As part of our 15th birthday celebrations, we reached out to the Animation Mentor community and asked them to share their school memories and advice.
One of the wonderful animators we spoke with was graduate Cinthia Mussi! Cinthia fell in love with animation when she first saw Tangled and realised how magical this artform can be. She’s now working at Jellyfish Pictures on a movie for DreamWorks! Read her story below.
Animation Mentor Experience
AM: What’s your most memorable experience from Animation Mentor?
Cinthia Mussi: My most memorable experience is going to CTN and staying in a house with 18 friends from Animation Mentor, and meeting some for the first time in person! The bonds we made throughout the course gave me my best friends in life, and spending a whole week further learning about animation with people who feel the same way about this art was amazing.
AM: What did you learn from Animation Mentor that helped you get to where you are now?
CM: Everything you do has to have a reason for why you do it. Is the character looking up? Why are they looking up? Does it make sense, does it read clearly without needing to explain why? Subtext is important not just in what a character is saying, but in what they’re doing. And also, with hard work you can achieve anything you want. Animation is not for the faint of heart, you have to give it your all and in return you will see the results.
Cinthia Mussi’s Animation Demo Reel.
Animation Industry Advice
AM: What’s one piece of advice you’d give to current students?
CM: Form friendships! You can’t do this alone. Yes, you can study hard, or be naturally talented, but we learn the most from our peers. Get to know people, form study groups, give and receive feedback. If you receive feedback, return the favour! You´ll make a new friend and learn in the process. Don’t just say “It looks nice”, “It feels weird”, but actually try to think of what you would do to improve the animation and give suggestions. Don´t be afraid of getting it wrong, it’s the other person’s job to see if the note will help them.
Check out this How to Train Your Dragon: Homecoming demo reel from Jellyfish Pictures, the company Cinthia works for.
Extra tip: Comment on work from people in classes above you! Even if you´re still learning, you can use the knowledge you’ve just gained to analyze what they’re doing and give useful notes! Just because someone is in a class above you, it doesn’t mean they don’t need notes. Are you in Class 1 learning about spacing? Find students whose work you love and track that spacing, learn from it, and if you can, give feedback!
Comment on work from people in classes above you! Even if you´re still learning, you can use the knowledge you’ve just gained to analyze what they’re doing and give useful notes!
AM: Have you seen a piece of animation recently that inspired you? What was it?
CM: The trailer for Connected is everything I´d love to achieve in terms of style and humour. So funny! I can’t wait to watch it and see the names of my friends in the credits!
AM: What do you love about animation?
CM: I love that it’s a never-ending learning journey. There’s so much to learn, that it makes it fascinating every time I find more in-depth knowledge about it. One thing is for sure, [animators] will never be bored!
Interested in More Alumni Interviews?
Q&A with Blue Sky Senior Technical Animator Teresa Storhoff
Interview with Pixar Animator Mike Stern
Q&A with Fortnite and Spyjinx Animator Brandon Beckstead
Start your animation journey today by learning from animators at studios like Pixar, Blue Sky, and ILM! Get more information about Animation Mentor’s Character Animation Program.