Monday, March 19, 2018


(story by Jim Darcey, Owner of Copy Central Burbank)

I recently attended the Burbank Unified School District State of the Schools gathering held in February.  I found out about some high school programs that accelerate career development and exposure, and wanted to learn more about them and share that information with the community. 

Programs such as those that now exist in the two Burbank High Schools (Burroughs and Burbank) are great illustrations of how high school education can help students open doors to career opportunities.

I arranged a meeting with Alyson Edge, who oversees the programs in both high schools that include NAF Business, Engineering and Medical Academies.  She has been involved with these programs for over 22 years. The first program, started in 1992, was the Academy of Finance at Burbank High School. It was more recently renamed the Business Academy, and as of this school year the Medical and Engineering Academies have opened in both high schools.

Alyson enthusiastically oriented me to the scope of the programs. 

The great thing about these programs is how they help students connect what they are learning with real world career opportunities and practical applications.  Many students do not remain engaged with rigorous education when it is presented “in a vacuum” where the practical value is not clear. The exposure in these Academies eliminates that vacuum.

In addition, many students get to college and are still very unsure of a career direction, thus risking the experience of an unfocused college experience that leaves them unprepared for a career after graduation.  

Combining the enrollments in both high schools, these academies currently have over 400 participants and will continue to grow with 390 pending applications.

Alyson noted that in the earlier years of the National Academy Foundation, the purpose started out to be an orientation program for students wanting to pursue work opportunities in the business world but who did not necessarily have an interest in college.  It was intended to be career preparation in place of college.

However, what has materialized has been that the students engaged in these programs became more motivated to pursue further higher education.  Many began to see that further education would just expand their opportunities. 

The programs at both Burbank high schools are affiliated with NAF, a national network of education, business, and community leaders who work together to ensure high school students are college, career, and future ready.  NAF supports the programs with curriculum guidelines and other resources. You can learn more about NAF at  

The Burbank High School Business Academy recently organized a morning presentation where the students in the academy each presented an overview of their personal career objectives and projections of their own budgets, expected earnings and related elements. Members of the community had the opportunity to meet with the students individually, ask them questions and provide some feedback to them.   I had the opportunity to visit with four different students and was very impressed with their level of forward thinking and preparedness for their futures. 

Here are some photographs of the students with their presentations. 

Clockwise from upper left: Gohar Hayrapetyan, Ali Rahman, Daniella Rezko and Joaquin Ardon

Beyond the classroom time in the program, the students get the opportunity to go on field trips to visit businesses related to their career interests, field trips to universities and trade schools that might fit their directions; plus they are required to participate in internships that let them put their education in to practical use.

Overall, I was extremely impressed with the level of engagement of the students.

Having programs like this in our local schools can immensely help our young citizens 
grow into the leaders of our community up ahead.  

I applaud the work of Alyson and her associates, and would encourage anyone to look in to the programs and support them.

Alyson can be reached via her email address:

Included here also is the link to the website that covers the academies in more detail:

Friday, January 12, 2018


Burbank is sometimes characterized as the “media capital of the world”.    Some might argue that point, but without a doubt, the city is home to a wide range of people and companies that create and support music, film and other media.

In our printing business, we are fortunate to get the chance to meet and work with many people in these fields.    Recently, we met Beth Ann Hilton, who owns and manages the B Company, a PR and marketing firm with a niche specialty in promoting New Age, World and Contemporary Instrumental music.

We sat down with Beth to learn more about her company and the connections to the music world.    Here are some highlights of what we learned and answers to some of the interview questions we posed –

Prior to founding The B Company, Beth headed the Strategic Promotions department for Warner Music Group, Inc., where she created and managed partnerships and integrated promotions for the company’s Atlantic, Elektra, Lava, Maverick, Warner Bros./Reprise, Warner Nashville, WEA Latina, Nonesuch and Rhino Record labels with major corporations as well as WMG’s sister companies within AOL/TimeWarner.

That experience -- preceded by earlier editing and public relations positions -- provided a wealth of knowledge and understanding that led her to developing her own company.

Here are a few questions we posed and things we discussed -

Since you founded the company, about how many different artists have you supported and represented?

Oooh, I haven’t kept count, but I’m a digital packrat, so if I glance at my client folders, I see about 72 clients there since 2002. Some were simple consultations, others were content creation, but most are new music or film releases or events; I’m pleased that about 95% of my clients are recurring customers - that creates a family feeling.

Is there any specific professional experience that stands out as the most challenging, unusual, or interesting chapter in your company’s history?

Of course...navigating childbirth! I had been traveling quite a bit for tour sponsorships and pitches, but didn’t want to do that as a new mom. But who could I trust to take over the business for a while without “taking over” the business?!  I had an associate with complementary skills who was a big help during my son’s first six months. During that time, I realized I didn’t want to travel as much, so I decided to refocus the business on traditional PR services versus sponsorships, which allowed me to work at home. That just felt right, and I learned to do a lot in 20 minute increments...that still comes in handy!  The business was just fine in the end, despite my concerns.

You have represented artists who have been nominated for GRAMMY(R) Awards.   What comes with that territory?

Well, getting them to that point of nomination is an art in itself; we set the stage a year in advance, sometimes longer.  There are two rounds of balloting, so when a nomination is earned, it is a win in and of itself...from November to February, there are many bases to be touched, artwork to update, press releases to issue, ads to run, peer campaigning, and appearance opportunities, just to name just a few.  Having helped multiple artists in this area, we can help the artist work out the right plan, avoid the land mines, and maximize the incredible opportunity that comes with a nomination.   
Grammy 2014 Red Carpet Closer

What are the services you offer to your musical artist clients?

I enjoy working with indie and emerging artists, so their needs vary quite a bit. We have worked out a way to provide intensive, ongoing support, as well as basic hourly consultations.  If we feel that their art or content is a good fit for us, then we evaluate their Marketing/Communications universe, and make recommendations on their future direction.  We have clients on retainer, and others who we coach along, providing consultative advice to guide them in their careers and music marketing. 

There are many avenues that contribute to artist exposure and opening up the important communication lines that lead to new opportunities.   We of course work with the full range of communication tools, including traditional press releases, various social media tools, and (very important) content creation like videos, etc.

While they are sometimes placed in the shadow of social media, we have found that an effective website, newsletter, and blog are essential components to building a career.  I emphasize this to every new client: keep your own contacts, and create a community...even if you begin with just a few, it will grow; everyone begins somewhere!

How do you see The B Company evolving and expanding from here?

The most logical step is to hire a Junior Publicist so that I can accept the new business inquiries that we’ve had to turn away; we’re looking for new offices, too.  Our content creation service is growing very nicely, including everything from creative writing to videos to podcasts, and I’m always looking for new partner/vendors in those fields.  Dreaming big, I would love to get into Virtual Reality, filming special “destination events” for offer viewers a whole new way to experience their music.  Producing in a whole new space would be exciting...I didn’t have the nerves for it when I was younger, but I think I’d enjoy the challenge now. 

You located your family and company here in Burbank.   How did that come about?

Having worked in the area with Warner Music Group and other organizations, I had settled in the area and very much like the climate here, contrasted with the harsh winters I experienced growing up near Lancaster, PA. We lived in Studio City when my son attended Carpenter Community Charter, but, I found it to be too busy and began looking to relocate in Burbank. We’d also heard wonderful things about the music programs at Burbank USD, so voila, here we are enjoying the choir program with Ms. DeMore!

I am here now with the business and my family, and find it a great community for kids, access to everything, great restaurants (I’m a foodie!) and very people friendly.    We are very happy to be here!

We appreciate Beth taking the time to meet with us and share sample CDs of a number of the artists she represents.     The variety of talent she supports is extensive, and to say the least, the scope of New Age, World, and Contemporary Instrumental music is quite vast!   
Not your parents' new age music...the new sound is FLOW, an anagram for
Fiona Joy, Lawrence Blatt, Jeff Oster & Will Ackerman

The B Company website is:    

Check it out and you will find multiple links to the wide range of talent she supports, and likely find some great listening along the way.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Animated Interview With Dana Terrace: Director & Storyboard Artist!

Here at Copy Central Burbank, we were blessed to catch up with wonderful director & storyboard artist Dana Terrace. She has made her mark on television & social media with her creativity, animation & sketch collections. Read our interview below & see a more in depth look at this rising star!

1.) When did you first become interested in art and illustration?

It's hard to say when I started getting into art, I've always been attracted to it for some reason. As any artist might tell you "Well I've been drawing since I was a kid..." and the same goes for me. I loved comics, cartoons, and old looking etchings I'd find in my mom's Thesaurus collections, back when those were a thing. I learned by repeating life lessons through cartoon characters talking to each other. I never had the best grades, I was never good at any sports, drawing was the one thing I was consistently better at than other kids so I stuck with it. 

2.) How was your experience at The School of Visual Arts?

In all honesty I had a mixed experience at SVA. They provided the tools necessary to learn the trade and I made a bunch of wonderful friends but often I felt like the staff's knowledge of how the industry worked was very dated. They supported kids going "rogue" and getting into the independent animation scene, which was great, but very few people had actual knowledge on how to apply for studio jobs and internships. There were also few teachers that focused on actual technique, many were unfocused in their teaching. From what I've seen things are changing for the better, but during my time I definitely learned the most from my classmates and tutorials online. Not that there weren't any useful teachers, they were just a dime a dozen. On that note, shoutout to Mario Menjivar, Howard Beckerman, Mark Minnig, Stephen Gaffney, and Biljana Labovic! Thank you for your support and guidance! 

I always feel weird talking about SVA. A lot of people had a wonderful time there. I just don't think it was the place for me. 

3.) Did you always plan on coming to LA from NYC?

No! My plan was to always go where the job was. I was very much open to moving out of the country if possible, but moving to the other side of the country worked just as well. It made sense though, California is home to SO MANY studios I knew I was going to end up there eventually. I just didn't figure it'd be so soon! 

4.) I know you have done storyboard work for a few studios, what shows have you worked on?

I've actually finished up my work on Ducktales! A little more than halfway into the first season I had to leave because Disney wanted me to work full time on the series I'm developing. That project is all hush hush so I'll reminisce on Ducktales. 

5.) You're currently working on the new Ducktales series, how has the experience been?

Ducktales was my first directing gig ever, and it was the first job I had after a few months of scattered freelance and unemployment, so of course I was plagued by panic attacks, insomnia, and the constant dread that not only will I be fired but that I'll never be hired onto ANYTHING ever AGAIN because I SUCKED. That feeling quickly subsided when I was able to hire a team of amazing board artists (Jason Reicher! Ben Holm! Emmy Cicierga!) whose skills helped ease me into the job. And of course I had the constant support of the Show Runner/Executive Producer Matt Youngberg, whom I learned a lot from. Despite all the fear up front I quite enjoyed directing! You always have different things to do and I like having my hand in more of the creative process. I get to work with boards, I get to work with the writers, the designers, the editors, the directors are given a good amount of freedom on Ducktales and it was a lot of fun!

What I can say about the day-to-day was that this was the smoothest production line I've ever worked on. The scripts were always delivered on time and they were always great. The board artists always handed their stuff in on time and they were always great. The production team kept things running like clockwork. Sure there'd be a few rough situations, late nights, that sorta thing... but it was never the norm. I consider Youngberg to be a mentor and I couldn't have had a better experience on that crew! I miss them a lot! 

6.) Do work in any other mediums, video/film?

I used to play around with paint a lot, and for a short time I got into sculpture, but because of my dwindling free time I've been sticking to drawing/writing. Occasionally I'll animate for work and currently I'm working on a Gravity Falls comic for Disney publishing but my time is very limited these days. 

7.) Favorite spot to eat in Los Angeles?

Haha! Man I don't get out much. I always get excited when I get to go to Sugar Fish, but that's definitely not an everyday kind of restaurant. 

8.) Favorite spot to relax in Los Angeles?

I have a pile of blankets I keep under my desk for naps on long days. I get more sleep there than in my own bed! I don't get out much so I have to make do with what I have, haha. 

9.) Anything else you would like to add?

I am very tired and someone in a cube nearby is watching a talk show without headphones haha. That's the studio life!

Make sure you get your own copy of Dana's newest sketch collections & follow her on Twitter for more updates!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

2017 Interview With LiquidSkySports!

We caught up with the owner of LiquidSkySports, Julio Ruiz for a very rare interview. LiquidSkySports is a premier action sports apparel company that has taken the world by storm. We talked gold medals, Burbank, company, life, goals & more! 

How/when was LiquidSky founded?

LiquidSky was founded in 2004 in my Island of Puerto Rico. My wife and I were enjoying the beach thinking about some new business idea and since we both where Skydiver and love fashion we came up with the idea, In no time we had a name, logo and started making cool Skydiving suits. Till this day.

What makes LiquidSky unique & successful?

We manufacture top of the line custom apparel for action sports, primarily skydiving and wind tunnel flying. We also manufacture a wide variety of apparel for clients that want to create their own line and for those that need printing services for their company. We create all their designs and offer them cut and sew services for t-shirts, hats, hoodies and several other garments. We offer dye sublimation, direct to garment digital printing and embroidery.

What are some of the best extreme sport destinations in Los Angeles?

Los Angeles per se, does not have any skydiving, you need to travel out of LA: Skydive Taft, Skydive Elsinore, Skydive Perris, Go Jump OceanSide. California offers a lot more places to go jump and this state some of the best drop zones and skydivers in the world. 

What would you say are your biggest accomplishments of the past few years? 

LiquidSky sponsors some of the best skydivers in the world that win gold medals as well a several super fast GoKart drivers. Most of the USA military teams branches wear LiquidSky. We also have done skydiving suits for several Hollywood movies and TV commercials. This year we made the suits for the new Mission Impossible that airs summer 2018.

What is your favorite place to eat in Burbank?

Burbank offers great food. I love going to Porto's, Siri Thai, Kabuki, Larry' Chilly Dogs, All about Poke.

What are your goals for the rest of the year?

My goals are to continue growing the line and grow it into more action sports. At the moment I am working hard on developing a new project that will be unique. The first one will be here in LA, nost likely in the city of Burbank, but it's still TOP SECRET. Lol.

Why should people shop with LiquidSky? 

Skydivers and tunnel flyers know that we are one of the top companies in the industry with great customer service, superb quality and awesome designs. For the every day customer looking for new apparel, we offer the nicest designs, More importantly, we design it fully custom for the client using unusual techniques like dye sublimation and DTG (direct to garment).

Anything else you would like to add?

If you want to create custom apparel for your company check out our websites / and or come visit us and say hi!

Make sure you follow LiquidSkySports on Instagram, Facebook & Twitter!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Rudo Obrero Interview: Illustrator & Artist

Rudy Obrero has been illustrating for over 40 years. He has been involved with the Mattel Master of the Universe toy line since its inception in the early 80s. He’s also worked in comic books and film. We took an opportunity to talk with Rudy and his career.

When did you start illustrating as a full time profession?

I started Illustrating right after graduating from Art Center in June 1976. 41 years so far.

Who are/were some of your influences over the years?

Howard Pyle, Norman Rockwell, Bob Peak, Mark English and assorted others through the years.

Your work spans several different genres. You’ve worked in movies, comic books, animation, etc. Have you always worked with different media types?

Yes, I have never been a specialist in any one area. I've always been able to do any style or media that each assignment required. Today's digital media allow wider flexibility in that regard.

You're very well known for your work with Mattel's Masters of the Universe toy line. Can you give us a brief history of how you came to work with MOTU for over 30 years now?

My first project for Mattel was in the early eighties was package art for Barbie's Star Corvette. Soon after that Mark Taylor, the MOTU creator at that time called me to work on this "new toy line for boys". He asked me if I could do this in a (Frank) Frazzetta like style. I did my first package art of the Battle Cat and I haven't stopped since. Although there was about a twenty odd year gap from the last Attack Track box and the re introduction of the classic MOTU line today. I'm still involved today with Barbie DVD cover Key art concepts. Mattel product assignments come from resources other than Mattel as well.  

Were you involved with the design of any of the characters/toys? 

I wasn’t really part of the product development side of it. I did assist by doing concept sketches for children’s toy play environments a while ago.

You clearly bring the characters and toys to life. Did Mattel allow you freedom to enhance or expand the depth of the characters?

Yes indeed! Since I initially only worked with Mark Taylor he let me take some liberties with the actual look of the product. It was rare at the time to have that freedom, and that freedom made this job a lot more fun and interesting.

Do you have a favorite piece you've done over the years? Not just MOTU, but from your entire career?

The two Castle Grayskull pieces are my favorites. The original version and the newest Castle Grayskull Box from a couple of years ago. There was a vote taken by MOTU fans on the ten characters that were going to be on the package art and I participated in that vote. After the fan voting was done the ten selected were all on my vote card! Made me happy!

What's in store for the future? I know that Power-Con, the Masters of the Universe fan convention is in September. 

I take assignments from people I like. It's good to be picky.

Lastly, I know your daughter Kaci takes after you and is an illustrator as well. Does it run in the family?

Yeah, Kaci is very skilled. I wish her the same success in her career as I have had in mine.

Keep up with Rudy's work at his website & stay tuned for more interviews!