas Global Bistro as we talked shop. In attendance were many of the great folks in the CCS Animation Department as well as our guests. The next day we heard them all do great presentations (despite some technical glitches in the auditorium).
•Shannon Gans from New Deal Studios; an amazing lady who is equally artistic as she is business savvy. Very inspirational to me in the sense that she blends the two polar opposite worlds together and makes it work so well. Her company's really really done well in this competitive field. I don't know how much she connected with students, but sooner or later the stuff she was talking about will resonate. It struck home with me though.
•Marty Stoltz from Midway Games; really funny and creative guy. His reel was full of the games that made Midway what it is today. Lots of blood, gore & guts! But that's the genre that's made big money for Midway. It was really interesting seeing the evolution of storytelling & games on his reel.
•Mike Wellins from Laika. He seemed much more the maverick garage film maker who's explored a little of everything. While the stuff he showed wasn't as impressive as the first two presenters, I couldn't help but admire his dedication to his craft. Unfortunately he sat at the opposite end of the table Friday night and I really didn't get much of a chance to talk to him.
•Linda Simensky from PBS also impressed me with her depth of knowledge and her career. This lady's literally been all over the animation map from Cartoon Network to Nickolodeon. The stuff that this lady's been pushing for will be the next generation's Sesame Street and beyond.
•And CCS' very own Jay Shuster. He's the Star Wars/ Pixar/ CCS rock idol. He's where a lot of my students want to be someday. Whether they have his dedication, drive and sheer talent is something else but he at least brings it closer to home for a lot of them. By far the funniest presentation of the day and kudos goes out to the guy for telling the audience how important storyboard work is. It sort of validates what I've been stumping within our curriculum.
Ever since last year in LA, I've been honed in on making our students and their work relevant to the job force. I hope these people at this conference brought some of that back sensibility to the campus.