Interestingly enough, over the 6 years I've been immersed in the animation world, I've never experienced an animation event. I've been at Sheridan for 4 years now and am officially done school (which is crazy! I'll speak more to that later), and in all that time I've never felt the need to experience TAAFI or any other animation event.
I was given the opportunity to go to TAAFI this past weekend with my friend, Becca (check out her awesome work here!), and it made me realize what a foolish decision it was to pass on it for so long. I only went for one day, but in that day I was able to connect with so many industry professionals in a friendly environment.
When I arrived I was a tad overwhelmed. I'm not at my most confident when it comes to selling myself, as many artists can relate to. We're a breed that prefers to be behind the scenes, more often than not. After settling down, I managed to work up the nerve to chat with some of the people manning the different studio booths, and was met with nothing but positivity.
I was also able to attend two lectures that day. One by Allison Rutland of Pixar (and also a Sheridan Alumni), and one by a panel of short film makers, consisting of Marv Newland, Michael Rianda, Michel Gagne, Rob Silvestri, and Eric Goldberg. As a character animation fanatic, I was obviously most thrilled to hear Eric talk. For those who aren't aware, I was fortunate enough to be mentored by Eric during my time at Disney, and this was the first time I had seen him since my internship. We discussed his role on Moana, as well as his most recent work, this Simpsons Couch gag. It was fantastic getting to reconnect with someone so influential to my career as an artist.
(See if you can spot Becca and I!)
I was actually fortunate enough to see Allison's talk twice, as she also gave a lecture at Sheridan a few days prior. I was pleased to see there were some small differences in each talk, so I was able to get every morsel of information she so kindly provided. Her talk was much more practical than the Birth of a Short Film talk, I found, as it was more about workflow. Allison is an incredible CG animator responsible for the bulk of Riley's emotional scenes in Inside Out, and she was recognized for that by ASIFA when she won an Annie Award this year for her contributions. She has a nuanced understanding of subtlety in animation. I learned a lot about texture, muscle tension, and performance during her talk.
I think the coolest part of TAAFI was in its reminder that the industry is so incredibly small. I saw so many familiar faces, people I've known for years, people I've met once or twice, and a host of Sheridan classmates. It was a really fun time!
Stay tuned for an obligatory "I've graduated!!" post coming soon!