The Road to Ottawa

Is paved with procrastination.

Tomorrow morning I leave for my yearly trek to Ottawa for the Ottawa International Animation Festival (this is my third year in a row). It's late. I should be packing right now, but instead the warm glow of my Powerbook G4 is calling me. I haven't done any true preparing for the trip; extra pressure from the Primal Powers That Be insisted that I finish all the animation for the next Cocoa Puffs commercial before I leave. This gave me no time for important family time, no time to respond to emails, or blog, or scan, or upload photos on Flickr, etc. Because of the impending trip and late night work benders, it's been insane around here at home, especially since we are still not fully unpacked yet. Yup, you read that right—we're still roughin' it. Getting ready for Ottawa has proven to be frustrating as most of my clothes are still stuffed in garbage bags (easy packing for the move, natch). Last year for Ottawa I was on top of things early on. This year is a much different story. But like Andrea, procrastination is my middle name. I'll prolly rally at the last opportune moment and pull an all-nighter, crashing later during the flight tomorrow morning, for sure. So far, so good.

Amid at Cartoon Brew yesterday posted some items of interest at OIAF 06 that I plan on attending. I'm especially curious in hearing Evan of JibJab speak (Brave New World: The Rise of the Independent Creator). I also plan on attending the Concept Design & Art Direction panel that Amid is moderating on Friday. My goal is to see each of the Short Competitions. For the last two years I always somehow managed to miss one out of five screened.

A gaggle of animators

If you plan on going to Ottawa for the first time, here are a couple of helpful hints to make your animation festival experience just a little bit more enjoyable:

1. Plan on walking. All the venues are pretty much in close proximity to each other, making the town a big part of the festival.
2. Allow time to eat. It's easy to get over-zealous with your schedule, attending every stinkin' screening and event that is available. There's not much time in between, so plan accordingly. You can go all day and not eat one thing. Really.
3. Expect to see some stuff to make you go "Huh?" One thing I can always rely on is Chris Robinson (festival creative director) & Co.'s interest in abstract and experimental animation. Read: some weird ish! But that's why animation festivals are good for you: to take you out of your comfort zone.
4. Go to the Animator's Picnic. Pretty much everyone will attend this shin-dig on Friday. It's a great time to walk around and chat with fellow animators and filmmakers. I saw Bill Plympton walking around with no shoes on in '04. I got to meet Jerry Beck and John Canemaker last year. Excellent elbow-rubbing opportunity.
5. You'll have faith in traditional animation again. Hand-drawn, pencil, ink and collage on paper, scratching on film, paint on cell....you name it, it's being filmed and screened here at Ottawa. Oh sure, there's CG animation represented, but OIAF offers a wealth of films done in traditional methods. Gives you a nice jolt of happiness to see real paint moving without computers present.

Anyway, hope to see you guys there!


  1. Have a great time Ward! Hopefully one of these years I'll get to attend with you. Woohoo!

  2. Hey! Are ya back yet? Naaaww...you're probably still in Ottawa. I hope you have fun and see lots of inspiration. I always forget to look up this event each year, to determine whether I should go. I'm sure it's quite an experience being surrounded by animation lovers all weekend long! I'm back up on the blog...Miss ya