Ground Zero Animation Expo - Recap pt. 2

If you haven't read part one yet--you can find it here!

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Not only was Ground Zero an excellent place for learning about the industry from professionals currently working in it, it was also a great place to meet your animation peers!  After Saturday's show, everyone attending the conference was invited to meet up at a local Brewery.  Again, I went by myself--I'm an extrovert ...even if I'm quiet sometimes. I wasn't super stressed about attending this.  However, I tend to have a hard time striking up conversation with others I don't know, particularly if they're already talking in a group.  Eva did a great job organizing this and rounded up everyone she saw from the conference to sit near each other at the end of the bar--which was awesome because I was having a hard time telling who had come over from the conference!!  I ended up striking up conversation with lots of interesting peers and tabling artists that night and stayed until the end.  I've never been to the after-hours social events at CTNx, but after testing the waters here I'll be sure to try that in November as well!

Overall, this was an excellent conference and an awesome experience.  Especially as someone who lives outside of the LA area, its nice to have a conference in between trips to CTNx--although there are lots of animation events happening in Southern California all the time, its hard to make time or travel for one day or week night events, this is just Saturday and Sunday ...if you drink a lot of coffee you wouldn't even have to take time off of work!  This year, I'm going to apply the advice I've learned at Ground Zero, to bring a new reel to CTN to get more feedback, and then bring a new reel to the next Ground Zero...and so on, forever.  If you feel overwhelmed by a large and crazy conference Ground Zero a good place to go, its easy to get lost in the sea of people herded through the Burbank Marriot each year and hard to find the time or space to really make conversation with anyone.  I felt like i had plenty of time to chat with artists and peers and really enjoyed the 'networking' aspect of conferences I've been avoiding for so long.

If you're looking to go next year here's some tips! (mostly things I'd do next year to be more prepared)

  • Think about what you'd like to know about animation industry or different careers before you go--there will be a lot of time to ask questions!! This time I asked a lot of people about entering the industry or how they develop their portfolio projects so that it doesn't turn into a life long project.  I got some great specific advice! But I think if I'd gone a few years ago I wouldn't have had those questions ready--think about what you'd like to know!
  • Bring Business cards--I am SO glad I forced myself to make them even though I had to pay for rush shipping--I gave out almost half of what I ordered...it was worth it
  • Next time I'd try to pack a lunch--there was just McDonalds and Food 4 Less near the site...you can of course drive but I was lazy...I ate french fries like 4 days in a row...but I'll take responsibility for that life choice
  • Show up early! (but after me!)--you wont be stressed, you'll get a good swag bag, you'll feel superior to those who showed up late and didn't get a swag bag (just kidding)
  • If you want to figure draw, do it in the morning--the tables will be there all weekend but the model was only there for a bit--and both days the model looked awesome! I missed most of that.
  • If you're tired go sit in the bleachers and draw the other attendees, once you leave school you'll realize there's only so many places where this seems normal/not creepy
  • I'd get more sleep--and drag more people with me!  I could have split my room with 3 other people and put some on the floor too! It would have made it like $30 bucks a night a person...which is dirt cheap...we could have all gone to Disneyland on Monday (or at least Downtown Disney)...#goals