Day 14 – Finale Day

Today was the last day of the CTN expo and also the last day of the tour.


I just wanted to take it easy today, with nearly all of my panels being yesterday. So today was mostly spent focusing on buying things and attending any panels I missed previously. My favourite panel today was a  workshop presented by Industrial Light and Magic. This panel focused on creating visual effects for many of the larger films for the past 20 years or so. I thought it was a really interesting discussion held by the artist. While it was not a practical demonstration like some of the others have been so far, it was still great to see concept art for a lot of big films like Star Wars. He also took on a virtual tour of the studio, which was great to see.

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I have had some fantastic experiences, made some great new friends and had a fantastic experience on this tour. I have learnt more about the animation industry, myself and how to experience and travel in a new city like Los Angeles. This city has been an amazing place to discover the animation industry with its unique culture and studio connections. West Hollywood was a great place to stay with the advantage of being close to everything and being able to experience many of the classic landmarks that we have seen on television and in movies. I really enjoyed being able to visit places such as the Chinese Theatre and Hollywood Boulevard. I had seen these places in movies as a child but could never imagine one day that I would see them in real life. I have had experiences I will never forget and I cannot express the excitement that I feel knowing now I have this better understanding of the animation industry and of my interest in the area.


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Reflection – 1,000 Word – Updated

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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Reference List

California Institute of the Arts. 2015. “Welcome to CalArts.”  Accessed November 12, 2015.

Cecil B. DeMille. ” Cecil B. DeMille Quotes.” Accessed November 12, 2015.

Gnomon. 2015. “Welcome.” Accessed November 12, 2015.

Paramount Pictures. 2015. “What is new with Paramount Pictures?” Accessed November 12, 2015.

Warner Brothers Studio Tour. 2015. “Warner Brothers Studio Tour.” Accessed November 12, 2015.

Day 13- Travel

Today was the second day of the CTN expo. This was a fantastic day, as I got to attend a lot of panels and workshops all on different topics.\


These topics included sketching tips, the process for a cinematic, how to draw stylized forms and a panel focused on Laika. All of these workshops were great and gave me a fantastic chance to experience all of the different areas of the expo. The first one was focused on how to do better sketches and was demonstrated by an artist in his experience of the brush pen. This was a great demonstration and I really enjoyed listening to him as he explained his process. It also gave me a confidence boost after seeing so many fantastic artists yesterday. The next workshop I went to focused on the process that the games company Blizzard uses, to create their cinematics. This was really interesting to hear as it allowed me a glimpse into the amount of time and effort that goes into creating these pieces. I really enjoyed hearing each department especially their thoughts about the overall process. I loved seeing how each area had come together to create a really amazing piece of work.


The next workshop had a focus on creating 3D sculpture from a 2D image. This workshop had a large focus on how to break up the human anatomy and the form of any creature to create a 3D model. I thought this was a great workshop, as someone who often uses ZBrush; this was a great workshop to update my knowledge in this area. While this panel was not as engaging as the others I had attended today, it still was a great one to learn some new skills with. My last workshop for the day, was a presentation by the Laika studio. This particular studio is famous for their combination of puppets, stop motion and use of technology. I have been a massive fan of this studio for years; so to see them present was an amazing experience. Today, this was my favorite presentation as it touched on all of their films and the process they go through to create them.


Day 12 – Travel

Today was the first day of the CTN animation expo. The expo was very different from what I had imagined. Today was very chaotic and it didn’t seem as organized as a lot of the other conventions I had attended in the past. Many of the volunteers had little to no idea where things were; which lead to a very interesting guessing game. This made it quite difficult to attend panels and find artists.


The quality of work was absolutely amazing, the range of styles and different mediums was really interesting. I really enjoyed seeing all the different interactions that took place. This was also a great place to attend a load of workshops on a range of topics; which I traditionally would not get to experience. The workshops which I attended today focused on drawing the male and female body, the cinematography of concept art and a conversation about the process of creating Disney’s latest film, ‘Zootopia’. This was a lot of fun and provided a great chance to get a sneak peek at some exclusive content and also gain an insight into how they did this project.


The drawing studio was also a nice touch allowing a great place just to relax and work out the next event to attend. I also really enjoyed how many artists that were there. It was a great chance to see how pieces and characters can be stylized. In the future, if I was to attend this event again; I would spend a month preparing to get a higher quality portfolio and the ability to be a little more confident in my work. I still feel I have only scratched the surface with what I can learn in this area and the expo has taught me that I still have a very long way to go.


Day 11 – Travel

Today I wanted to go and explore Downtown. During this time, I headed towards one of the places that I had researched when coming to Los Angeles. I have been a massive fan of the Black Milk clothing brand for a couple of years and this was a great opportunity to see how this Australian brand had expanded to America. Black Milk has set up an LA store and I was curious to see what it was like. I was also really looking forward to exploring and talking to the locals from the store.


To get to the store, I had to use the metro which was a challenge in itself; as I had yet to fully use it to get somewhere before. I really enjoyed the challenge but found at the start, it was quite confusing. I also really enjoyed how everyone was very helpful.



When I eventually arrived at the store, I had a fantastic time talking to a couple of locals about a range of topics including places to visit in Australia and how easy it was to find vegetarian places. She then directed me to some of her favorite dining places, including an application to help me locate the closest vegetarian place. This application is incredibly helpful and has a list of fantastic places in Los Angeles. After getting to know the girls, they offered to take me on a tour of the store. This was a great experience and I loved every moment of it.


This was a great chance to see how this brand had created such a welcoming space for everyone from a variety of backgrounds. I really enjoyed seeing how this place worked with the people in this area. It was great to also see how this place functioned and how this small but dedicated team of people work.


Day 10 – Travel

On day 10 of the tour, I decided I wanted to explore the Melrose shopping area as I wanted something nice and easy to do today. I enjoyed this shopping trip as it was nice to just explore this area and take my time with learning more about Los Angeles. I managed to also go to famous places such as Pinky’s the hotdog stand. While this strip does not have much to do with animation, it is certainly a great place to see the different styles and culture of Los Angeles. I really enjoyed seeing all the different fashion looks that are found in this area. It was also great to see what sort of food is common here.


As a vegetarian, it has been really interesting so far to see how common being a vegan is here. I have really enjoyed that, as it has allowed me a lot more choice in my food. This is in comparison to Australia where the choices are a lot more limiting and finding Vegan options are often almost impossible. So far nearly every place I have been here, has had a vegetarian or vegan option. I am enjoying tasting a lot of flavours I usually would not be able to back home. For example, one of my favorite places to eat so far has been a hot dog and burger house. Traditionally this sort of place would not be able to offer a meal for me; but I have found that they have some really yummy veggie sausages and burgers. They also were able to modify every burger and hot dog on their menu to meet this standard. Back in Australia, you would be hard pushed to find a store like that. Overall this is just one of the issues I have faced while being in Los Angeles and I am happy that this study tour has disproven any per-conceived ideas I had about LA.



Day 1- Travel – Sleep, Sleep and More Sleep

I believe seeing the sun rise is one of the most beautiful sights to see when arriving into a new country and this was the sight that greeted me; on the plane trip to America.

After arriving at the airport, we had the experience of trying to navigate one of the most famous airports in the world. We eventually all located each other and arranged a shuttle bus to take us from the airport to the hostel. After arriving and realizing we had a fair amount of time to kill before being able to check in; most of us set ourselves up and began to get to know each other. We held conversation for while before realizing that most of us were pretty dead from jet lag. To try and push through it, we went to a local place to get food. This proved a great way to get to know one another and also a lovely place to eat. After eating, most of us went back to our hostel and collapsed full of food. After arranging my timetable for the CTN expo and working out my budget for the next few days. I set out to research some of the options for things to do including checking what movies were being held at the Egyptian theater. After checking in, I had a rest and then continued to work on how I was getting to the places I wanted to visit tomorrow. After an American barbecue; full with salsa and chips, we all played a game of pool and went to bed to try and prepare ourselves for tomorrow.