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  05 May 2009
Career changer seeking advice for grad program in Boston/NE

So here's my deal, I got my undergrad in business, then worked in a traditional white-collar field while spending my nights and weekends grinding out a 18 month 3d animation certificate program learning Maya. It was a great experience and although it took almost an additional 2 years after completion of my program to actually make the career leap, I eventually made it and didn't lose my shirt doing it either because I waited for the right offer. My reel is looking a lot better now than a year ago but it's 100% my own projects from outside of my employment, I'm not really in a broadcast environment or anything with short turnaround on projects.

I am getting good experience at work and I am trying to be patient, one thing that would be nice right now would be to further myself in the classroom, that way I could be covering some useful ground with my peers rather than locking myself in a dark room doing tutorials. Having a business undergrad and 3d certification training makes me feel that an art degree would still make sense. It's actually been a dream of mine to go back to school for an art degree so I am welcoming this with open arms. I'd like to enroll in a program that focuses on motion graphics, editing, storytelling, animation, technology- this seems to be commonly called a Visual Media program.

I have seen that Emerson has an interesting looking program, a MFA in Visual Media. I feel like I have a grip on software and there's enough free training out there to keep polishing my technical skills, I want to really get a better grasp on the concepts and the fine art aspects to help make my work look more pleasing to the viewer, I'd also like to learn and develop my storytelling ability, these are areas I am weak in that I'd like to strengthen. My issue is that the program at Emerson appears to be a good fit for my needs but according to their website they only accept 30 people per year, and the next enrollment is not until Fall of 2010!!! In my opinion, if I sit here and wait around for an answer from them it might be dangerous. I am unsure if they only take 30 people because they are truely selective or just because they don't get a lot of applicants. I'm also a little uneasy about my portfolio, being all renders and motion graphics, I'm really unsure if they'd welcome me with open arms or if they would be closed off to someone like me. Lastly, I'd love to just drop everything and try to get into Cal Art or NYU CADA but I cannot leave my job and I'm 'check to check' with a rent to pay, unless I line a job up first relocation is not so much an option.

Any advice would be great...

I should also mention, the other options I have found are:
New England Institute of Art, BFA only at a whopping $90k.

Academy of Art (San Fran? but Online? I'm confused but it's out there)

The Art Institute of Boston (Lesley University)- I can't even tell if they really focus in anything, still need more details

Mass Art seems to be lacking a clear description of graduate Visual Media program, I think it's more 2d, stop motion, etc. It also seems they really prefer people that already have a BFA, I always think of Mass Art as a more traditional arts school.

Overall, it seems the program at Emerson would be a good fit for me, but with such a long delay for enrollment and application decisions, and only 30 seats per year, it seems like a bad idea to put all my eggs in this basket. Lastly, I'd hate to ask for recco letters and spend all this time writing essays and then get biffed by admissions. I'm hoping maybe at a tour I can feel it out better to know how I should present my portfolio, if they're seeking film guys and movie producers I might be up a creek with that idea...

Last edited by ScreenName : 05 May 2009 at 04:37 AM.
  05 May 2009
Take a look at Gnomon Institute

Hi SCr eenname, I had a similar question for my daughter. She will have an undergrad in Digital Arts,which is a combination of web design, special effects, Adobe expertise and some limited animation,which she prefers. We considered a lot of places such a new u ndergrad degree from Ringling,which waives all Gen eds for those with bachelors degrees. We looked at Calarts, Pratt Institute etc. We even considered possible graduate degrees.

However, I contacted two folks who have been in animation for years. They both recommended Gnomon School of Visual Effects and Animation Mentor. Gnomon has both online programs, DVDs. and actualy classes in Hollywood. They have a well regarded Computer Graphics program that is full time and takes 21 months to complete. Check them out.

Animation mentor is solely animation, unlike that of Gnomon which provides a much more broad based approach. In addition their program is solely online and lasts for 17 months. However, for what animation mentor does, it seems top notch.They have a very different slant than Gnomon since they only cover one part of the computer graphics pipeline: animation.

Also, if you do a search here, Kanga listed a LOT of online resources that you can use to teach yourself many aspects of computer graphics.
  05 May 2009
Thanks for the reply but not so much what I am looking for... I am familiar with the things you mentioned, I tend to view these things as "training" and I think these things are great for development. What I am looking for is what I do not have, the "BFA" or "MFA" degree, where I can find more of a focus on composition, storytelling, history, with some technology and animation weaved into the program... I see a lot of job postings say "BFA/MFA preferred"- I know the reel is what lands the job, but I want to have the total package and really get solid on the fundamentals beyond technology training. Having spent 5 years working in an entirely different field prior, my resume reads somewhat like an identity crisis on paper.

I should also mention, your daughter's degree should look good on paper if she can get the technical training and a good demo reel she'll be fine. My problem is I have an undergrad in business management and on paper it would look better if I had an "arts" degree of some kind other than my certificate training. Although I did 18 months in a classroom for 3d animation, there's no degree tied to my certificate, which will make it look secondary to my undergrad degree until or unless I go back into an art degree program of some kind. Ideally I'd like to actually be in a classroom with other humans, I already spend so much time on DVD training and I just don't know if it's always time well-spent.

Last edited by ScreenName : 05 May 2009 at 04:53 PM.
  05 May 2009
Here are some more suggestions

Well, if you want credentials, you should check out the following:

School of Visual Arts in NY,Ringling, Pratt Institute, and Calarts are widely considered the best in the country.

One program that will give you the credentials but is a bit shorter in time to get would be a MFA from Digital Media arts College in Florida. Other places for either a BFA or MFA would be Digipen in Redmond , Wash, AAU (San Franscisco),RISD, ( masters program only). RIT, Pratt Institute ( both BFA and MFA programs), SCAD ( both BFA and MFA programs) and Carnegie Mellon ( masters only in entertainment design).

Check out the thread posted by Mr. Positive:

I think he teaches at University of Indiana,which might be a possibility.

Hope this all helps.

Last edited by taxguy : 05 May 2009 at 09:51 PM.
  06 June 2009
Thanks for those suggestions, I'll keep them in mind. To be honest, relocating would be awesome, I'd love to do that but would need to line a job up. Maybe I will apply to a few out of state and if I get accepted I can try to line up some work in the respective area.
  06 June 2009
Originally Posted by taxguy: FA and MFA programs) and Carnegie Mellon ( masters only in entertainment design).

Check out the thread posted by Mr. Positive:

I think he teaches at University of Indiana,which might be a possibility.

Hope this all helps.

To be honest, I've never even posted my school on this site hahaha It's not even on the North American school's thread.....because we don't have a fing gallery for pete sakes!! Hey, at least I stick to my own rules hehehe But I digress. I actually teach at IUPUI.

P.S. Lucikly, after showing the big boss the thread of school's I put together, he put a task force on making a website with a gallery pronto (launching in August). :(

Last edited by MrPositive : 06 June 2009 at 01:47 AM.
  06 June 2009
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