Animation

The Pros of Con: Animation Providers and Beyond!

Blake Harris 06.29.2015

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been re-watching some cheesy-but-fun older TV shows like Entourage, The O.C. and Veronica Mars. In addition to reinforcing that teenage angst is grossly overrated, these shows also reminded me that it wasn’t all that long ago that Comic-Con was perceived very differently than it is today. Even though all three of those shows were on the air less than ten years ago, they all portrayed Comic-Con as some kind of hardcore nerd-only man-child extravaganza. And, amazingly, I believe that was pretty accurate for the time. But over the past decade that perception has changed, as the event has evolved into something of a taste-making, geek chic event.

Why have things so drastically changed? Well, a lot of it can probably be traced to the explosion of superhero movies, as well as the importance of “early buzz” in our insta-opinion digital world. This propelled television and movie studios (and, of course, animation providers) to take Comic-Con more seriously and make larger investments of time, money and celebrity. All of which has added up to a must-see event in San Diego each year.

Over the weekend, Comic-Con International posted the upcoming schedule for their show, which runs July 9-12. Here are some of the panels we thought looked the most interesting to those of us in this line of work (animation, explainers, video marketing, etc.)

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July 9

NURTURING TALENT: WHAT IT TAKES TO BE A DECISION-MAKER (11:00 AM)

It takes a special kind of person to find talent in others and draw the best from them. Seeing the potential in comic creators and learning to nurture that talent is not an easy task, but a very important one. Moderator Mark Waid (Thrillbent) discusses with Eric Stephenson (Image Comics), Chip Kidd (Penguin Random House), Denis Kitchen(founder of CBLDF), Reginald Hudlin (producer, director), Jonboy (Spawn Resurrection), and Todd McFarlane (Spawn) how they balance the everyday decisions with big picture-planning.

FROM ZEROES TO HEROES (12:00 PM)

Authors Scott Westerfeld (Uglies, Leviathan), Leviathan), Margo Lanagan (Tender Morsels), and Deborah Biancotti (A Book of Endings), discuss Zeroes, their forthcoming collaboration about a group of kids with crowd-sourced superpowers.

ANIMATED EFFECTS IN LIVE ACTION (3:30 PM)

When the word animation is used, we think of cartoons. However, the line between live action and animation is becoming blurred due to technological advances. Industry professionals who create some of the most memorable animated visual effects will have a lively discussion on how they blend animation with live action seamlessly.

July 10

THE 16TH ANNUAL ANIMATION SHOW OF SHOWS (10:00 AM)

A program of new award-winning short films, but mostly unknown by the public and mini-portraits documentaries about selected filmmakers. Includes an introduction and Q&A with panelists to be announced, moderated by Ron Diamond.

DISNEY ANIMATORS: THE POWER OF 2D (1:30 PM)

A luminary panel of former and current Disney animators, the 2d animation providers spanning from Lady and the Tramp to Moana talk about the importance of 2D animation in the history of Disney, as well as the part it plays in guiding advancement of its future. Changes in technology, artistic expression, and the value of cooperative interplay between 2D and 3D artists to create the best animation will be discussed.

HOW COMIC BOOKS TOOK OVER HOLLYWOOD (3:00 PM)

Marvel Comics’ editor-in-chief Axel AlonsoFanboys director Kyle NewmanBatman: The Animated Series writer/producer Paul Dini, and Star Wars: The Clone Wars voice actress Ashley Eckstein discuss why Hollywood “gets” comic book storytelling now when for decades it didn’t.

July 11

LET’S CREATE A CARTOON SERIES (10:00 AM)

The panel will provide a take on how a show is created, all the elements you need to take into consideration, and why the idea of it being about this or that would be too expensive. Why would we like this main character? What age group is this for? And as people shout out different ideas, you will learn why a producer or studio might say no or yes to various aspects.

MARVEL ANIMATION PRESENTS (10:30 AM)

The Marvel Animation Studios team returns for one of the most anticipated television panels at San Diego. Join Stephen Wacker (VP, current series Marvel Animation Studios), Cort Lane (VP, animation development and partnerships), and Eric Radomski (SVP, production and creative director, animation) for exclusive first looks at the exciting new seasons of the hit animated series Marvel’s Avengers: Ultron Revolution andMarvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man vs. The Sinister 6.

CARTOON VOICES 1 (1:00 PM)

The fine art of giving voice to animated characters is again demonstrated by a dais of the best. This year, join Keone Young (Star Wars Rebels, G.I. Joe), Pat Musick (Rugrats, Extreme Ghostbusters), Eric Bauza (Ben 10, The Adventures of Puss in Boots), Jessica DiCicco (Gravity Falls, Pound Puppies), Phil Morris (Green Lantern: The Animated Series, Ultimate Spider-Man) and Josh Robert Thompson (Family Guy, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson). Mark Evanier, as usual, gets these talented folks to demonstrate what they do so well.

July 12

SIXTY YEARS OF GUMBY (11:00 AM)

Joe and Joan Clokey show behind-the-scene clips from Gumby’s studio (Clokey Productions) and answer questions with a panel that includes Gumby animation director Anthony Scott (Nightmare Before Christmas, Coraline), longtime Gumby animator and FX guru Harry Walton (Indiana Jones, Nightmare Before Christmas), Gumby comic book writer Bob Burden (Mystery Men, Flaming Carrot), Gumby comic book illustrator Rick Geary (National Cartoonist award winner), and Mary Fynn.

FROM COMICS TO ANIMATION (1:30 PM)

Working across mediums can be challenging, and keeping true to your vision even more so. Moderator Mark Waid (Thrillbent) leads panelists Jerry Beck (The Hanna-Barbera Treasury), Michael DeForge (Adventure Time), Reginald Hudlin (Black Pantheranimated series), Jill Thompson (The Scary Godmother), Jhonen Vasquez (Invader Zim), and Lalo Alcaraz (La Cucaracha) in a discussion about working in both comics and animation. Learn what it takes to convert a comic to an animated project and how to succeed in both.

LANDING THAT TV ANIMATION STORYBOARD JOB (2:30 PM)

Storyboarding is the most direct way to score a job in TV animation. With more animation jobs being outsourced, competition for these spots is fiercer than ever. So how can you get a leg up? Join veteran storyboard artists, Disney master teacher Karl Gnass (Darkwing Duck) and animation director Phil Weinstein (Hellboy Animated: Sword of Storms), for the inside track. They’ll tell you how to make an impact, prepare your story portfolio for reviewers, appear professional (even without experience), and avoid entry-level mistakes.

Blake Harris

Blake Harris

Blake Harris is the author of "Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation."
Blake Harris

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