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Comments on "The ABC of ROFFEKE" Screenings (September 2015 at iHub)

I liked all the films especially the one for Superman [“This is Joe”] and the last one which was longer [“ Frontman ”]. I look forward to at...

Friday, September 18, 2015

Animation School: Things you should look for when choosing one

I asked prolific filmmaker Robert Lyons his views on this article by Atlantis Studios titled “4 things You Should Look For When Choosing A Animation School in Kenya.” Below are his thoughts:

I am in agreement with it in regards to their 4 points, they are in fact valid points. I do have a few "howevers" in regards to some of them.

#1) Does the program teach all aspects of the art of animation? This can be pretty subjective; animation is a broad discipline involving many aspects, including art & design, film theory, history, software and computer skills, as well as other technologies. It also depends upon the goals and objectives of the curriculum; are they preparing students for the existing animation job market, or are they helping them to become independent animation filmmakers in their own right. Personally I find many schools offer an over emphasis on software skills in sacrifice of many of the other items I mentioned. But this seems largely driven by economic times and the rising costs of going to school. People want to know they can find employment quickly after graduating.

#2) How much experience does the instructors have in the animation industry? I have taught now in 5 different universities (The School of Visual Arts, The New School, NYU, The University of the Arts, and Pratt Institute) and in all of them my academic credentials were secondary to my professional experience. However that seems to be changing, many of those schools would not hire me today because I do not hold a masters degree. I think this has to do with a changing landscape in the accreditation process.

#3) Where is the animation school located? This is important, but not necessarily essential. Four of the schools I have taught at are in NYC, three in Manhattan and one in Brooklyn, the fifth one is in the city of Philadelphia. The NYC schools hold a greater appeal and some additional clout as a result of being in NYC and as a result being more connected to a more active animation community and job market. However, sometimes it can be advantageous to be removed from the commotion and distractions of a big city when one is trying to focus artistically. Personally, I went to college in a small town in upstate NY and am very happy that I did so. Also there are great schools like Sheridan College in Canada that are located hours outside of the nearest big city/job market.

#4) Does the school have a good alumni network? This is also a plus, but often is more a function of the student body themselves than of the administrative structure. Students set up a variety of different social networks that usually continue on beyond their years at school.

A couple of points that were not mentioned in the article that come to mind as equally important are:

1) What kind of facilities does the school have. Are their computer, software, cameras and other equipment up to date, in good repair, and is there an adequate supply to support the enrollment.

2) Does the school have a campus, or is it like some NYC schools a number of dislocated buildings or even a single building with no other support infrastructure for the students to interact and otherwise replenish their energies and inspiration when not in classes.

3) Does the school have a strong internship program in place? I am the internship coordinator for the animation department at Pratt. The internship program offers opportunities for students to begin bridging the gap between academia and the professional job market while still in school giving them a valuable foot in the door to possible future employment.

Hope all of that helps. And let me know if you would like me to submit any more films to ROFFEKE.

On 19th September, at iHub you will have the opportunity to watch Robert Lyons’ animation films at “The ABC of ROFFEKE”, from 2pm. Some of his films that will be screened include:

DRAW HERE

At the 46th annual 2015 ASIFA-East Animation Awards Festival after party held at The New School in NYC we set up a whiteboard with many colored markers for the animation artists in attendance to have some fun with. I documented that fun via time-lapse photography setting up a digital still camera connecting to a lap top with Dragonframe stop motion software. I shot 1 frame every 5 seconds with a 1/2 sec long exposure time for the duration of the party. Have fun trying to spot some of the animation celebrities as they briefly flash by in front of the camera. The music used is "Sweet Tea" by the Woggles.

SUMMERTIME

This rotoscoped animation created in my 2012 U-Arts Animation ll class was derived from a music video for the group Mungo Jerry of their #1 hit song "In the Summertime".

IMAGINARY SUPERHEROES (Anijam)

Created in my 2015 Pratt Experimental Animation class based on a theme chosen by the class, each of the ten students worked independently and contributed a different segment to this animated film exploring the culture of the superhero.

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