We are excited to welcome alumni contributor, Matt Sackley, to the Animation Mentor blog. Matt graduated from the Classic Animation Track in March 2014, and currently works as a remote character animator at Wizart Animation. Matt shares his advice on making the most of the Animation Mentor community, and compares how Animation Mentor set him up for success professionally.
– The Animation Mentor Crew
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ANIMATION MENTOR: Describe what your experience was like to be in class with students from other countries. How did this affect or enhance your experience as a student?
MATT SACKLEY: One of the coolest things about Animation Mentor is the diverse community. It was always fun to start a new class or have a conversation with someone on the complete opposite side of the world, who had the same passion and interest for animation as I did. I had classmates from so many exciting countries and backgrounds. The Animation Mentor community and the entire industry is filled with many diverse people, who each bring something special to their work. This is one of the many reasons I think animation as an art form is so powerful and connects with just about everyone.
ANIMATION MENTOR: What advice would you give to an incoming student on how to get involved in the Animation Mentor community?
MATT SACKLEY: The community at Animation Mentor is phenomenal! One of the best resources I found while at Animation Mentor was the use of Facebook and Google+ groups and hangouts. Stay active on these groups, post links to your public review, join or start as many hangouts as possible, and get to know as many students as you can! Animators are fun people, but we can often be shy. Don’t be afraid to send a message to other students if you like their work or have a question. Aside from the social networks, take advantage of all the amazing resources Animation Mentor offers on the student site. One of the best resources provided is the Peer Buddy program. I highly recommend getting involved as both a Peer Buddy and requesting one each term! As Animation Mentor students, we are so fortunate to have these resources at our fingertips.
ANIMATION MENTOR: How has your participation in Animation Mentor community continued after graduation? How do you stay involved with your classmates and the campus?
MATT SACKLEY: After graduating Animation Mentor, I have continued to volunteer as a Peer Buddy. I sincerely believe that, as an animator, you need to constantly be training your eye. One of the best methods is to look at other people’s animation, study it, and offer up helpful notes. By staying involved in the Peer Buddy program and on the social networks, I have been able to remain in touch with all of the awesome friends I made at Animation Mentor and continue to improve my skills as an animator.
ANIMATION MENTOR: You’re now working remotely for a company in Russia. How did learning animation online affect your ability to work remotely post-school?
MATT SACKLEY: The transition from Animation Mentor to working remotely was almost seamless. The pipeline we use at work for reviewing shots and giving/receiving feedback is almost identical to the process at Animation Mentor. At work, I get assigned a sequence of shots, I am then given a layout, an animatic and any other relevant materials. Once I complete a blocking pass, I submit the shot and receive feedback from my Animation Supervisor. The tool we use allows him to draw over my shot and write notes, just like an eCritique. We don’t have webcam video feedback, but everything else is essentially the same. If the Animation Supervisor has notes, I address them and send in a new version. We repeat this process until a shot is finalized by the Director. On top of the feedback from my Animation Supervisor, the other animators who are working remotely all participate in a Skype group, here we share our work with each other before submitting it to dailies. It’s also a good place for us to chat while working, since we do not have the luxury of being able to walk over to our neighbor’s desk. Having the experience and skills from Animation Mentor made working remotely a lot easier!
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Time and again, the strong and vibrant community at Animation Mentor enhances the learning experience and helps to improve student animation skills, both during the animation program and long after graduation. To experience it for yourself, join us.