Preparing for Ottawa

The business cards are printed, the demo reels are burned, the portfolios are, well they're still being printed up—looks like Ottawa is 'round the corner, yes? Yes. The Ottawa International Animation Festival 2008 is happening this week, from September 17th to the 21st. This will be my fourth time to the Canadian capital, packing all my hoping-to-get-a-job materials with me. Even if I don't snag any gigs during my time there, I know that the networking will benefit me in the long run. (It better.)

I'm curious about the Animators For Hire event, wherein any jobseeker can get a short interview with various companies in the industry. Not sure how it's going to go for me, mainly because I'm probably a hard sell. Honestly, I'm not making it easy for myself: I mean, seriously? A former director who's been in the industry for 12 years, looking for freelance gigs because he'd rather stay in Portland? I'm not like these young kats, fresh, green and wet behind the ears, just itching to get their foot in the door and willing to move anywhere at the drop of a hat. Hopefully, my experience along with my quirky way of looking at things will win these potential employers over. That, along with my dashing good looks. Har har.

I do have the internet on my side. I know that many companies do, in fact, hire freelancers remotely, working back & forth via FedEx and/or ftp sites. Faster computers, faster servers, faster everything has made the World of Animation just a wee bit smaller nowadays. I plan on benefitting from this. (Actually, I have already.)

Oh yeah, I gotta mention this: I'll be moderating a panel on that Saturday, the 20th, called Animation Education Report Card. I've been on two panels before at Platform, but this'll be my first time acting as moderator. I'm actually quite psyched for it. In case you're too lazy clicking on the link, here's the panel specs for ya:


Saturday, September 20, 9:00 am, National Gallery - Lecture Hall

Get the inside scoop on how animation school curricula fares in the real world. Are institutions giving graduates the tools they need to survive and meet the needs of an ever-changing animation industry? Listen in on the debate with representatives from top schools and productions houses from Canada and the states.

Tom Knott, Laika Entertainment
J.J. Sedelmaier, President / Director, JJ Sedelmaier Productions, Inc.
Neil Hunter, Co-coordinator & Professor, Animation Program, Algonquin College - Animation
Leland Burke, Animation Area Coordinator, Massachusetts College of Art

Moderated By:
Ward Jenkins, Animation Director, Drawn!


To prepare for this panel, I thought I'd open the floor to you guys and see what sort of questions do you think I should ask? What should be addressed that you think is being largely overlooked? Is there anything that frustrates you about the current state of animation education, not to mention trying to get a job in the industry after graduation? Please feel free to ask away here, or send me a message via email (check my profile). They usually record panel discussions at OIAF, so there's a possibility that you can hear what we talk about at a later date. I'll keep you posted. If I like your question, I'll probably give a nod to you, if that's okay. Let me know otherwise.

For the OIAF schedule click here. I may do a follow up post here mentioning what screenings and panels I'll be checking out.

Two years ago on Drawn!, I did only one post on the festival. This year, I plan to do more. (I promise, John!)

So, yes....this week is about getting ready. Looking forward to it! Hope to see you there. If you are going, feel free to contact me and maybe we'll run into each other. I said 'maybe'.

Oh, and I prolly will tweet the entire time I'm there, too. Just so you know.


  1. Hello,

    I am a recent graduate and am working as a 3D animator. One thing I find frustrating about the current state of animation is not knowing what is a more valuable skill to obtain while at school:

    -specializing and getting highly skilled at one aspect of animation or
    -focusing on being equally good at many aspects of animation


  2. snailpie, that's a very good question! I'd like to ask this one, if that's okay with you.

    ncross-- cool, Nick! Looking forward to meeting you again!

  3. Got some graffiti art for you to see. I always enjoy looking at your art posts...

  4. Cool beans, Ward. Have fun at Ottawa. Good luck snagging job offers. Oh, by the way, thanks again for recommending Ila to me. I really appreciate the help. Take it easy, man.

  5. Yep. thanks Ward! I can't wait to hear podcasts of this year's discussions.