I have achieved a milestone this year! For several years, I have been intending, planning, dreaming of attending the annual CTN Expo in Burbank, California. This is the one expo that focuses primarily on the animation industry. Previous years, I have come up with many excuses, mostly involving something about money or time…probably both. Most likely both. This year, this year, was different. I went. In summation; my mind was blown! It was everything I had wanted it to be, had expected it to be, and more. I kept kicking myself on the fact that, here I was, 10 years into my professional animation career, and I am just now attending this, quite frankly, absolutely required event!

ComiCon? What is that?! This event had rows of talent, which, in my opinion, stomped ComiCon’s showings. With just the event pass, you already have so much to see and experience. You can watch the panel discussions from outside on the screens, you can linger around the 3 demonstration stations, and costumed model life drawing. In regards to the demo stations; they were manned by seasoned professionals in the animation field. They shared their experience, their tips, all while demonstrating techniques. Invaluable gems of knowledge and experience were being tossed out to the crowds, all you had to do was reach out and put down on paper…which, I did.

Then there were the classes. These were worth every penny! I learned from experience animation experts such as Royce Wesley, Michal Makarewicz, and Victor Navonne. All 3 of them teach at the Animation Collaborative (Michal is the founder). If you are unaware of the Animation Collaborative, I highly recommend you check them out. They take their Master Classes on the road. I am anxiously awaiting the dates for them to be here in Los Angeles! I will not miss it!

One thing I have always believed about anything in life is to never stop learning. The moment we believe we have mastered something is the moment we are failing ourselves and the craft. CTN will be a regular annual event for me. It is invaluable.

Few things to note. I failed to see the real value of the VIP pass for CTN. Though they did get perks such as “Breakfast with the Pros” and the special screening of a movie on the Disney Animation Studios lot; there was little beyond that which I had found worth the cost. You were able to get into any class free, but that was also true for the pass I got which was the 3-day CTNer. However, if you want to be certain to get in, you have to purchase a reservation like everyone else. Trust me, the really good classes were full! So in the end, you still paid for the classes you really wanted.

I believe the 1-day or 3-day CTNer passes are the absolute best value for the CTN experience. However, for the starving students out there, just buy the exhibit only pass, you will not regret it.

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