"I cannot sleep unless I am surrounded by books."

Borges

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The AWN Oscar Showcase

I wanted to take a moment away from books and let everyone know about the AWN Oscar Showcase. The Oscar Showcase is the labor of love from the staff at AWN.com, a company I used to work for and foolishly left to move to San Diego. The staff get up at the crack of dawn, Sarah trudges down to the Academy to await the announcement of the Oscar nominations for animation, then she calls AWN (who are there at 5am, sometimes 4:30 feverishly working on the techinical stuff) and gives them the list of nominees. They work even more feverishly and get that marvelous toy called the Oscar Showcase up and running on the site. The Oscar Showcase has video clips of each of the nominated features and shorts. There's a tremendous amount of work that goes into doing this, they have to get the clips, images, permissions, links have to work, images need to fit, etc. It's a labor intensive process and it's simply astoundinghow much this small group of people get done.

Check it out here: http://www.awn.com/oscars07/


AWN is the acronym for Animation World Network, an all online trade publication dedicated to serving the animation community and they've been around a long time. They are a tremendous resource for anyone interested in animation, have an eleven year resource of in-depth articles and news, they have an educational focus and, I'm told are used as a teaching tool in many animation schools. They also have an event calendar, a book corner (yeah you thought we were getting completely away from books?), community forums and my favorite thing of all, the AIDB (AIDB.com).

The AIDB is an animation industry database with over 9000 companies (I may be exaggerating but not by much) including schools listed. You can access it for free! It's like the 411 for animation and it's updated constantly. The AIDB is one of the most sophisted databases I know and I LOVE databases. It's an obsession. Dan Sarto, the publisher at AWN loves databases with a passion that surpasses mine and he made sure to include all kinds of neat functionality to the AIDB. Check it out, it rocks.

AWN is run by a small staff of extremely dedicated and hard-working folks that made my time there a joy. I miss them all very much on a day-to-day basis even though I see them every so often. Here's a list of the people that make AWN happen.

Ron Diamond - President and co-founder - Ron is also the President of Acme Filmworks (www.acmefilmworks.com). He's a super nice guy and an award winning producer.

Dan Sarto - Publisher, co-founder, lover of South Park, databases and my famous adobo. He's the guy to go to with questions about anything animation or medical biology. Dan is often invited to speak at animation events like one he did in Hong Kong a couple of years ago. He and his wife Debbie have three daughters, all readers.

Sarah Baisley - Editor in Chief, lover of horoscopes and wine, encyclopedia of all things animation. She's worked for Phil Roman, Hanna Barbera and some other big places I can't remember at 6:00 a.m. She often is invited to sit on panels and talk about animation. She recently was at a Comic Con panel and I had the pleasure of watching everyone in a packed room hang on her every word.

Bill Desowitz - VFXWorld Editor - Did I not mention VFXWorld? Silly me. VFXWorld is AWN's baby. VFXWorld covers visual effects and it is super cool. You want to know how they make dragons fly, armies of goblins, stalking Ents? Head on down to VFXWorld.com and subscribe to their newsletters. You'll find their content married onto the AWN site as well, so it's an easy hop over. Bill has two cute little boys.

Rick DeMott - Managing Editor - Rick is amazing. Rick is a film buff and puts out his own (on his own time) massive film review newsletter. I don't know how he gets the time to view all these movies, much less write about them but he does and it's astounding. Somewhere in there he finds time to post news, manage stuff and run the event calendar among many other things.

Deron Yamada - Art Director - Deron is an amazing graphic artists. He's responsible for making everything look pretty (will probably wince at the word pretty) on AWN. He's from Hawaii and is laid back and cool.

Darlene Chan - Editorial Administrator. Darlene gets all the permissions to use images for articles, she tracks down headshots of animators and others, she spends lots of time on the phone and is very particular about making sure that everything is in order. She has a neat son named Enzo who writes very nice thank you notes and puts cool drawings on them. Enzo is a big reader.

Then there are the new folk that I don't know that well but they're super nice too. There's Andy Strum (contact him to advertise on AWN), Michelle Lim, Greg Singer (who can never eat what I cook because I just can't figure out how to make Mexican food vegan) and Mark Rebec.

Swing by AWN.com and take a stroll. You'll be addicted, I promise. That's it for me, I have to go to work, I'm late!

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