Good friends are great to have! It's a blessing when folks see something good in you and try to drag it out. Voice over producer/director/artist MJ Lallo did just that recently when she invited me to be a part of the backstage crew at this years Annie (Animation) Awards. MJ has worked as stage director for the event for the past 10 years and she gave me the chance to work as 'Traffic' assistant--shooing folks onto the stage and off in the right direction at the proper time. That doesn't sound too difficult but with presenters, recipients, guests and nominees all traveling at once through the same narrow space it proved to be-- well--exciting!
There were tremendous networking opportunities, not to mention a chance to rub elbows with such animation and film luminaries as Kathleen Kennedy, Garry Marshall, Phil Lamarr, James Hong, Jim Cummings, Diedrich Bader, Tara Strong, Nika Futterman, Judy Greer, Weird Al Yankovich (who's not 'weird' at all), Siedah Garrett and waaaay too many others to try to mention here.
My personal highlight of the night was NOT the 'River Dance' that MJ and I did during a short break in the action (although that was cool)--but it is reflected in the attached photo. Yes--that really IS legendary voice actress June Foray with one of her millions of fans! She was there to present the 'June Foray Award' for significant and benevolent or charitable impact on the art and industry of animation to the great Art Leonardi of 'Pink Panther' fame. She is beautiful inside and out and I am grateful for the chance to say to her "I love you and I appreciate your work".
There were plenty of other things happening to keep the event lively, including host Patton Oswalt who yelled "Occupy Hotness" after one of the 'hot' presenters mistakenly opened the envelope for the winners in another category!
Great fellowship and good food were available for all and many new friends were connected. A great, big 'Hole'-y thank you to MJ Lallo for her gracious invitation. Maybe next time we're there, I'll be nominated for something--like weirdest voice over sound produced by a human!