My experience on the Los Angeles Study tour has been an amazing journey allowing me a greater insight into the animation and film industry, a way to experience America and provides the ability to research the possibilities. For this tour, I have selected places which I feel will accomplish my goals, increase my knowledge and improve my own personal practice. These locations are places such as the California Institute of the Arts (2015), Gnomon (2015), Paramount Pictures (2015), Warner Brothers studios (2015) and the CTN exposition (2015).
Through tours at the California Institute of the Arts and the Gnomon School of Visual Effects, I have reconfirmed my passion and interest in the area of Animation. I enjoyed these tours because it allowed me to have a look at how animation is studied in America. I really thought it was interesting especially comparing it to my own experiences. The universities have such a different view and goal in comparison to Australian universities, with a large amount of contact hours and strict deadlines in comparison to a large focus on self drive and working out a balance between study and life. Within CalArts, I found the university to have a greater focus on the traditional observational and 2D animation. This focus while not my area of interest was certainly interesting to listen to and experience. While Gnomon was much more my style with a heavy focus on special effects and 3D animation. I also felt that this place was much more suited to my style of animation rather then CalArts. Overall both of these places and students have inspired me to create new pieces of work. They have also highlighted to me that I need to continue to work hard in this area. But after viewing these places, I can see myself using it as a side job or hobby rather then pursuing it as a full career. I also have recognized that I have a long way to go in the field and this is only really the start. I feel I would like to learn more about it and explore a fair bit more within this area. Whether this will be study or my own self practice I do not know but I feel like this tour has only reconfirmed this idea.
A quote which I discovered while here; which I believe resonates with the themes of Animation and Hollywood was “The greatest art in the world is the art of storytelling (Cecil B. DeMille.)” This quote is one of the first things you see when you enter the Paramount studios. I felt that this quote resonated with a lot of what Hollywood represents with its ability to tell many different stories and communicate across time and languages. As an animator, it is incredibly important to be able to tell stories through my art and as I attempt to become a good animator, I should aim for this goal.
The tours at Paramount and Warner Brothers were a fantastic introduction to how movies and tv shows are made. The Paramount tour showed us how they create props, set up scenes and create entire cities within a very small area. I loved this tour as it provided me with a greater knowledge of set construction and the production of movies. In the future, this will help as by knowing more about the process I will be able to be more employable. This worked well with the live studio audience experience I had on Conan. With Paramount providing a lot about the preparation and time taken to get to the shooting, Conan was a great example about how the shooting takes place and what it is like on a tv show. I also found Conan was a great way to experience the type of humor and experience what is popular in America. Warner Brothers on the other hand focused a lot about how the television show is taken from a script to a full shoot. I found it was a great way to expand my knowledge of tv shows as rather then overlapping with my experience at Paramount; this tour worked in combination with it to expand my knowledge. Overall I have found that these experiences have allowed me to gain a greater knowledge in this area.
This tour has also allowed me to experience the culture and feel of Los Angeles. One way this was completed was by trying to navigate this city. I soon discovered that the public transport was not great here. The shuttle buses, which I had previously used were okay for getting you from the airport to your hotel; were too expensive and not a practical option on a daily bases. This has lead me to try Uber and I have found for this city it is one of the best options. By catching Ubers everywhere I have spoken to many locals and engaged where I usually would not have been able to. These discussions have lead to conversations about their favorite spots and allowed me to discover places that I never would have known about. These conversations have also provided inspiration and guidance; with the locals providing helpful tips and tricks that have enriched the tour. These locals have also been great company providing a way to discover America without looking at a guide book. I have also completed common tasks such as working out how to tip, where are the shops and which one is the store we need. These tasks while small, all provided a small bit of a challenge and an opportunity to get to know the city in which I am staying.
The CTN expo is an opportunity to talk directly to animators, companies and attend workshops and lectures all focused around animation. Before this event had happened, I had been researching and signing up for workshops to prepare myself for these three days. After completing this research, I did think that this event would be incredibly informative and allow me to gain information and tips that I could not have found anywhere else. After attending this event, I have found it has provided me with the information to properly research my future and allow me to make the correct decisions. After speaking with so many people who recognize this event and hearing their personal stories; along with studios calling it ‘the week of Animation.’ It was such an amazing experience being there and experiencing it. One of the highlights of the weekend was listening to the Disney panel and hearing their process for their new movie, “Zootopia.”
Overall this trip has been a fantastic opportunity and has allowed me to experience LA in an educational and thought provoking way. I cannot wait to take all I have experienced and apply it to my own personal practice. This will improve my practice and help with my employability and future choices.
California Institute of the Arts. 2015. “Welcome to CalArts.” Accessed November 12, 2015. https://calarts.edu/
Cecil B. DeMille. ” Cecil B. DeMille Quotes.” Accessed November 12, 2015. http://www.quoteswave.com/picture-quotes/304376
Gnomon. 2015. “Welcome.” Accessed November 12, 2015. https://www.gnomon.edu/
Paramount Pictures. 2015. “What is new with Paramount Pictures?” Accessed November 12, 2015. http://www.paramount.com/
Warner Brothers Studio Tour. 2015. “Warner Brothers Studio Tour.” Accessed November 12, 2015. https://www.wbstudiotour.com/