GDC 2015

GDC is over; I'm over my cold; it's now spring break. Time to finally talk about what happened! 

At first I was really stressed out about GDC and having to work all week at it as a CA (Conference Associate). This is my last semester at school so I have a poop load of things to do. I have my thesis that I have to finish, my Spring Show submissions, and I'm working on 7 separate productions (hey, that's 5 less than last semester!). I did need a week to get away from it all though so even though I was freaking out, GDC was perfect. 

GDC was amazing. While CTN is great for inspiration, I felt that GDC was super amazing for networking. Part of it was because GDC is a week long conference and is located in downtown San Francisco so there would be a bunch of after parties and such where you can go and meet people. The other part is the Conference Associate program, that I attended GDC as, where the 400 people who volunteer to work the conference are also professionals in the industry and really love being a CA due to the conference and the community that it has created. It also helped that I said "screw it with shyness and comfort levels, I'm going to go meet people" and since I knew practically nothing about game development and I would just go "I know nothing, tell me everything about you and what you do".

I've been wary of the games industry because it felt like another pipeline, another world, something that I don't quite fit into. It was amazing to see how the technology is developing, as I sat in a panel about Unity and global illumination and rendering, and it was exciting to hear that studios are beginning to look at lighting as a separate position instead of something that an environment artist does. I learned that I would fall into either a character artist or an environment artist category. I learned exactly what localization does and it is beyond just translations.

I met so many awesome people. My fellow CAs were all great and it was amazing getting to know them on a personal level as each night we would all just hangout in the lounge chatting or playing games. I got to play a lot of Super Smash, I learned how to play Witch Hunt and Joust. I particularly enjoyed that people know what I'm talking about when I say Munchkin and I don't have to explain that it's a card game parody of RPGs.

One of my favorite parts of GDC is that it's not a bunch of animators! Love you all but I want more variety. It is especially interesting to see that in games animators aren't the kings of the pipeline, instead they're just like everybody else to serve the game design.

I initially signed up for a bunch of after parties but I really only went to handful of them. Free food and open bar! The most important ones that I went to was Riot and Blizzard. I got to talk to some awesome people there and really network.

I used up the last of my business cards at GDC so it's time to design some new ones!

I was hoping to come away from GDC being even more inspired and create more work, which I kind of was, but I am more so now impatient to graduate and get a job in the industry to work with such amazing people.


CTNx '14

Another overdue post! This one was primarily because I was putting off taking photos of all the artwork that I got.

I was almost not going to go to CTN this year just because I was so busy with projects and the inflated ticket prices. I ended up going due to wanting to see some people faces that I don't usually get to see so I e-mailed last minute and was able to still volunteer. I got to do the same job as last year, helping manage the exhibit floor, and was additionally selected as a lead! Not quite sure how good that is since other than being considered staff, and not just a volunteer, I was assigned more work hours and responsibilities but I still wasn't fed lunch which was somewhat disappointing as that meant I generally just didn't eat the whole day until dinner.

I didn't go to any panels this year. The main reason was that I didn't have the time. The other reason was that the whole volunteer and going to panels thing was a mess last year with 5 different people telling me 5 different answers. This year seems to have been just as confusing as I've had other volunteers say that they weren't even allowed to go to panels as volunteers and had to have a staff badge to be able to.

This is the first year that I actually brought my reel to show to people! I got some great feedback from Disney, BlueSky, and CineSite. Unfortunately due to the hours I was working I couldn't get to Sony, ReelFX, nor Nickelodeon.

Pixar actually had a table this year! They just had a small table in the outside tent but because they're Pixar, everyone was there and blocking the walkway which was kind of funny.

Last year I got a drawing of Scar from Andreas Deja only to realize halfway through while he was drawing I should have asked for Mushka, the tiger film that he is working on. He told me maybe next year so I was wondering if I would run into him and if he would possibly remember. I found him randomly signing posters of Mushka and was like "YES!". Even better is, of all the people I'm sure that Andreas meets, he actually remembered me from last year. There was a small line at the time and because of me the line suddenly grew to twice the size  Which was unfortunate for one guy because he always has those giant movie posters that he gets people to sign so he was waiting to be the last person.

My favorite exhibitor is Tori Davis, of ToriCat, and I met her last year. She is from the UK, awesome personality, amazing, and has awesome artwork. All them tigers and lions, but more importantly tigers! She knows people who owns a large cat sanctuary so she gets to go and play/draw with lions and tigers. Extremely jealous and hopefully I will get to do that one day. She didn't have any new artwork this year due to some health issues but when I asked if I could buy a board hanging in the back that she just had for decoration she said that I could have it at the end of the expo. The guy with us in the photo is Kirk Thatcher who worked on various muppet movies and is a judge of Jim Henson's Creature Shop show. He was just hanging out with Tori at her booth all CTN which was unexpected and awesome.

The one other person that I wish was at CTN this year was Chris Sanders. Other than being awesome and I love his work, I really wanted to purchase an Ogo plush and the Kiskaloo book. Hopefully next year?

When I buy artwork at CTN I limit myself to only things with tigers. Even so I bought way too much this year. There were two more pieces that I really wanted but since I had already spent so much and they were more on the expensive side, I couldn't really justify buying them. Buying all the artwork was worth it though. I like tigers...and supporting fellow artists. There were some additional artwork that I also would have liked, such as a piece from Brittney Lee, but there were no tigers so I had to stop myself.

An Evening with Pixar

I'm sure many of you were disappointed that there wasn't a Pixar movie for 2014 but now they have a lot of movies in the works and planned. More work for us! As such, Pixar will be looking for new talent that they can train and hopefully integrate. To share with us the upcoming opportunities of internships and residencies, before everyone was off for the holidays, we got a visit from Kim Diaz, senior recruiter, Ryan Howe, university relations program lead, and Anika Holloway, human resources coordinator. There are different type of internships, classroom based and production based. Classroom based internships are structured actually like a class where you go in to learn and be mentored. Story, animation, and the Pixar Undergraduate Program (PUP) fall under classroom based and last 10 to 12 weeks during the summer. The other type is production based where you will get to work on actual shows in production. As such, the openings are based on production needs and typically last 12 to 18 weeks.

Residencies are also based on production needs are are for those who want to be technical directors or go into software engineer and research. They can last 6 months to a year.

The summer internships and a few residencies have already been posted on www.pixar.com/careers/Available-Internships so I hope you're prepared!

Speaking of being prepared, what exactly do you do and what is Pixar looking for? Apply online at the above link with your resume, cover letter, and a link to your online reel/portfolio. If your reel/portfolio is password protected, that's fine, just have the link and password included in your resume. Make sure to do all this by the deadline, March 1st 2015!

I probably already went over what goes into resumes, cover letters, and reels before but let's do a review. Limit your resume to one page and list any awards won, related classes, projects, and any events volunteering; show what you have done above and beyond a classroom setting. Make your cover letter stand out from others by having it being personalized and creative. Put your best work first on your demo reel and then followed by other best work (yes, only your BEST work goes on your reel) for a reel that is 1 to 3 minutes long; once you're finished, include a breakdown and always get others to review it.