Posts Tagged ‘Nickelodeon’

CTN Animation eXpo 2014

Monday, December 8th, 2014

Creative Talent Network Animation Expo

If I were to describe an experience as life-changing, this would be one those experiences. Talent from all over the world was concentrated into a single, weekend-long conference at the Marriott Hotel in Burbank, California. Thousands of artists and animation enthusiasts gathered to participate in workshops, visit artist booths, have their portfolio reviews by industry professionals and make connections. Animation legends like Glen Keane and Eric Goldberg were there. More than once, I walked by a short, older man in a Hawaiian shirt and realized I’d just passed by one of the greatest names in animation. While I never got the chance to talk with Eric Goldberg, it was thrilling just having seen him in real life.

Sierra Gaston with Dice Tsutsumi

Sierra Gaston with Dice Tsutsumi

I participated in seven workshops, many of them concentrating on character design. A particularly useful one by Ty Carter, a visual development artist at Blue Sky Studios, focused on how to get a dream job right after college. Ty Carter made it very clear that a lot of hard work was required—and that if any of the workshop attendees were as good as the artists currently exhibiting at CTN, we would definitely get into the industry.

I had around four portfolio reviews; two by Nickelodeon from their Artist Program and Interactive Content Development departments, one by a professional (and very exhausted) character designer, and the last by an extremely talented character and design artist who actually volunteered to look at my portfolio and gave me feedback. Portfolio review is so extremely important—while getting invaluable critiques on how to make your art work better, you are also making connections and getting a really good look at what the industry standard is. There’s a certain degree of fear in what others will say about your work, but I was mostly eager to see in which areas I was succeeding and which ones I needed to work harder at. The reviews were very positive, and I left with a clear vision of what I needed to work on before application dates rolled around.  I also gained a possible lead working with Nickelodeon.

Sierra Gaston with Tom Moore

Sierra Gaston with Tom Moore

In addition to workshops, book signings, and meeting artists, I got to see a screening of Song of the Sea, the newest animated feature by Cartoon Saloon in Ireland. A story about selkies, humans that are part seal in nature and can transform when they put on their coats, Song of the Sea is breathtaking in its 2D traditional intricacy. It’s wonderful seeing a traditional animation studio from Ireland making waves in such a 3D animation-focused industry.

CTN is an absolute must for any serious student in any area of animation. The connections are invaluable, and it is a privilege to be in the same room as some of the artists that attended this year. It’s a dose of reality to be around industry professionals of that caliber—while in school you’re in a completely different environment, but once you’re actually talking and interacting with people you’ve only heard about your entire life, it makes it that much more real. A weekend in Burbank among people in love with what they do is the perfect tool for inspiration and personal growth.

Sierra Gaston, Digital Art & Animation Student, Cogswell College

Cogswell student group ready to go to CTN Animation Expo 2014

Cogswell student group ready to go to CTN Animation Expo 2014

About CTN

The CTN animation eXpo
Nov 21-23, 2014
Burbank Convention Center
800 604 2238 | 818 827-7138

The only event of its kind presents a unique opportunity that brings together the top professionals from both the traditional and digital worlds of animation. Hosted by the Creative Talent Network, this six year event has captured both the industry and local community’s attention as a resource for education, employment, inspiration, business opportunities and most of all FUN!

While the Expo has a very broad appeal, it is focused specifically on “THE TALENT” from the animation and surrounding communities. In an intimate setting at the Burbank Marriott Hotel and Convention Center thousands of attendees meet the faces behind the fantasy from yesterday, today and tomorrow over the course of 3 days. The event presenters include contributors from some of the highest grossing animated films of all time and are targeted to empower professionals, educate students and entertain the general public.

Of particular interest to attendees are the Live Demonstrations, Networking Receptions, Master Workshops, Panel Discussions, Business Symposiums, Recruiting and the Professional Exhibits offered throughout the Expo as well as the signature One-On-One Personal Consultations with creative professionals from top studios and educational institutions both local and international all happening during the first city wide proclamation of “Animation Week” just for this event.

With a demographic that includes both students and professionals it is our pleasure to work closely with each of our sponsors to ensure that every agreement is tailored to address your specific marketing objectives. Together we can make this event a memorable and successful one that will bring the community together as well as raise awareness for the animation medium each and every year.


- See more at:

Senior Producer at Nickelodeon Kids and Family Games Talks About His Job

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

kevin richardson

Cogswell graduate, Kevin Richardson, offers insight into his job and how to prepare if this is your career goal. Kevin graduated in 2003 with Bachelor of Arts in Computer and Video Imaging – the precursor to Cogswell’s Digital Art and Animation program.

Company name, your job title, a brief description of your job responsibilities and how long you have worked there.

I currently work for Nickelodeon Kids and Family Games group in SF as their senior producer of games. My job is to scout the world for interesting flash games to put up on Shockwave, a family friendly gaming site, as well as produce multiplayer games and some exclusive games such as racing games using the shockwave 3d platform.


Can you give an example of what you might do on a ‘typical’ day?

On a typical day I am playing tons of games, usually for 30 seconds at a time, just the way our player’s would. If it doesn’t hold my attention past that, I move on to the next one. The best games I bring to a team review, and those that we pick I contact the developers (wherever they may be in the world) and make them an offer for a non-exclusive publishing arrangement. I usher the contract through legal, make sure they are paid, and also handle getting the actual game into our publishing and high scores system.

Can you give an example of something that surprised you about your job when you first started?

It is easy to get lost in the technical side of things. Don’t! is my advice. The players only care about having fun. Focus on the fun, not how you are going to get it done.

Describe your piece of the production cycle. How does what you do move the project forward?

As a producer you are the beginning, middle and end. One definition of a producer I love is, “The producer is the guy you throw out the window if it’s late, over budget or just plain bad.” I agree with that.

How big is the team you are part of for a typical project? What kind of interaction do you have with other team members?

The teams vary in size. It really depends upon the scope of the project, but for a flash game usually between 3 to 6, depending on factors such as: is it a multiplayer game, the complexity and so on.

What projects have you worked on in the past?

In addition to my job at Nickelodeon, I just launched my own casual independent game series for download under the Gamespin banner, Ghost Town Mysteries. I have produced over 30 “E” rated games, including the Family Feud and Risk games and several Hasbro titles including Boggle and Trivial Pursuit while at Prior to, I worked at The Learning Company/Mattel Interactive where I was Executive Producer on numerous Reader Rabbit and ClueFinders adventures and at EA/Pogo where I worked on Tumblebees ToGo. I began my career as an animator and special effects artist working for ILM and Hanna Barbera-Wang Films.

What do you find most rewarding about your job?

People interactions and trying to figure out what is fun. It’s not always that simple! And working with smart people.

What advice would you give students preparing for a career as a Sr. Producer?

It is a business. But the business is to entertain others. Know how to do that. What entertains you? Get down to the minutiae of that in a film, game, a play – or a walk in the woods. Be in touch with your emotions and what triggered them – so that you can touch the emotions of your players with the same mechanics.

How did Cogswell help prepare you for this career?

Cogswell rounded me out. By being pushed into places out of my comfort zone I was stretched as a person. And just being around other smart people with ideas other than my own is always healthy and inspiring.

What qualities does someone need to have to be successful in this field?

Remain curious. Work hard. Be disciplined. Don’t fall in love with your own ideas. Stay objective, but bring passion to your work when you think you are onto something.

-Bonnie Phelps, Dean of Institutional Advancement

What is it like to work as a CG Supervisor at Nickelodeon?

Monday, August 31st, 2009
One of Ernest's Characters

One of Ernest's Characters

Cogswell graduate, Ernest Chan (class of 1999) offers insight into his job and how to prepare if this is your career goal.

1. Company name, your job title, a brief description of your job responsibilities and how long you have worked there.
I work for Nickelodeon Animation Studios in Burbank, California. I’ve been with Nick since 2001 where I was a CG Animator on the series “Invader Zim.” In 2005 I was promoted to Post Production CG Supervisor where I supervised two animators. The group has since grown to four animators and a production assistant.

2. Can you give an example of what you might do on a ‘typical’ day?
Most of my day is spent approving shots, providing feedback to my animators, going over schedules and budgets. On some days I have review sessions with directors to go over the shots they want fixed. Sometimes I need to break storyboards down, watch an episode’s animatic or go to storyboard pitches. When I can I try to squeeze in the occasional shot for me to work on.

-Bonnie Phelps, Dean of Institutional Advancement