CTAN 522: Animation Seminar – Spring 2014

Class: Wednesdays, 6:30pm – 8:30pm*

Theater: Usually SCB 104

Class Blog:

Instructor: Associate Professor Lisa Mann –

Office Hours: Tuesdays 11:00am – 1:00pm | Wednesdays 1:00pm-4:00pm

Student Assistant: Einar Baldwin <>



Animation Seminar serves as a weekly academic forum in which guest animators, visual artists, researchers and filmmakers discuss their work and ideas. Distinguished special guests, as well as USC faculty and alumni, will engage the class on various aspects of animation, research, new media and education. Exposure to this diversity of viewpoints, creative output and professional experience will serve to inspire the students, encourage new avenues of exploration, and facilitate career planning.

*The class will sometimes run as late as 9pm. Please be prepared to stay on those occasions.


I encourage active participation with our guests. Please ask questions. Our guests are prepared to answer your questions and comments, and this engagement will expand our discussion and your knowledge.

Each week you are required to post a comment on the CTAN 522 WordPress blog. You must comment on at least 13 presentations. I highly recommend that you post within one week following the class. I will be checking this and will send out notices at the mid-semester mark to all those lagging behind on their blog comments.

The class blog is

Click on the “Leave a Comment” link at the bottom right corner of the post. A text box will appear below. Under the “Guest” tab, enter your email address and full name.  Be sure to include your name each time, since it’s difficult to tell who really is.  You do not need to create an account in order to post.  Proceed to write in your comment.  Click on the “Post Comment” Tab to submit your entry.


Attendance will be taken each week. Please turn off all cell phones, mobile media and light emitting devices during the class. No food, drinks, or gum will be allowed in the theater.


CTAN 522 is a credit/no credit 1-unit class based on weekly attendance and student comments about the people and topics discussed in seminar. There are 15 class meetings. To pass the class, you must attend at least 13 classes and submit a comment each week on the blog.  Each comment should include description of what you learned from that night’s speaker(s) (100 to 500 words). There is no final exam, but attendance is required for the final evening’s presentation of student work (from Seminar or other classes) during the course’s scheduled final exam time slot on May 7th, followed by a party afterwards.

Your grade will be based on attendance /class participation (20%), completion of 13 Blog comments (50%), and on completion/quality of your Wonderland Unbound project (30%.)

The Wonderland Unbound project is due on March 12 in Seminar class. This is a 20-60 second animated movie inspired by Lewis Carroll to be projection-mapped onto Doheny Library. You may have a partner or partners for this project. For more information, see the Wonderland blog post. If you do not participate on Wonderland Unbound or you do not complete the project, you must give a 5-minute audio-visual presentation on May 7 about one of the presenters and how they have inspired your own work.


Week 1: Jan 15          Hench-DADA student screening and pizza party

Week 2: Jan 22         Recruiters/Demo Reel Panel

                                  –Disney, Rhythm & Hues, Sony Imageworks, Mirada

Week 3: Jan 29         Artist Pablo Valbuena

Week 4: Feb 5           Digital Domain’s James Atkinson

Week 5. Feb 12          Wonderland Unbound –concept reviews

Week 6. Feb 19          DreamWorks’ The Croods Directors:

                                    Kirk DeMicco and Chris Sanders

Week 7. Feb 26          Bob Kurtz: “Call That Funny?”

Week 8. Mar 5           Screen Novelties stop-motion studio

Week 9. Mar 12         Wonderland Unbound –final crits

Mar 19          SPRING BREAK–no class

Week 10. Mar 26        iotacenter archives, presented by Hench-DADA                                                                         Alumnus Huckleberry Lain (aka Paul Shepherd)

Week 11. Apr 2          Jan Nagel, Entertainment Marketing Diva, discusses Networking

Week 12. Apr 9          Erik Aadahl, Sound Designer

Week 13. Apr 16        Ed Catmull Q&A on his new book, Creativity

              Apr 17          Wonderland Unbound— Doheny Library, 8:00pm

Week 14. Apr 23        Hench-DADA alumni panel

Week 15: Apr 30        SpongeBob Squarepants Creator, Writer, Director Stephen                                                       Hillenburg

Finals:     May 7         Hench-DADA student screening and pizza party

STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES:  Any student requesting academic
accommodations based on a disability is required to register with
Disability Services and Programs (DSP) each semester.  A letter of
verification for approved accommodations can be obtained from DSP.
Please be sure that the letter is delivered to the Professor as early in
the semester as possible.  DSP is located in STU 301 and is open 8:30
a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.  The phone number for DSP is
(213) 740-0776.

MISSING AN EXAM, INCOMPLETES:  The only acceptable excuses for missing
an exam or taking an incomplete in the course are personal illness or a
family emergency.  Students must inform the professor before the exam
and present verifiable evidence in order for a make-up to be scheduled.
Students who wish to take incompletes must also present documentation of
the problem to the instructor or teaching assistant before final grades
are due.
ACADEMIC INTEGRITY:  The School of Cinema-Television expects the highest
standards of academic excellence and ethical performance from USC
students.  It is particularly important that you are aware of and avoid
plagiarism, cheating on exams, submitting a paper to more than one
instructor, or submitting a paper authored by anyone other than
yourself.  Violations of this policy will result in a failing grade and
be reported to the Office of Student Judicial Affairs.  If you have any
doubts or questions about these policies, consult “SCAMPUS” and/or
confer with the professor or t.a.

DISRUPTIVE STUDENT BEHAVIOR: Behavior that persistently or grossly interferes with classroom activities is considered disruptive behavior and may be subject to disciplinary action. Such behavior inhibits other students’ ability to learn and an instructor’s ability to teach. A student responsible for disruptive behavior may be required to leave class pending discussion and resolution of the problem and may be reported to the Office of Student Judicial Affairs for disciplinary action.


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