BA, Animation & Digital Arts '16
How has the School of Cinematic Arts changed your view of animation? USC has given me a profound appreciation for many different animation techniques, including stop motion, 2D hand-drawn, and computer-generated, by giving me the opportunity to experiment with these mediums. I know that I am getting a broad and comprehensive education. We study the history as well as the cutting-edge technology of our craft, and how the two intersect. My every day life is immersed in animation, and my wonder and passion for the art grows daily.
What advice do you have for prospective students looking at applying to your program? The advice I wish I received is to simply jump right in. Get as much experience with as many mediums as you can before coming to USC. Animation is more about understanding movement and mastering timing than producing a series of pretty images. While most high schools don’t offer instruction on animation, the resources on the Internet are infinite. Learn and read as much as you can. Oh, and don’t neglect your grades in favor of your portfolio. They both definitely matter in the application process.
How has the School of Cinematic Arts prepared you so far for a career in animation? Collaboration is a major part of working in the animation industry and getting early hands-on experience is essential. It is very motivating and inspiring to be surrounded by a community of animators and filmmakers who share my obsession. The professors here at SCA spend a lot of time not only teaching us the technical side of the craft, but also preparing us for the professional world, and what to expect on a day-to-day basis once out on our own. Also, our major requires one internship to graduate and nothing can prepare you more than an actual stab at it.
What have been the biggest challenges for you at USC?
The biggest challenge for me in studying animation is indecision. Animation is filmmaking from the molecular level, and the sheer amount of choices to be made can be overwhelming. Since studying at USC, I have become more confident in my abilities as an animator, and I’ve learned to trust my intuition. Like my advice to prospective students, just jump into a project.
What in your past has given you inspiration or a unique point of view that you bring to USC? In high school, I raced bicycles and was the 7-time national champion on the velodrome. I also represented the United States in the junior world track cycling championships. A surprising amount of skills I learned from cycling carry over to animation. I learned how to push through temporary discomfort in order to reach a distant goal. I also learned how to handle failure as a motivational force, and how to refine a skill through meticulous practice.