An Inside Look at the Video & Animation Meetup

Sophia Hitchcock:

Who are you and what is your role on the elected board?

Hi, I’m Sophia Hitchcock, Director of Storytelling. My specific role on the elected board is to work closely with the communications team to craft consistent messaging using all media formats that tells the AIGA Raleigh story in a way that reinforces membership, promotes engagement and attracts new members and sponsorship to our community.

What inspired you to create the Video & Animation Meetup and how long have you been doing it?

When I joined AIGA Raleigh’s elected board I outlined my mission which included several key goals. The main one I was determined to achieve was to create a place within our community that specifically welcomed those creatives with an interest in multimedia design such as animation, videography, video game design. One of the immediate ways I started to build this community was by facilitating a Video & Animation Meetup. It is essentially a casual networking event where those who have an interest in video & animation can come, hang out and get to know each other.

Pictures Courtesy of Luis Suarez, BlueForest Marketing Coordinator

What is the criteria that makes for a good Video & Animation venue?

When we first started the meetup last year we hosted mostly at local restaurants that had nice open spaces where we could move around and talk to each other easily. Since we host these in the evenings after work, it is also very nice to have some food and beverage options. Since then we’ve had several studios approach us about wanting to host the event. This has been huge for us as it creates even more interest and therefore more attendance for the Meetup. Attendees really enjoy visiting local studios as well as talking to the owners and employees there.

Do studios who host the meetup present any material during the meetup?

We do offer hosting studios a brief amount of time to talk about themselves or their work during the meetup. Anything relevant to video, animation or multimedia our attendees really enjoy hearing about. We even had a studio walk us through their process and logo rebrand. It was really fascinating. The meetup is always in development mode and we are always open to new ideas to improve it.

From your experience, who has been coming to the Video & Animation meetups?

Since it’s inception in 2016, we have had all sorts of attendees to the Video & Animation Meetups. We have our regulars, who tend to be animators, illustrators or videographers (most of them not working in a team environment) who are looking to connect and talk shop. We’ve also had a variety of other professionals such as directors, producers, recruiters and even students, looking to connect and soak up knowledge. We welcome anyone with an interest in learning a bit more about multimedia design.

Pictures Courtesy of Luis Suarez, BlueForest Marketing Coordinator

If you are not a designer or creative should you attend these events?

That is a good question. The Video & Animation Meetup is mostly geared towards those with some kind of interest in video or animation. Conversations can definitely lead anywhere though since we structure the meetup as a casual networking event. If you’re looking for creative talent or just want to learn more about video and animation this is the place to go. We had a student attend a few months ago who just wanted to explore the profession of animation. He really enjoyed connecting to professionals in the field and our attendees were very willing to offer him knowledge and advice based on their own experiences.

What has been the feedback you have received from people?

Our attendees really love the format of the meetups. They enjoy how casual they are, it gives them a chance to do the talking and lead the conversation. We have attendees bringing their laptops to share their latest work or work in progress on the fly for feedback and support. It’s really awesome to see the way attendees utilize the event in different ways that serve them best.

What other programming pieces are looking to do in the storytelling arena?

We have a ton of great programming ideas centered around storytelling. Most have come directly from attendees of the Video & Animation Meetups. Programming centered around voice talent, storyboarding and video game design are pretty high on our list right now. We are also always looking for volunteers from our community to help us put on this programming so if you’re reading this and you want to make this programming happen, we’d love to hear from you!

If they would like to know more, how can they get in touch?

If you’d like to know more about our storytelling programming or about AIGA, our chapter or anything else about our organization please visit our website and submit an inquiry there. If you’d like to be kept up to date with our latest events and news sign up for our newsletter at

Kaliq Ray:

What is your role on the community board of AIGA Raleigh?

I am the Chair of Storytelling. I work with the Director of Storytelling, Sophia Hitchcock, to create and promote meaningful AIGA RDU programming that reinforces membership, promotes engagement and attracts new members and sponsorship to our community. I am also responsible for creating engaging content and programming that invites storytellers to collaborate and engage with AIGA.

What got you excited about helping out in the Video Animation Meet Up and ultimately why are you excited about taking over the organizing of the meetups?

I was excited at the prospect of being around fellow storytelling professionals and enthusiasts. I consume massive amounts of movies, concept art, books, animation, graphic novels, and video games on a daily basis. Its great to meet people who share the same passions as you do. Furthermore, by working with Sophia, I have had the opportunity to hone my animation/video production skills while working with her on the content for AIGA Raleigh. It is a great honor to take this on as I have.

Pictures Courtesy of Luis Suarez, BlueForest Marketing Coordinator

Where you plan on taking the meetup in the future?

We have had consistent success with our meetup. Especially this past October’s meetup at BlueForest Studios. I plan on looking into exploring strategic sponsorship/partnership opportunities from software companies such as Adobe, Maxon, or Epic Games. Many of our attendees use the tools of these companies and I would like to see if we can incorporate them in some manner with our meetups. Wait and see.

When will the next Video and Animation Meetup be?

Since the holidays start to become more frequent around this time, we have scheduled the next Video & Animation meetup for January 30th, 2018. The location will be announced so stay tuned and keep updated through AIGA Raleigh’s website

By Chelsea Brown
Published November 7, 2017