Thursday, April 26, 2007

Good Luck Sheridan Grads

Today was Industry Day at Sheridan College, where members of studios come to view the films of the graduating animation students. Tomorrow, students will be interviewed for positions by these studios.

This is the first graduating class of the revamped Sheridan program, now a four year course instead of three. It's fair to say that the transition hasn't been a smooth one and the current grads, some of whom were my students two years ago, have suffered more than their share of bumps and bruises on the road to today. Ironically, their difficulties may make them better prepared for the peculiar world of animation production.

Best of luck to them all. Animation is a wonderful and maddening profession and I hope that the industry will provide them with the opportunity to work and grow over the coming years. We could all use better cartoons.


Steve Schnier said...

Hello Mark,
Here's a critical review of the Industry Day Screenings that I posted on the AN website:

"I attended the Sheridan Industry Screening today and have to say that it was a huge success. One of my criticisms in past years was that despite the leaps made in technology, the content - the "thinking" both in design and story, hadn't progressed since my day, Class of '81.

The 2007 Graduating Class, the first since the 4 year, BAA degree was introduced at Sheridan, provided a huge and very pleasant surprise. There were a wide variety of styles, innovative design and some very clever thinking in these student films.

Is it the new program, new staff or a new attitude amongst the students? I don't know - but whatever it is, they're doing something very RIGHT at Sheridan College.

I'm not sure if there are any online links to student work. If there are, hopefully someone can provide them. These are films worth seeing!"

Anonymous said...

I'm probably going to be a bit more critical of the films, though I agree there was a wonderful array of personal artistic style on display. My main criticism overall is that there are still a lot of films that are not communicating a clear idea to the audience. I suspect that many of the students are just too close to their work, and are therefore not able to judge it with a fresh, discerning eye to see where it could use more clarity.

Being a Character Design instructor (who had taught this group in their first year at Sheridan), I'm always most impressed by characterization and performance of the characters. Therefore, here are my personal favourites from what I saw yesterday:

"Keylime Pie" by Trevor Jimenez - A satire on film noir, told with brilliant graphically designed characters and layouts.

"Mr. Elephant Goes to Work" by Johannes Uy - A longer film in CG, where it may be just a single gag, but Johannes builds on it in very humourous ways. Definitely the biggest crowd-pleaser too, from what I gather.

"The Maid" by Min-Young Chung - Also in CG, and perhaps my personal favourite due to the extremely appealing character designs so deftly animated. I'm hoping Min will have his film noticed by Pixar recruiters!

"Sandbox" by Louis Norris - A simple idea beautifully executed in a limited graphic style, without words yet so well communicated. This one also struck me as being filmically excellent in the way each shot is staged.

I also enjoyed "Loose Change" by Tim Golem, and "A Stern Family Birthday" by Olga Stern, both conceived from personal life experiences by the animators. There were certainly other films that may have been artistically impressive or clever ideas well told, but I feel that these films I've cited seemed to be operating well on all levels. My congratulations to all of the 4th Year Grads - you've indeed had a tough time of it and you've done very well despite it all!

By the way, it was good to meet Steve Schnier at the event.

Steve Schnier said...

Hi Pete,
It was great to meet you as well.

I have to disagree with your comment about story. As a writer, I forgive any weaknesses or flaws in the films screened yesterday. The Sheridan students AREN'T pursuing careers in writing, they haven't been taught how to write. I was just judging the films in terms of design and execution.

Incidentally, I agree with your selection of films. "Key Lime Pie" was superb and the others were standouts as well.

Anonymous said...

Hey Guys,
Thanks for coming. I would love to read more comments on the event.
Thanks for providing the forum Mark.

tony tarantini
Industry Day Coordinator

Jenny Lerew said...

Congratulations to all the new grads! It's a long tough road, but one that most of us wouldn't change for anything--a wonderful profession.

Yuriy Sivers said...

A lot of great points were brought up recently.
Surprisingly the article that everybody is discussing so passionately was just a form of advertisement for an on-Line course.

Mark, Peter,
Remember you've asked us, if there was something we wanted to hear from you in class? These recent posts and concerns of the industry personnel could be it. A lot of my friends (students you've taught this year) got very upset after what they have read recently. Be it as it is, comments that were brought up were (90% biased). If they end up listening to everything people say they might end-up hurting themselves and their career.
But that's just my opinion.

Forever grateful for your class.