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1950s Donald Duck Cola sign by Tom Simpson

I had a realization that probably a good portion of my followers want to work for Dreamworks one day or some other animation company. So here’s a summary of the Dreamworks lecture when they came to my school

They showed like an introduction video showing their movies and shows, I teared up a little.

Anyways so they showed the process of making a film and some demo reels of people they hired. They also told us how difficult it can be to get a job at DWA. Like for animation they had about 500 people apply, only 25 were chosen from that to take a test, 10 of those got an interview, and like 6 got hired. So yeah it’s hard to get in.

They gave a lot of tips too. Like for your demo reel, you’re lucky if they watch past 10 seconds, so put your best work first. Also do things differently. Like don’t just show animations of humanoids/animals, because you’re gonna eventually animate something weird like Bob from Monsters vs. Aliens. The same goes for rigging. Like don’t just rig people/animals, rig like a building to sway during an earthquake or something. Another thing, animating is basically like acting, so they recommend to take a class about acting so you know what you’re doing.

For character designs, don’t just have one style. They also said something about realism I kinda forgot. I think it was like aim for realistic designs for like background designs. Because people can argue that something may look weird as it’s their “style” but having a photo-realistic drawing shows that you know how to draw.

Also for modelers, don’t just put characters in T-poses for your demo reel, use variety. Basically be weird, be different.

They kinda ran out of time so there wasn’t much about lighting, effects, etc. But I remember they said like for lighting they don’t care about the quality of your animations, they’ll just look at the lighting only. They also pushed quality not quantity.

During the second portion of the lecture, they showed this one class they do at this other college. Basically it was to show that the students there started with like really bad concept art/ideas, but the final product was amazing. So like you can do that too. It doesn’t matter what school you go to as long as you have the passion to pursue it. There was also a list of the top ten mistakes students make… let’s see if I can remember them

1) Procrastinate. Don’t do it. Like if you procrastinate, then you don’t have time to get people to look at your work before hand and tell you how to fix any problems

2) I think there was one about asking for help

3) Use references. There’s no way you know exactly what something looks like without looking at a reference of it. Also your mind messes with how you perceive things or something

4) Not listening to criticism. Especially by professionals, they’re there to help you get better. Even though sometimes they can be brutal.

I can’t remember the others.

Some great things they also said: they hire students because they want to help you become the best you can be. The story is really important and they admitted that some of their movies sucked. Trying to work from the bottom up is really really hard, try not to do that. They named some other companies that are good places to work at.