An excellent speaker - if you ever have the opportunity to see him, please do! While Vince from ABOSG did ask what Brad Bird's next project was (and what he was working on currently), Bird refused to chat about that, although he did talk about his previous projects...Iron Giant, The Incredibles, his early work at Disney and his mentor, Milt Kahl. Fun stuff! And, yes, all very inspirational.
When I first started to try and gain some animation experience at school in the late eighties, there was no place here in Dallas where I could either learn the skills or find a mentor. Now, there are game art and development curriculums, technical schools focused on teaching Maya or 3D Studio Max or whatever is the most popular 3D program of the moment, and even BFA's offered in computer animation. These days the DFW area has various studios that do commercial animation, post-production, game development, game cinematics and feature animation. Some are focused in one area, others are doing whatever it takes to stay in business. It's all good. And it's really exciting to finally see growth and exciting prospects for the animation industry in Dallas, Texas.