Advice for Calarts

I was looking back through the old entries on my blog and saw that after my first year I posted a list of things I wished I had been told when I started calarts. Now I am in my first year out of Calarts I think I would like to revisit that list with some new advice. 

1) Relax- You got into this school for a reason. You are talented. Don’t stress out too much or get too competitive that you work your ass off and forget to make friends, sleep, or just enjoy your time there. 

2) Find mentors- Find people that will help you become a better artist. Half the reason you’re paying to go to this school is that you are surrounded by extremely talented artists. Use that resource. If you see someone who is skilled in an area you would like to be skilled in, show them your work regularly and get their advice. Listen to them and you will just add to the tools in your tool belt. 

3) Be a mentor to others- Pass it on. Don’t jealously guard your knowledge. If people come to you for critique, give it too them. Help them out! Like they say in the High School Musical “We are all in this together”. 

4) Be nice- To your teachers and fellow students. The world of animation is a small one. You never know who will be the determining factor to whether you have a job or not. 

5) Leave the high school crap at high school- No one likes a gossip (sound travels in the cubes btw, and the doors are thinner then you think).  Don’t be catty. Try to avoid cliquey behavior. Don’t exclude people.  

6) Pay your dues- I know this one sucks but trust me nothing is more annoying then a freshman coming in thinking they are already hot shit. Don’t be this person (okay lets face it, this person is usually a guy). Approach upperclassmen with some humility and they will let you in. This also goes for jobs too. The industry is full of sensitive egos. 

7) Getting a job right of the bat after graduation is the exception, not the norm- It will take some time so save up.

8) Don’t worry so much about getting a job while you are at school- You have the rest of your life to worry about this. 

9) Find your voice- This is the one chance you have to really do what ever you want creatively, take full advantage of that. 

10) Make films- It is the last opportunity most of you will have to do this and have 100% control over your work so do it!!! You have the rest of your lives to work on portfolios. 

11) Do a 48 hour film at least one time while you are there- Especially freshman year. It will provide you with the opportunity to go through the process of making a film and get all your beginner mistakes out of the way before your “real” film that year. 

12) - It’s supposed to be fun. Don’t forget that. 

That is all for now. If I think of anything else i’ll add more later. Let me know if I forgot something. 

samlovestv said:

When did you get so good at video making? I'm extremely impressed by your mad skillz.

Wow!  Thank you!  I learned basically everything I know from my brother Trevor (who also made the animated intro).  He and I used to make stupid movies all the time growing up.  My favorite of these films was titled “Summer Break”.  I don’t remember much about it, but I know it involved my friend Monica and I chanting summer over and over and me getting to pretend to peg my brother with a baseball.

In high school, Trevor started filming our Mexico mission trips and making video keepsakes for everyone and I would literally sit and watch him edit for hours and hours.  Most of the time it went like this:

Me: Can I try?

Trevor: No

Me: But….

Trevor: I said no…. Maybe later.

Me: Okay…. Are you going to [insert random editing problem here]?

Trevor: Yes!  Let me work.  You can try later.

Me: Okay.

Eventually, I took over the movie making and created the film of our mission trip to Iowa City, Iowa, which was used at church for the sermon the following week.  And now I’m making these.

Keep asking questions!

Watch on

The second film up is a project I directed while at calarts. Me and a team of about dozen key animators put together this project in about 5 days! crazy!!!