Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Epic Fail....

At the top of my Gmail inbox today.

Too funny to not post.


Jason Barnes 3:41 PM  


Anonymous 3:48 PM  

"Take advantage of our Digital Animaton Courses"

Digital Animation ? Hot-diggity-dog ! Them digital animations must be the coolest thing ever !

AndyG 4:47 PM  

I sense much sarcasm. should I be worried as a student?

Cookedart 4:57 PM  

No no... I just thinking the timing of the ad couldn't be more perfect.. Me just graduating and all.

AndyG 6:53 PM  

whew, I totally started second guessing my position in Sheridan's animation program. :P

thanks for clearing that one up :)

clifford chiu 8:30 PM  

well that makes sheridan look mighty classy.

Lisa Tao 9:30 PM  

haha lol right, u graduated.. thats a pretty funny timing tho

Andre Barnwell 5:29 AM  

do it alan. take advantage man. Do it all over

Anonymous 10:40 AM  

I wish I had second guessed my position in this awful "animation" program a bit earlier, maybe then I could have got out and done something more worth while with the last 3 years of my life.

clifford chiu 10:46 AM  

re: anonymous

i think at sheridan to get the most out of it you have to be a self-starter. lifedrawing is there 7 days a week if you want it. if not you can always concentrate on something else. most teachers will take time out to give you advice and help if you seek it.

Anonymous 1:12 PM  

this ad is disgusting. it's a really bad sign when Sheridan has to plug its program.

Cliff's right, though. you have to be a self-starter to learn at Sheridan. go to life drawing, ask for help, read, research, practice, just DO!

Cookedart 2:33 PM  

Anonymous #2... I'm sorry you feel that way... I hope you find something more suitable for you in the future.

Anonymous #3... I don't find it personally disgusting.. it's just an ad...WestJet is the current ad up there right now. I don't really see what the big deal is.. I just thought the timing was funny.

Anonymous 9:15 PM  

Hm.. not sure what to think of that.

I totally agree with the self-starter bit.

In no way am putting down animation at Sheridan, but it's not animation really. It's more of an advanced art media type course now. Just watch any student film from about 15 years ago. That was when it was about animation. Now, it's more about pick a discipline.. like a major in design with a minor in Flash.

Cookedart 10:37 PM  


Its whatever you take from it. I generally have to disagree with you. They never really taught our class Flash.

I think any designy-ness you might be seeing, with less of a focus on animation, is more indicative of students reacting to what kind of work is out there. What studios are really doing the full 2D animation anymore that you saw Sheridan students doing 15 years ago?

While there are definitely a few, its hardly the dominant force anymore. It definitely is a pick-a-discipline, but I have the feeling it used to be this way too, but it was far more viable back then.

I think everyone would prefer things to be the way they once were, with hand drawn animation at the forefront, but for now it looks like flash and 3d are king.

clifford chiu 7:59 AM  

i think it's only normal for a student to concentrate on one discipline over a few others. you're drawn to what you like to do, right? while we have to pay attention to all aspects of film because we DO have to make a whole film from start to finish, there are definite choices made to pay more attention to some aspects and less to others when a student makes his film. it's only natural. of course there are the few who are true jacks-of-all-trades.. but those are the exception rather than the rule.

Anonymous 11:33 AM  

Hi this is Anonymous #2 back again, and I just want to say that you're right about the self-starter bit, but in my defense that's not really why I dislike Sheridan. I'm a self-motivated person and I have learned a lot and improved over my years in the PBAAA (not that it really counts for anything in the big scheme of things).

What frustrates me is the way we are treated like idiots by the Sheridan bureaucracy, they take our money and waste our time and give us so little in return. What are we paying for? You can be a self-starter on your own (that's sort of what self-starter means), and you wouldn't have a bunch of suits telling you what to do so that they can keep their backwards curriculum up to BA standards and keep raking in the cash from inept 18-25 year olds. That mixed with the fact that a job in the animation industry is largely not worth the time and money anyone invests to get it (although that's not really Sheridan's fault...)lead me to post earlier just as a warning to anyone who is thinking about coming to Sheridan to really consider their options first. I wish I had.

Jarrett 1:02 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
EnjoyTheSauce 1:03 PM  

Cal Arts advertises with those little things that you insert in urinals, so don't feel too bad.

Cookedart 2:03 PM  

I don't personally get what you mean by considering the options.. Calarts is far more expensive and has the same Bureaucracy. Seneca doesn't even own the building where their animation program is housed - so they have to deal with bureacrats as well. Gobelins is great, but it's in Paris, accept very few, and you need to speak French. AnimationMentor focuses you only on animation, and doesn't really bring up all of your skills together like any of the aforementioned schools would be able to. So where's the alternative?

I think one HUGE thing that you're missing is not the teachers, not the curriculum, or even being a self-starter, its surrounding yourself with other talented artists who are learning and going through the exact same motions that you are. In such an environment you can learn more than even Sheridan supposes that you would. I think almost anyone that I've talked to will say that they learned probably more from their peers than they did teachers, and that, to me, is one of the biggest things worth paying for at a school like Sheridan that you would not get out on your own.

Plus that with all the additional motivation of deadlines, money, and great teachers, and you have a pretty good environment for learning.

Yes it could be tons better, but if your problems are strictly with the bureaucracy, then you'll get that anywhere.

Jarrett 2:11 PM  

Alan: Exactly.

Anonymous 3:12 PM  

Sorry, by "options" I meant career options, not animation school options. To be honest, if you are dead set on working in the "animation business", then you are right, Sheridan is the place to go: cheaper than CalArts, better reputation than Seneca, and more accessible than Gobelins. But before making that commitment make sure you know what you are getting into, because the animation business pays badly, over works you, and rarely if ever rewards you artistically with projects that don't completely suck. But Sheridan won't warn you of this out right because they want your cash. So just make sure you've really thought about your choice, because I didn't and I regret it. In all likelihood Sheridan will be the one cashing in on your dream, not you.

That said, there are many who feel that Sheridan was a good choice for them, and that's great I am happy for them and I wish them well. All I am saying is that it isn't working out for me, and there is nothing that can be said to change that.

Alan: You know about the bureaucracy first hand. Did they not try to stop you from making a two man 4th year film? And how much sense does that make? As you have said: you learn more from working with peers than from the teachers anyway, and animation is supposed to be a collaboration because more often than not it is just too much for one man to take on (particularly if you want to make a film that is more than some 1 minute long incident that flashes on screen and is quickly forgotten). But Sheridan doesn't care about our learning or our films, all they want is more money. It is better for them if 4th year is independent so that it can be called a "thesis year" (which is BS by the way, if you want to do a thesis go to a real university). And it is better for them if all the films are over nice and quick so that the industry day can be as painless and inoffensive as possible. Frankly what we think is best for ourselves, the customers (ie. students), is outright ignored.

Unknown 8:26 AM  

If I could add some of my own thoughts in here...

Your career is what you make out of it. Nothing will drop into your lap (usually:).

I'm not going to say anything about Sheridan as a whole but I can say that I care about my students very much and I try my hardest to help them learn the skills they need to make it in the industry. The ones that put in the effort to practice what they learned are the ones that succeed.

The ones that lay back waiting for my lectures to somehow transform them into amazing artists... they still improve a bit but not nearly as much as everyone else. So of course they won't find jobs that pay as much.

There are plenty of high paying positions in the industry but you have to work harder, work smarter and stick out from the crowd. If you're skills are like everyone else than of course you'll be complaining about the wages because you're near the bottom of the pile and your skills are worth less than others.

As for whether or not Sheridan or any other school is worth it... I feel that's all up to the individual. I know plenty of successful artists that are self starters like Silver or Alberto Ruiz and that worked out great for them. Some need that school environment to get them into gear.

With all honesty I feel that enrolling in school is not absolutely necessary for our industry but it does help. To pick a school I would recommend looking at the graduating students work. Like Alan said, you'll learn far more from your peers than from your teachers. We're at school for only a few hours a week but your classmates are around you all the time.

Anonymous 8:07 PM  

Just thought I'd say I'm appreciating the discussion. I'm graduating with a BFA from a large university that doesn't offer much at all in the way of animation, so I'm looking into specific programs like Sheridan and this debate is very interesting.

Molasses 8:54 PM  

recently graduated from Emily Carr, i've heard and voiced similar types of opinions about their program over the years from both sides of this discussion.
bobby's post is pretty close to where my thinking is now.

3d Character Artirst * Photograher 4:22 AM  

i dont know what you guys are arguing about ... if you ask me, if a school can put a Tim Hortons not too far from the animation wing, its good in my books.

thank you sheridan, more importantly, thank you that short asian lady who always gave me a free timbit and told me to NOT tell anyone that she did that. lol

Thank you!

Andrew Ferguson 10:54 AM  

You have 3075 emails?! Someone needs to clean their inbox. ;)

Frank Hong 6:37 PM  

I've just finished first year in Sheridan and i have to say it had easily been the most productive and rewarding year in my artistic career.

before i was enrolled in sheridan, i didn't care much for that people call the fundamentals. i went around looking for "3d animation" or CG making" all that business. but now that i realize, those don't automatically make you a good artist. no they are simply just tools that artists use. what sheridan does best, is to train artists like us the bases that we need to expand out knowledge on. an advanced art media course? if it benifits me, i'm fine with it. and it's true you do get rewarded for what you work for, i went to life drawing whenever i can. and no i'm not really an animator.. i'm a concept artist. you don't have to aim dead set on that one aspect of art and blame the school for not spoon feeding you what you wanted to learn. get off your ass, and research it by yourself! and i witnessed first hand on "you learn more from your peers". if you are serious enough about going into the industry, then take advantage on what's available to you. for example the peer tutor program helped me tremendously on life drawing. i won't openly discuss the name of my mentor but he is one of most talented artist in the program, also pretty much self-taught, highly motivated self starter. it really comes down to the individuals and how you plan your own time. pointing fingers is always easier yea?

Anonymous 10:19 PM  

Dear Franky Hong:

When I was just finishing 1st year (like you are now) I would have agreed with you. Hell, I might have even agreed with you after 2nd year. But after 3 years around this program, this industry, and all of the "artists" in it, I no longer share your point of view. The thing is, I do work hard, but it doesn't matter how hard we work because the cards are stacked against us ever having creative or financial success. But if you want to die trying to make a living in this business, well I don't really care. Go ahead. Just, before you start essentially calling me lazy and telling me to get off my ass, I think you should consider that I have already done two more years in this program than you have, and that you might not know what the hell you are talking about. I have no issue with people like Alan who disagree with my point of view, but he has actually been through the whole thing and therefore has warranted opinions about it. Opinions that I may not share, but that I at least respect.
The bottom line: talk to me in two years, because until then you really can't compare our experiences.

A final note to end my participation in this lively debate: Setting aside my cynical point of view for a moment and looking at this issue objectively, what really matters is doing what makes you happy. I used to think animation was that thing, but I have become disillusioned, and as far as I can tell there is no shame in feeling that way. It is an indication of analysis and thought about self and situation. The main point that I have been trying and apparently failing to make (in the midst of all of the anti-sheridan rhetoric) is that for this whole animation thing to work for you, you had better love it A LOT! The art itself had better be the only reward you need, because there may be no other rewards coming. I thought I loved it that much, but I have serious doubts. Don't just blindly follow and do as you are told by the school or the industry because frankly they are only looking out for THEIR OWN INTERESTS. Think for yourselves once and a while and figure out what you want and need as individuals.

Cookedart 3:39 AM  

Hey Anonymous,

Thanks for chiming in...

I think I still have to disagree with your main point that animation is not rewarding - I daresay that it is far more rewarding than anything that I have ever come into contact with - and certainly more than any other artistic career, if money is the primary concern.

Of course, I don't think money is. You are right that there are places that will overwork and underpay. However, in my experience, the people who have worked the hardest in our year have ended up reaping the benefits, ending up at great places that take care of the artists, give you a distinct pride in ownership of the work you are working on, and challenge you artistically (as well as pay well). These careers do exist within the animation world, and are totally achievable by students at Sheridan, as long as you want them hard enough. I hope to make this point to inspire those who may be disillusioned or think that there isn't really any light at the end of the tunnel, because there definitely is. There is definitely a handful of graduates, consistently, over the past 10 years that have ended up at fabulous shops - and worked hard to get there.

I thought it was important to note as well, that while the bureaucracy exists like you suggested, logic won out and I was able to complete my film as I saw fit - within a paired setting. This means that through all this bureaucracy, if you really want something to work, you can make it happen. Basically, the more you put into this program, the less those cards are stacked against you.

All told, could Sheridan be better? Perhaps, but I learned more in these four years artistically than any other combined four years in my life, bar none.

The career options point is a tough one... learning during your time at Sheridan that animation is not the right career for you is always a possibility, but I don't personally feel that anything can be done on Sheridan's part to remedy this. I think it's definitely a good thing to learn in school before you go out and start working - and learn that you hate the craft and are therefore miserable. But what you're describing sounds a little different, and I have to warn against disliking this craft for the wrong reasons. It's easy to become pessimistic about the industry - people talk about it a lot. But all in all, we are paid to do drawings - I can imagine much worse fates, and not to mention, that dream jobs are there, and totally attainable for those who want them.

Please, please try to go into the industry with open arms and optimism - experience things through your own judgement and don't let others opinions influence how you yourself feel about this artform. It's really easy to get bogged down in the rhetoric. I think it always helps to go back to the basics and look at why you wanted to do the art form in the first place - for me, animation is the perfect combination of art and film, and getting to draw and create art that is driven by a purpose is, in my opinion, immensely rewarding. Obviously, you have to find your own reason to love the craft, but I'm sure you at one point thought along similar lines.

I hope my words help, and I hope you find your way!

Anonymous 8:32 AM  

I gotta post my two cents here from a Seneca perspective- you say that, not owning our building, we have bureaucracy... and I suppose we do, but the only thing it really affects is having a hard time changing the kind, amount and time for different courses we'd like. And really, that's a ontario college board thing.
And sure, Sheridan has a better reputation now, but that didn't change my mind one bit when I accepted Seneca. Seneca is a community, an incredibly close, fun and enriching community. We all are helping each other out constantly, everyone knows everyone. When I've visited Sheridan, the place itself is dismal and bare in comparison... and the program seems so competitive. It just doesn't have the same friendly community that I'm used to.
And hopping back onto reputation- Seneca grads are getting jobs. Reputation of your school doesn't much matter when you have a job.
And hey... I don't have to take even more lame gen-ed courses that have nothing to do with my career, my tuition is cheaper for fewer years, my teachers don't need to worry about having a BA so we can take the good teachers who aren't 'qualified', and my favorite- I don't have to spend a year making a film. Not that there's nothing good about that, but I can do that on my own if I wanted to. I'd rather specialize in the one thing that interests me- rigging, modeling, etc, and put together a strong demo reel and get a job, than spend a year doing everything and not getting to advance in the one thing that I really want to do.
Just my two cents about a school I really love :)

Cookedart 9:54 AM  

Hey anonymous seneca student,

My point was that all schools have bureaucracy. No school can be exempt from this.

As for a community, Sheridan is a huge school, and the new building definitely has the air of drab (the old building was fantastic!) I could not disagree more about the feeling of camaraderie at Sheridan. While the building might seem desolate, just like you say, everyone knows everyone, and we uplift each other in spades. The students are every bit as warm and helping as anywhere else that I’ve been able to witness. The feeling of camaraderie is not unique to Seneca.

Reputation does matter. While I am not claiming Sheridan students will get any better jobs, all I need to point to is Calarts, which clearly has a better rep, and as a result, has regular speakers from disney and pixar, who also regularly have a high profile at both their screening and their job fair. I don't doubt Seneca students are getting jobs. But I do doubt that they are reaping the benefits that Calarts students get because of their industry-leading rep, both in terms of their education and the types of jobs they get after graduation. I make this comparison because I do not wish to seem Sheridan-biased, plus I clearly think there are other schools with greater mindshare than Sheridan.

I think you are very wrong about the student film. A film shows so much more than your individual skills. I would MUCH rather spend my last year doing a film than doing an entire year of 3d, as per your setup. I could easily say the same (I can learn 3D on my own!) - but fact is, not only did we also learn 3d, but deferring large things until after school is not the point of going to school. You could have learned how to animate without school, yet you chose to anyways. Likewise, I love the fact that calarts does one film per year - that is one step better and shows a focus on animated filmmaking - simultaneously making you better at all disciplines. Most importantly, though, is the fact that quite a few of my friends have been hired off the strength of their film because of the skills that they could demonstrate. Of course, if you have to do a film, you will skew it towards your preferences, and your work on your film will then become your demo reel. Either way, the fact that your curriculum is set up to learn specifically only 3D in the final year is directly comparable to requiring a final film. I would rather do a film so I can guide what my focus is on in that final year, rather than have the school have me focus on one thing. Flipping the argument around, I could easily spend a year outside of school working up my demo reel, however, getting my comrades, fellow students, and teacher’s feedback and guidance while making a film is absolutely invaluable, and something not as easily achieved when school is over.

I think you are right about how it would be good for a school to be demo reel focused for the final year, but I do not personally believe that is what Seneca achieves. If Seneca’s final year is to build a demo reel in portfolio in any discipline you want, then that is a curriculum deserving of merit. However, it seems that the final year suited your endeavours well, but would definitely not equally suit others, no matter how appropriate the curriculum is to the industry. No one knows what is more appropriate for your learning than you - that is, you know very well what you want to improve in, and what you want to be doing after school finishes. Personally, looking at it like this, I think Sheridan and Calarts’ positions seem to be better suited that Seneca’s in this regard. Please correct me if I’m wrong on this point.

Also, I do not understand the mentality of wanting a program to be shorter. Each year in school represents a huge artistic growth for a student. Acting like an extra year of school is somehow a burden to your access to the industry seems strange to me – I would rather spend 6 years in school and be guaranteed the skills good enough to work at Pixar or Disney then spend 3 years in school, and not feel or be ready for such a task. I know, for one, that I feel more ready this year than I did last to enter the industry. I do not feel that having a 4 year program vs. a 3 is a waste.

I am glad I have a degree - I can teach, freely move to other countries, and work anywhere that I care to.

I love my school too, and think much of the anti Sheridan rhetoric is overblown. I am by no means suggesting one is better than the other- I can't really compare because I have not taken both. Suffice to say I am very happy with my program, as you are yours.

Just my two cents.

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