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What am I applying for?

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What am I applying for?


-so I'm a high school student halfway through the Junior year(11th/out of 12 years, for those that don't know the US System) and am considering my options for colleges and which courses to take.

-I want to persue a career primarily in 2D Animation. Now, I don't mind using computers or hand-drawn, I love HD but eitherway is fine. But that brings the question that technically, isn't almost 2D animation these days considered Computer Animation?

-I am a student in Design and Architecture Senior High, last month rated the 5th best art magnet school in the United States. I'm currently halfway through my 2nd year of Graphic Design. I'm prevalent in Photoshop and Illustrator, and very slowly learning Flash on my own. When I get out, I'll basically have the 1st Year of a GD College Course done.

-Unfortunately, Graphic Design isn't the career I want to persue. Now, don't get me wrong, GD is fun, I love doing it, but the pressure of it being a job, and beleive me, meeting these deadlines for each project and sampling all aspects of the business, from advertising to sculpting to text/font arrangement/creation...has sucked the fun out of it. I still like doing it for fun. But, and only if I had to, I'd use it as a fall-back or small-business to support college funds.

-My biggest complaint in terms of persuing Animation is time. I'm currently working towards finding a class period to work specifically for it, although being hard, considering I want to take a course the school does not teach. But for sure, I'll have a good amount of time, maybe 2 hours a day next year to work solely on animation.

-I design games and game graphics(things like sprites and pixel-art) on the side for fun, more as a hobby, but I do it good enough to use it to my advantage somehow. If I could find a small college course for it on the side, that would be nice.

-Don't get me wrong, I know education is important, but...I'm seriously fed up with most of the school systems. I want a curriculum for a college based solely on a career. At this point I've come to the conclusion anything besides an animation-centered curriculum would be a big handicap to my ultimate goal.

-My Graphics teacher told me I should finish a GD course and just do animation on my own on the side when it comes time for applying and portfolio reviews...and I am aware that most colleges understand. Their not looking so much for accomplished works as much as potential, but...I don't want to be just another stable animator or one that keeps a decent salary. It has nothing to do with salary or business, I want to be the best, I want to be the next Walt Disney. Walt accomplished Mickey Mouse in his early 20's, you can tell he didn't start fresh out of school. He started on his cartooning career at the age of 16! The greatest successes always had an early start. You always hear from their friends about actors and directors and artists who were just working nonstop and totally-focused in their high school years.

I know I have to start from the bottom but I'm willing to work my way up. I actually want to become famous, but for fame's sake. Not because of the legacy it would bring to my name, but to the power that legacy will give me, allowing me to reach everyone. I don't want a few people to see my animations, I want the whole world to see my animations! I'm not just a lot of talk, I have initiative, and heart, and faith in what I'm doing here. I'm driven by the smiles on people's faces, and the warm feeling I get from the impact I'm leaving on this planet.

-So, if we can recap:

I basically have: Fine Arts experience
-Graphic Design experience

(I'm sorry, my PC keeps reading Enter as "Post" randomly and I don't know how to get the Edit button to work here)

-I want to pursue 2D animation, but specifically animation(the basic core of it, you need to learn to crawl before you can run)

-A little Game Design on the side would be fun, but not neccesary

-I am deadset on this career, this is my passion

-I'm going to have basically 1 square-year to make work/animations/concepts.

So the question truly is...What the hell am I exactly applying for?

The hardest question any prospective student, in your situation,needs to ask ( and the hardest question anyone can truthfully answer) is;
What level are your artistic abilities at right now?

I don't mean all the technical fluff like Photoshop, Flash or the rest of that shit--I mean what level of cartooning are you drawing at now?

For a 2D artist, if you are genuinely good with a pencil.......then determination will see you a position in the industry.
The basic drawing ability is the key though, because a mediocre artists cannot save their work with all the technical glitter that stuff like Photoshop or FLASH brings.
If you genuinely can appraise your work, or others have appraised your work at a near-professional level, then I would say that some post-secondary education would be of use. It'll provide the polish you need to fit your work up to pro-levels, and give you time to prep things like a reel for when you actually seek work.

If you want to "be the best"........heh.......... then you need to answer this question two ways.
One is, are you bullshitting yourself, and letting ego filter out your abilities? In other words, is your work actually any good?

Two is , are you willing to climb a correspondingly steeper figurative hill than anyone else?
That grade of "hill" is determined by your talent, your determination, and your willingness to sacrifice A LOT of things in your life to attain that stature.
Most artists I know of work as stable artists, earning decent salaries--there's nothing wrong with that and they lead (I'm sure) happy, prosperous and rewarding careers and lives. I can guess that pretty much all of them found a level of compromise between having a life and having a career.

In your case, if you are getting advice from your graphic design teacher, and they are telling you to take a Graphic Design course and "animation on the side", they are whispering that compromise into your ear. You'll see a LOT of that, from your teachers, to parents, to friends and others.
You'll get a lot of them pleading to you to spare yourself the grief and settle for being "reasonable"

I mean, if you want to be at the level of "the best" you are going to having struggle most of the distance yourself. You'll probably need to live your life well within the realm of the unreasonable, and probably for a long time.

Your drawing ability needs to be top-notch--and I'm not just talking about the usual crap your peers might be doodling--I'm talking about drawing subject matter that is head and shoulders above anyone in your peer group.
To get there, you need to understand all of it.

-Don't get me wrong, I know education is important, but...I'm seriously fed up with most of the school systems. I want a curriculum for a college based solely on a career. At this point I've come to the conclusion anything besides an animation-centered curriculum would be a big handicap to my ultimate goal.

Read what I just wrote above. If you do not understand, at an intuitive level the very foundation principles behind art and design in both a deeply subconscious AND conscious way AND be able to express those principles in drawing.......then being "the best" will elude you.

But do not take my word for this....the only way to see if you are up for the challenge is to walk the road of the challenge for a while. Try it and see.
Good luck.

"We all grow older, we do not have to grow up"--Archie Goodwin ( 1937-1998)

Max the Mutt Animation School, Toronto

From what you write, I think we may be a good fit for you. Check out the website, If you have any questions, feel free to post here, or contact Lisa Mamers,, 1-877-486-MUTT. We're closed for winter holidays, but we'll be back at work very soon.

I could have that email may be