Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

RTF Animation Celebration cultivates community, creativity

Darby Tippit
Advertising sophomore Elly Kong takes notes during an animation discussion hosted by UT professors Dr. Lalitha Gopalan and Dr. Benjamin Bays in a film lab room on Thursday. During the Radio-Television-Film department’s Animation Celebration, students attended a series of lectures like this one.

As students gathered around a screen boasting creative storylines and bold characters, Cindy McCreery, Radio-Television-Film interim chair and professor, admired the sense of community that animation fosters. 

The RTF department launched its first Animation Celebration, a two-day event honoring all things animation. Created by associate professor Ben Bays, RTF faculty, alumni and students gathered at Moody College on Feb. 15 and 16 for a series of screenings, panels and games to explore the different facets of animation. 

“(We) wanted to do something where students could learn about the different things we offer at RTF, but also celebrate the history of Austin and animation,” McCreery said. 

McCreery said she specifically appreciated the opportunity for students to learn from current Austin-based animators during the Media Industry Conversations panel. 

“We wanted to inspire students who might be interested in animation and give them a broad overview of all the different job opportunities,” McCreery said. “(We wanted to) expand their idea of what careers are out there.”

McCreery led a panel, Animation from the Writer’s Perspective, where she guided students through the writing process by challenging them to create a Phineas and Ferb spin-off. McCreery said she advises students aiming to write for animation to reflect on their inspirations.

“It’s such a hard career to get into,” McCreery said. “The most important thing really is that drive and the reason why you want to do it in the first place. I think that it’s really important to come at it as a real fan (of animation).”  

RTF sophomore, Kate Hernandez, said she enjoyed McCreery’s insights into the reality of pursuing an animation career. 

“I feel like it’s more of a glimpse into her and what she’s done in the industry, and it reminds me that … we have these amazingly talented lecturers and professors who know a lot about the field,” Hernandez said.

The event also provided moments for students to connect by playing games and watching films with each other.

“I found it really cool that this event, more than anything, is bringing students together, which is something we really need,” McCreery said. “We need students to form community with each other.” 

RTF lecturer Lance Myers took students behind the scenes of his latest animated short, showcasing various stages of the creative process. Myers noted the importance of building a community to draw creativity and motivation.

“I think that (a) really good way to stay connected, focused and productive is to see what other people are doing,” Myers said. “So much of successful work comes from artists wanting to … entertain themselves and their friends. … That artistic energy of just wanting to make something and share it with somebody close to you is a big part of this.”

Hernandez said the event encouraged her aspirations toward a career in animation. 

“This event, as someone who (wants) to pursue animation, reassured me that it is possible and that there’s multiple ways to make it happen,” Hernandez said. “Hearing all these speakers have different experiences, (and) also different advice … was reassuring to me and I hope to other students.”

Editor’s Note: The story previous incorrectly identified a source’s position at the University. The Texan regrets this error.

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