Ben, Anna and myself headed over to the Animex festival, to network and raise awareness of Peg Bar. The festival was an amazing experience. We went over on the Sunday and came back in the early hours of this morning. Overall the experience was amazing. This was our first trip over to the Animex. We heard some great talks about the games industry and which ways the animation industry is growing. We talked to some great people. We separately attended a number of inspirational and knowledgeable workshops.........and we had too much fun.
Sunday: We landed and got ourselves settled into our accommodation.......we decided to go in search of an Internet cafe, only to get lost for a few hours and spend an epic adventure in the snow getting home.
Monday: On our way down to the animex, a battle commenced between the three of us, as we epically lashed snow balls around at each other, taking no prisoners. When we arrived at University of Teeside, we registered and attended the games talks from 9am til 5pm. There were some great talks from Ernest Adams, Clint Ourso, Ian Livingstone and much more. Some of which I just wanted to run out and start buying games such as 'Saints Row' and 'Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo HD Remix!'. We got contact that Ballyfermot heads had been arriving in separate gangs, including Ben Harper of the group, so we went for dinner with them. Later on that night, we got to meet a load of the gaming guys and animators at the Players Lounge.
Tuesday: The morning started off with another snow fight on the way down to animex. It was another full day of talks attended, seeing some amazing art designs, development and markets of games. Some of the most memorable was from Doug Wood talking about 'Left 4 Dead' (i think Ben actually bought the game a few days later), Ian Millham's talk about the art work and atmosphere created in 'Dead Space', and Hideki Osada's insight into the Japanese's Games Industry. Later that night we went over to the Southfield for an enjoyable night of drinking and socialising with the Ballyfermot heads, and really anyone who entered the bar.
Wednesday: We went our separate ways to attend three different workshops. Anna went to Curtis Jobling's workshop on character design, Ben was due to go to Mark Walsh's work shop on character animation, but sadly Mark Walsh was violently ill and Ben had to attend the Ed Hooks workshop with me. That evening, all of us just had to rant and rave on how inspirational and helpful each of our workshops were, and differently we look at what we are doing. That night we headed down to the cinema for the Animex After Dark, which was a really interesting conversation between Paul Wells and David Sproxton about the growth of Aardman.
Thursday: Was the start of the Animex Talks, we saw some fantastic talks about the future of animation and animation companies, Ed Hooks was shouting out to the audience telling them that everyone has the power and creativity to change the industry, revolutionise whats going on and sculpt the future to make animation better for everyone. We saw some amazing design work from Jason Sadler as he talked us threw the work he does for Blue Sky. Ben got a go ahead with a rescheduled workshop with Mark Walsh, after the workshop he came back to Anna and myself, raving about how cool and 'magical' the workshop was. The animation lounge was on that evening, I was in my element, creating mass awareness of Peg Bar and the partnership between Ben, Anna and myself (from where our origins lay to what we aspire to do). The room was full of animators and artists, students to professionals, but sadly, I didn't have enough time to catch them all, but I did do remarkably well in catching a lot of them.
Friday: Started off as mystery to whether we were flying off or not, as we were getting reports from England and Ireland that our flights were and weren't cancelled due to weather. We got to see all of the morning talks including two Panels, containing some of the most knowledgeable artists and creatives within the industry and Mark Walsh, running us threw the short film 'Presto'. At lunch we found out our flights were definitely cancelled and another one would not be leaving Durham until Sunday. We spent 12hours just trying to get home, with Ryan Air stopping us at every step. We travelled to Newcastle to talk directly with Ryan Air as every time we rang, we had to wait 10 -15 mins on hold only to be hung up on in mid conversation. The only flights we could travel to Dublin out of Newcastle was Saturday night or Sunday morning, so we hopped onto a flight to Shannon and were arranging travel from Shannon to Dublin. Luckily enough, Anna's folks saved us from a 6 hour bus drive around Ireland (which would have got us back to Dublin at 3.40am), and they picked us up from Shannon Airport. We all luckily got back home around 2am.
So I guess, long live the Animex! as its an amazing experience.