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Author Topic: money, school, and animation
smars
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I've posted very little here since I joined, mostly because I've been animating my bum off. (that's a good thing yes?) Anyway, I'm an animation student at AIA I'm sort of not ashamed to say it, we only have one really good teacher and she knows who she is. Her name rhymes with Cree Lowe. The point of this is in order to get out of this school one of the things you must have is a web site. Well, this one girl in the class had her site built but didn't have a host yet. So the teacher told her she would most likely be getting the failing grade for the mid-quarter. Not the final but just the mid. I turned to the guy next to me who is a rather serious animation student like myself, and asked: why o we have to have websites? What if we don't have the money to have a website? And his reply was, well, they shouldn't be in school. I went cold. My question is how many other people feel like this? Should people with money be the only ones who can earn higher education? I myself have no money. I'm pretty close to dirt poor. The whole reason for me going to school was to hopefully gain the experience that would give me better options than wal-mart, stocking shelves. What do you guys and gals think? I'm still not sure if going to THIS school for animation was my best decision. "sigh". I'm 31 and getting tired of school the environment.
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-FP-
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Seemingly extraneous requirements are irritating, and any school environment does, generally, suck.

But, designing and maintaining a small gallery website is so cheap and easy and useful, it seems like a practical demand. The simple skills you'll pick up may prove to be lifesavers when you need to suddenly use ftp or modify HTML some day.

There's a lot of free web-designing software, much of it so easy to use the docs rarely need to be consulted. Hit GOOGLE for examples. Many commercial packages don't cost much and are even easier to use and more powerful. DREAMWEAVER is my fave, but I haven't updated it in years. The latest version is available for around $100 with an educational discount.

Hosting a website is cheap. There are free hosts, but I'd skip those. Registering and maintaining your own domain, such as smarsgodofwar.com, is only a few dollars a year - depending on where you buy, $3 to $9. Low-bandwidth hosting plans, if you don't expect much traffic, are about $5 a month for 1.5 gigs or more of bandwidth and 50 megs of storage (approximately, depending on host). So, the expense is less than $6 a month, and you can use free templates if you don't want to design your own site.

Another possible alternative is to post a free gallery blog at blogspot.com, with animation demos remotely linked from YouTube. Will your instructor accept that? It's the easiest way of all, although it limits some of your presentation options.

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Todd
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Man, I could ramble on and on about this topic...but I'll try not to.

You stated that the reason for going to school was "to gain experience that would give you better options." While it's true that you might learn things in school that you otherwise might not, the ugly truth is that people gain more experience outside of those structured environments by obtaining some real life knowledge/experience and blending the two.

Frank beat me to all of the excellent examples of website hosting he mentioned. The best one he gave--the idea of using blogspot.com and linking to YouTube--would probably best help your monetarily-challenged fellow student, provided the curriculum accepts it. You, my friend, will also gain some of that greater "higher education" I mentioned above by steering them in that direction. (And BTW, benevolence is an awesome asset. It's what makes Lee Crowe such a great person. I'll bet my last dollar she didn't learn that in college.)

A lot of schools can't/won't teach their students everything. Probably the best thing I learned from my college experience is that a lot of universities are like sh*t sandwiches: the more bread you have, the less sh*t you have to eat. But it certainly doesn't mean that you have to have tons of bread on hand. The truly creative ones find substitutes.

Be of good cheer. Don't let the bastards drag you down.

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http://www.toddjacobsen.com
http://www.toddjacobsen.com/blog

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Law
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I can understand how such a requirement can seem unfair, but I think 1) The time, effort and energy it takes to get your own website is far less than you'd think. and 2) The benefit of jumping through that instructor's hoop will pay out big time benefits in the long run. Any artist having a working knowledge of how to publish/distribute your works online is priceless. The value is immeasurable.

I don't know about the school environment but that's a good move on the instructor's part.

You can set up many varieties of websites for free or low cost that there's really little excuse for any artist NOT having one.

Now, keeping it updated, ha ha, is another thing [Smile]

Animators today have to collect many related and sometimes unrelated skills in order to stick around. It's a small price to pay to play IMHO.

-L

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www.lawrencejackson.com

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Animation Co-op
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Better yet, try not to view the rest of the world as being full of "bastards". [Wink]

smars, with all due respect, you attitude is pretty negative. Unless you examine that and find some way to change it, you will have a tough road ahead. I'd be happy to work with you on this.

Kevin Geiger

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SoleilSmile
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Smars, do you have a gmail account? If you have a gmail account then you have a free webspace. The sites can't handle flash intros or anything but at least you'll get your work up on a site.

First you need to be invited by another gmailer. If you don't know anyone else, email me at:

hipchickcomics@gmail.com

I'll invite you as soon as I get your message.

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HipChick Comics and Animatress Blog

www.hipchickcomics.com
http://www.animatress.blogspot.com/

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Ganklin
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i think i paid maybe 40 beans total for domain registration and for a site to host my reel. granted i have the absolute bare bones site in the world, but it gets the job done. its not pretty, but it works and i can easily send my reel to employers.

a few years ago, i had to run off VHS copies which i never got back and is hands down more of a pain in the ass. bottom line is, in the long run the cost of setting up a simple web page for yourself is a drop in the bucket, and the time required to set one up is very minimal. its worth your time.

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http://fsummers.blogspot.com/
www.shamoozal.com

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tstevens
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I can relate to the troubles that you are having with school and all: some days it feels like the system is conspiring against you. However, like Kevin implied, you'll need to form a more positive outlook to work your way through. I know that's not what you probably want to hear, but it is the thing that will get you to the next stage.

Soliel sounds like she can get your classmate an invite to a G-Mail account. If your classmate hasn't already found a way in, you should take Soliel up on that offer. I remember when I was in school we tended to help each other along and in many instances the more advanced students gave thier time up when instructors either couldn't or wouldn't take the time out.

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http://www.foogersnarts.blogspot.com

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Shane Glines
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Smars
The advice I would give would be to not make it a habit to make excuses for not doing the job required of you either in school or the real world. A lesson I wish I'd learned long ago. You can always find a way if it's important to you.

The internet gave me a way to make a name for myself away from studios and big cities, with plenty of time to do my own thing, make my own hours and spend plenty of time with friends and family. Maybe your teacher knows something [Smile]
S.

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www.shaneglines.net
www.cartoonretro.com

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Todd
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Great point, Ganklin. That's exactly why I wanted to get my stuff on the intertubes--I spent waaaaay too much time and money on hard copies that often times I'd never see again.

smars' instructors do have a valid point in requiring their students to have a website and making it part of their grade, but probably should have gone the extra step by illustrating some low-cost methods of achieving one, if they didn't already.

And in reading between the lines, I think smars' frustration was more in his classmate's arrogant opinion that--and I'm paraphrasing here--people who don't have money shouldn't be going to college.

(smars does have a website at smars.animation.blogspot.com)

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http://www.toddjacobsen.com
http://www.toddjacobsen.com/blog

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Todd
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Sorry...no period between "animation" and "blogspot." [Roll Eyes]

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http://www.toddjacobsen.com
http://www.toddjacobsen.com/blog

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Jasen
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Smars, I think having a website is one of the best things that you could do. I got a site along with some buddies back in 1999/2000, at first it was very intimidating and I wasn't seeing the benefits until much later. Now it's like having clients & admirers checking out what you're all about 24-7 like a shop that never closes no matter where on the planet. There used to be this kinda taboo about having your name & photo on a website but I found nothing negative from doing this so far, I've even seen something kind of pleasantly strange, it where I'd go to some events and people would recognize me. Some would just come out & say hello & others would try & sneak a peek at my exhibit badge. I just mention this because I just notice the difference from pre-website to after having one. Also having a lot of pen pals from the most odd places too. In fact just this morning I was emailing someone from Tehran, I’ve given more private interviews then public ones.
Does it have to be a fancy website? I think just having a blog is nearly as important or the same… for free.

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http://jasenstrong.artstooge.com/
http://jasenstrong.blogspot.com/

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MattM
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I use inmotionhosting.com. I get some insane amount of bandwidth a month and it cost me only $4.99 a month. I think your teacher is only helping out. Having a website nowadays is worth the cost. It gets you out there and you can email a link to your work and spend way less on mailing out reels. I use to work with Lee Crowe, isnt she still teaching there at that school?

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www.mmaners.com

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Gagne Michel
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I'll echo the majority here. I believe my website is the single most important component of my career as an independent artist.

Best of luck!

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mojodesign
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I see your concern, Smars...about people who don't have money not getting the opportunities in school that you think they should. I had teachers who use to say the same thing, "if you don't have money for the books, then you don't have money to properly take the coarse (how they'd see it fit to teach it),...and therefor shouldn't be taking the coarse". It's a bit harsh, but to a certain extent, they're right. Books, lab fees, etc. are all part of a formal education. You have to take these costs into consideration when budgeting your school costs and/or loans. It's like buying a Hummer and then getting upset at the fact that you can't afford the fuel. It's a student's responsibility to do their homework and know what they're getting themselves into prior to getting into a program.

I don't know that this kind of thinking necessarily means that teachers believe only wealthy kids should go to school. It just means that if you can't afford the fees, then you can't afford going to school...period. Like I said, it is harsh...but reality. I'm still not totally convinced that it's the way things should be, but to an extent, it does make sense.

Perhaps there are solutions that educators can't or choose not to explore, ie. making the reading available online so that students don't have to buy books, etc. But let's face it, we all know education is a business, right? They wouldn't be be a successful business if they didn't make you cough up as much as possible for that degree. You're going to run into that nomatter where you get a formal education though, so don't let it get to you. BE PASSIONATE ABOUT YOUR WORK AND MAKE THE BEST OUT OF YOUR TIME IN SCHOOL...AND KEEP A GREAT ATTITUDE! -You remember that and you'll be in great shape.


-Jose Saenz

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smars
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Hey all, thanks for replying. um… gosh I’ve never been called negative before. Usually people say I’m too nice r I’m Mr. Nice guy. Hmm. It seems that I might have miswritten or just executed my thoughts wrong as most focused on the path about me not having a web site. To clarify, it wasn’t myself who didn’t have a web site… it was another student. I’ve had a web site since 1998. I asked the question to my friend (another student) who was sitting next to me and was just surprised by his response. It seemed a bit cold and elitist coming from him. (it wasn’t a teacher) I exaggerate when I say I’m dirt poor, I do fine for myself ad always keep my loans and grants in order. Wow, I guess I should have gone right to the point of my post instead of running off on a tangent. Sorry I do that frequently. As far as school and frustration, it’s just a general sense of feeling that this particular school cares more about the student’s wallets than the art education. I’m just tired, like physically exhausted by the way they try to cram you so full of “knowledge” that you never get a chance to execute any real animation projects (unless you do them on the side. Which is tough.but I still try) So yes Todd pretty much hit it right on the head when he said “And in reading between the lines, I think smars' frustration was more in his classmate's arrogant opinion that--and I'm paraphrasing here--people who don't have money shouldn't be going to college.” I just went off on a slight tangent folks, sorry. Oh, and yep MattM Lee Crowe still teaches here. She's my favorite teacher, she’s like a big sister to me. (which would be funnier if you saw us standing next to each other)Thanks to everyone who replied, I was just curious about how everyone felt about the topic. It wasn't a direct reflection of what is going on with me, but what I've witnessed recently.
peace

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Ganklin
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hmm...i think mis-read your original post as well. sorry [Smile]

there's always going to be someone pissing in the punchbowl so to speak, so take whatever your classmate said with a grain of salt.

i remember school as being a very frustrating time as well. i felt like it was moving at such a fast pace i couldn't keep up with it, but i certainly did come away with positive experiences and i did learn a lot. like what most people around here say, and i agree with, is that the real learning comes AFTER school. time well spent while in class will give you the tools you need to deal with that next step.

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http://fsummers.blogspot.com/
www.shamoozal.com

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MattM
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Hey Smars, sounds like we all misread your post a bit but hey now you know our thoughts. I will agree with you though that art schools seem to be more about your wallet than anything else. The school I attended I feel focuses way too much on trying to make everyone a generalists as far as 3d goes and I have talked to the dean myself and told him they should let students focus more on their strengths and not make every kid crank out a short film because most of them suck. Also, schools should be more up front with the job situations and not make it sounds like more than it is.

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www.mmaners.com

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Animation Co-op
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quote:
I turned to the guy next to me who is a rather serious animation student like myself, and asked: why o we have to have websites? What if we don't have the money to have a website? And his reply was, well, they shouldn't be in school. I went cold.
I'm going to hazard a guess that this guy's point wasn't that "people without money should not be in school". Rather, I think his comment was to the point that people who balk at establishing something as inexpensive and essential as a website - based on the ridiculous notion of its "cost" - should just hang it up right now. [Wink] You're up against people who are FAR more motivated than that.

The fact that this girl had a site built, but "didn't have a host yet" is just pure apathy. [Roll Eyes] A few dollars and a simple upload puts you online in no time.

Her teacher's mid-term "F" sounds like a well-needed kick in the @ss. [bow]

Kevin G.

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Ganklin
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well, i think the main point smars was trying to make was "people who don't have money shouldn't be in school" and some how it got lost in the "you need a website" debate.

i guess in a way, yeah, if you dont have money you shouldn't be in school. i know i didn't come from much and i put myself through it. i didn't qualitfy for financial aid, but i found ways of making it happen. i worked a part-time job, stayed up untill 3AM painting cells...all that jazz.

we already talked about in this thread about cheap alternatives to getting a website that not only fulfills a class requirement, BUT its important to further your career. that's just one way of making things work out.

if you DON'T feel like you are getting what you are paying for, find another school. find alternate routes of supplimenting your education that don't hit you in the wallet. there are a TON of awesome websites right now to just look at some great artwork to study on your own time. im sure otehrs here can offer even more ways of learning more that won't cost you an arm and a leg.

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http://fsummers.blogspot.com/
www.shamoozal.com

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Animation Co-op
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quote:
we only have one really good teacher
Every teacher has something to offer an open mind.

KG

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Mel Allen Sink
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Not my psycho bat junior high home room teacher!

Bad qualities coddled by tenure for decades too long!

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http://melallensink.blogspot.com

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Animation Co-op
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See... you learned something! [Wink]
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Lee Crowe
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Hey Y'all! Y'all are so sweet.

Smars! (whose real name rhymes with "Badrick")... [Big Grin]

Thanks for the nice words. 3 1/2 years ago, we faculty had a knock-down drag-out fight about whether you guys should have web-sites -- and I was coming down on the side of "let's just teach them animation"...but I have since been convinced that it does make sense in this day and age to have one. It's a must-have marketing tool for any artist.

But one thing that y'all need to be careful about -- if you ever get an animation job while you're still in school, you can't put that work on the site -- I've checked it for myself; that's why you don't see any of the animation I did for big companies on my own site -- copyright issues!!!

I checked with the copyright office directly, plus asked a couple of commercial producers here in ATL. One of the guys I talked to said, "If that cereal commercial ended up on some student's website, I would be the one who would get in trouble with my client -- the ad agency -- on behalf of their client, the cereal company -- it would be a big mess..."

So that's one of the drawbacks to having a site. It's fine to put that cereal commercial (or any copyrighted item) on your DVD, 'cuz that's just going privately to the place where you're trying to get work. Your own original work is fine for the site.

Todd -- I did get some of that benevolent attitude from college -- at Sheridan, from Deitrich Freisen, Zach Schwartz and Zlatko Grgic...but also when I started working with the likes of Mr. Fun... [bow]

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Look me up on http://IMDb.com.

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Lee Crowe
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Oh, and one more thing to Kevin -- Hi Kevin --

Here in the southeast we run into a college accreditation issue where teachers must have their MFAs -- the MFA becomes more valuable than industry experience. It's very frustrating to those of us who have industry experience. We have several instructors without much industry experience. I'm sure they're nice, intelligent people with a lot to offer, but...I see misinformation being taught and it frustrates the heck outta me.

I've talked to educators in Cali who don't have the same problem because there, experience is valued over the college degree, and the ones with experience and no terminal degree still get to teach. [Gary]

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Look me up on http://IMDb.com.

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Animation Co-op
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quote:
Oh, and one more thing to Kevin -- Hi Kevin --
Here in the southeast we run into a college accreditation issue where teachers must have their MFAs -- the MFA becomes more valuable than industry experience.

That's exactly why when I was in grad school in 1994, and I received a job offer at Boss Film Studios before I was done, I told them that I could not accept the position until I finished my MFA degree the following quarter. Fortunately, they waited for me, but had they not, it still would have been the right decision in the long run. I didn't want any doors slamming in my face over a piece of paper. (I saw that happen to qualified folks too many times.) Plus, I learned a lot! [Smile] I then taught at Cal Arts for the entire 12 years that I worked at Disney. An ongoing industry/academia combo.

My motto has always been: cover your bases and keep your eye on the big picture.

And have a website. [Wink]

Kevin G.

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Ganklin
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that piece of paper is supposed to mean something. it's supposed to mean that you have studied up on whatever it is you are going after in life be it engineering, teaching, or animation. just because some one has a ton of experience doesn't mean they have the abilty to teach. i've certainly come across people like that. likewise, i've had teachers who clearly have no buiseness imparting knowledge to others, but can because they have a degree that says so.

there has to be a standard, a certain level, one must achieve academically before they can teach. a degree is just that. its like an uppity junior animator who thinks he can walk in the door and start taking scenes. he may be able to, but he has to spend his time earning the right to like the rest of us.

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http://fsummers.blogspot.com/
www.shamoozal.com

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