1. AM Blog
  2. Animation Mentor
  3. Students Win Sony Pictures IPAX Scholarships

Students Win Sony Pictures IPAX Scholarships

by | Sep 5, 2013

scholarship animation

Recently, three Animation Mentor students won scholarships through the Sony Picture Imageworks IPAX Scholarship. The IPAX outreach program is an academic space for students, faculty and professionals to come together. We are thrilled for our three students and winners of the IPAX scholarship: Brock Boyts, Jesse Bond, and Janel Drewis. Please join us in applauding their work and read about Brock and Jesse’s experiences, animation processes, and a few life tips.

1) How did you hear about the IPAX Scholarship?

Brock: I first heard about the IPAX scholarship when I was contacted by Animation Mentor. They chose a group of Animation Mentor students for the scholarship and I was one of them. It took me by surprise and I was humbled that they included me.

Jesse: Amiko from Animation Mentor emailed me out of nowhere to let me know that the school would recommend me for this scholarship if I wanted to apply — but the submission deadline was very near! I was really honored to be selected for a recommendation, so I kicked things into high gear… I filled out the paperwork, wrote my submission essay, and cut together a reel specifically for the contest –whew! It was a lot of work, but it clearly paid off!

2) What was the process like and finding out when you won?

Brock: After hearing the great news that I was one of the students chosen for the scholarship, I had to apply by submitting an essay, personal biography and my current demo reel.

I really enjoyed taking a step back from work and school to create these materials. It gave me a chance to reflect on how far I have come and who has helped me along the way. It is because of my wife, parents, extended family and friends that I am able to be considered for this honor.

My personal biography was a lot of fun. It filled me with joy because I was able to share where my love for character animation originated. I time traveled back to my childhood when I thought (hoped) my toys were alive. I never knew playing with my toys and creating adventures with them would cultivate a passion for animating 3D toys on the computer.

My wife, Nellie, and I were so thrilled after we found out I received the scholarship. It is a blessing to us and it will help me continue my journey to achieving my goals with character animation and beyond.

Jesse: Once again, I just got an email out of the blue… But this time, it was from Ken Maruyama (the Vice President of Global Academic Relations & IPAX at Sony Pictures Imageworks) saying I’d won an IPAX Sande Scoredos memorial scholarship — and Bobby Beck was copied on the email! That was pretty surreal–after taking it all in, I remember shuffling into the living room with a smile on my face to tell my wife.

3) What are 3 tips you’d share with other students looking for scholarships?

Brock: I do not have any specific tips for looking for scholarships. However, I have three life tips that could possibly inspire others to support you along the way.

1.) Take some time from your busy schedule and write down your journey up to this point. Go back to the very moment it began and take some time to see how all the pieces of your life fit together to make it possible. It will inspire you and remind you why you spend so much time on this craft.
2.) Share your love for animation with you close friends and family. There is nothing more infectious then passionate people. While we hope to effect thousands through the movie screen we have an opportunity right now to have an impact on the ones who love us most.
3.) Let it go. Whatever it is, let it go. If it is fear then put it aside and take a step of faith. If it is pride go learn from someone better than you so you can grow. If it is stress then take a break and enjoy something that inspires you. Life is short. Let it go and enjoy it.

1.) Be true to who you are and where you’re at–in my scholarship essay, I talked very honestly about my father’s recent passing and how it made me realize that none of us knows how much time we have–so we’d better be chasing our dreams today.
2.) Be true to your interests.
3.) Storytelling--make sure your essay tells a clear, compelling picture of who you are–like any good story, it needs a hook at the beginning, an efficient and well-paced middle, and a memorable conclusion. Also, make sure your reel tells a clear story about who you are as an artist, what work you’ve done, and what’s important to you… What inspires you? What kind of work gets you excited? We should know by watching your reel.

4) How did you choose what to put on your demo reel and what to leave off?

Brock: Initially, I struggled with the idea that I did not have enough work for a solid demo reel. I had only completed classes 1-3 at animation mentor and I wasn’t sure if that was enough. I took one week and every evening I worked at creating a unique spin on each of my class assignments. Something to make them stand out. An example is I took my bouncy ball assignment and turned the ball into the moon. I then created a night time landscape that reminded me of my childhood growing up in Indiana. I then had the moon bounce through the starry sky on the horizon. So breathing new life into my assignments was a lot of fun and I was happy to share them.

Jesse: I submitted a reel that included my animation, motion graphics, and VFX work–all three of which I’m passionate about and have done a lot of, and the IPAX scholarship selection committee seemed to appreciate my range of interests. But I never would have included all three if I hadn’t researched the scholarship and found out that it was inclusive of “animation, visual effects, or related technology”–so always understand the focus of the scholarship you’re applying for.

5) The inspirational quote that motivates you is:

Brock: My life quote is by John Eldredge, author of Wild At Heart. “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

Jesse: “It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence to be ever in view and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words, ‘And this, too, shall pass away.’ How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! How consoling in the depths of affliction.” – Abraham Lincoln


Get more information about how you can join Brock, Jesse and Janel in the Animation Mentor community and start learning from industry professionals.

Related Articles