This past weekend, the Animation Educators Forum (AEF) had a round table open discussion on the subject of teaching to the first job or the last job to animation students at the Creative Talent Network eXpo (CTNx). With President Obama talking about ranking schools based on their ability to get students jobs quickly after graduation, AEF felt there was an opportunity to explore different schools of thoughts on how to develop a curriculum that would serve students best.
The welcome and introduction were given by Adriana Jaroszewicz (AEF Steering Committee Treasurer & Assistant Professor at Loyola Marymount University) and Aubry Mintz (AEF Steering Committee Co-Chair & Professor at California State University, Long Beach). Also included in the discussion were Dave Master (Education Consultant & Founder of ACME Virtual Training), Brooke Keesling (Manager of Animation Talent Development at Cartoon Network & Adjunct Professor, CalArts), and Sheila M. Soan (Associate Professor at the School of Cinematic Arts, University of Southern California).
The spirited discussion covered many topics on different styles of teaching and programs.
Dave Master discussed his thoughts on the business of educating people and bringing the collective wisdom of animation professionals to a broad cross-section of young artists.”It’s important to find out where the industry is going and aim for that,” said Master. “This is very helpful for students to find out where they need to be to be successful in the industry.”
Due to animation students having strengths in different areas, treating them equally may not be the best course of action. “You have to consider each person as an individual,” said Keesling. “Some are leaders and would do well in management, but others have strengths in different areas and may want to learn artistic processes.”
Keesling also addressed the topic of making a portfolio specific to the studio they are applying for. “For instance, Cartoon Network may be looking for something completely different than Walt Disney Feature Animation or Sony Animation,” said Keesling. Students may get a broad education at their university and want to show everything, which may not serve them well and can be a little frustrating for the studios.
Dori Littel-Herrick stated that during the first years in college, students may not know where they fit into the industry and the importance to explore their options. “Being a generalist during the first few years in college is a good thing,” said Littel-Herrick. “People will figure out what they want to do later on.”
For anyone who is interested in listening to the discussion, the session was recorded in its entirety and will be posted shortly to the AEF’s website. Members of ASIFA will receive notification of it’s availability via email.