Tag Archives: animation

CTN Animation Expo Comes to Burbank

Over the weekend of November 17-19, the CTN Animation Expo arrived at the Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airpot hotel, located on Hollywood Way. The expo, which turned eight years old this year, celebrates the arts and industry professionals in both traditional and digital animation fields. CTN, which stands for the Creative Talent Network began in 2006 and aimed to bridge the art community with creative professionals.

The expo spanned the Marriott Convention Center, as well as a large tent that we set up in the Marriott’s parking lot. Before the Expo kicked off, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held with members of City Council, CTN Expo’s founder Tina Price, and a representative from the California Assembly. The ribbon cutting ceremony acted as a visual display of Burbank’s support for the creative arts here in the media capital of the world.

After the ceremony, the Expo opened its doors to thousands of anxiously waiting creative attendees. While the CTN Expo may sound like a great time to some, for others, this event also provided the opportunity to numerous impromptu job interviews in the creatives arts field.

The CTN Expo’s popularity has steadily been growing with each passing year. In its first opening in 2009, the Expo saw over 2,800 attendees. This year, the Expo was expected to attract more than 8,000 people from around the world.

The event had many special engagements, including:

  • Inspiring Kick-Off with Legendary Animator Glen Keane and Kobe Bryant.
  • Appearance by Pixar Animation Studios Director Pete Docter.
  • Internationally renowned artists Jordi Lafabre, Frank Pe and Tomer Hanuka.
  • Special mentions to the women of animation with Chiara Benedetti, Genevieve Godbout, Iris Campiet and Elle Michalka.
  • Animation Legends Aaron Blaise, Eric Goldberg, Andreas Deja and Burny Mattinson in attendance.
  • Creators from Blizzard Entertainment, Bluesky Studios, The Walt Disney Company, Reel FX, ILM, Nickelodeon, Pixar, Sony, and more.

To learn more about the CTN Expo, you can visit their official website here.

BASH Celebrates Burbank High Student Short Films

Burbank High School’s animation program celebrated the culmination of the school year at the Best Animated Shorts (BASH) showcase at Nickelodeon Animation Studios. The studio hosted students and their families, handed out certificates and everyone enjoyed a catered meal prepared by the BHS Culinary Arts program.

Approximately 70 students enrolled in the Beginning and Advanced Animation classes taught by Jonelle Pickett this past school year. The best student animated shorts were shown at the BASH event. Some of the student work was guided by a Nickelodeon mentor.

Nickelodeon's Carson Smith, Burbank High School teacher Jonelle Pickett and BUSD's Visual & Performing Arts Coordinator Peggy Flynn at BASH. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Nickelodeon’s Carson Smith, Burbank High School teacher Jonelle Pickett and BUSD’s Visual Arts Coordinator Peggy Flynn at BASH. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

“We began the mentorship program this year and 10 students were paired with 10 Nickelodeon mentors, from a variety of shows and job descriptions, who helped students improve their animation from storyboard through to final animated product,” commented Pickett.

“All the animation classes also had guest speakers from Nickelodeon who taught techniques in animation-related fields such as backgrounds, character and prop design and color theory,” she added.

Nickelodeon mentor Allan Jacobsen (Animation Director, Dora and Friends) advised freshman Jacob Sugars as he created "Curry In A Hurry." (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Nickelodeon mentor Allan Jacobsen (Animation Director, Dora and Friends) advised freshman Jacob Sugars as he created “Curry In A Hurry.” (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The animation program at Burbank High School is supported through a partnership with Nickelodeon Animation Studios. Carson Smith, Nickelodeon Human Resources Manager, has developed the program with Pickett, after being connected by BUSD’s Visual Arts Coordinator Peggy Flynn.

Welcoming the students and families to BASH 2, Smith talked about one of the goals of the program is to let kids know a job in animation is a real job with a real paycheck. Of the 550 current employees at the Burbank campus, at least 300 are artists, he said.

Kendra Sazon, grade 10, smiles with mentor Jeffry Mazon (Background Painter, TMNT.) (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Kendra Sazon, grade 10, smiles with mentor Jeffry Mazon (Background Painter, TMNT.) (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Smith thanked Flynn and Pickett for their efforts to bring the animation program to Burbank students and lauded Pickett’s work, calling her the driving force behind the program.

One of the shorts shown was “Big Love” by Kendra Sazon, which also won first place in the L.A. County Student Media Festival held in May. Another of Sazon’s shorts, created with input from Nickelodeon mentor and background painter Jeffry Mazon, “Crane” was shown.

Several other shorts screened included “Clocked” by Evelyna Naziri, Sabrinna Bates’ “Toy Tank,” “Common Core” by Sebastian Schug, “Snow Day” by Elaine Morales and “Beaute Envoutante” by Gabriella Collins, Xochitl Torres, Jasmine Cooper and Emilia Escobedo.

“Kitty and Bunny” by Kitty Cimini, “The Nose” by Sergio Quintanar, Gor Gevorkyan and Andy Lee, “Caffeine Romance” by Anye Kaverdian, “Paradise” by Marina Common, Veronica Cranston, Gabriel Ellman and Alberto Carrisoza and the hilarious “Curry In A Hurry” by Jacob Sugars were also presented.

Each student or group of students introduced their animated short and talked about their creative process and future plans.

“What I love about animating is that you can take something illogical and make it seem real,” said senior Gabriel Ellman.

Scene from "Clocked" by Evelyna Nazari. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Scene from “Clocked” by Evelyna Nazari. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Nickelodeon Augments BHS Animation Program, Mentors Students

By Lisa Paredes
Associate Editor

Nickelodeon Animation Studio in Burbank has developed quite the rapport with the Burbank High School Animation program since last year’s inaugural relationship. BHS Animation instructor Jonelle Pickett and Carson Smith, Nickelodeon Human Resources Manager, were introduced by BUSD Arts Coordinator Peggy Flynn in the summer of 2012. Ms. Pickett, Ms. Flynn and Mr. Smith worked out a partnership in which Nickelodeon artists and professionals teach classes several times every year to reinforce major topics of the Animation program. Now in its second year, the relationship has evolved to not only include in-class workshops but also a mentoring program for 10 top students.

“The partnership with BHS seemed a natural fit for an animation studio filled with talented artists with an eagerness to share their knowledge,” reflected Mr. Smith. On two separate occasions this month, storyboard director Tuck Tucker and background designer Randol Eagles III presented master classes in their respective fields to two of Ms. Pickett’s Animation program classes.

Randol Eagles discusses background technique with the class. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Randol Eagles discusses background technique with the class. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Mr. Tucker, storyboard director for Nickelodeon’s ubiquitous hit Spongebob Squarepants, visited with two classes on November 15, to work on storyboarding and presentation while the classes were developing storyboards for their own stop-action projects. He explained the process of creating shows and then showed an animatic – an uncolorized, rough sketch of the show with dialogue and sound effects. Mr. Tucker then asked the students to work in their groups and finish the last 12 panels of the storyboard, concluding the story.

Students then conferred with Mr. Tucker, ultimately presenting their ideas to the class. Mr. Tucker gave constructive tips on how take the presentation to the next level, adding sounds and delaying the reveal, or resolution of the story.

Mr. Tucker’s take on how to end a story: “Start at the end and then work backward to the starting point,” he advised. When storyboarding, “work fast, keep drawing and keep moving and make your presentation exciting with sound effects!”

Photo By Lisa Paredes

Photo By Lisa Paredes

Background designer Mr. Eagles, whose most recent credits include Fairly Odd Parents and The Simpsons Movie, stopped by on November 21, to discuss background design while students had started to work on colorizing their own scanned background designs in Photoshop using the classroom’s Cintiq tablets/work stations. He brought in some examples of his work and gave a lesson on perspective and composition. Mr. Eagles showed an episode from the Fairly Odd Parents, in which background scenes range from The Matrix, to Lord Of The Rings, to Harry Potter and The Terminator.

“I have a seen a real difference in student output as their learning is inspired by the advice from professional and experienced artists,” commented Ms. Pickett. “These special classes reinforce what I am teaching them and they are all working towards creating their own animated short which we will show at the big BASH event at the end of the year.”

The BASH event, Best Animated Shorts Festival, is the culminating event of the Animation program at Burbank High, put on in conjunction with BAFA (Burbank Arts For All Foundation.) During the school year, Ms. Pickett teaches 12 principles of animation and students are challenged at all levels between beginners and advanced, with creating “the magical illusion of animated life in their own short films,” explained Ms. Pickett. In May 2013, at the end of the previous school year, 15 students presented their shorts to an audience of over 100 fellow students, teachers, administrators and industry professionals at the BASH Festival.

Tuck Tucker works with BHS students, prepping their storyboard presentation. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Tuck Tucker works with BHS students, prepping their storyboard presentation, while teacher Jonelle Pickett checks it out. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

“It’s okay to have fear,” Mr. Eagles told the class. “The more you challenge what you haven’t done, the more progress you will make. That’s artistry, making that journey.”

“I get some of my best design ideas from being out surfing, from nature,” added Mr. Eagles. “Lighting sequences… it will all just occur to me. When you’re building worlds, there’s a lot of visualization going on.”

Randol Eagles talks about a challenging 360 degree background design. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Randol Eagles talks about a challenging 360 degree background design. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Students in both classes were engaged and excited and presented creative ideas. Both Mr. Tucker and Mr. Eagles remained after their respective classes to answer questions, along with Mr. Smith, from eager students. Most students asked about the best colleges and art schools in California for study to become a working animation professional. Mr. Tucker, Mr. Eagles and Mr. Smith offered basic advice, such as taking standard art courses first. “You have to know the rules to break them,” commented Mr. Smith.

The guiding principle behind the Animation program’s focus on the BASH Festival, according to Ms. Pickett, “is sponsoring a healthy competitive spirit and helping to push students to create high level animations. The entire experience is giving students an understanding of the Animation industry, the hard work and education it involves, and the possibilities it provides as a career choice.”