I’m currently working on my second semester at California College of the Arts. Im working towards my animation degree but I’m a little disappointed at how many filler classes there are (writing, history, weird core classes that I’ve gained nothing from.) For the price I’m paying for the school I really expected the courses to be a little more intensive. This lead me to look into other schools and I found the Dave school. The program sounds like a screamin’ good deal compared to what I’m currently enrolled in. Anyone know anything about this program? The pros and cons compared to a 4 year? I’m a little nervous that it doesn’t offer an actual degree or any credits.
Before I respond to you, I want to present a disclaimer:
Disclaimer, I have never been to the Dave school nor have I toured their facilities or seen student work.
With the understanding that I noted above, art and design take TIME! It can’t be hurried or properly condensed into one year of work. Also, You never know where life will take you and when you will need a college degree. Accordingly, I would stick with CCA for the reasons given and because it has a very good reputation. If you want to go to the DAVE School or some Masters program or certificate program after graduating from CCA that might be the better choice.
First, I’ll agree with Taxguy; there’s only so much you can learn in a year. One year programs might make sense if you all ready have a rock-solid grounding in the fundamentals of art, but for ninety-nine percent of students coming out of high school, it’s not going to leave you prepared.
Secondly, CCA is very expensive unless you got a great aid package. If you’re racking up huge amounts of debt, definitely look at other options. If you’re a California resident, San Jose State is a good cheap option (though it does have even more general ed requirements than CCA). There are also some Bay Area community colleges with solid classes in traditional art; if you went there and supplemented it with Digital Tutors, Gnomon, and some classes either online or from the Animation Collaborative you could get a good education for cheap.
If you can afford to stay at CCA, though, I would, at least if you’re focus is in character animation, story-boarding, stop-motion, character effects, or visual development. I graduated from there a couple years back, so I know it well. Once you’re out of core year, and into your major classes, the education gets much better. If you’re careful about course selection, the general ed requirements really aren’t that bad. Some classes are very useful; I make use of things I learned in a programming class I took for my math credit requirement all the time. Others are very easy, and really won’t take that much time away from your art practice (especially if you don’t mind getting some Cs, which you shouldn’t). Just be sure to ask around before signing up for a class. You can also take community college classes during the summer and apply them to your general ed requirements, which is a good way to free up space for more studios (not doing that is one of my big regrets).
I am a current student at The DAVE School. I like yourself felt bogged down with all the filler classes required by most universities. The others who have previously posted make good points about having a degree, as well as surviving until you get past the core years. That being said, The DAVE School takes everything you’d learn in the last 2 years at a 4 year university and condenses it into a single year. It is incredibly intense. You are trained by industry veterans at every level. The instructors continue to freelance while teaching at the school. These aren’t your typical professors. The school is a full production studio with MOCAP, a 25 foot tall green screen, a render farm, and a 3D printing lab.
As I said the course work is intense. Classes meet every week day for 5 hours of lecture. If you want to be successful as a student and as an artist, you will spend a minimum 20 hours of lab time each week as well. The classes are managed similarly to production studios. The school provides a subscription for Digital Tutors and Lynda.com for students to supplement what they learn in class. You need to be motivated to survive. There are currently 2 programs: VFX and Game Production. The school will help you build a professional demo reel and will connect you to studios so that you can land a job quickly after graduation. The school has a database of over 1,000 game and vfx studios that they maintain a relationship with. The school was even voted the best school to hire from in 2015! Call them and find out if it is the right choice for you. Beware, it is tougher than you could possibly imagine.
I wonder if you would answer a question for me since you are a current dave student. I read that you said the classes are intense and after a tour there in 2017, I can totally understand that . I will need to work part time in order to pay living expenses (lights, food, gas, etc). Is it possible to work part time and still put in the time needed to get the most out of this program.? I would need to work at least 15 hours a week. I am graduating in May with a Bachelors degree in Computer Science. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.