What is the relationship between the student and the mentor?
Bobby: Students have a dedicated mentor for each
level and each level consists of twelve classes. The student gets
a chance to meet and really get familiar with their mentor through
video feedback, chatting and asking questions. We want the mentors
and students to grow together. One of the things that we are super
excited about is the live video question and answer sessions. The
ones answering questions at these sessions are not just us but
animators all around the world. The sessions are set up so the
students can ask their questions and the animators will answer
those questions live. The sessions will be recorded so if students
miss the live session, they can watch it later in their own time.
We feel that a carefully planned and detailed ‘documentary-style’ teaching
format using video lectures has a lot of potential to give people
a bigger and wider view of animation. Our classes are not conducted
with us in front of a white board for an hour talking about a specific
topic in animation. They are carefully thought out classes with
multiple points of view, references, case studies, walk-through
animation exercises, footage breakdowns and a focus on looking
at how to pull the best bits from reference and when to exaggerate
those parts that could be pushed, etcetera.
When teaching in a classroom environment I always feel I forget
to say important things, or I might not have the best examples.
In a classroom we certainly do not have time to actually sit down
and show them how we go through our shots. Animation Mentor really
gives students this type of learning experience. They don't just
see a class one time like in a normal classroom. They can watch
it as many times as they like within that given class session,
which really helps make those points stick.
Shawn: The students can receive more than one
set of feedback as well. For example, they can work on one assignment,
go back and work on it some more, then upload that with the new
assignment so they get a critique on both.
Ali: So you guys shot all the reference footage yourselves?
Bobby: Originally, yes. We did get some stock
footage, because there is footage of animals which we don't have
access to. We contacted Dover Press, the company that publishes
Muybridge books. They were kind enough to work out a license
agreement with us to use Muybridge's works as supplemental
material in our classes, which was great since his books are a
great place to study what is happening within the anatomy of the
human body. We started contacting all these different companies
to see if they would donate things to our project for the sake
of teaching animation and it really snowballed. Lots of comic artists
and friends offered their help because they really believed in
the project, and that also kept us motivated.
Ali: Will mentors be able to check other students' work and leave
Bobby: Absolutely. It's really set up so each
student and mentor can view everyone's work whether they are in
level A or level D. They can just cruise around and see what other
people are doing or see who is getting the top hits.
Ali: Will there be a limit to the number of students accepted for
Bobby: We have a limit on the amount of students.
We'll accept students on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.
It's not really about shoving as many people as we can into this
thing; it doesn't mean that to us. It's about quality education
and we are super-dedicated to seeing students grow. That's
also another reason why we have dedicated mentors, because you
get the satisfaction of seeing your students grow. Students will
have a new dedicated mentor with each new level. This also let's
the student meet other mentors and make more connections and contacts.
Shawn: There will be a waiting list and students
will be able to enroll as others move on. We'll also be accepting
new students in each quarter. One thing we know people want is
the ability to work at ‘their own pace’. We've worked
very hard to give our students options. Based on the feedback received
we are now implementing options which we hope will fit with most
Ali: What classes are in level A?
Carlos: In level A we focus on the foundation
principles of animation. It's great for professionals, but even
for somebody who has never done animation before and wants to see
what it is all about. We go through the principles like the ‘bouncing
ball, walks’ and when they become comfortable with the foundations
they can move on to level B which is more about mechanics and full
body physical animation. Level C and D consist of full-on acting.
The class levels are a natural progression and really build off