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SVA Graduate:Pursuing Cal Arts or Join Workforce???

    • 7 posts
    April 6, 2011 10:57 PM PDT


        My name is Tiana and i recently graduated from The School Of Visual Arts in New York City. During My second year of taking the traditional animation course i wanted to transfer to Cal Arts but i didn't try because i was afraid (I don't know why).

        Now that i have graduated i realized that i did not learn the tools need to get a job in what i wanted to do. I want to be in visual development and i do also animate.

       I would like to work in a major animation studio but some schools in New York have curriculum's based for people that want to pursue independent animation but my dream is to work at a studio like Disney or Dream Works and More!!!!


    Here's my question:

    Should i apply for Cal Arts (i hope i get in)?

    I feel that i will not only learn more in what i want to do but i will already be located in a place where i want to work.  Even if i can only pay for a year i feel it would be worth it.


    Should i just continue to try for apprenticeship programs and internships in hopes that i will maybe land a job at one of these studios?

    I applied for Disney training program and never got an answer. I applied three times going on my forth this week,i applied for Dream Works, I'm also going to apply for Blue Sky and whole lot more...


    Also take a look at my portfolio and life drawings and tell me what you think. Is it even strong enough. To be honest it feel weak to me. I look at tons of references for how a  professional porfolio is supposed to look but i still feel like i i'm still lost.


    Life Drawing:

    Thank you so much for reading through this lol


    This post was edited by Tiana Scott at April 6, 2011 11:36 PM PDT
    • 4 posts
    April 7, 2011 9:38 AM PDT
    Hey Tiana,

    When I read your post I strongly identified with some of your mental back and forth and I wanted to post my honest response.
    I studied Illustration at RISD and graduated in 2007. I completely understand the draw of the big film studios. The possibility of being wrapped up in a Lucrative studio environment that makes films that people have actually heard of is exciting. But I would not recommend going back to school so soon after graduating from a place like SVA. I know it's frustrating to send portfolios out year after year and never hear anything back. If that's happening to you then you need to expand your search. there are a ton of places other than Disney, Pixar Dreamworks, Blue Sku etc... If that's your ultimate goal then keep working towards it but try to identify other opportunities.

    I just think it's really important to live independently outside of school. Do your work. What will you do when no one else is looking?
    • 7 posts
    April 7, 2011 10:17 AM PDT

    Thanks Isaac! Your absolutely right i agree. I think i want it so bad because i dreamed of working at a studio for my whole life and with the pressure of paying back student loans and trying to stay in the art field is really hard and stressful.

    That and outside factors makes me feel as if i'm supposed to get a big job in the field immediately. After all ,we payed all this money to go to school it kills me that some of us can't get good paying jobs in our fields right after school even if some people are really good.

    Right now i'm working on my Childrens Book and soon an independent animation. I just hope everything works out for me and every one else going though similar struggles. I guess it's just patience.

    oh and i have seen your art. It's beautiful!

    Congrats on the Cal Arts acceptance! knock'em dead lol!!!!!

    Thanks again


    This post was edited by Tiana Scott at April 7, 2011 10:20 AM PDT
  • April 13, 2011 9:16 AM PDT
    I think you should join the workforce, that's such a bummer that SVA didn't teach you the skills I really considered going there i'm so glad you posted this for other applicants to see this maybe, I think since you already have your degree you should start looking for jobs but if you personally feel that you need to further educate yourself then go for going back to school.
    • 4 posts
    April 13, 2011 9:58 AM PDT
    Am I a hypocrite for recommending that you resist going back to school while I consider going back in the fall myself?
    I've been out of school for four years. I worked for a year at Curious Pictures in New York as a background painter and character designer which was a good experience but in general I've had a really hard time getting jobs in animation. A few weeks ago in March I had an interview at Dreamworks in Redwood City where they told me that despite the merits of my work it lacks a certain "dreamworks-ness." When I told them I was considering attending CalArts in the fall they expressed mixed opinions on the school. They offered a lot of praise for SCAD and some online training programs. When I was in touch with Dan Hansan one of the department heads at CalArts Character Animation he said that several graduates had trouble finding work because they hadn't taken the initiative to really master digital tools and CG animation techniques. I guess what I'm trying to say is that you shouldn't essentialize the importance of going to CalArts or any other school. What's more important is the creative initiative you take on your own. In my case, I'm a pretty traditional, old fashioned worker. While my way of doing things may have hindered my chances of getting a job in animation I have my first solo show of paintings scheduled for the month of November here in San Francisco and I'm finishing up my first children's book. Since my background was in Illustration not film I've been considering the importance of going back to school in order to learn all the methods and practices that are unique to animation. When I went to CalArts last weekend both Libby Hux and Maija Burnette offered me high praise for my portfolio. And while exploring the department I felt like I had the skills to really perform at the highest level. I don't say these things to stroke my ego but as a way of valuing all of my experiences and efforts the past four years which was largely in the margins of the animation industry. Also I would say that the big animation studios prioritize applicants who closely match the way they already do things. Of course your work has to be original but it also has to prove that you can function in what is already a well oiled machine. Aside from the cultural draw of these companies and the spirit of genuine creativity, It is a business first and foremost.
    • 75 posts
    April 16, 2011 9:34 AM PDT

    okay i havnt read the whole forum posts here but i have just a general question, why do you wanna go to cal arts so bad? SVA is a good school you know? and besides, at the end of the day its all about passion you know? if you have the passion to do what you want you will get to where you wanna go, cal arts or no. im not saying dont reapply exactly, but dont worry if you never go you know? the animation industry is really expanding and there are more opportunities out there than just cal arts. any way good luck! food for thought.

    Also, since your in the critique section of the forum, heres my quick little advice that i have on your work, What I think you should try doing is no more watercolor, dont quit 100 percent, its always good to be working in other mediums. however you need a better sense of shape, character, and anatomy

    SHAPE - because, its what gives it the drawing more demension, a lot of your drawings appear flat, which isnt very appealing, but dont worry you can work on this by drawing more shapes of the figure, build the figure out of shapes, just draw shapes (thats nothing that will go in your folio, but it is an excellent tool to get better) work on shape it will look awesome.

    CHARACTER (life) - They call it life drawings for a reason haha. Now this is what i would suggest working on the most, because it is crucial to this industry, but GET THE CHARACTER IN THE DRWINGS, every pose tells a story, EVERY POSE. find it and expliot it! get the character in the drawing, feel the pose! understand it, look for the most prominate feature of the figure and tell yourself "THAT has to be in my drawing!" it could be the face, it could be the way the body is twisted, the position of the foot, the muscles, (I love drawing the connection of the deltoids to the bicepts and tricepts) GET THE CHARACTER IN YOUR DRAWING. btw, that doesnt mean details, nobody gives a rats ass if they model is wearing ray bans, JUST GET THE CHARACTER! 


    Now what can you do besides school? You have to get out there besides just classes you need to be drawing 90 percent of the time! you need to go to cafes, parks, zoo's, sva is in new york just go stand out on the streat and start drawing people! you have an unfair advantage if you ask me! you know how many great characters there are in new york, start studying animals, cant find a way to do that, buy a dog, dont wanna buy a dog go to the kennel, dont have a car or cant pay for a taxi (your in art school it would makes sense haha) get on youtube! and dont say you cant do that cause your on animated buzz! i have a thurough belief that THERE ARE NO EXCUSES you wanna be great? you wanna be the best artists you have the key to the door and always have. I always take the Chef Gusteau advice! "You must be imaginative, strong hearted, you must try things that may not work, and you must let no one defy your limits because of where you come from, what I say is true anyone can cook (in this case draw) but only the fearless can be great) Now when i quote that movie i dont exactly mean experiment with your drawing in new mediums but dont be afraid to GO FOR IT. dont judge your choices on what you draw. risk it! your young and you have a lot of time. 

    This post was edited by Z.M. Shore at April 16, 2011 9:52 AM PDT
    • 7 posts
    April 16, 2011 3:21 PM PDT
    Thank you every one!!!!!.

    Yeah i realized it's a personal goal to get better. I do want to get better and i have to do that on my own and get a lot of critiques along the way. I feel that SVA didn't have classes that we needed that other schools offered and thats why i had wanted to go to Cal Arts. There are things i can learn there and i will be in California.

    Even our Chair man of The Animation department realized that after going to tons of schools in California and others that we lack the proper training. After i graduated which was last year , he decided to try and replicate the classes so hopefully the new students will get the training needed.

    The traing in SVA is different also. New York is mainly geared towards independent film making which is different from learning how to work at a studio . Also SVA teaches people the older school ways of animation but we are not in that time any more. I value the old teachings though it is needed and must not be lost but we were not taught the new technologies needed to keep up with the work force.

    I want to learn on my own and come into my own as an artist but you also need training also. I've been fortunate enough to befriend a lot of old time working animators and great artist so i will be continually asking them for there advice as well as everyone here.

    I was afraid to go for it, don't know why....but i will GO FOR IT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No Excuses and thanks for the critiques!!!!!

    Over all after careful consideration, I'm not going to go to school unless i want to later in life and work on being a better artist. I think the reason why i wanted to go to was because i wanted to work for a bigger company unbelievably bad. I wanted to prove to myself that i was good enough by getting into a studio and i realized that i don't need to be in a big studio for me to see that I'm good.
  • April 16, 2011 3:49 PM PDT
    what exactly are your personal goals?
    Char Ani?
    • 7 posts
    April 16, 2011 3:59 PM PDT
    I want to do character animation but i really love visual development....SVA had no visual Development right
  • April 16, 2011 8:38 PM PDT
    Oh that does, is calarts big on Vis Dev?
    • 4 posts
    May 23, 2011 7:15 PM PDT
    I think the thing you forget Tiana is that going to school and spending lots of money over years and years will way on you heavily if you still don't get work after getting out of cal arts if you choose to go.

    One of my biggest disappointments is having spent so much on school and still finding that I am struggling to get work. I know currently you are actually at a studio right?

    I say take advantage of all you can learn while you are there and maybe invest in some online classes and maybe some cheap figure drawing opportunities in your community like Dr. Sketchy's for example. I also think it is very important to be around as many great artists as you can.

    I miss being in MYC I would love to be able to attend Drink and draw and some of the other cool artist drawing things where you can talk to professionals and get advise on improving your work.

    Look into things like schoolism to get a little more stuff of the visual development side of things. It is way less than going to another 4 year school to get into animation at a big studio.

    I think you are on the right track with producing your own short films as well. You have great talent Tianna I think you can do all your heart desires in this world but make sure you exhaust every option before jumping back into going to school. I really don't see it as the answer if you are only going over things you have learned already. I am considering animation mentor online to get the 3d side of things. maybe that should be something to consider if you really want to go back to school.
    • 7 posts
    October 26, 2011 5:28 PM PDT
    yeah it is..i'm so late man sorry (ambar) Arie!!!-thanks i love dr.sketchy's
    You are very awesome Arie thanks for everything

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