Monday, March 06, 2006

We don't need no edgumacasion

So I have a new way of perceiving the trials and tribulations of art school which illustrates why I'm in such a cynical and bad mood during the semester.
Imagine, if you will, that you have just been given 70% of the work that an entire animation studio does to create an animation. You are the: storyboard artist, the writer, the director, the character designer, the modeler, the rigger, the animator, the lighting technician, the editor, and the sound editor. You are doing the work of 20 to 200 or more people, and you have to complete all of this work in 15 weeks. Not only that, but you are not paid to do any of this; INFACT, you pay $20,000 (plus lab fees, text books, transportation into the city, and media costs) for the privilege of going through this torture, and you have to do this twice a year for going on 7 years now. Well that's what it means to be an animation major at the Academy of Art University. Think about it. I am taking: Nonlinear Editing, Intro to Storyboarding, Maya 2, and Character Design1. Each week I put on about 10 different hats.
The really frustrating part is that every instructor claims that they are creating a "professional environment," in every class. This, of course, is a joke because if it was anything like a professional environment, you'd be working as a member of a team, and not doing everything on your own. You would be getting paid, or atleast gaining experience for your work. I know what you're thinking, "Aren't you gaining experience in your classes?" The answer is little to none.
My focus in the computer animation major is Character Animation. All, save two, of my classes over the last 6 years (2 Art schools) have had nothing to do with character animation. The few classes that do allow me to animate a character are classes that focus on modeling and rigging and lighting and designing backgrounds first; THEN during the last two weeks or so of class we get to animate a character. For those of us that struggle with rigging and modeling have it really rough because that always puts us behind, and we have to rush the character animation part to get the final project in.
My other grievance is that a diploma of any kind means absolutely nothing when you're looking for a job in the art field. You could be a high school drop out and get hired as long as you have a killer portfolio. Well I don't have a killer portfolio because I'm not a high school drop out. Because I'm in college, I have no time to develop a portfolio. All of my projects in class take time from each other so everything is rushed or pushed aside for other projects. I can't focus on doing a good job in anything because if I did I wouldn't get it done in time, and I would fail. I do all of this for what? A diploma that is as good as toilet tissue.
All of this leads me to believe that our educational system is set up all wrong. What happened to the days of apprenticeships? Everyone hates school because school isn't what you want in life. You want a career. That's what we all want! Why isn't school set up like the industry? Why can't all of our classes be set up as team environments where character animation majors team up with modelers and writers and directors?
If you really think about it, our school system is too abstract to make any sense. Information is presented to the student as separate subjects. Well doesn't all information coincide with all other information in life? Life isn't broken up into subjects entitled Mathematics, Science, English, P.E. or whatever. It's all blended together.
We need reform in our system desperately. That's why other country's students can kick our students butts.
If you agree with me; I promise to think about and act upon this problem if you will.

1 comment:

Jer said...

I definitely feel your flow, Rico. If it was really the way you suggested, I would probably be right there with you. How awesome would that be? Someday, Bro, we'll be working together, and we'll definitely make some amazing art.