Featured Alumni. Animation Mentor Newsletter – May 2010

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Animation Mentor Newsletter – May 2010

Animation Mentor:

Why did you select Animation Mentor to study animation?

Malcon Pierce:

I chose Animation Mentor to study animation because I really wanted to focus on character animation. I was attending the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, and found that although the Art Institute was a great school, it focused on the entire CG animation industry, not just character animation. Also, I knew that the mentors at Animation Mentor were working in the studios where I hoped to someday work, so I knew that attending Animation Mentor would be great for networking and finding out firsthand what it was like working on a feature animation project.


Animation Mentor:

What did you learn from Animation Mentor?

Malcon Pierce:

I learned how to create animation that had more than just a character moving around. I learned how to really get inside a character and understand how the character needs to live in the animation, and then I learned how to get that to show on the screen. I learned how to properly approach an animation so that I was animating with focus and reason. I learned that animation is a community where we all motivate each other – it is an encouraging and fun-filled environment. I learned that networking is vital for growing and for finding work in the industry. Animation Mentor has taught me many invaluable lessons relating to character animation as a craft and as an industry.


Animation Mentor:

How was the experience unique?

Malcon Pierce:

The experience was unique for me because I attended school online and still gained so many friendships. Most people think that if you go to school online, you’re lazy and a bit of a recluse, but with Animation Mentor it is quite the opposite. You’re talking with people everyday about what you love to do, and you’re working day and night because you love it.


Animation Mentor:

What were some of the challenges?

Malcon Pierce:

Where to start? Being able to correctly use the software to show my idea was a big challenge for me. It’s one thing to have an idea for a shot. It’s quite another challenge to show that idea through the character. Another challenge was finding out when enough was enough. I tended to have the “bite off more than you can chew” mentality. The biggest challenge that I experienced then – and still experience now – is holding myself to a higher standard than I may be able to produce. I find that it is easy to take short-cuts and ignore problems in my animation. It’s so important to hold yourself to that higher standard so that you keep learning. It takes a lot of determination to keep working on your animation until it is perfect in your eyes, or at least as perfect as you can get it. When you look back at shots you have animated in the past, you will usually find things you would have done differently. This is a great thing! It means that you’re getting better!


Animation Mentor:

Did you get a job after graduating from Animation Mentor?

Malcon Pierce:

I was fortunate enough to get a job while in Advanced Acting (Class 5) with ReelFX working on Open Season 2. While I was in Polishing & Portfolio (Class 6), I got an offer to work on Ice Age 3 with Blue Sky Studios. Knowing that I couldn’t do both, I took a leave of absence from Animation Mentor. After Blue Sky, I went back to Animation Mentor and finished Class 6. After graduating, I got a job at Walt Disney Animation Studios, and that’s where I’m working now.


Animation Mentor:

What is your position and what do you enjoy most about it?

Malcon Pierce:

I am a character animator at Disney. The thing I enjoy the most about this job is hanging around a group of really talented people all day and getting the chance to challenge myself everyday with my work.


Animation Mentor:

What kind of projects are you working on?

Malcon Pierce:

Right now I’m working on Tangled.


Animation Mentor:

What is something you learned at Animation Mentor that you use at your job?

Malcon Pierce:

Use your friends and coworkers to help take your animation to the next level. Always get other opinions and ideas for shots. This is a collaborative industry, and if you keep that in mind, you will grow much faster as an animator.


Animation Mentor:

What is the animation moment that you take the most pride in?

Malcon Pierce:

I take the most pride in polishing. Polishing my shots is my favorite part of the process because I know the animation is nearly finished, and I can really focus on making things shine. I can really get deep into the shot, and make sure every frame is exactly how I want it. For me, those final touches are what raise your shot to the next level.


Animation Mentor:

Do you believe mentorship is important?

Malcon Pierce:

Mentorship is very important. It is so motivating to have somebody that you are inspired by pushing you to put your best work out there for people to see. You’re learning more than you ever would alone, and gaining a friend out of the deal as well. It makes the learning process feel more personal and true. This isn’t a textbook industry, so without having someone to guide you, it’s really hard to learn and find your path to become a great animator.


Animation Mentor:

What is one valuable thing you learned from your mentor?

Malcon Pierce:

Hold yourself accountable for your work. Keep your standards high. Give it all you’ve got and you’ll never be let down. You need to keep pushing forward or you will not be satisfied. Stay hungry.

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