First, let me say well done in selecting animation as your career path. It’s challenging, but you’ll love it.
I go to Sheridan College in Oakville Ontario Canada. I take the Bachelors of Applied Arts (BAA) Illustration program. The sister program, the BAA of Animation is the one you’re looking for. I can give you lots of info on this program.
First, know that the entrance exam is BRUTAL. There is an actual drawing review for each BAA program. Here are examples of what you’ll need to do if you want to stand a chance of getting into Sheridan:
Past Student Art
Also know, that Sheridan faculty know about this site and remember EVERYTHING on it so you had better come up with your own designs. Why pay for a portfolio review if you’re afraid they’ll find you out? Make your own art. That’s the point of it all!
Next, if you do get in know that there is indeed, residence on campus. If you are in anyway disabled let them know that and you’ll stand a better chance of getting in (It’s so competitive they hold a draw) There is a website called places4students.com if you do not want to go, or don’t get into, residence. Be very careful! There are mostly good landlords but a few bad apples do ruin the bunch sometimes.
The program is intense. Expect to spend up to 50 or more hours a week at class or in the studio. The studio becomes your second home. This is University level art so expect to take many life drawing classes and other “electives” but you don’t choose them. Topics include Psychology, art history and Mythology. Also, the first animation stuff you do is pretty lame… waving sea weed… a bouncing ball… they take so much time though! and that’s the START of animating. You eventually work up to animals, cartoon characters etc.
If you survive first year you get thrown into second year where the stakes are higher. Much more work is given and you’re expected to produce professional quality animations considering you’ve studied it for a year. They get more interesting though, and you visit zoos and wander through toronto doing art.
Third year is the group animation project. You know all the problems with group assignments in highschool? Multiply them by over 9000. you’ll have lazy people… disagreements etc. But you (Might) produce a workable animation… The main thing this prepares you is fourth year which means…
2-3 minute short film! Totally done by yourself… From idea to finishing touches. You may be able to get some 2 years to animate parts for you but don’t count on it. You can animate on the computer or in stop motion… you can do an entire pencil animation… in fact… it’s all up to you at this point! Total creative freedom. Here are some way old examples… (Link to youtube)
You can find plenty on youtube if you search “sheridan 4th year films”
Don’t expect to land a job at Pixar just because you went to sheridan though. Pixar looks at thousands of portfolios each year and pics… 3 graduates. Just sayin. Same goes for Disney, dreamworks, Bluesky, Warner Brothers, etc… Remember that when you’re done this intensive program, taking 4 years of your life… you will be… a beginner in the industry.
So some other things…
There is an summer long internship between 3rd and 4th year. That’s really valuable. People’s animations really improve after that. It might be paid… or it may not be! Mine wasn’t! But that didn’t stop it from being THE BEST PLACE EVER!
The campus has art on all the walls. Everyone wants to get on the walls. To get on the walls you have to be better than everyone. Sounds tough right? That’s because it IS tough. And the whims of the teachers don’t help. Sometimes they might pick things you think suck… well… they’re on the wall and you aren’t so just try harder next time.
So yeah, if i haven’t frightened you yet… If you just got more pumped instead of feeling those doubts. Then you’re cut out for Sheridan Animation.