Held annually in the global toon hub of Burbank, California, CTN animation eXpo has built a strong reputation among the people who make our favorite medium come alive: working (and aspiring) animators. Tina Price, Founder of Creative Talent Network, took a break from busily organizing the show’s 2018 edition to share a little more about where CTN eXpo comes from, what makes it special, and what exciting special events visitors can’t miss.
This year’s packed schedule includes presentations on Disney’s Ralph Breaks the Internet and Bao, Trevor Jimenez’s award-winning short Weekends, Sony’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, a sneak peek at Blue Sky’s Spies in Disguise, DWA TV, Pixar, Tonko House, the West Coast Premiere of biopic Howard: The Howard Ashman Story by Don Hahn, and Mulan‘s 20th anniversary. Not to mention the studio tours, signings, panels, portfolio critiques and countless chances to meet and connect with like-minded creatives.
CTN animation eXpo will be held November 15-18. More information and ticket purchase available at www.ctnanimationexpo.com — discounted pricing is available until Oct. 13.
For those who haven’t attended CTN eXpo before, can you give an overview of what to expect, who it is geared toward, and what makes it unique?
Tina Price: The CTN eXpo is unique on the landscape as it holds fast to the mission statement of “putting the talent center stage.” Created by artists and for artists, with an exhibit hall comprised of the top 10 animation studios in the world and 300+ of the greatest artists in our industry, 50+ panels, sneak peek screenings, networking and recruiting… There is a lot of love for our community at CTN. We are the creators and everyone leaves this event with more than they walked in with.
How did CTN eXpo get started?
In my life, I was a ballerina for one of the best companies in the world and an animator for one of the best studios in the world. I write, play music, draw and now produce events. I have met so many wonderful mentors and teachers along the way that I was inspired to give birth to CTN to “give back” some of what I have experienced.
With an overwhelming desire to design a weekend, I used my mother’s inheritance money to create a place where inspiration, creativity, community and action are the dominant experiences for three days. A place called CTN, where we give chance a chance and allow for the “who knows what” to happen. CTN may not be for everyone, but for many it is the only event on the landscape that resonates with them and sends them home soaring with ideas.
How has the event evolved since the early days?
This event has a heartbeat and life of its own. I have to listen very closely, and as the producer of the event I’ve never feared trying new things. CTN is a living, breathing entity. Everything changes — and it is our pleasure to keep changing with it.
Can you “play favorites” and tell us which screenings, talks or other special events you are extra excited about?
Oh my gosh, there are so many this year! The one thing about CTN is that it is a neutral playground for all creators and studios — 2D, 3D, cut-outs, Flash, stop-motion, whatever. We don’t “play favorites.” we set standards.
Are there any new highlights on the schedule this year that regulars (or newbies!) can’t miss?
This is our 10th Event Anniversary and we are going all out. We are proud to announce our new 10,000 square foot “Immersive Storytelling VR Experience” for those who are now creating in VR. Partnering with Disney, Google, Facebook and designed with The Blu creator and art director Jake Rowell to provide an amazing, never-before-seen arena quite like this. We will be offering a Pre-Con immersive workshop with Goro Fujita in how to design in VR. Pre-Con is starting on Tuesday, Nov. 12, with content specifically targeted for students and teachers with workshops including a Toon Boom certification program and “How to get into animation” programs.
Additionally, we are proud to announce that we launched our Teen CTN program this past summer and will have special programming and reserved seating for Teen CTNers at the expo continuing all year. And lastly, we are hosting an Industry Night Party on Friday celebrating all our presenters, clients and studios and an Artist Appreciation Night party on Saturday night with food and beverage and where we are raffling off the “Ultimate Artist Package” worth $10,000 that includes Wacom Tablets, [Toon Boom] Harmony software, Adobe software, free courses with Animation Mentor, studio tours, CTN Cash and much much more. Come help us celebrate and support the creators and the industry that we all share and love.
What advice would you give to a first-time visitor looking to make the most of their CTN eXperience?
If we are guilty of anything, it is having too much great content. That being said: I advise newcomers to CTN to grab a “My First CTN eXpo” button, because everyone will be your new best friend with that! And review the schedule to make your own personal CTN roadmap before you arrive, and once you are at the event do not let anything distract you. Download the CTN app. This event only happens once a year, and these people will never be under one roof again. Make the most of it.
Have you noticed any trends in the type of animation being made recently, or in what studios seem to be looking for in terms of original concepts and talent?
I don’t feel anything has changed. It is still all story driven.
What’s your take on the global animation scene right now?
I’m a fan of good animation. It doesn’t matter where it is made. Good is good.
Finally, what is it about animation that keeps you energized and engaged year after year?
I feel that this group of narrative artists are the most talented and most incredibly generous people. We are here to give back.
Like I said before, I’ve been a professional in other creative industries and this group is beyond good. In some cases they are better than they even know. Their visions, their twist on an old story, their unique styles are the fuel and the foundation for a billion dollar industry that could not survive without them.
Putting them and keeping them center stage energizes me just talking about it. We are standing on the shoulders of giants and, we are here to give back. Embracing that and seeing them all drives me year after year.