AM Class 1: Week 12 – Last Q&A and Progress Reel!

It’s official, Class 1: Basic Foundations has come to an end for me. I have completed my final assignment and created my progress reel; along with that, I also attended my final Q&A session with my classmates and mentor Aaron. Animation Mentor has been everything I hoped it would be and much more and I am even more excited to move on to the next class with an all new mentor and new classmates! One of the coolest things about this school is getting the chance to learn from so many talented mentors who have had all sorts of different experiences in the industry and come from all walks of life!

The Last Q&A
Our final Q&A with Aaron was a chance for us to pick his brain and ask him all sorts of questions about anything, animation, life, career advice anything. Normally our Q&A’s were a short lecture followed by getting critiques and feedback on our shots in progress which was so helpful! Getting a chance to be able to just talk to him and absorb all of his wisdom and knowledge he has gained over his career was just as awesome. Also, to make it even more exciting, he did the Q&A from his office at PIXAR! He showed us what his office looked like and even walked through the halls with his laptop and we could see some of the main atrium and some other things, sadly the wifi internet was slow there so he had to pause the Q&A and drive home real quick to finish it up. (Must be awesome to live so close!)

I asked him for some advice that us young animators could take forward with us and always remember. He told us a few really important things that I wanted to share with you all, and I think it can be applied to just about everyone who has a goal or a career they hope to achieve some day.

  • DON’T GIVE UP! – It took Aaron nearly 12 years or so to get to the level of being able to animate for Pixar, but he never gave up, rejection letter after rejection letter he kept pushing until he got there.
  • DON’T BE AFRAID OF REJECTION – You will be rejected ALOT and the ones who learn from it and get over it are the ones who succeed.
  • BE ORIGINAL – in order to stand out as an animator today, it’s not good enough to just have solid understanding of the fundamentals, you need to have original and creative ideas. It’s easier said than done, but anytime we can bring our own “life” or a personal experience into our shot/animation the better.

These were just some of the great little bits of wisdom that we gained over the course of the Q&A and the 12 week’s with Aaron. I know that I have already seen a great improvement in my work and just an overall understanding of animation and the fundamentals a lot better just after this one class. I still have a lot of work to do to get to the level to ever be able to animate at a feature film or on a AAA video game title, but I’m going to keep pushing and keep working until I too can say that I’m a professional animator.

I could honestly write pages and pages about this first class, but I don’t want you guys to start to feel like it is a chore to read my blog so I’m going to wrap this post up with a link to my progress reel. I”ll be writing another post in a few days or so talking about who my mentor for Class 2 is and a brief overview of what I’ll be doing during that class. Thanks so much to everyone who has read and followed my blog and I hope that it has been as enjoyable to read as it has been to write!

My Class 1 Progress Reel

AM Class 1: Basic Foundations Progress Reel from matt sackley on Vimeo.