Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Variety Unveils Nickelodeon Center Fold In Current Issue; Matt Layzell Honored At "10 Animators To Watch" Event

To celebrate Variety's first-ever "10 Animators to Watch" event presented by Variety and Nickelodeon, which Variety and Nickelodeon held at a special event on Tuesday 10th March 2015 at Siren Studios in Hollywood, California, the current issue of Variety features a phenomenal NickToons center spread, featuring a montage of characters from some of Nickelodeon's past, present and future animated series, from classic hits "Rugrats" and "The Ren & Stimpy Show" to current hits "SpongeBob SquarePants", "Sanjay and Craig", "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" and "Breadwinners", to upcoming animated shows "Harvey Beaks", premiering 3/29, "Pig Goat Banana Cricket" and "The Loud House"!:

Pictured shows: "The Legend of Korra", "The Fairly OddParents", "Rugrats", "The Ren & Stimpy Show", "Dora the Explorer", "SpongeBob SquarePants", "Sanjay and Craig", "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles", "Breadwinners", "Hey Arnold!", "Blue's Clues", "Harvey Beaks", "Pig Goat Banana Cricket", "The Loud House" and "Aaahh!!! Real Monsters". Photo: The official Nickelodeon Animation Studio Twitter page, @NickAnimation.

At the "10 Animators to Watch" event, Nickelodeon also unveiled that they are planning to unite the entire Nickelodeon family in a single state-of-the-art facility called "Nickelodeon Studios" which will open in Burbank, California in 2016, just in time for Nickelodeon Animation's 25th anniversary, and that they're currently developing "Moosebox", a animated short created by Mike Scott from South Africa's Triggerfish Animation Studios that was a finalist in Nickelodeon's 2013 Global Animated Shorts Programme, into a series!

Nickelodeon also announced that they have partnered with Get Schooled, a national non-profit co-founded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Viacom, to award one skilled and innovative animator with a $25,000 scholarship by creating an original animated short! The partnership marks the first-ever animation scholarship program between the two organizations, which will help elevate and support the brightest up and coming animators by giving an opportunity to submit their story.

As part of their "10 Animators to Watch" event, Variety and Nickelodeon honored three animation bussiness veterans and a new class of rising talents, including Nickelodeon's very own Matt Layzell, a supervising director on "Sanjay and Craig", who was honored at the event with his brother, Paul Layzell!
Variety, Nickelodeon Fete Lasseter, Catmull, Lamb and 10 Animators to Watch

Class of 2015: Variety 10 Animators to Watch presented by Nickelodeon Animation. Photo: @Variety

The animation industry turned out to honor three biz veterans and a new class of rising talents at Variety's inaugural 10 Animators to Watch event Tuesday at Siren Studios in Hollywood, presented by Variety and Nickelodeon.

Disney-Pixar's John Lasseter and Ed Catmull were hailed for Creative Impact in Animation, while Cal State Fullerton's Dana Lamb was named Animation Educator of the Year for his work developing the animation program at the school.

Lasseter was thrilled that the event was putting the spotlight on animation because so many people are part of the process. "Animation is the most collaborative artform there is on the planet. By nature of the way you create these movies, you have to collaborate. And collaboration is where real genius happens. That's what's awesome about animation," he said.

Catmull offered this advice to those looking to get into the animation business: "It's not about learning to use tools. What makes me nervous about some programs is that they teach people how to be tool-based. It's really about recognizing the value of observation, thinking about that and using that to add something new to whatever it is you're working on."

PHOTOS: 10 Animators to Watch Gallery

Variety's 10 Animators to watch — Phil Bourassa, Warner Bros. Animation; Disney's Lorelay Bove & Brittney Lee; Paramount Animation's Dylan Brown; Nick Bruno of Blue Sky; Pixar's Josh Cooley; Thomas Grummt of DreamWorks Animation; Illumination's Miguel Jiron; the Layzell Brothers: Matt, who works at Nickelodeon, and Paul, a freelance illustrator; Disney Channel's Daron Nefcy; and Oscar-nommed stop-motion animator Timothy Reckart, who is developing a CG feature at Sony Pictures Animation — offered their own words of inspiration to aspiring animators.

Said Bove: "Enjoy what you're doing, have fun with it and draw. Draw a lot." Bove's partner at Disney, Lee, pointed out that there are more avenues than ever to gain an entree into animation. "Don't be discouraged if your first plan to get into the industry doesn't work. Try as many things as you can. It will lead you somewhere," she said.

Grummt, a lead animator on "How to Train Your Dragon 2," said: "Do as much as much animation as you can. That's the only way to learn. It'll be faster if you have people who can teach you things and can mentor you. But the only way you can get somewhere is by doing a lot of work."

Bourassa, who works in WB's DC superhero world, urged young animators to make drawing a top priority. "If you're a kid and you're still in school, school is important. And family. But then drawing has to be right up there. Obsession might not be the right word for it, but you have to train for it the way an athlete has to train for a sport."

Pixar's Cooley said to "Do what you love. I've been with Pixar for 11 years now and I still get as excited as Day One because I love telling stories and making up stuff and I can do it every day. I feel very lucky I get to do that."

Brown was at Pixar for 18 years before moving on to co-direct Paramount's first all-CG animated feature. He offered this advice: "Always be true to yourself and work with the best people you can possibly work with and learn what you can from them."

Reckart, whose stop-motion short "Head Over Heels" was Oscar-nommed, echoed Lasseter's words about collaboration: "My start really benefitted from collaborating with other people who were super talented. To me that was the major benefit of going to film school. Without them, I don't think I would have made 'Head Over Heels' and without 'Head Over Heels,' I don't think I'd be where I am now."

Illumination's Jiron pointed out that there are so many new venues for animation. "It's never been easier to create your own thing," he said. "I know so many people who are just going into school now who have already created shorts, which is incredible."

Bruno, who is working on Blue Sky's "Peanuts" movie due out this fall, says don't give up. "Keep drawing, have fun, and keep dreaming. It will happen."

Nefcy, whose series "Star Vs. the Forces of Evil" just got picked up for a second season on the Disney Channel, advised "Keep making stuff. CalArts made us make a film every year and now anyone can do that anywhere. The technology's there. It's never going to be good the first time, then it gets better the second time, and you keep getting better."

Nickelodeon's Matt Layzell, whose brother and fellow honoree Paul couldn't make the trip from the U.K. for the event, said "Work hard and, no matter what job you get, do the best you can and the rest will follow."

Presiding over the presentation of the awards were Variety Vice President and Executive Editor Steven Gaydos and Russell Hicks, president, content development and production at Nickelodeon.

Hicks also announced the establishment of a $25,000 animation scholarship by Nickelodeon in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Viacom.

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