I went to the Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design today to speak with animation faculty member Sam Fleming. Sam's a pretty cool guy. He's worked on shows like Ren & Stimpy, King of the Hill and Jimmy Newtron, as well as animated features like Anastasia.
I wanted to learn more about the industry and the school as a whole and Sam graciously took time out of his day - an hour and a half in fact - to talk to me about what's up in the animation world.
Here are the top three things I learned from Sam today:
1) You get out of school what you put into it. This may seem obvious, but he said that it's like pulling teeth to get students to produce the amount of work that's gone into Cryptids in a year. Crazy. So rule number one - do the work.
2) It's important to have a solid foundation in drawing, which is why majoring in illustration along with animation may be a good idea. Animation will teach you the technical aspects of the job, but it won't necessarily teach you how to draw.
3) I showed him my 30 Days of Cryptids ]and he recommended that based on that and my life drawing and character turnarounds that I should go ahead apply for school. Woo! That was very encouraging. I told him that one of the reasons why I had not applied was that I did not think my portfolio was on par with some of the work I had seen, particularly the work I saw on this website from a young woman who attended CalArts. He said the portfolio process can be deceptive - it's based on the number of spots they have open true, but art schools are expensive and art schools want your money. So rule number three is: don't second guess yourself. You may be better than you think, so have someone in the arts review your work and go ahead and apply to school!
Thanks Sam for your help. I have lots of schools to contact tomorrow.