anonymous asked:

Hi modmad! If it wouldn't be too much to ask; I realized that you have studied animation at VFS and wondered if you could tell me a little about your own experience there. I am thinking of going into animation myself and was quite interested in their approach with a one-year intensive education. Did you like it and how do you think it worked out? And also how was your everyday life studying there? Hope I wouldn't disturb you too much

Alrighty-roo so I get asked this sort of thing a fair bit, which is super okay because boy howdy I loved my time at VFS but I get asked a lot so I’m going to make this my staple refer-to answer for all those askers to come; aka this is gonna be long folks, hit J to skip if you want to ignore it!

Personally I found that the year I spent at VFS was one of the best of my life. I had wonderful, friendly, wildly inventive classmates, the teachers were professional, personal and approachable, and every day I felt like I was this shrivelled up sponge being soaked in warm tasty information soup, and would have to stagger back home with my head swollen with the day’s absorption of data swilling around my brain. It was marvellous. I miss it constantly.

HOWEVER; it is very worth noting that before I went to VFS I had not only taken a foundation art year and studied art at A-level, but had also dabbled in animation at home, had done some work experience at a stop-motion animation company, and I had already taken a three year animation course! So… why did I go on to VFS at all? Well, the three year course I took was, to put in politely, not a good one. In fact I was clinically depressed by the third year and thought I could not draw for metaphorical toffee, it was only by the strong will and good sense of my parents that I even dared to try again, and I am so glad I did. The upshot of that course, however, was that I had the benefit of three years worth of time to practice, and the reading list that the place-I-had-studied-in-which-I-won’t-be-naming supplied (which I did, in fact, hunt down all the books from, read every single one and did many of the exercises that they suggested).

Here I must emphasise that VFS does a one year course of classical animation, and let me tell you that is absurdly short. If you aren’t used to drawing a lot (and I mean a lot) every day, or have absolutely no reading or practice with animation, it could very well be overwhelming. It might not be! You might go there and think it’s a walk in the park, I don’t know! But I could not in good conscience just wave the VFS flag and say THIS IS THE BEST COURSE GO DO THIS COURSE IT WILL BE AWESOME without due warning, because I learned everything I had learned in three years within the first two months at VFS. 

Yeah. Wow.

I also had the extreme good luck to have, as stated before, a wonderful class. Now, generally I think the people who work hard enough to get onto any animation course have to be dedicated and bonkers people, but it is still possible to have classmates that don’t ‘click’ with you or each other, and I have seen art classes that have an atmosphere I really would not want to be in. That is something nobody can predict or guarantee and any course will have this hazard. I, on the other hand, loved all my classmates and I cannot wait for a reunion because I miss the heckity darn out of all of them.

Another thing to note (and this applies to any art course out there), is that the course at VFS is very much a you-get-out-what-you-put-in situation. It is intense, yes, the teachers have worked in professional circumstances and are great people to learn from, yes, the assignments they give you are tried and tested means to bring out the best in your abilities, yes, but when it comes down to it the person who has to work, who has to learn, is you. If long hours and constant, challenging assignments sounds like no fun at all, then perhaps this isn’t for you. I literally went into school every day of the week! Including Sundays! They lock the school on the few holidays there are so that students can’t get in to keep working because they know they need to take a week off! No! I’m not joking. Eventually I had to give myself Sunday mornings off because golly it’s important to rest, and I learned to not stay in school working past 8pm for the same reason, and yet I did go in and I did work and I loved it. Nobody forced me to do this, but it was necessary, I felt, to complete the work I had, and to be able to without falling apart at the seams. I actually did contract tendonitis in the second term, which is notorious as the hardest term (and it’s way before you start your final film! yikes), but I recovered and I learned from it and I kept on rolling to the end. Some people did things differently- some preferred to stay late and keep weekends free, some did all nighters, but whatever your approach it is your responsibility. The teachers can give you advice on it, but when it boils down to it this course relies on you; your common sense, your dedication, and your love of the subject.

Finally, and this is the weak note; it has been several years since I attended VFS. While I knew their syllabus when I was there, and it was an effective and stimulating one, I do not know it now, and while I suspect it will be largely the same (when I was there I learned the basic core of it hadn’t changed for several decades because it worked damnit) I have no way of truly knowing that now. I also don’t know you! I don’t know what you want, what your past experiences are, or how well this course will suit you. I do know, however, that the staff are friendly and will call you back if you send them an email; they called me a few days after I sent an email describing my interest, and I live in the UK! Imagine my shock, this school I had heard of as somewhere so prestigious, calling unable-to-draw–diddly-squat me, from Canada! 

That was my first indication of what the thing that makes VFS so good; they care. They want to know you, they want to know your queries, and they want to know about your ambitions. Talk to them, and then think. Take your time in deciding. They start courses three times a year (or did when I was there), so there are always new opportunities to slot in, and there will be two other classes to talk to and make friends with at all times- if you somehow have bad luck and your classmates aren’t the coolest of cucumbers, the odds are very good that there will be people you can befriend in other classes. As for the teachers, I am in contact with many of them still (one got me my first job and went on to be my director!), and while I will always see them as my tutors I will always think of them as my friends, too.

So yeah, TL:DR = for me VFS was amazing and I would love to live it all over again, but every experience is tailored by context and just because it was perfect for me doesn’t mean it will be perfect for you!


Faced with a constant state of isolation, a young boy is approached by a mysteriously familiar face with the promise of a better life.

My final hand drawn film made at Vancouver Film School!  Everything was animated digitally in ToonBoom Harmony. Headphones recommended for maximum effect! >:) 


Heart Attack

A girl gets distracted while doing homework, and she ends up getting beaten up by her heart.

This is my classically animated short film that I made during my year in the Classical Animation program at Vancouver Film School, which could not have been made a reality without my family, my friends, the staff at VFS, and my class, CA95. Thank you to all of them.


This is a traditionally animated short film, “The Reptilian Agenda”, which I made at the Vancouver Film School. I’m proud of how it came out as well as proud to be a part of a wonderful year of school!
Please enjoy!

I got into Vancouver Film School. I have to decide by tomorrow morning if I’m going to go.

I just have to keep reminding myself that this is decision is not, “Do I want to work in the television industry?” but “Do I want to invest a year and a huge amount of money and a big move into finding out if I want to work in the television industry?”

And I think the answer is yes.



A regular day at Rielle’s, serving up people’s orders with just a tiny bit of flair.
Rielle- Brianna D. Smith
Customer- Johan Eriksson

This is my second film done during my time in the Classical Program at Vancouver Film School, done digitally in Flash. It could not have been without my family, my friends, the staff at VFS, and my class, CA95. A special thanks to Brianna D. Smith for voicing Rielle, and Johan Eriksson for voicing the customer. Thank you so much to all of them.


A young witch embarks on an amazing adventure when she comes across a shooting star.



So sorry I’ve been MIA for a while
but I have just graduated and am proud to present my final film HAHAH XD
So happy its done
I hope you like it :D

About Last Night

I am currently sitting in the airport waiting to board my flight and I’m going on two hours of sleep, so I’m pretty tired (but it’s worth it). I’m reminiscing about the last 24 hours of my life, and I am in complete awe. As a writer, you would think that I would know just what to say, but alas, even writers are at a loss for words sometimes. I don’t know how this is going to come out, but I am going to try my best.

I have been listening to East of Eli’s music since his first EP, “Nothing Ordinary,” came out in 2014 (if you haven’t heard it, check it out). I was lucky enough to see EOE at The Troubadour in LA in March, and seeing him live for the first time was like a dream. Nathan was absolutely amazing, and I knew that I wanted to see him again. So when he announced a concert in New York, I wanted to go. I had never been to New York, and what better excuse to go than to see an artist that has impacted you so much, am I right? Anyway, I looked at the date and realized that it was going to be during my spring break (I’m a writing student at the Vancouver Film School), and I was already planning on going home to KC to visit family and friends. I immediately thought of my sister, and figured that maybe we could make a little sister trip out of it. Unfortunately, the concert was a 21+ venue and my sister is only 15, so that wouldn’t work. Luckily, EOE was able to sell out that venue, so that allowed them to set up another concert the same week for all ages. At that moment, I was like, “I don’t know how I’m going to make this happen, but I am going to get my sister and I to that show if it’s the last thing I do!” And I did! After lots of negotiating with my parents, they finally agreed to let us go. So the week of my spring break came around, and I got to catch up with family and friends. Yesterday morning, my sister and I got up at 4am to make our flight to New York. After a layover and a grounded plane in Milwaukee, we finally made it to New York. I love cities, they just amaze me, so as soon as we were outside of the airport, I was ready to explore. My poor sister on the other hand is a country girl at heart. She lives for trap shooting and riding dirt bikes (we are the complete opposite in every way, but we are really great friends), so she was not as thrilled about being in the big city. After getting lost with our cab driver, and an hour drive to our hotel took us three hours, we were tired, but we knew we should try and see some of the city. So of course, me being the pizza lover that I am (I even brought my PJ pants that have pizza hearts all over them with me), told my sister we had to try authentic NY pizza while we were there, so we did. I was stuffed by the end of it, but it was definitely delicious. We then decided to embark on an adventure and take the subway to Central Park (luckily I’ve had experience with subways in Vancouver and in Berlin, so it wasn’t that difficult to figure out). Central Park was really pretty, but we didn’t get to stay long because we had to get back to our hotel to get ready for the concert.

Now, the concert. The concert is where the real magic began. We get to the venue and the line is insane to get in which just fills my heart with such joy to see so many people coming out to support Nathan and Chyler. We finally get inside and it’s about 15 minutes or so before EOE comes out. Now, for those who don’t know, this past week has been a rocky road for Nathan and his family. Last Monday, he got a call telling him that his father was losing his battle with cancer. He spent that next week by his side, and he wanted to cancel the shows (rightfully so), but his dad said no. His dad’s wish for him was to “carry on” (from “The Siege,” which according to Nathan is his dad’s favorite song) and play these shows in New York. I can only imagine how difficult it was for Nathan to have to make that choice, knowing that at any moment, his dad could no longer be on this earth. But Nathan made the choice, and he chose to follow his father’s wishes and continue on to NY. That only made me admire Nathan more than I already did because that kind of choice takes an enormous amount of strength. This just showed more clearly the depth of his character and the size of his heart. I have such respect for him. Then on top of that, yesterday, T-Mobile shut of Nathan and Chyler’s phone numbers, so they had no way of contacting each other. Luckily, Nathan and Chyler have some of the most amazing fans out there, and they were able to get the attention of the CEO of T-Mobile. Because of all of this, they got their phone numbers back. There is power in numbers, and when you set your mind to something, there really is nothing you can’t do. This was such a great example of that. You would think that this was enough adversity for one family in one week, but sadly this was not the last part of sad news. Nathan announced when he got on stage that there were some issues with Chyler’s flight and she was currently grounded in Toronto. Chyler was of course upset because she had missed Tuesdays’s concert to be with her kids and family in LA, and so she wanted to be here. Of course, everyone was sad, but it was understandable. Things happen, they suck, but we have to make the most of the situation and just keep going. Nathan and Chyler, being the awesome humans that they are, said that they were going to do everything in their power to get Chyler there and to make sure she got to meet every single person. Nathan continued on with the show, adding in some fun things to try and drag out the time, especially when we found out that Chyler was finally in the air and so she was on her way. Like always, he was amazing! His voice is incredible, and his lyrics are beyond compare. I have to say, EOE at The Troubadour was great, but there was something extra special about last night. Nathan brought multiple fans onto the stage, he goofed off, and he even tried singing a song from his first EP. The last one was the best because he’s only human, and so he was having a hard time remembering all of the words. The concert eventually ended, but he wanted us to hang out until Chyler could get there. We went to the front room, and I went with my sister towards the bar area and sat. Chyler showed up like 30 minutes later, and everyone was so excited. Chyler is a trooper. She was going on maybe two hours of sleep after finishing up her last scene of the season on Supergirl, and yet she was still here for her fans. Nathan and Chyler performed two songs together acoustically, and it was beautiful. After that, they made their way to an area of the room to do meet and greets. I stayed with my sister at the bar because: 1. just being in super large crowds in enclosed spaces makes be kind of anxious and 2. I had met Chyler briefly before, so I wanted to make sure everyone else got their chance. If I did’ t get to say hi, it wasn’t as big of a deal. So I was at the bar, and I started talking with the bartenders. John and Eric were so much fun! They offered up so awesome conversation, and they were great company while I was there with my sister. My sister and I had a blast chatting with them, and then Dre, the security guard, when he came and joined us (Dre actually thought I was an undercover cop, so that was both funny and awesome at the same time). I want to take a quick moment to thank all of the people working last night at The Knitting Factory in Brooklyn because they went above and beyond for us. This definitely includes John and Eric. John was sweet and he gave me a RedBull for free since I was tired, and then when he went to the store, he got my sister a banana. It was nice to make a friend in NY that said that if we were ever there again, they have an extra bed that we could crash in. I also got a sweet fox mask thing from Dre as a souvenir, so that’s pretty cool. Nathan came over at one point to thank John and Eric himself. He told them about everything that had happened that day, and how much it meant to him that they were doing this for us. John and Eric continued to keep my sister and I company until we ended up having to move outside because the bar was closing. My sister and I got in line outside and began waiting our turn. Nathan, again, being the amazing human he is, decided to give each of us still waiting a t-shirt for free. My sister and I were at the end of the line, so when he got to us, he stayed and talked for a minute. The first words out of my sister’s mouth were, “Brr it’s cold out here,” so Nathan so properly responded with, “There must be some Torros in the atmosphere.” My sister, whom I’ve been trying for a while to get to watch Bring It On, just stood there. I high-fived Nathan of course, because the reference was just beautiful. Gotta love some Jan the man. He then gave my sister a giant hug because she was absolutely exhausted. He was like a dad comforting his daughter, and it was such an amazing sight to see. He is just so genuine, and I can’t believe I’ve had the honor of meeting him. We eventually made it up to the front of the line to talk to Chyler, and Chyler gave my sister the biggest hug in the world. Like I said before, I have had the incredible pleasure of meeting Chyler before, but the only thing I’ve gotten to say to her was hi and that’s about it, so I was looking forward to a hug (my friend, Dened, has gotten many from her and she likes to say how great they are). I finally got my hug, and it was great. She’s just so sweet, gentle and kind, so of course her hug was very comforting. There was so much that I wanted to say, but I didn’t want to keep my sister out any longer. She had already came all the way to NY just for me, and was out at 5am when she had only gotten three hours of sleep the night before. My sister is a rockstar, and I am pretty lucky to have her (even if we disagree on 90% of things).

Last night, only proceeded to reaffirm all of my beliefs about Nathan and Chyler. I love what they are doing. They are using their power of influence to not only impact and change the community around them, but also the global community. They are such amazing people with huge hearts. They believe in family, and putting family first. Even though we aren’t their direct family, they treated us like family last night. They took their time, as tired as they were, to speak to each and every one of us. I admire them so much for that. What I love about them, is that they are open about their old baggage and dirty laundry, letting it be known, so that they can hopefully inspire others. They don’t try and hide their faults or their downfalls (we are all human after all). Along with that, I love the representation they are for the Christian community. Too many times nowadays, when people hear you are a Christian, they automatically assume you are going to be judgmental and rude, which sadly is not too far off for a lot of them. Chyler and Nathan on the other hand, are great embodiments of what it truly means to be a Christian (in my opinion). They show so much love to everyone, and Chyler is such an example, especially as she is playing the character of Alex Danvers on The CW’s, Supergirl. On the show, Alex recently realized that she was gay when Detective Maggie Sawyer entered her life. They are now together and are so cutely named, Sanvers. I think that this is one of the greatest things she could be doing for many reasons. One, her relationship on the show is such a healthy example of a relationship (especially for a queer couple). Then, I feel like this is a great thing because she is a Christian. She is showing that love is love, and it shouldn’t matter as long as you love each other. I think that that is a beautiful thing. I admired her so much more when this storyline came to be because of the impact I knew it would have. I struggle with being a Christian and supporting the LGBTQ community because so many Christians are so against it. I just don’t understand how a God who loves all (even the murderers), could hate someone who happens to fall in love with someone of the same sex. And Chyler has been outspoken about this as well. I remember watching an interview where she talked about this, and I cried. I cried because it was great to see someone with such influence who has the same beliefs as me. I am so grateful that Nathan and Chyler are in this world, spreading love and kindness with all that they do. Thank you for being prime examples of what it means to be human, and to love your neighbor. Thank you for taking so much time out of your day last night (and this morning) to meet each and every one of your fans. Most people wouldn’t do something like that, so thank you. You two are true heroes, and I pray that God blesses you immensely. I also pray that as your family is going through this difficult time, that you are able to find solace in him and in each other. Thank you again for everything. Thank you for being the role models this world needs. Thank you for inspiring others with your music and your words. Thank you for being superheroes to us all. Thank you.

Wow! This was a lot more than I thought I was going to say, but I wanted to get this all out. The past 24 hours truly has been magical, and I will never forget it. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I can’t wait until I get to see this amazing band again in July when they perform at The Roxy along with City of Sound and State to State (both of whom are amazing and deserve your attention as well). Thank you for taking your time to read this, it means a lot. I hope everyone has a great day!

Bijou and Big - Alpha Testing

With the QA and Testing module wrapping up, I have learnt a lot!

Originally posted by alpha-beta-gamer

I was able to test this little game; Bijou and Big; being developed by students of Vancouver Film School it currently has 2 levels and a boss and has a lot of potential. With the art-style being alluring from the start and the characters are instantly relatable.

Through testing this and a bunch of other games the most prominent lesson has definitely been the difference between studios’ definitions of “Alpha” and “Beta”. 

Everything from how important it is to test early. Test often. And test differently. Asking the right questions and providing the right testing conditions for what you want to find out from your testers is an art form in itself.