Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Choosing a 2D Animation School

Animation Training :

In terms of training , few actually get the " right " training . They go to a crash course program like Mesmer f/x (which teaches you about brand X software in just 3 weeks) which are put together in  a rather weak demo reel  , in the same timeframe, and then people  hit the streets looking for a job . These people , in my opinion , have no training at all , because they know nothing of the art of animation , nothing about lighting , nothing about story telling . They just " think "  , they know the software . Majority of the failures , occur amongst these individuals . Sounds a little disheartening ? It should . You are attempting to break into the film industry . You are just like an actor , auditioning for a part . Everyone wants the part and you have to want it more than anyone else , so much so that they couldn't cast anyone else , but you for the role.

If you go to a prestigious and reputable school and do well , your chances of attending an interview increases ten-fold . The recruiters know what is taught at these schools and can assume that you are well versed in a lot of things , that most other candidates are not , but it’s not always like that though . A person who has been trained in cinematology will present  their animations differently , than those who have not. It's called framing a scene . Every scene or shot is framed , so that it has the maximum impact on the audience , in other words , it tells a compelling story . Students who do crash course programs , tend to mimic what they've seen before , they don’t know whether it’s  good or bad , which shows a lack of creativity on their part. It's like copying Mona Lisa and saying , you did it . Yes , you may be able to technically copy something , but without the original there for you ,  to work from , would you be able to paint it on your own ? There are a lot of choices to be made : what canvas to use ? what medium ?  what hues ?  what poses ? etc ...a lot of questions . Granted ,  you won't be responsible for every question that needs to be answered , but you will have to be aware of them . That's the difference , between a good education and an adequate one.

There is no guarantee  in this business. It's one part talent and two parts luck. The old axiom.. " It's not what you know , but who you know " ,  rings true here . Once you get into the business world , you're on the edge . From then on , you're one of the players , who move from one studio to the other ,  looking for  better job opportunities . But you have to survive that at first . Some people find work , but can't keep up with the pace . They end up burning out or getting fired . These companies are looking for the best , and you'll have to stay on top , if you want to work for big boys :  like ILM, Disney, or Pixar .

Animation Schools and Colleges :

Schools  are very expensive. You can expect to spend about 6K for a crash course  in animation as well , but I highly advise you against attending such programs for the above mentioned reasons . You get what you have paid for. Private schools such as Ringling , Sheridan , etc. will cost you a lot more than state run schools ( twice as much or more ! ). They're a bit more choosy about who they accept and take pride in themselves ,  by producing top quality graduates . They are not just  in the business of making sure "X" number of students graduate each year , they have their reputation to maintain. Hence ,  there is a dramatic increase in the quality of  education . You will most likely be paying the state tuition fees  at one of these schools , but federal aid is available for you ,  at most accredited institutions , so always look into that , before you choose school " A " over school " B " . I'm not going  to suggest ,  that you can't find the education that you want ,  where you want to live , etc as  the education curriculums keeping  change all the time and more and more schools are offering Animation programs . Just be sure , that the schools you attend , are the right one for you , because in all likelihood , you won't be able to afford another education , at another school  , after that . A lot of information on different schools ,  is now available on the Net. Check them out.

Demo Reels and Choosing a School :

Demo reels , should be done while you are in school itself  . That's something ,  you'll want to check out . Some places ,  provide no means for putting a student's work ,  on to a tape ! Avoid these places , as digital to video transfer  , can cost a fortune ! It also shows that they aren't as "hip" ,  as they claim to be . Also understand that a good demo reel takes more than a couple of days to be to put together . Good work takes time . Some folks ,  spend years refining their reels .

If you are interested in Animation , then don't go to a school that doesn't offer  programs in Animation , electives don't count . A lot of schools  , offer electives , in using animation software, and that's not the same thing as being educated in Animation.

Get in contact with schools and ask for a free info packet , they should be more than happy to provide you with one and this will give you  good opportunities  to see what they offer and teach . If you can , visit these schools and get in touch with former students . There's nothing like seeing a school first hand and touring the facilities , but if you can't do that , contacting former students ,  will give you a good idea of what the school is like . Just make sure , you talk to more than one person  as different people have different opinions !