Between November 19th and November 21st I attended the Creative Talent Network Animation Expo (CTNX) in Burbank, California. What exactly is CTNX? Well, if you’ve heard of the San Diego Comic-Con, it’s like that, but for animation specifically. And if for some reason you’ve not yet heard a peep about the massive pop culture event/show that is San Diego, the best way to sum that show up is take a hundred thousand nerds and shove them in a convention center at the end of summer in San Diego. CTNX isn’t quite that, but it is similar to how that show started out.
CTNX is a trade/networking/conference set up by the Creative Talent Network. This was the second year of the show, and while very promising, could still use some tweaks here and there. The show is packed with panels, discussions, and demonstrations over the 3 day event. They even had an “after hours” that included drinks, snacks, and all the networking you’re able to manage. One cool thing I noticed was a costumed model for life drawing. While this show is young, it is full of talent from all aspects of the animation industry. Panels and demonstrations included illustrators/character designers Peter de Seve (Finding Nemo, Ice Age, Ice Age 2, Ice Age 3, and Ratatouille) and Carter Goodrich (Ratatouille), to story artists Enrico Casarosa (Robots, Up), Ronnie del Carmen (WALL-E, Up) and Daisuke “Dice” Tsutsumi (Robots, Toy Story 3), legendary animation artists Andreas Deja (Aladdin, The Lion King) and Eric Goldberg (Aladdin, The Princess and the Frog). At one point I even saw Mulan director Tony Bancroft just walking around the convention floor looking at the various booths.
Outside of the amazing panel discussions and live art demonstrations, there were many studios set up to talk to anybody interested. From large studios to small studios, all were very welcoming and excited to talk. This was the main reason I attended. As a senior, I feel it is very important to get my name and face out there to as many people as possible. Preparing for this event, I ordered a set of business cards, custom designed with some of my own artwork and brought a couple dozen copies of my animation demo reel. The bright side was that I gave out a lot of business cards, which included my blog address, email, and phone contact info. The downside was that nobody wanted to take a copy of my demo reel, and they all said it was because they would end up taking bags full of reels back to their various locations. Instead, they said they would be very happy to look at my reel online, and to send them a link to my reel so they could download it.
Overall, it was a very good experience. I’m happy to have gone, and even got to spend some time with my dad, who flew out from San Antonio to spend the weekend with me since my birthday also fell over that period. CTNX was fun and I look forward to attending again next year, with the knowledge from this year’s event guiding me.
My business cards, two different designs on the front (both by me) and contact info on back.
Me (right) and artist Tim Sale (left) with a Poison Ivy piece he did for my girlfriend, Erica Chang.