Event Preview: Graphic Voices


Joanne Rhee
Staff Writer

Imagine an event where students passionate about animation and video games can come together and meet some of their favorite content creators. No, I’m not talking about Anime Expo or Comic Con. On Sunday, May 17, students and individuals from the animation and video game industries will come together in the first ever Graphic Voices.

Graphic Voices will be a day long event where University of California, Santa Barbara students and individuals from the industry can connect. It is being produced by the student organization MAB Productions, who also produced Talent Trade during Winter Quarter. Talent Trade was another small conference which focused on the talent industry and the business of acting.

This will be the first event produced at UCSB that will completely focus on the animation and video game development industries.

The event will start at 9 AM and end at 6 PM. During those hours, attendees will be served breakfast and lunch, and there will be panels about an hour long with speakers from different parts of the industries. The speakers will share their experiences and some will even hold small workshops. Either way, they will be bringing in a lot of material and visuals for each session. Between each session there will be light snacks and opportunities to network with others.

Attendees can expect to meet a lot of speakers. No specific names have been released, but a producer of the event, Danie Hikimi, a third-year theater theater major, hinted at some of the guests on the list. One speaker is from Federator Studios, an animation house in Los Angeles. He was involved in animated projects like Nicktoons and Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time. Another speaker has done computer-generated imagery (CGI) for movies like The Hobbit, The Matrix series, Blue Man Group, and The Lord of the Rings series.

In addition, there will be speakers from other aspects of the video game and animation industry. Hikimi emphasized that Graphic Voices would bring people from different areas of the industry. In fact, another speaker that will be in attendance is an independent animator and UCSB alumnus.

The inspiration for this event came from Hikimi’s own interests and hobbies. “The things that I liked the most were just going to stay things that I liked,” she said. “They weren’t going to be careers. What if your interests and hobbies that you did in your free time became what you did in your overall time. What if you did that in your work time too? What if you let your whole world be that? There’s a lot of people who are doing it.”

Hikimi sought out to produce an event focused specifically on the animation and video game development industries because it is something that is not very represented on campus.

However, opportunities to attend this event have now closed. Attendees were chosen through an application process and paid a fee of $20. The $20 will go back to the students through meals, t-shirts, speakers, and the overall experience itself. Graphic Voices seeks to give students a learning experience they’re not going to get anywhere else at UCSB.

About 30 or so students will have the chance to attend this year’s event. Graphic Voices is set to be an intimate event, in order to really give students a chance to connect with others who are interested in the same field.