Animation Nation with Benton Connor

By Nahid Ponciano

Students sat in awe in the Digital Library Auditorium as they watched slide after slide of a presentation that gave them a whole different perspective of the animation world.

Riverside City College’s art Department hosted storyboarder and supervising director of Cartoon Network Studios, Benton Connor, on Oct. 19.

The CalArts alumnus who is best known for is work on “Regular Show,” “Paranormal Roommates” and “The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack.”

Throughout the presentation Connor described his experience becoming a storyboarder and how he knew that was what he wanted to do. Growing up, his main inspirations drew from TV shows and comics such as “The Simpsons” and “Garfield,” as well as American cartoonist Gary Larson who is best known for the comic series “The Far Side.”

Connor also explained how the industry works and what it takes to be hired as a storyboarder.

“They want to find what voice they can bring to the table that they haven’t heard before,” Connor said. “Every show has a certain style, every show has certain rules and they’re not all the same.”

Christopher Barron is just one of many RCC students who showed up to the presentation and took away from it.

“I learned a lot of new things that I didn’t know about being a board artist,” Barron said. “Getting it first hand from someone who’s done cartoons that I watch all the time, it just gives me new a perspective.”

Barron wants to work his way up and focus on pre-production, but is open to have other careers as long as it deals with making animations for TV and movies.

“You’d be dumb not to come. Especially since we’re in college right now trying to learn it. Everybody should take any chance that they get to get knowledge straight from the source,” Connor said.

Connor enjoys doing presentations, but said he does not do them as often as he would like and hopes to do more in the future.

“Anything animation related I love sharing, especially with college students because I went to art school and I want to share what I went through with other people who are trying to find their path,” Connor said. “I hope they learn how to get a better handle on how storyboarding works and how that’s very crucial to a lot of TV shows nowadays, particularly board driven TV shows.”

Connor gave a few words of advice to artists who are trying to make it in the animation industry.

“College is that time to solidify yourself and see what you want to express to the world,” Connor said. “Get out and experience as much life as possible and draw from that life.”

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