China Comes to Italy & Germany

- May 10th, 2010 -

Animation Options' Kevin Geiger recently pitched new animation projects and delivered presentations at Cartoons on the Bay in Rapallo and Animation Production Day & FMX in Stuttgart in his capacity as President of Magic Dumpling Entertainment, a Beijing-based development company creating original animation content for family audiences.

For full press releases on all three events, refer to the Magic Dumpling press page.

1st Chinese International (King Bonn) New Media Shorts Awards

- April 28th, 2010 -

Animation Options President & CEO Kevin Geiger had the honor of chairing the animation jury at the 1st Chinese International (King Bonn) New Media Shorts Awards in Shenzhen, China. During the proceedings, Mr. Geiger gave a verbal preview of his upcoming FMX 2010 presentation: "The Next 90 Minutes: New Stories for China and the World".

The 1st Chinese International (King Bonn) New Media Shorts Awards.

Jury duty.

Interviews with local and national media.

The animation jury panel, including friend & Beijing Film Academy Animation School Dean Lijun Sun (second from right).

Guangshan Celebrates "Young Sima Guang"

- January 8th, 2010 -

The city of Guangshan was alive with excitement as Animation Options President & CEO Kevin Geiger helped Zhengzhou-based Huayu Brothers Animation Studio to roll out production of the animated Chinese TV series "Young Sima Guang", based upon the exploits of the legendary local hero. (more >)

Young animation fans in Guangshan, China.

Animation Options Sets Pipelines & Stories Straight In Yokohama

- December 20th, 2009 -

In what may be a SIGGRAPH first, Animation Options President & CEO Kevin Geiger bookended the SIGGRAPH Asia 2009 conference in Yokohama with dual courses on story development and CG production pipeline efficiencies.

Making its Japanese premiere was "What's Your Story?", a condensed version of the popular three-day story development course:

"What's Your Story?"

What’s your story? Can you explain it in a sentence? If the central idea of your film is not clear to you, how can it be to your audience? Does your story pass the “who cares” test? And do you know that story is NOT king, but character IS? This course examines the nuts and bolts of feature film storytelling in a straightforward, accessible manner for everyone seeking to improve the resonance of their movies on the international animation market. The way to the audience’s wallet is through the heart. Is your story stuck in the head? The course explores story loglines, genres, hooks, and twists with an eye towards a compelling stage for an appealing hero. The story-outline section addresses the foundation of a strong and flexible story “spine” and then assembles the full skeleton. In the story-boarding section, the course reviews the process for laying out an entire feature film from beginning to end by applying tried-and-true structural beats. The course concludes with an interactive audience brainstorming session and a pitch of the resulting story by presenter Kevin Geiger.

The early-morning SIGGRAPH Asia audience participated enthusiastically in a live story development session that one attendee referred to as "the most remarkable public demonstration of collective creativity I've ever seen".

Following a shortened, mid-conference version of the course for the student interns, ACM SIGGRAPH Student Services Committee Chair Lou Harrison wrote: "Kevin, I just wanted to thank you once again for the What's Your Story? session you did for the student interns at SIGGRAPH Asia in Yokohama. I know you really had to compress it down to fit the time, but it all worked out really really well. This was the first time we had such talks for SIGGRAPH Asia, so I didn't know what to expect, but the way your session went was exactly as I had hoped things would go. You really rocked it. It was fun, entertaining and informative (for me as well)."

Returning to SIGGRAPH Asia by special request was Animation Options' production efficiency chestnut, "Keeping Your Money On The Screen & Off The Floor":

"Keeping Your Money On The Screen & Off The Floor"

The global animation industry is as competitive as ever, with merciless markets, unforgiving audiences and miniscule profit margins. Yet independent and major productions alike seem content to burn through money (and people) as though they have resources to spare. Amazingly, this waste is not only pervasive, it is accepted. Not only is this irresponsible, it is unsustainable. It is also easily addressed through clear-minded assessment and informed action. This course squarely addresses common production motivations and pitfalls. It examines the human factors and organizational considerations that are the foundation of all production (dys)function. It proceeds to cover workflow considerations and strategies, the establishment (and erosion) of balance, common heuristic assumptions and errors, and the importance of clarity and adaptation within the studio environment. A series of “Golden Rules” for production segues into the characteristics of a balanced pipeline and an overview of a flexible and robust nonlinear production pipeline. Finally, asset management is reviewed with an eye towards organization, flexibility, and transparency. The presentation concludes with a micro/macro view on the production paradigm and synergistic orchestration of these parts into a practical yet transcendent whole.

Between the two courses, SIGGRAPH Asia 2009 proved to be a compelling demonstration of Animation Options' consultation value, from development through production.

Kevin Geiger with SIGGRAPH Asia 2009 Conference Chair & Pixar guru Tony Apodaca.

Kevin Geiger Hosts First Zhengzhou International Animation Forum

- October 25th, 2009 -

Animation Options President & CEO Kevin Geiger hosted the First Zhengzhou International Animation Forum from November 19th - 22nd, in his official role as Foreign Liason to the inaugural event in the heart of Henan province. (more >)

Kevin Geiger takes questions from the Chinese media.

2009 Jilin International Animation, Comics & Games Forum

- September 19th, 2009 -

Animation Options President & CEO Kevin Geiger spoke on the subject of original animation content creation and story development as a guest of the Jilin International Animation, Comics & Games Forum, held from September 14th -17th, 2009. (more >)

Kevin Geiger speaks on the subject of story development.

Bringing A Focus On China To fmx/09

- May 15th, 2009 -

The FMX conference in Stuttgart, Germany has a well-deserved reputation for presenting the latest, most innovative approaches in the design, creation and distribution of digital content - from digital cinema to mobile entertainment, from immersive design to post-production. FMX talks revolve around the latest developments in animation, effects, games and digital media, including: cinematography, cross-disciplinary filmmaking, digital actors, global production pipelines, hybrid films, international co-productions, low budget games, stylization in games, virtual lighting and visual storytelling. FMX reviews cover new aspects of animation and performance, creative development, financing & branding, virtual reality, online worlds, previsualization, realtime techniques, streaming stories and user-generated media. FMX technologies include new developments in interactivity, stereoscopic filmmaking & production design, digital performance capture, virtual hair and non-photorealistic rendering techniques. The FMX spotlight series presents inside looks at production cultures, histories and enterprises from around the world. The FMX/09 conference was a great success, featuring more speakers, more presentations and more visitors than ever before. Over 7,000 people from 41 countries around the world traveled to Stuttgart to participate in this year's FMX, demonstrating the conference's position as Europe's primary meeting place for the international digital creative community.

Last year, Animation Options' President & CEO Kevin Geiger was invited to serve on the fmx/09 program board, as curator and host of the fmx/09 "Focus on China" spotlight program. For the afternoon's presentations, Mr. Geiger selected President Lifeng Wang of Xing Xing Digital Corporation in Beijing, VP of Creative Development Wen Feng of Magic Dumpling Animation Studio in Beijing, and Co-founders Vance Yang and Stella Huang of SOFA Studio in Taipei.

From left to right: Stella Huang and Vance Yang of SOFA Studio, Kevin Geiger of Animation Options, Lifeng Wang of Xing Xing Digital Corporation, and Wen Feng of Magic Dumpling Animation Studio.

The theme of the program, and of Mr. Geiger's own presentation , "Cultural Revolution, Take Two" is summarized in the following statement:

"When is a nation of more than 1.3 billion people a scrappy underdog? When it is China seeking to reclaim the animation legacy pioneered by the Wan Brothers in the early 20th century. Shanghaied by Mao Zedong's Cultural Revolution and then crushed by the juggernaut of Japanese anime, Chinese animation has been reeling for decades in a punch-drunk, outsource-fueled haze of stifled creativity. Until now. A new generation of Chinese animation filmmakers - versed in influences from Chuck Jones to Tarkovsky - has entered the world stage, eager to reclaim lost creative territory with films that are in turn thrilling, hilarious, gorgeous and thoughtful."

The "Focus on China" presenters touched upon a wide range of topics, including the past, present and future of the animation industry on the Chinese mainland and in Taiwan, the transition from insourcing to IP development, the opportunities and challenges of China's business environment, the blessings and burdens of China's rich cultural history, and China's aspirations to relevance in the contemporary international animation market.

Creator & Co-director Wen Feng discusses the Chinese animated feature film, "Road to Home", currently in development in Beijing.

As part of the "Focus on China" program, "Road to Home" Co-director Wen Feng and Producer Kevin Geiger gave a presentation on the creative development of the film-in-progress. The "Road to Home" presentation began with the world premiere of a high-definition development teaser, created in cooperation with Xing Xing Digital Corporation. After providing this taste of the film's aspirations to a painterly 3D visual style, Wen Feng proceeded to discuss the original vision and inspiration for "Road to Home". Mr. Geiger addressed the challenges of representing the remarkable beauty of Western China, and Ms. Feng followed with insight into the movie's art direction and production design. Ms. Feng and Mr. Geiger then introduced "Road to Home's" main characters and discussed the character development process - most notably the journey to find a design style that is appropriate to the story, appealing to audiences, and unique to China. Finally, Mr. Geiger took the FMX audience on a tour of "Road to Home's" story development path, describing his role in helping screenwriter Yi Yan and the filmmakers to make the original script even stronger with the application of proven Hollywood story beat techniques. (Director Lijun Sun has happily described the result as "a Chinese story with a Western structure".)

While withholding story details from the eager attendees, Mr. Geiger discussed the challenges and solutions of story development across language boundaries, and highlighted the strengths of the cross-cultural creative process. Success of the "Road to Home" presentation was demonstrated not only by an appreciative audience, but also by subsequent interview requests - including one for German National Public Radio, and another for Animation World Network's online video channel, AWNtv.

Kevin Geiger and Wen Feng participate in an interview on contemporary Chinese animation for Animation World Network. (AWNtv Interview, Part 1) (AWNtv Interview, Part 2)

The "Road to Home" presentation was followed by CEO Lifeng Wang's presentation on the work of Xing Xing Digital Corporation, his outlook on the Chinese animation industry and its position in the global market. The "Focus on China" program concluded with the work of SOFA Studio, as presented by Co-founders Vance Yang and Stella Huang, two of Mr. Geiger's colleagues from Taipei. FMX Co-founders Thomas Haegele and Renate Haegele expressed their desire to repeat the "Focus on China" program at next year's 15th Anniversary fmx conference.

fmx/09 program board member Kevin Geiger with fmx co-founders Thomas Haegele and Renate Haegele.

Of course, the fmx conference is well-known not only for the quality of its conference programming, but also for the many opportunities throughout the week for professional networking and socializing. Participating in his fourth fmx conference, Mr. Geiger made many introductions to his international colleagues for the "Focus on China" speakers, who were of great interest to the European conference attendees. Mr. Geiger was also pleased to re-connect with friends such as Richard Edlund, who provided Kevin with his entry into the special effects and animation industry many years ago.

Kevin Geiger with his mentor, visual effects legend Richard Edlund.

Perfect Pitch

- April 15th, 2009 -

The April 2009 issue of 3D World magazine features an article on project pitching by Mark Ramshaw that profiles the developing Chinese animated feature film, "Road to Home" (page 6), with observations on the process from Animation Options CEO Kevin Geiger. Full story below.

Kevin Geiger Visits Zhengzhou Animation Base

- March 18th, 2009 -

Animation Options President & CEO Kevin Geiger was invited to speak at the opening ceremony of the Zhengzhou Animation Industry Base in mainland China's Henan province during the weekend of March 14th-15th. Mr. Geiger praised the ambitious efforts of the regional government in supporting the Henan animation industry, and had kind words for the promising work and enlightened training programs that he saw during his tour, especially those at Tian Le Animation Films Development Company. The trip culminated in a tour of Shaolin Temple, with an impressive performance by the famed (and furious) Shaolin monks.

At the opening ceremony of the Zhengzhou animation base with Tian Le Animation President Xue Bing Mao.

Inside the new animation industry base, designed by Mr. Mao.

Visiting the Tian Le Animation facilities.

Reviewing training materials.

An oldie but a goodie in the soundstage.

Signing out.

Following a celebratory dinner, Mr. Geiger is presented with his very own inkstone.

Sitting in the presidential chair at the Shaolin Temple performance hall.

The monks of Shaolin.

Managing Workflows To Make Them Work

- December 11th, 2008 -

Chaitra Shetty for Animation Xpress

When embarking on a CG production, everyone wants to create great work of art, along with making good money too. But the latter doesn't happen all the time. Clearly such a situation has to be avoided as far as possible. To do so, there are certain principles to keep in mind as the journey of making a digitally animated film is undertaken- most of which have nothing to do with CGI directly, but everything to do with the people undertaking the work. This was the focus of the "CG Production Principles: Keeping Your Money On The Screen & Off The Floor" course by Kevin Geiger, President & CEO, Animation Options LLC.

Following are some excerpts from the course.

Animation Options President & CEO Kevin Geiger speaking
at the inaugural SIGGRAPH Asia conference in Singapore.

Digital productions incur costs which are equal to or greater than live-action when assets are created without being deployed. When you create a model and that character gets edited from the film, you've burnt time and money on that. When you create a set in CGI, it's very similar to building a live-action set, and then having the director say that a different mountain top will be used for the scene.

However, digital production facilitates efficiencies that are equal to or greater than live-action, when properly exploited. We're all familiar with CG characters whose topologies are kept the same but then reshaped and combined with different "accessory kits" in order to create a varied cast, leveraging heavily on the common base. This is the power of the computer at its best.

It's important that everyone in production understands how the same decisions can become more expensive later on in the process. It is important to be able to evaluate work in rough form. Many studios are very smart these days about utilizing proxies, using 2D cards, leveraging on gaming engines to evaluate ruff environments - and then building only what is required so they're not over engineering, over-constructing, over-painting and over-animating.

Balanced Organization
We can think of a balanced organizational system as consisting of a central mission supported by the following aspects: strategy, structure, metrics (for success and for growth), people (human resources), and institutional culture. When these aspects are out of balance or are absent, companies and organizations can find themselves in various unproductive states. For example if the central mission is absent, there is a state of lifelessness within the organization. If there is no strategy (or if the strategy is weak) there is an aimless situation.

Human Resources
In any enterprise, PEOPLE are the most expensive and most valuable asset. So, it's good business to cultivate them, support them, and utilize them well. Unfortunately, this is how many studios and production houses treat their workers: Like resources on an assembly line, the attitude is often that when they burn out you can just pop 'em out" and pop a new one in. It's in everyone's direct interest to avoid this as much as possible, and treat their crew members like the talented collaborators that they are.

Dynamics of Collaboration
A team leader and a crew member are working together. They're both trying to achieve the same objective, but let's say that the crew member has a different way of seeing it, a different way of getting there. If the team leader insists upon his own approach throughout the process, more time can be wasted through back-and-forth oscillation than if he trusted that individual to get there in his own way (perhaps even more effectively). Of course, what the supervisor is worried about is his guy overshooting the moon - missing the target - or else falling short. So, a balance must be maintained between extending that trust and also making sure that the person who is charged with doing the work has a clear understanding of what needs to be accomplished, and when.

Production Pipeline
When setting up a production pipeline, one doesn't really know what one has on hands until the work goes into production - when you're in the midst of things, a ton of data starts flowing through, and the pressure is on.

A production is about relationships, communication, adaptation and high-quality delivery and so is a pipeline and a workflow. The part reflects and influences the whole. The word "workflow" is a combination of "work" and "flow". This concept is simple, yet so many workflows don't work, and certainly don't flow.

A good workflow should be intuitive. It should be responsive to the artist. It should be adaptive (able to accommodate different approaches). It should be constructive (wherein data is constantly building on itself). It should be protective (meaning that there are backups and safeguards for keeping artists out of trouble). And it should also be collaborative, allowing artists to work together well.

The pipeline should be powerful and flexible. It should scale well. It needs to be reliable - something that won't fail. (Or when it does fail, has a mechanism for recovery that gets you back on your feet quickly.) It should be transparent so that everybody has an unobstructed view on the pipeline at every level. The pipeline should be current and up-to-date… ideally cutting-edge. It needs to be efficient, where work flows through easily, and economical - inexpensive to implement, use and evolve

Serial pipelines are those in which one process passes data off to the next process, and then that data is in turn passed to the next process. A modeler builds a character and says, "Here you go, character TD." And the character TD rigs it and says, "Here you go animator." But each person waits in line for that piece of data, incurring idle time and a management nightmare.

What's far more efficient is a parallel pipeline, where people working on those various processes are writing and reading data to and from a central repository - so production artists are working simultaneously. This concept is nothing new, and hopefully everybody reading this is at least familiar with the notion of a parallel pipeline, if not already using one. It's a paradigm that can be exploited even more effectively and extensively than it has been.

When every component of pipeline is working in a concert; your crew can create some beautiful music together. And that's when you can make your director feel elated unaccompanied by the stench of burning cash, you've truly done your job as a CG production professional.

2008 National Senior Research Class In Animation Script Writing Draws To A Close

- December 3rd, 2008 -

The month-long 2008 National Senior Research Class in Animation Script Writing drew to a close today at the Beijing Film Academy with a certificate ceremony for the course attendees, and honors extended to the organizers, presenters and supporting institutions.

Beijing Film Academy Animation School Dean Sun Lijun
accepts the thanks of the course attendees.

Animation Options President & CEO Kevin Geiger was voted "Best Instructor" by the demanding group of Chinese animation industry professionals - no small feat given that fellow presenters included screenwriter & "Save the Cat" author Blake Snyder, and Pokemon creator Masakazu Kubo.

Captain of the conference ship.

Here's the windup... and the pitch.

"We're creating entertainment! Keep it FUN!".

Satisfied customers.

Kevin Geiger Co-hosts 2008 National Senior Research Class In Animation Script Writing At The Beijing Film Academy

- November 12th, 2008 -

Animation Options President & CEO Kevin Geiger has the honor of serving as the American co-host of the 2008 National Senior Research Class in Animation Script Writing at The Beijing Film Academy. In addition to his hosting duties, Kevin is presenting three days of seminars on story development for a select group of 43 Chinese film industry professionals.

In The Swing In Beijing

- October 30th, 2008 -

Animation Options' Kevin Geiger has been settling into life in Beijing: consulting on the animated feature film "Road To Home", lecturing at various film festivals and conferences, and teaching a course on feature animation development, production and distribution at the Beijing Film Academy.

Kevin Geiger advises the "Road To Home" story team.

Kevin lectures at the Aniwow! 2008 Animation Festival.*

The Aniwow! 2008 Awards Ceremony telecast.

Kevin's students learn about animation production the hard way.

* For more (in Chinese) on Kevin's activities at Aniwow! 2008, check out the interviews at and

Cultural Revolution, Take Two

- October 8th, 2008 -

Animation Options President & CEO Kevin Geiger shares his personal insights on the revolution in original Chinese animated content with Animation Magazine. (That an overzealous young proofreader "corrected" the reference of Russian live-action filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky to Russian animator Genndy Tartakovsky only goes to show the unexpected sources that contemporary Chinese animation directors draw upon.)

Challenges Ahead For China

- August 20th, 2008 -

Animation Options' Kevin Geiger was interviewed by Karen Raugust as part of her article for Animation World Network entitled, "Challenges Ahead For China", which focuses upon the state of the contemporary Chinese animation landscape.

Stuttgart Explores Its Options

- May 25th, 2008 -

Animation Options President & CEO Kevin Geiger spent a week at the fmx/08 conference in Stuttgart, Germany this May - hosting sessions, moderating a panel and presenting the latest version of his popular seminar "CG Production Principles & Practices: Keeping Your Money On The Screen And Off The Floor".

Kevin Geiger fmx/08 interview, part 1

Kevin Geiger fmx/08 interview, part 2

"A surfing penguin, an Anglo-Saxon hero and an Iranian girl enter a movie theater..." No, it's not the beginning of a joke, but the beginning of an apparent expansion in animated content beyond the realm of the cute and the Grimm. Or is it? The 2007 releases of "Surf's Up", "Beowulf" and "Persepolis" beg the question: "Is animation ready for a broader audience?" Or is it more accurate to ask: "Are animation studios ready for a broader audience?" Join us for a lively panel discussion that promises thought-provoking observations on both the question and the answers.

So went the introduction to "Is Animation Ready For A Broader Audience?", moderated by Kevin Geiger and featuring the insights of Paul Debevec (Executive Producer of Graphics Research at USC's Institute for Creative Technologies), the ubiquitous and inimitable Frank Gladstone, and Aardman Animations Co-founder David Sproxton.

An experienced and opinionated audience, including independent feature filmmaker Nina Paley, required little prompting to engage the panelists in thought-provoking dialogue on a range of issues related to the international development, production, distribution and marketing of animated films. Mr. Sproxton, Mr. Gladstone and Mr. Debevec provided an interesting triad of entertaining and sometimes sobering insights, and closed the session with optimistic outlooks on both the present and future of animated filmmaking.

How much of your money makes it onto the screen? Got a leaky pipeline? Is your workflow trickling? Does your team approach their work like a film, or like a science project? Are you paying your brain surgeons to dig ditches? Can you roll with last-minute story changes? What economies of scale do you employ? Are you satisfied with your production environment in terms of relationships, communication, adaptation and high-quality delivery?

Kevin Geiger tackled these questions and more in version 2.0 of his insightful presentation, "CG Production Principles & Practices: Keeping Your Money On The Screen And Off The Floor".

As Mr. Geiger put it, "The global animation industry is as competitive as ever, with merciless markets, unforgiving audiences and increasingly lean profit margins. Yet independent and major productions alike seem content to burn through money (and people) as though they have resources to spare. This sort of waste is so pervasive in our industry that it is routinely acknowledged with a winking “you-know-how-production-is” acceptance. However, it is not only irresponsible… it is unsustainable. It is also easily addressed through insightful, considerate and fearless assessment and action."

"CG Production Principles & Practices: Keeping Your Money On The Screen And Off The Floor" squarely addressed common production motivations and pitfalls, first examining human and organizational factors. Mr. Geiger then proceeded to cover workflow considerations and strategies, the establishment of balance, common heuristic assumptions, and the importance of clarity and adaptation within the studio environment.

A series of "Golden Rules" for production led into the characteristics of a balanced pipeline, an overview of a flexible and robust non-linear production pipeline, and specific departmental examples. Finally, the subject of asset management was reviewed with an eye towards organization, flexibility and "transparency" - Mr. Geiger's term for a clear view on the system. The presentation concluded with a "micro/macro" view on the production paradigm, and the synergistic orchestration of the parts into a cohesive whole.

An inspired audience responded to the session with an enthusiastic Q&A session, during which one European producer remarked, "This presentation should be required viewing for every industry executive, producer and supervisor."

Kevin Geiger Brings Options To China

- December 23rd, 2007 -

Animation Options President & CEO Kevin Geiger premiered his new presentation "CG Production Principles & Practices: Keeping Your Money On The Screen And Off The Floor" during a two-city speaking and consulting tour in China this December, his second visit to the mainland in the past three months.

On December 6th, 2007, an appreciative audience of Chinese animators, directors and producers eagerly absorbed Mr. Geiger's lively and entertaining insights on digital production: the distillation of years of industry experience in bringing world-class 3D animation and effects to the big screen on aggressive timetables and tight budgets.

Mr. Geiger's practical seminar not only dealt with the fundamental human factors and production principles relevant to digital animation, but also outlined scalable workflows and cutting-edge pipeline architectures designed to provide maximum flexibility and efficiency to productions of any shape and scope.

"This presentation was unlike anything I have ever seen," observed one Beijing producer. "Kevin Geiger's insights are remarkable in their clarity, and he speaks meaningfully to everyone from animators to investors."

Earlier in the day, Mr. Geiger was invited to speak at The Great Hall of the People, China's official parliament building located on the western edge of Tiananmen Square.

As a keynote speaker for The 2nd China Animation Development Forum, Mr. Geiger spoke to an audience of filmmakers, party officials and state media on the dilemma that Chinese animators face as they attempt to define their identity on the world stage while reconciling themselves to the profound heritage (and "burden") of Chinese culture - at the same time as they are drawn to an alluring but relatively "immature" Western culture.

Mr. Geiger drew many nods of assent as he espoused the importance of "personal filmmaking" as a means not only to channel one's culture implicitly, but also to address issues common to people the world over, citing Chinese live-action director Zhang Yimou and Japanese animation director Hiyao Miyazaki as examples.

During a subsequent press interview, Mr. Geiger went into further detail on the subject, and also commented on the current state and future prospects of the Chinese animation industry.

The morning concluded with a round of greetings from aspiring animators and prominent studio chiefs.

The following evening, Mr. Geiger spoke once again at the Beijing Film Academy's 7th Academy Awards, in which he had participated as a juror.

After thanking his hosts and commending the filmmakers in competition, Mr. Geiger broke with convention and asked for the house lights to be brought up.

Mr. Geiger then asked every student in attendance to stand, whether in competition or not, and personally led a round of applause for "China's filmmakers of the future".

The electricity of this moment continued as Mr. Geiger subsequently asked the Academy faculty and staff to stand for a round of applause in recognition of their role as "the foundation upon which this future stands".

Following the awards ceremony, a beaming Beijing Film Academy Dean and Professor Li Jun Sun commented: "Kevin's speech really brought us together. It was a warm moment for everyone."

Beijing Film Academy Dean and Film Producer Li Jun Sun

After some story and pre-production consultation work for an animated feature in development, Mr. Geiger flew to the coastal city of Ningbo where he was honored as a Visiting Professor by Wenbin Wang, Dean of the College of Science and Technology.

In a more casual mode before an auditorium packed with enthusiastic students, Kevin conducted a lively session on the principles of cartoony 3D character animation, prompting one student to remark afterwards: "Kevin's talk was a lot of fun. He is like a cartoon himself when he speaks!"

The most rewarding time for Kevin came when he was able to meet one-on-one with the talented members of Ningbo University's newly-formed animation school, reviewing their work-in-progress, discussing cinematic principles and answering technical questions.

The department students and faculty were pleased to attend a press conference held in the lab with local television, radio and print media, during which Kevin publicly expressed his appreciation for the creative promise of these young filmmakers.

Finally - after two relentless weeks of speaking, meeting, feasting and traveling - Kevin took time out for an IV drip in a Beijing clinic before returning to Los Angeles.

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