FITC Toronto 2011: Recap

• Here I am onstage. What am I doing, air-juggling? Photo by Michael Sheedy.
• The amazing crowd that showed up for my presentation. Mom and dad in the front row!

Well here we go. I arrived back in Dartmouth last night after attending FITC Toronto 2011 over the last 3 days, safe and sound. As with the previous 2 years, FITC was an absolute blast. I had a wonderful time presenting, sitting on a panel, meeting new people, seeing friends and just chilling out and talking about creative stuff with creative people. I have such a great time every year, and this was no exception. So recap, here we go.

I kicked off Day 1 with my presentation, Back to the Future: Part II. An amazing audience showed up to see me, maybe 200 big which was incredible. I really enjoy getting onstage, showing my work and telling stories, and this year I amplified the amount of content and detail I went into. I told my story starting at the age of 4 and traced my progression as an artist right up to the present day, offering stories, advice and experiences along the way. HUGE thanks to everyone who attended, it really means a lot.

Later that day I got to see the mighty MK12 do a showcase of their awesome motion work, showing us some of their short films, a demo reel and generally goofing around onstage. These guys are a riot, and their work is totally badass.

• MK12 onstage. Photo by Richard Budman

On Day 2 I was able to see Matt Rix tell the incredible story of my favorite iPhone game, Trainyard. When playing the game it’s easy to assume that it was produced by a company, but Matt took the entire process into his own hands and released a game that would knock Angry Birds out of the #1 spot in the App Store. A truly amazing and inspiring accomplishment. His presentation was detailed and very honest. Well done, Matt!

Other presentations I saw that day were Gmunk presenting a sprawling account of his work on the GFX for Tron Legacy, my pal Jamie Kosoy talking about the mighty Big Spaceship with a focus on their newest website The Most Awesomest Thing Ever, and finished up the day with some high-octane art physics with Robert Hodgin where he showcased his work and amazing new iPad app Planetary. What a great afternoon.

That evening I had the pleasure of hanging out with Jamie Kosoy and Jay Quercia (both from Big Spaceship), Kat Gaskin and some other friends over some drinks. Had some great conversations which eventually led to a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles draw-off with the Big Spaceship boys. Hilarious.

And finally, a kickass Day 3. I started things off with seeing Jason Theodor (@jted) do his presentation entitled How to Create More, Better, Different. Jason is excellent at breaking down the creative process and synthesizing creative “types”, specifically how they work and how they may improve what they do. I get more process and analytical advice from Jason’s talks then any other, extremely informative and makes you think on how you operate as a designer. Crucial stuff. After he was done McBess took the stage to show us his process and ideas behind his incredible illustration projects and characters. His illustrations are amazing on their own, then he kicked into gear and showed us his motion and product stuff. Blew us all away, and what a funny dude.

I then had to opportunity to sit on a panel called Imagination + Source with Robert L. Peters, Jason Theodore and McBess where we answered questions from Owen Brierley to a packed room. It was a lot of fun to hear the diverse answers coming from such different professional backgrounds. We had some laughs as well, really fun time and it was awesome to meet and sit with these guys who I respect so much. The day ended with an amazing presentation by Kyle Cooper, the guy responsible for the title credits for Se7en, Iron Man, Alien, Superman Returns and a million others. Even got to shake his hand.

From there it was off to the To Japan with Love art show at Function 13, organized by Linda Nakanishi. The work was absolutely incredible across the board, showcasing art created by both students and veterans alike. Such great diversity. A great crowd showed up too and I met some very nice folks at the show. Big thanks to everyone who attended and donated for the event.

And finally, you guys. One of the best parts of FITC is meeting and hanging out with people I only know through the blog and broadcasts. Putting a face with a name is always an amazing experience and I met so many people at the event and after-parties that I’d be at a loss to name them all. However, a HUGE thank-you to everyone who attended my talk, the From Japan with Love art show, the panel and all those who stopped to say hello during the parties. You’re an amazing bunch, and I miss you already.

See you next year, FITC!






4 responses to “FITC Toronto 2011: Recap”

  1. Simon H. Avatar

    Definitely sounds like it was awesome.

  2. Mat MacQuarrie Avatar

    It was a super awesome event. And one thing that was mentioned at dinner how Simon H. is everywhere! : P

  3. Cameron Avatar

    Looks and sounds awesome! Would love to go next year! I’m totally digging the FITC logo that’s behind you James!

  4. Jorden Tually Avatar

    So wish i could have been there!!!!

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