Today I got accepted to Animation Mentor! (Not sure how often anyone ever really gets rejected.)

Anyway, I’m really excited and I can’t wait to start, though I’ll have to wait about 2 months, since the next session doesn’t start until the end of June. But, in that time, I can learn more about Maya, the 3D software the classes use.

So, for better or for worse, I’ll probably blather about animation a bit more for at least the next year and a half.

I don’t know how apparent it is from this blog, but I’ve always been interested in animation; it’s one of the reasons I’ve been wanting to learn to draw. And, of course, I’ve always been interested in the art of film making. But I always thought I’d have to learn drawing skills slowly over time to get ever find a way into the industry, so it was just one of my many pipe dreams. Then I suddenly came across Animation Mentor, and … ooohh! … looks like it could very well be a way in! If not a direct path to working on feature films at a studio, it could at least lead me to full time job doing something I actually like the idea of doing (and being able to do): animating. Gah, it just feels so good to be able to type it: I’m going to study animation. Ha ha ha!

After spending 4 years in college majoring in Computer Science, the prospects looked grim. I was interested in Computer Science because I wanted to design video games. Well, Computer Science actually has nothing to do with video game design, at least not around here. When I started looking at available jobs, it was mostly boring looking programming jobs (I once told someone that I wanted to help design the games, not merely program what someone else told me to, and the guy went off on how wrong my attitude was) or IT tech support. Now having discovered Animation Mentor, I’m a bit glad I didn’t get any of those jobs. (Though, of course, I’m glad somebody out there is interested in them and will take them! I met a guy in college who was immensely interested in the inner workings of RAM. I found the topic to be the epitome of mundane, but I’m glad some people out there are worrying about it or I wouldn’t have all the things RAM makes possible.)

I did a few job interviews, but I’m sure they could tell how uninterested I truly was. I once interviewed for a military contractor programmer position, and they asked “So what interests you about radar?” and I almost burst laughing… “Um… it kind of looks like a little TV screen?” The job description didn’t say anything about radar. Which, by the way, is another huge complaint: some programming jobs out there have the worst, most vague job descriptions I can imagine. They say things like: “You will implement and analyze systems for integration with current modules. Will work closely with supervisors and coworkers to provide up-to-date support for vital systems.” What the–?

I once asked some people what was more important in job searching: a good portfolio, or good grades? They answered that both were important. Lazy and wrong answer. If you’re looking for the kind of job in which you can send a portfolio, a portfolio is always more important; it shows what you can actually do. I guess people are afraid to admit (or just can’t understand) that the entire structure of college (and high school for that matter) is pointless for many career paths. But I’ll spare this blog yet another rant on that topic… (and actually you’ll want to ask the employer what’s more important, though I can’t imagine an employer being impressed with a portfolio, then dismissing it because of a bad grade)

Anyway, the structure of Animation Mentor looks very much like the way I think almost all education should be. Almost like an apprenticeship with a direct line of communication between the student and the pros working in the field the student wants to enter. (Rather than a student doing worksheets and writing essays for full time professors in a hodge podge of study areas.)

So… hopefully Animation Mentor won’t go bankrupt or a list of other bad things that could go wrong won’t.

The only thing that worries me now is the natural fear that I won’t be good enough. I do have the advantage of having only a part time job at the moment, so I should be able to dedicate a lot of time to this, but I don’t have a big drawing background, and just about no experience at all in this field, save for some little fooling around I’ve done now and then on my own. But this is definitely worth a try, and I’ve got plenty of interest. If I have to go back to trying to get a programming job, I guess I’ll have to delete this post, or edit it.


5 Comments

Scott · April 30, 2010 at 12:27 AM

Congrats. Two things: You need to put your foot down and not take a West Coast job… and, you need to teach me everything you learn there… (Also, I have a potentially (since I haven’t watched it yet) Maya training video collection if you want a copy).

Bill · May 4, 2010 at 9:34 AM

animation is being replaced.

S P Hannifin · May 4, 2010 at 5:15 PM

That’s it? Just “animation is being replaced”? What kind of comment is that?

joe i. · May 21, 2010 at 4:04 PM

First off, your story is very similar to mine. I got into computer science to create video games only to find out it was completely wrong. I cant believe someone did the same thing!!!! when did you apply to AM and how long did it take for a response? i just applied and i am still waiting to hear back… is it long?

S P Hannifin · May 21, 2010 at 5:56 PM

Yeah, if you want to create video games, what else is there besides studying computer science? That’s really an area that could use some modeling from the people working in the industry; around here, a lot of educators aren’t even interested in that area.

I applied on April 22, got a link to the Wonderlic Test on April 26, and then got officially accepted on April 29, so I guess it only took about a week! I think the deadline for the summer classes was May 14, though, so don’t know if their workflow has changed since then. I wonder if there’s much competition to get in yet, or if the high cost and the sort of niche area of character animation keep the application levels low enough by themselves. Regardless, I wish you the best of luck!

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