Thursday, January 21, 2010
I graduated! The Animationmentor journey comes to conclusion with festivities akin to an Oscars award. It has been an exciting 18 months full of challenges and new learning experiences. The Animationmentor program is a success. I feel that I had gotten my money's worth, but more importantly, the new friends I made there is what is truly special about this program. My approach to animation has certainly risen to a much higher level, I have learned to appreciate the importance of planning and of entertaining performance.
The graduation ceremony was held at Fort Mason in San Francisco. The Animationmentor crew have done a fantastic job of transforming the theater to not only accommodate everyone and their guests, but to decorate it and plan it to make us feel as though we're receiving our Oscar awards. Carlos Baena's opening entrance as a quasi-Na'vi character from the blockbuster movie Avatar was funny and unexpected. Shawn Kelly gave a heart warming speech on the importance of support of family members to the aspiring animator. Bobby Beck directed his speech to the amazing accomplishment of not only the graduates but also the hard work of his AM team members, and deservedly so.
Awards were handed out for different categories that the students and mentors voted on. I'm proud to say that many of the recipients well deserved it and that I had the honor of sharing a class or two with many of them. After that we lined up as rehearsed and each one received a Diploma of Advanced Studies in Character Animation.
Afterwards we left the theater to the lobby area and congratulated each other and mingled with everyone. Everyone was on a high of excitement and the sense of accomplishment of something desired and sought after. Seeing so many of my classmates and fellow students for the first time face to face was truly special. My wife and son were also present and they seem to have enjoyed the show. I also got to see my mentors from classes 3, 4, & 5 Kevin Koch, Nicole Herr, and Kenny Roy.
At 8:00pm sharp the theater was emptied and many of us took the party to Gordon Biersch where AM had reserved the upper floor for us till midnight. I think we stayed past midnight. No one wanted it to end.
Monday and Tuesday a group of us graduates went on studio tours of ILM and PDI DreamWorks that I had arranged a couple of months earlier. It was fantastic! And a great way to end an exciting journey.
All that is left now is to gain some professional experience in the field of character animation and to create something truly special and memorable. In this field, success truly lies in the journey rather than the destination. I am looking forward to embark on this journey confident that my arsenal of knowledge, commitment and passion will take me farther than I have imagined.