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Animation Mentor Online

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Animation Mentor Online

With the tuition commencing this week, what do people think of this new method of studying animation? it certainly seems like the AM team have created a fantastic learning environment, and i am excited to see what the first intake of students produces, particularly with some of the world's most talented animators as mentors.

kevan's picture

I'm keeping my eye on it. I don't doubt their talent -- after all, they got hired for very competitive jobs in a very competitive field -- but as you said how they instruct, the people they get in, and the people they turn out will be the ultimate measure of success.

Personally I think it will be above-average. Most of the people I've seen apply are non-traditional students by age, have lots of prior experience, and a handful are already quite good. I have not seen many school-replacement situations. Plus take the presentation quality, and closely-monitored performance. Add a community for pride and a competitive spirit with recruiters, and we HAVE to see quality stuff coming out.

What their niche is, I think will be something of a mystery for a time. I wish them the best.

Whooo hoooo, I start this week. I'm really looking forward to it. Alittle scared, but in a good way. I'm sure there will be a few glitches here and there, but where aren't there glitches? I'm gonna have a ton of fun with this.

the Ape

...we must all face a choice, between what is right... and what is easy."

yo ape! who's your mentor (or ARE you a mentor???)
i gots charles alleneck... i'm really excited to start this thing.

there is an INTENSE thread on CG-Talk of AM students... really cool to see we'll be working virtually side by side with students from portugal, spain, tahiti, singapore, taiwan, canada ... and all over the globe.

- b

a number of my friends are mentors, so i would hazard that you really won't be disappointed with the people running the show. also, it seems like the first intake of students are really enthusiastic, and that's always a good start.

i would be most interested in gaining access to the tuition movies, (which are reputed to be excellent), but i don't think that that is an option thus far, and don't have time to produce the requisite coursework. i hope there becomes a spot for people like me in the not-too-distant future.

What about time and Personal Care?

I think it's a great idea...

I just wonder about the time commitment between teaching and production work.

These folks have to be getting 6 figures for their production efforts...will they have the time....and how many folks can they work with...and can they teach?

AnimationMentor posits that today's big studios are suffering more than they should because of a lack of proper -relevant- education at today's big schools. If you had to pay for tickets I'd still watch and see them back that up. Not only will they show us perhaps that knowing your material exceptionally well can trump not being instructors by trade, but that they collectively can also use the setup to trump conventional instructors.

And I'm with Kevan. However much they had to charge I'd LOVE to sift through and study all the videos. They seem like textbooks on tape if the teaser's any indication, and all the money for tuition is essentially for the mentors and nothing more -- at least the bulk of it (if they're going to say that they aren't tutorial-based)...

Love the new avatar by the way Kevan...very "intracorporational patriotism"...

thanks SL, my new avatar is a result of my thumbnailing our feline friend all the time.

Larry, i think the commitment from the mentors is a small number of hours per week. the onus is on the students to study in their own time, and at their own pace with the animators as support, rather than operating as lecturers. this allows them to carry on with their own work.

um, i don't think i know any animators who receive a 6 figure check, unless they've just redeemed a lottery ticket, that is.
: )

Hey Bobby C,

No, I'm not a mentor. I won't be for a while, at least not for 3D. Flash maybe :D I have Jeremy Cantor. It'll be really fun, two of my other friends/co-workers are also taking the classes, so we'll have our own little study group.

Yeah, online isn't quite the same as the personal input, but I think it'll still be very good. Like any school, it doesn't matter how good your teachers are, it's what the students put into it and take from the classes. Although it does help to have a really good teacher. Wow 6 figure salarys?! Now I totally want to learn 3D :P Oh come on, I kid.

the Ape

...we must all face a choice, between what is right... and what is easy."

They Have to be getting...


They have to be getting 6 figures...I knew key clean up artists that were making 106,000.00 at Disney in 1996...

I know the industry made an "adjustment" at one point- but who could afford to live and work in L.A. and support a family for under a 100 guys ARE newbys?


By the way, at least one of the mentors is a former student of mine.

I went to see Robots today and I'm fairly sure the 6.40 an hour the popcorn attendant made won't make for a guaranteed survival. The government says it has to in theory, but then why does the minimum wage change every 2000 years when the economy changes seemingly every second. They'll never match up.

Now, obviously a professional character animator is different, especially at a 3D studio. But is it really to be expected that a studio allow their salaries to be influenced by anything other than cost of living in a surrounding area? It always seems to me what you get payed for most professions is enough for one person to live comfortably and that's it, wherever you are. Why should they care if you make the decision to start a family? Business is impersonal in this culture.

There's a quote on the Letter page of the DAVE school site (Digital Anim and Visual Effects school) that says "Most animation jobs start at about $1000 a week and go up from there." It really bugged me -- he used to have a thing on there that said inside of four years most of the animators in 3D clear one hundred twenty thousand... The former is within reason, I think... Do a salary report online for the industry, and aim it in and around cities with major studios... Most jobs in those reports start at the low 40s (hooray!) STAY within the 50s, and occasionally for awesome folks who've been there a while they bring home in the 70s. If someone struggled with 100 they'd be on real hard times at 43... but that's what 50% of entry-level animators report making in Emeryville, CA... If anyone could afford that hundred grand you'd think Pixar and their big bag of billions-reaping successes would be it.......

I think we're all kind of thinking of a more mainstream, general consensus average... something that would say in our minds "OK, a cleanup guy -- something people paint as a lower position in the Disney hierarchy but you did say the person cleaned KEYS -- is upper class, good for him, but how long did he take to get that way? Surely he didn't snag that on his first day..."

Well, according to the latest issue of the Pegboard, the Los Angles Animation Union's news letter, this is some of the 40 hour a week, along with annual wages reported in their annual survey.

2D Supervising Animators:
minimum - $1545.00 Yr. $61,800
max - $12,000.00 yr. $624,000
ave - $2,700.00 yr. $140,400

2D Key Assistants/Assistants:
min - $625.00 yr. $32,500
max - $1,436.00 yr. $74,672
ave - $1,200.00 yr. $62,400

CGI (3D)
CGI Animator/Modellers:
min - $986.86 yr. $51,316.72
max - $3,300.00 yr. $171,600
ave - $2,011.32 yr. $104,588.64

So this is just for the Animation Guild Local 839's juristiction which is just LA county in California. So it doesn't cover places like New York or the San Francisco Bay Area, but that is what was reported by their Guild members.

the Ape

...we must all face a choice, between what is right... and what is easy."

Oh, so we had the first glitch last night for Animation Mentor.

We were supposed to have the first meet and greet online live video session with the founders, Bobby, Shawn and Carlos, and about 10 minutes into it, the feed got cut off. Not really sure why, but oh well. I half expected those kinds of trouble to creep up the most. All the technical things, like the live webcasts, maybe some bugs up loading or down loading assignments, stuff like that.

But it was pretty cool while it was working.

the Ape

...we must all face a choice, between what is right... and what is easy."


I've just been reading this thread and got really excited about all this talk about mentors and tutition.
I havn't been on awn for a few weeks and thinks I might be missing something.
Is awn offering tutition/mentors?
ooooooohh I want one!!! :)

sorry larry, i misread your post - i'm used to using six naughts rather than six figures, so i thought you were talking about a pay packet tenfold the one mentioned in your post. heh.

i'm not a newbie, just an idiot. : )

longarms, awn isn't offering mentoring, but you can buy yourself into the AM program and get one!

This mentoring sounds like a really good idea, how do I get involved and what are the costs?

Thanks! :)

Long Arms, go to and check it out. This semester is full, I think, so I you'll have to wait till the next term comes around.

the Ape

...we must all face a choice, between what is right... and what is easy."

Well Ape's info trumps mine. It's certainly more scientifically valid =) And enticing...

I'd love to do the mentor thing in addition to the normal school track (hell, even solo)...just for the experience...

visit and register.

the full course is around $13,000 (7,000 GBP), but you don't have to sign up for all of the classes.

I'm clinging to the school track for right now, and when the heavy-duty legit places want 33 of your thousands, even 2 or 2 and a half counts, otherwise I'd do it.....that and I'm impatient and the Spring one should've just closed shop lol

Oh by the way Kevan I watched a trailer of Madagascar with a relative of mine...we went to go see Robots, and the teaser precedes it at our theater...she said "I like Blue Sky's stuff, and I'm here at this Robots thing even though I've only had a passing knowledge of it...but I am DYING to go see THAT, and EVERYONE is required to come with me..." I know you got a few comments about the design and weight/movement...just letting you know your eager fans have increased by three =)

thanks SL. i hope the film does well when it comes out!

Online Mentoring


Thanks for the info. I do online mentoring and as of yet, haven't charged anyone.

Awn and I have talked about it for a few years.

Video conferencing is easy- all you need is a webcam- some come with mics - if your computer doesn't already have one.

Today, I am conferencing with the German students on an independent project we are working on...

Maybe soon I will jump into the fray...

My credentials- 30 years animation and direction/ over 25 years training folks for the industry- The last two years - selected WHO'S WHO IN AMERICA among teachers - less than 2% of all teachers (not just animation but ALL teachers) are awarded this honor.

Not only that- I make great "gorp" cookies.

Send me stuff- I will look at it for free.

Folks like Ward Kimball, Chuck Jones, Benny Washam, Phil Monroe didn't charge Kevin Spacey likes to say, "You send the elevator back down!"


That's a pretty generous offer...What if ten people on here start sending you their pencil tests?

Making me eager :)

Out of curiosity -- if you're even at liberty to say -- what's been the obstacle so far with featuring you through AWN?

Speaking of working through sites, Bluehickey's organizing that 2D version of the 10 second club...what better place to improve people's work than perhaps operating as a judge of some sort. It doesn't have to affect the competition itself if he wants to keep the format, but having the Animation Ment-Laur commentary for each piece (or top pieces if there are a bunch) would be something to fight for -- akin to the producer commentary you pay for at places like you're legit, and it would just be a few sentences vs. a whole form filled out...

Just an idea machine working out its kinks, don't mind me...

Working it out...

There are logistics to work out...first AWN was, AWN is so massive they are playing "get up" with what they have online to stay current.

We are trying to launch some animation contests and almost did before Easter- but there were other priorities. Dan Sarto has done a wonderful job of growing this site. Sometime soon the animation contest will happen.

As far as the 10 second club is concerned... honestly, I see no reason to recreate the wheel- 2D folks can submit to the 10 ten club. In fact, I know of some 2D monthly winners. Hopefully, 2D folks are not inhibited by 3D folks.

As far as the mentoring goes... folks send me work or files or a site with work to assess all the time...I have had everthing from character designs to story reels (animatics) to animation. The people range from parents to students to animation directors.

If you want to send me something - send it to
and (this is important) put something like




because...if I don't see that and I don't recognize the email address I will trash the email.


I suppose in principle my biggest thing is seeing a painting and a photo and sticking them in the same contest... And even with winners on either side (which I imagine back to animation would be lopsided) it's not fair to have to play to an alien crowd. How many 2Ders, how many 3Ders, and how many 3D software-ers....are there, and how many appreciate either side... Only reason I made the suggestion...

As far as the mentoring thing, I can imagine you're insanely popular...but do they do it on a consistent basis? I think of mentoring and I think of passing down over time, like an apprenticeship that something you've also done (I mean in the context of what we're talking about here, not what's likely happened countless times in professional circumstances)...

Thanks again for offering the critiques...Things are busy now with school but if I can find the free time you'll be seeing more of me...

Over the Long Haul

Mentoring is usually over a period of time.

I do keep in touch with a lot of former students/pros who I have worked with...

I don't mind giving...I have one rule...if I call and ask for something- they can't say "No"!

Usually my request involves talking with students or seeing a student to give them guidance and feedback.

Sometimes I will talk with them regarding educational issues - how to improve what I do. I try to make it a two-way street.

Of course, most of them are now married and have young families - so it's cool to find what's happening in their world.