Previous Siggraph Experience?

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  02 February 2013
Question Previous Siggraph Experience?

Hello! I'm looking for someone who had already gone to Siggraph before to tell a little bit about their experience.

I've never been to one of this big conventions and I'm from Argentina, so it's a big trip and a big cost of money to attend. Siggraph is the kind of convention you go looking for a job interview? or... what can you expect to find? What was the most useful thing you took from the convention?

Thanks in advance! any response it's useful.
  02 February 2013
Siggraph has something for just about anyone. Each year, it hosts a pretty substantial career fair as part of the expo. There are tons of companies that go there each year, looking for new talent. Most of them post their open positions beforehand on I say most, but not all. Some will only tell you in-person. Outside of the career fair, some companies (namely Disney and DreamWorks) have rented out rooms separate from the expo in the past. It depends on how much recruiting the company wants to do at that particular time. Even if the company isn't hiring, they're usually more than willing to exchange business cards after a pleasant conversation. Networking! It's what you do when you want to break into this industry! It's especially important that you do this with someone who is a recruiter at the company. Artists can only help/remember so many people. They also have a job to do. Recruiters? This IS their job. They network with and hire people for a living. Remember. If you don't get an interview right away, ask when they will be hiring someone like you next. Email them when that time comes around, remind them of their conversation with you, and BOOM! Connection.

Outside of recruiting, Siggraph has so much more to see. I'd say the job fair takes up about 20-30% at most, of the convention. (depending on the status of the industry) There are plenty of lectures, galleries, and workshops to keep you busy throughout the week. The keynote speech(es) are usually really well done and get you pumped for the conference. There are usually a whole lot of behind-the-scenes talks from the latest movies/games, etc. On top of that, Siggraph will usually have a ton of galleries, including interactive installations and screenings of the latest and greatest short films from students and professionals, alike. As icing on the cake, they like to have a "studio" area somewhere in the convention center, where you can request time to use their machines to work, use their 3d printers, etc.
  03 March 2013
I was a student volunteer at Siggraph in 2009, and can honestly say it was one of the best weeks of my life. Aside from the ridiculously good food in New Orleans, there was just so much to see, so many people to talk to, and so much awesomeness to take in.

However, and this is a pretty big however... the only thing I had to pay for was my flight. My pass was free because I was a volunteer, and my room was paid because I had an animation in a technical presentation that was being given by my University. So, for me there was really no pressure to "get my money's worth" because the whole week cost me almost nothing, and at the time I was nowhere near ready to seriously look for jobs. So I just got to revel in the energy and enjoy myself.

So, Siggraph is seriously awesome, but I can't really speak to it's efficacy for networking in terms of getting a return on your investment. I met a lot of people, and took home quite a few business cards, but nothing came out of it because I wasn't really in a position to go job searching at the time. My year, Disney did have their own room, and they were doing portfolio reviews for anyone willing to wait. I got to spend about 15 min talking to a modeler at WDA, so that alone pretty much made my week.

From what I remember, there was a pretty huge recruiting presence there and I'm pretty sure New Orleans was considered a "small" year for the conference.

*edit* - I think I just bumped an old thread. My bad.
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Last edited by Jussslic : 03 March 2013 at 12:46 AM.
  03 March 2013
Hi boombox, Tim and Justin.

The 2013 SIGGRAPH in Anaheim is turning out to be a big one, as usual. Well just as big as New Orleans perhaps, without the heat.

I've been going to each SIGGRAPH conference since 2006 and yes, while the biggest events are usually the years that hit Los Angeles in that behemoth of a Conference Center, at times it becomes almost too big. Everyone says they go to those SIGGRAPHs to miss stuff, because they are too busy seeing something else at the time. It is really the place to be.

Most definitely, SIGGRAPH is the place and time to tout your best work to the many companies that show up. It is also the *hands-down* best networking opportunity you will have for the industry. Birds of a Feather meetings, Reception Parties, between sessions, out in the street, and most definitely in the Job Fair, SIGGRAPH conferences give you the opportunity to generate relationships with those you want for. Anaheim in July this year will give you an even better chance. Checking hotels and locations so far, it seems a little cheaper than an LA year. Also, I dont think the crowd will be as huge, which, from experience, will allow you to have more of a chance to see more presentations, and meet more of the people you need to meet. Oh and I will be there too.
Fmr Editor and features writer, CGSociety; Global Artist Liaison, Ballistic Publishing. Freelance writer, media consultant & digital producer.
  03 March 2013
Originally Posted by boomboox: I've never been to one of this big conventions and I'm from Argentina, so it's a big trip and a big cost of money to attend. Siggraph is the kind of convention you go looking for a job interview? or... what can you expect to find? What was the most useful thing you took from the convention?

I've been to just 3 over the last few years - 2004 (LA), 2007 (San Diego) and 2010 (LA). I'd love to also go this year but that is currently held back purely on the financial side (ie. too broke ) since its a long way to travel from New Zealand. 2013 would of course continue the pattern I have going on here of "one every 3 years" (its coincidental, btw, not deliberate )

However, I have to say that the biggest thing I got from attending Siggraph on top of the amount of amazing information and knowledge, is inspiration. In the 2010 event, I got to go to many a technical and creative session (though there's just so many that its hard to juggle timetables). The exhibition is always a great place to hang out and look at all the new toys, and you do see a lot of very interesting presentations at booths that are worth a look. You also get the chance to network a little while wandering around.

You can make contacts, you can learn a lot from some of the technical talks, game development and VFX talks and pick up invaluable insite and advice with panels.

Its an energising experience. If I could go every year I would just for the chance to "be there". If you can afford to, then I'd say do so...

Last edited by kevman3d : 03 March 2013 at 08:54 PM.
  05 May 2013
Is there a way to meet animators/artists interested in projects outside of being hired?

Like collaborations, side projects that aren't really paid for or gigs, but can become something bigger?

Or are the folks more focused on transactions and a little too jaded?

Serious question btw, I have encountered far too much false-commitment or just straight up shut down attitude. I'd be looking for Animators to work with on a sweat equity project (with real ownership if it actually makes it) and I don't know if Siggraph is a place to find/network with those sorts of people.
  07 July 2013
@JanosHunyadi I think you'll find all sorts of people there. The student volunteers and the job hunters are (of course) going to be the largest of the population demographic, but SIGGRAPH also just attracts people who are plain enthusiastic about the industry who are interested in meeting others like them.

As for the "false-commitment or just straight up shut down attitude" I'd say you run that risk anywhere. It's just a matter of how good you are at gauging the other person's sincerity and commitment. If you don't think the trip is worth it, I recommend posting on forums (like on cgtalk) and seeing what type of response you get there.
Good luck with your search!
  07 July 2013
This is super helpful, thank you. I will be running around on the floor on Sunday with a mid-tier pass, and while I am excited, I'd like to make sure I am optimizing my time there.
  07 July 2013
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