An Amazing Experience at CTN Animation Expo

I had a great time at the CTN Animation Expo this last weekend.  Not only did I get to see a lot of industry friends, but I also got to meet a lot of new people.  I also got to hear a lot of great discussions, and meet some of the animation legends.


Ken Duncan

I had the pleasure to hear Ken Duncan talk about his studio that he started 8 years ago, and was excited to get to sit next to him in a “Meet Ken Duncan” discussion.  Ken worked at Disney for many years, and is best known for his female characters that he was supervising animator on.  This includes Meg from “Hercules”, and Jane from “Tarzan”.  I learned of Ken and his company Duncan Studio while working on the DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda DVD featurette.  We were doing the CG bookend animation, while his studio worked on the 2D animation part.  I’m hoping for a chance to get to meet him for lunch sometime, and to see his studio.  Fingers crossed.


L to R: Eric Goldberg, Ron Clements, Bill Kroyer, Jerry Rees, John Musker

On Saturday morning I started my day out going to a tribute to the Late Robin Williams with film directors John Musker, Ron Clements, Jerry Rees, Bill Kroyer, and supervising animator Eric Goldberg.  They have all worked with Robin Williams, and they wanted to honor him by sharing their experiences working with him.

It was really great to hear them talk about their memories of Robin Williams.  When Jerry Rees was talking about his experience he talked about directing “Back to Neverland”.  For anyone that remembers the Animation tour at Disney/MGM Studios at Walt Disney World where you get to go on a walking tour through the animation studio you will have seen this.  Sadly the animation tour and the Florida animation studio is no longer around, but it was one of my favorite attractions.  It is also one that I worked at when I did the Walt Disney World College Program Internship my 2002 spring and summer semester in college.  The tour started out by everyone coming into a small theatre where they played “Back to Neverland”.  It had Walter Cronkite, and Robin Williams, and they turned Robin into an animated character to show you how animation works.  If you have not had the privilege of seeing it on the tour, I will include an extremely poor quality version I found on YouTube.

Working as a tour guide I had to introduce the film, and then watch it around 4 to 5 times a day.  I loved it and never got sick of it.  When I learned that Jerry Rees was the director, I was overly excited.  Later that day I ran into Jerry and John Musker, and told them about my animation tour guide days.  They were very nice, and I had a great conversation with them.  They were also kind enough to take a photo with me.


The rest of the weekend was a mix of going to different workshops, some of which were ones taught by friends of mine, and walking around on the exhibition floor.  It was really nice getting to make a lot of new contacts with artists, and meet some extremely talented people.  It was interesting that majority of the people I met were trying to get jobs at one of the major studios, and I’m the crazy guy that had a studio job and left on my own free will.  Maybe that is a sign that I’m a little crazy, but I’m okay with that.

One of the best things of the week was seeing these amazing projects everyone was working on.  It really inspired me to want to try and pull a team together, and make an animated short.  There were several people there that got their projects entirely funded by crowd funding.  I met animator James Lopez that did a Indiegogo campaign to raise money to make an animated short.  He raised almost 1/2 a million dollars so far which is enough money to make 4 animated shorts if not more.  I’m sure that is the exception to the norm, but it is still a fun thought to play around with.  In closing I had a great time at the conference, and I’m looking forward to going again next year.  Who knows, maybe I will get a booth for my company next year.


If you have not already, please join me on my journey by subscribing to my blog.  Also, if you have any thoughts or advice I would love to hear what you have to say, so please feel free to leave me any comments below. Otherwise, be sure to stay connected with me on Twitter (@MillerAnimation). Only Time Will Tell.

I have been a bad blogger!

I have not been a very good blogger lately, and try and post every Friday.  I missed last Friday, and this post won’t really count as an actual post.  Things have been crazy busy, and this weekend I will be at the CTN Animation Expo.

Wikipedia says:

“CTN Animation Expo is an annual three day animation convention that focuses on putting “the talent” center stage. It is held at the Marriott Convention Center in Burbank, California during what is officially proclaimed by the City of Burbank to be “Animation Week” for this event.”

With me being out for the next 3 days I’m afraid I’m going to miss a post this week as well other then this quick update.   I actually should be leaving now for the conference, but waiting to get on a conference call.  The Toys”R”Us project is getting very close to the end, and after that I will have much more time to write my blog posts.

Follow my Twitter account for updates these next 3 days for CTN tweets.


If you have not already, please join me on my journey by subscribing to my blog.  Also, if you have any thoughts or advice I would love to hear what you have to say, so please feel free to leave me any comments below. Otherwise, be sure to stay connected with me on Twitter (@MillerAnimation). Only Time Will Tell.

An Animation Company that can always Improve!

This week we are still moving at full speed on our current projects.  Toys”R”Us posted the first commercial of their Holiday Campaign on their YouTube channel that we have been working on.  We work on all the individual shots, so it is nice to see them all edited together with final SFX.  I included it on this post so you can watch it here.

I enjoy meeting with other professionals in the industry, and I always feel like I walk away from those meetings knowing so much more then before.  I learn so much from talking to these people, but at the same time it can also stress me out.  Learn about things that I feel I should have known, but didn’t always makes me worry about all the other things I might not know about.  This week I had one of those experiences after meeting with a very knowledgeable proffesional.  I left the conversation thinking about all the things I need to do to make my company better.  These things include, but are not limited to legal protection, advertising, and security of our data.  I think we are doing a pretty good job with all of these, but I also see ways we could make it better.  This is something I really want to look into, so the company can be the best that it can be.

This also got me thinking about the company and its culture.  At first I was thinking strictly about finding work, and doing the best job that we can, but I feel there is so much more then that.  For example, what do our clients think of working with us, and how do the artists feel about working with us?  I want people to enjoy working for the company, and truly want to be a part of what I’m trying to build.  I don’t want to be looked at as simply a place to get a paycheck from.  I want the company to be known for doing great work, but I also want a culture that is something to be proud of.  So these are some of the things that I will be spending more time brainstorming.  Please let me know in the comments of what you think makes a company a great place to work, or a company you want to do business with.

FullSizeRenderOn Wednesday, I went to an event for any who has earned the BSA rank of Eagle Scout in the Los Angeles area.  It was nice to get to talk with other Eagle Scouts about their scouting memories, and meet some really amazing people.  Scouting has always been such a great part of my childhood, and I hope that my son will get to have similar experiences in scouting.  At the event we had former Boy Scout, actor, and environmental activist Ed Begley, Jr. as our guest speaker.  I got a chance to talk with him, and he is a very interesting man that makes you really think about ways that you can be more environmentally minded.  This guy has a 10,000 gallon grey water tank under his house, and wind turbines on his roof for electricity.  I met a lot of other people that are in the entertainment industry, and had a conversation with a producer that has an animation project that he wanted to talk to me about.  He has a fun exciting project, and I look forward to our continued conversations.

Yesterday I went back to DreamWorks to visit some of my friends.  It was great getting to see everyone and getting caught up with how everyone is doing.  DreamWorks is such a great company, and there are some crazy talented and amazing people that work there.  I’m still very happy with my decision to leave, and go off on my own. Maybe one day DreamWorks will ask my company to do some work for them.  Wink-wink nudge-nudge for any DreamWorks executives reading this blog.


If you have not already, please join me on my journey by subscribing to my blog.  Also, if you have any thoughts or advice I would love to hear what you have to say, so please feel free to leave me any comments below. Otherwise, be sure to stay connected with me on Twitter (@MillerAnimation). Only Time Will Tell.