A Day At the Expo

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Posted by Charles on March 05, 2000 at 17:40:07:

A good time was had by all.

My personal impressions of the Animation Opportunities Expo, held at the Glendale Civic Auditorium and sponsored by ASIFA-Hollywood and The Hollywood Reporter.

There was this animator from my kind of town, Chicago is. The guy stands oh, about 6'7". Even taller in army boots. He and SNAKEBITE together were a sight. I can imagine them in a business meeting with a typical, panty waist animation executive. God help the suit.

In spite of the fact that the Expo was smaller this year than in years past, it was in my opinion and experience, no less exciting. The absence of many major players in the animation scene did little to dim my enthusiasm, and it didn't seem to spoil the affair for any of the other exhibitors either. It was more of a reflection on those who decided not to participate than on the event itself.

I would like to publicly express my sincere thanks and appreciation to the following people. I'm sure that the animation community will join me in these sentiments.

I would like to thank Antran Manoogian, President of ASIFA-Hollywood. Antran has been the President of this chapter of ASIFA for 13 years, volunteering his time in this capacity. He founded the Animation Expo. Antran is one of the finest gentlemen I've ever had the opportunity of working with in my years in this industry. If there were more producers like him in the biz, there would be no need for a web site like this.

I'd like to thank Jean Wright, reNae boNella and the rest of the staff and volunteers at ASIFA who helped to make the Expo so much fun for everyone and a real opportunity for many people in this industry. It's always a pleasure doing business with you.

Even though Film Roman didn't have a booth this year, Jay Francis attended the Expo. Jay is involved with the recruitment of artists at Film Roman in North Hollywood. He's helped the careers of many individuals over the years and is one of the reasons why Film Roman continues to be a studio where people are genuinely happy to be at. The man is a class act.

I'd like to thank the staff of Animation Magazine for offering free subscriptions for a year to those who attended.

I'd like to thank The Hollywood Reporter for sponsoring the Expo and for their committment to and recognition of animation in the entertainment media.

I'd like to thank DreamWorks Features for setting up a booth and giving everyone a sneek preview of "The Road To Eldorado" and "Chicken Run". Both films look to be big hits. I was especially impressed with the quality of the production of "Elorado". The footage that I saw looked as fine as anything I've ever seen from DreamWorks and the film overall is one whose release I look forward to this month with much anticipation. DreamWorks has a strong committment to animation and is the only studio that I know of that provides free meals for its employees. I hope that both films and everything else that comes from them are box office smashes.

Now that I've expressed my gratitude, I'd also like to do a little venting.

The conspicuous absence of Disney, Warners and Sony are something that I find inexcusable. I can understand why Sony wasn't there since they're staffed by executives who are so caught up in their obscession with the size of submitted portfolios that they probably forgot they're an animation studio. Warner Features at least bought a full page add in the Expo's program, so they did make something of a contribution even though it would have meant a lot to see the WB logo hanging from the back of a booth. But Disney is another story.

For the great mouse house not to have any presence whatseover at the EXPO, whether actual or in print, boggles my imagination. All I can say to these cheap, skin flint executives who are so caught up in cutting the bottom line but leaving their own situations untouched is that we were probably better off without you. Here you are, this multi-national entertainment and real estate conglomerate with vast financial resources and you little penny pinching creeps couldn't spend a few bucks to support an organization as fine as ASIFA-Hollywood and an event as worthy as the Opportunities Expo. Disney is virtually the definition of American character animation, yet you trashed your own tradition by not being there. You Disney shareholders must be proud of the quality of executives you've got. They must be well worth the millions upon millions of dollars that you lavish upon them. Their headquarters are in Burbank for crying out loud. They couldn't arrange for even a token presence of the company the next town over?

It's clear to me and to many others who attended the Expo that things in this industry are changing, and not necessarily for the worse. I wish all of the exhibitors and the people that attended much happiness and good fortune in the new industry that is emerging.

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