Wow! What a great event! The Annies were so cool! I got there early so I didn't miss anyone - although, as always, there were some people I missed.
I arrived at the Royce Hall with Khorvash, who was one of my artists and was looking forward to making some industry connections, because she wants to move to L.A. for job opportunities.
I chatted with legendary animator Caroline Leaf - when I was just starting out in animation, she was riding high with "The Street" and "Two Sisters". She was there to receive the Winsor McCay Award for lifetime career achievement.
I met up with J.J. Sedelmaier, who was the producer of the Ford commercial I directed, "The Importance of Paying Attention: Teeth", which was nominated for the Annie Award for best broadcast commercial.
I also saw my old buddy, Ralph Eggleston from Pixar, the creator of the Oscar-winning short "For the Birds". He's now working on Brad Bird's next feature.
After a lot of drinks and hors d'oeuvres, we filed into Royce Hall for the presentation of the prizes. One of the surprise presenters was Kobe Bryant, the great Lakers basketball star. He took the stage with another star, Glen Keane, animator par excellence. They were quite good together - they should have their own TV reality show.
The awards were fairly predictable - "Piper", the Pixar short, won and also "Zootopia", the billion-dollar box office champ won Best Feature, among other prizes. We then all retired to the buffet dinner to chat and have more drinks.
I hung out with my buddies from "The Simpsons", Matt Groening and David Silverman. I also got to chat with my old friend, Michael Dudok de Wit, maker of the Oscar-winning short "Father and Daughter" and the Oscar-nominated feature "The Red Turtle". We both started out in the animation business in the mid-80's, and I'm so happy to see his great success using 2-D animation.
As the evening wound down, I was also able to talk to Jan Pinkava and Glen Keane about perhaps doing some work for Google, which would be so much fun. Glen had a great success with "Duet" on Google.
I know this blog sounds like a lot of animation name-dropping, but all these people I mentioned are my heroes, and coming from New York, I'm very jealous of the great success these people are having. So I'm hoping to learn the path to animation success from them.
By the way, be sure to check out another New York animator, Signe Baumane, and her Kickstarter campaign. She needs your help to make her next feature, please visit KickstartMarriageFilm.com