I’m Giving A Talk On Freelancing At The CTN Animation Expo

The CTN Animation Expo is without a doubt a “must-see” event for anyone interesting in working in the animation industry. On Nov. 18-20 hordes of animation lovers will once again be descending on the Burbank Marriott Convention Center for three days and nights of animation goodness. There’s still time to register if you’d like to attend.

It’s just been confirmed that I’ll be giving a presentation on freelancing on Saturday, Nov. 19. at 4:30pm in the Exec Boardroom. My talk is titled “Be Your Own Boss: Freelancing Tips and Tricks”. Here’s a summary:

In the current economy more and more companies are hiring artists as freelancers. Unfortunately many talented people wind up earning less than they could, or miss out on opportunities altogether, because they haven’t learned about the business side of being an artist.

Cedric Hohnstadt has owned an illustration studio for over fourteen years and has created work for end clients such as Hasbro, Disney, DreamWorks, Verizon, Best Buy and Target. After working on hundreds of client projects he’s learned a lot of tips and tricks the hard way, and now he’s here to pass on some of them on to you. He’ll discuss how to know if you are cut out for freelancing, how to promote yourself, how much you should charge, how to talk to clients about money, and look at different areas where an artist can find work outside of the animation industry.

As a freelance illustrator and character designer I draw a lot of inspiration from the animation industry. This talk is my humble way of giving a little back. If you’ll be attending the Expo and you have any specific questions about freelancing you’d like me to touch on, feel free to contact me and offer a suggestion. I’ll be happy to consider it as I prepare my talk.

You can register for the Expo or get more info at www.ctnanimationexpo.com.

EDIT: I’m told that my presentation is part of a limited series of workshops that are pre-pay only. Most of the seminars at the event are free to attendees but the organizers have designated mine as one of a few for which seating is limited and there is an extra fee to get in (in my case $5). I’m not sure but I guess you have to log back in to your registration account to sign up and pay for the workshops. I’ve also been told that there are only three open spots left for my workshop, so if you want to get in you’d better act fast.

New Client: VeggieTales

I’m excited to announce I’ve recently completed some props and costume designs for an upcoming VeggieTales animation project. I can’t show any artwork yet but I have their permission to announce them as a client.

I’ve worked with Big Idea in the past as a character designer for the “3-2-1 Penguins!” TV series and I’ve done some VeggieTales work indirectly for Scholastic, but this is the first time I’ve created concept work directly for the VeggieTales animation series. They’d approached me twice in the past but both times I was too busy to take on anything new. I’m glad it finally worked out. They’re terrific people and I hope I can work with them again in the future.

Animation for “What’s In The Bible?” Vol. 6

A new promo has just been posted for volume 6 of What’s In The  Bible?, an ongoing project from VeggieTales creator Phil Vischer. It’s a terrific series that uses a combination of puppets, live action, and animation to walk through the Bible step-by-step re-telling the stories, explaining their significance, and answering tough questions. There’s a good balance of humor and depth that should appeal both to kids and adults.

At the end of this promo is a cartoon singing choir which was designed and animated by Yours Truly.

What’s In The Bible? is available on DVD or as digital downloads (full episodes and smaller bite-size segments). More info at the official website.

Good Disney Documentary at a Great Price

Dream On Silly Dreamer is a low-budget but nicely done documentary made in 2006 by Disney animators chronicling the massive layoffs handed down by Disney management in 2002. It’s a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the Disney studios following the massive success of The Lion King all the way down to the “official” end of 2D animation at Disney. Animators recall the wild ride from uber-celebrity status and massive paychecks all the way to pink slips. It’s a must-see for any animation fan and not nearly as depressing to watch as you might think. I own a copy on DVD and have watched it twice, enjoying it both times.

While browsing around iTunes I happened to notice the entire film is available for purchase for only $1.99. That’s less than what it costs just to rent most movies. I have no idea how long it will be available at that price so you might want to snatch it up while you can (also available on DVD at Amazon, including extra footage and some good special features but minus the bargain price).

While you are at it you might want to follow it up with Waking Sleeping Beauty, Don Hahn’s new documentary about the Disney “Renaissance” under Michael Eisner. The two films together are a great combo for studying the modern Disney 2D-animation era, one during its rise and the other during its fall. Waking Sleeping Beauty is available on iTunes and Amazon.

Christmas Gift Ideas For The Artist In Your Life

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If you’re looking for any last-minute Christmas ideas you might want to browse through my Amazon.com store, Cedric Hohnstadt Recommends. It’s a collection of books, DVDs, and other resources related to art, animation, and freelancing. Each item is something I have personally owned, used, and found to be especially helpful and/or inspirational.

Full disclosure: If you order any of the items from Amazon after clicking through my store I’ll receive a tiny percentage of the sale as a kickback (you won’t pay any extra). So you’ll not only be filling someone’s stocking but you’ll be helping me support my iPhone app addiciton.

CTN Animation Expo – Videos

I forgot to mention that you can view videos of a few of the seminars from last year’s Animation Expo on the official website. There are about twenty clips to watch and they only represent a small portion of what was available to attendees. You can also find a few more videos on Vimeo.com (just serach for “CTN Animation Expo”). Most of the videos are not very artwork-heavy which I imagine is due to legal copyright concerns. But there’s still a lot of great animation-related info to be enjoyed.

My understanding is that some videos from this year’s Expo will also be uploaded to the website soon so you might want to check back.

CTN Animation Expo 2010 Recap

This is long overdue but now that work has slowed down a bit I can finally get back to regular blogging.

Last month I attended the 2nd Annual CTN Animation Expo in Burbank. Once again it was a smashing success. Hundreds of animation artists converged in the Burbank Marriott to immerse themselves in everything animation. There were dozens of workshops and seminars given by top names in the biz, live drawing demos by industry legends (i.e. Andreas Deja, Eric Goldberg, etc.), portfolio reviews from top animation studios, free life drawing sessions with costumed models, and a show floor packed with artists and booksellers exhibiting their wares. As an extra bonus the event was bookended with special screenings of The Illusionist and Tangled.

I was given the honor of being one of the artists chosen to give a live drawing demo. I was also selected to interview for a freelance position with an established animation studio known for its work in television series and commercials. Too early to tell but overall I think it went well. At the very least I was able to get my toe into one more doorway in Hollywood.

One of the greatest benefits of a weekend like this is the flood of creative inspiration that washes over you. I packed light knowing that I’d be bringing back a suitcase full of books and DVDs to keep my creative juices flowing.

Live costumed models posed in the lobby throughout the weekend for impromptu drawing sessions.

Just one small portion of the jam-packed show floor.

Artist Sergio Pablos discussed his pitch for Despicable Me (the film was based on his original concept). Unfortunately I’m not allowed to show slides of his sketches but I can tell you his artwork is *amazing*.

How To Train Your Dragon co-directors Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders discussed the process of creating the film. Throughout the production they recorded their progress and insights using pocket video cameras and then edited the clips into a documentary called “Finding the Story”. As a bonus, attendees of the session were given free DVDs of the documentary. (I’m told you can also watch it on the How To Train Your Dragon blu-ray using the BD-Live feature.)

Master concept artist John Nevarez gave a live drawing demo using a Cintiq.

Disney lead animator Andreas Deja (Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Lion King, Hercules) gave a live drawing demo.

Peter de Seve and Carter Goodrich are accomplished illustrators-turned-character-designers. They showed slides and discussed their work on such films as Finding Nemo, Ice Age, Open Season, Ratatouille, and Despicable Me.

Another live model posed for an open drawing session.

Several of the seminars were attended by overflow crowds. This was my view standing in one such line—and there were more people behind me.

The CTN Expo is becoming a must-see event for the animation industry. Next year’s Expo is already being planned for Nov. 18-20, 2011. It’s not too early to pre-register and reserve your spot!