Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Evening with Pixar

I'm sure many of you were disappointed that there wasn't a Pixar movie for 2014 but now they have a lot of movies in the works and planned. More work for us! As such, Pixar will be looking for new talent that they can train and hopefully integrate. To share with us the upcoming opportunities of internships and residencies, before everyone was off for the holidays, we got a visit from Kim Diaz, senior recruiter, Ryan Howe, university relations program lead, and Anika Holloway, human resources coordinator.

There are different type of internships, classroom based and production based. Classroom based internships are structured actually like a class where you go in to learn and be mentored. Story, animation, and the Pixar Undergraduate Program (PUP) fall under classroom based and last 10 to 12 weeks during the summer. The other type is production based where you will get to work on actual shows in production. As such, the openings are based on production needs and typically last 12 to 18 weeks.

Residencies are also based on production needs are are for those who want to be technical directors or go into software engineer and research. They can last 6 months to a year.

The summer internships and a few residencies have already been posted on so I hope you're prepared!

Speaking of being prepared, what exactly do you do and what is Pixar looking for? Apply online at the above link with your resume, cover letter, and a link to your online reel/portfolio. If your reel/portfolio is password protected, that's fine, just have the link and password included in your resume. Make sure to do all this by the deadline, March 1st 2015!

We've probably went over what goes into resumes, cover letters, and reels numerous times but let's do a review. Limit your resume to one page and list any awards won, related classes, projects, and any events volunteering; show what you have done above and beyond a classroom setting. Make your cover letter stand out from others by having it being personalized and creative. Put your best work first on your demo reel and then followed by other best work (yes, only your BEST work goes on your reel) for a reel that is 1 to 3 minutes long; once you're finished, include a breakdown and always get others to review it.

Tea Time Animation, the only way to spend your tea time!

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Sunday, December 14, 2014

So You Want to be a Pixar Intern

Nicole Ridgwell and Spectra Sani

This summer, the amazing and talented Nicole Ridgewell and Spectra Sani were two of the privileged Pixar Animation Interns! As Tea Time alum, they humbly agreed to drop by club to share their experiences, and tips on how to structure your reel to be what Pixar is looking for.

Just what does it take to catch the eye of the Pixar Internship Coordinators? Nicole and Spectra tell us it's not just about sitting alone in front of a computer plowing through your animation day in and day out.  Our heroines urge students to get out of their rooms and over to the labs! It's important to be able to socialize with others, and it helps to maintain your sanity when you are inspired by talented friends. Getting into classes with Industry Teachers helps a lot (If you're an AAU student, the Pixar Classes should be your top priority!) Having someone up-to-date with information about the workplaces you are striving for is great leap towards your goals. If you feel that you're not getting the attention or the teaching that you need, try taking a class over at the Animation Collaborative. It's good to supplement your animation classes with  drawing, acting, and story classes to get those creative juices flowing. It's also possible to find all the inspiration you need at your local coffee shop! Make sure you take time to observe (and live) life and it will always add to your work.

When you think you're ready to apply, take a good look at your reel. Make sure you only have your best shots -- it's fine if your reel is short and simple; 2 shots can be enough to do it. Remember: You are always judged by the worst piece in your reel. Create believable characters and only add sound if it adds to the shot. You don't need to have fancy final rendered shots - your pieces can even be work in progress with nothing but some well thought out blocking! Just make sure that your idea is clear and your animation is clean. Use a simple title card to introduce yourself, and always make sure you tailor your reel for the company you are applying to. Pixar probably doesn't want to see something super violent with zombies ripping of people's heads while blood is spurting everywhere. That being said, don't just animate a shot for the purpose of applying to the studio. Instead, work on something you care about; Make it personal and relatable, emote yourself through the character, and people will respond to it.

Your reel showcases your work, but your resume and cover letter are effectively the face of your application. Your business papers should be concise and to the point (no one has time to read through the novel of your life), but make sure you have a voice! We should be able to feel your personality through your words, while still maintaining your professionalism. Trust me, they know you're a fanboy or girl, it is not appealing to emphasize this. It is vital to have good spelling and grammar. Always. If you have references, despite how redundant this may seem, make sure that they like you. More importantly, make sure that they know they are going to be a reference! Surprises are only good for parties and gifts, my friends. Always communicate effectively with your network.

So, with all this work, what can you expect from the Internship? On top of many group activities, and and an inevitable plethora of silly outfits, each intern will be assigned a personal mentor to work with for the duration of the summer. The Animation Internship, itself, is a lot like the Pixar classes! You will be doing assignments animating things such as a Lifesaver, the Luxo Lamp, posing exercises, walkcycles, pantomime, and 3 dialogues. Through these assignments you'll learn how to have a clean workflow, create appealing poses, owning confident ideas, making clear choices, and have clear blocking.

Even if you weren't chosen, don't be discouraged and remember to keep in touch. Just because you weren't selected this time around, doesn't mean there isn't a place for you in the future. Without being obnoxious, feel free to reach out every few months and at the end of projects, as it will showcase your continual interest, and (hopefully) your own, personal growth as an artist.

Finally, Pixar is great but it shouldn't be your only goal. There are tons of awesome opportunities out there so go and explore the world. Don't let your ego limit your choices. Don't get discouraged. Don't compare yourself to others. Be awesome, be yourself, and own it.

Happy Animating!

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Friday, December 12, 2014

An Afternoon with Carlos Baena

Kyle Remus, Alicia Joy Schaeffer, Andy Wu, George Ambartsoumian, Carlos Baena

Apologies for the delay in posting (as usual), but as it turns out, life gets a bit hectic when you somehow find yourself on 13 different productions. We've been quite a bustle with activity over the last few weeks, with some fun events and amazing guest speakers! So here's to the start of catching up on a massive backlog of knowledge we're about to drop.

Animator Carlos Baena came all the way from Paramount Studios to be an onsite director for his upcoming film Market Street. Through the lovely work of Sasha Korellis and Becky Johnson, Tea Time was able to schedule a lecture from Carlos way back in October!

For those who don't know, Carlos Baena has worked at Pixar as an animator and is well known for his Spanish Buzz Lightyear sequences in Toy Story 3.  Additionally, Carlos is one of the founders of Animation Mentor, now one of the largest online schools for animation.

Carlos gave an amazing talk on the 12 Principles of Animation. He particularly admires the principles, as even though they start simple, they apply to everything. On top of the 12 original principles set by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnson, Carlos has an additional 7 ideals he likes to follow:
Have Fun!

These extra 'principles' aren't exactly certain laws to obey, but rather things to remember to be a better animator.

So how do we define these new ideas? First off, study movement. Not just by looking at what's happening physically, but the reasons behind the actions we take. While you're studying, make sure you take time to find your references from real life and not just from film - Those are people are essentially doing what you are trying to: Acting. They are making their own interpretations to try and make a point clear to an audience.

Always find the appeal of everything that you are animating. Make sure you know your characters, work with them to find the things are appealing and clear first, instead of rushing straight into acting. Try turning on silhouette mode or turning your character around to different angles to make sure your poses and animation are able to read on their own.

Lastly, make sure to have fun! There will always be stress. Through your student life you will always have ups and downs. You will be putting in 90 hour weeks in the lab now, but it's important to keep your life in perspective: there is a lot of life after you graduate school, so make sure that the time you spend is enjoyable for yourself and others. While it's great sitting in front of your computer, carefully tweaking each and every spline, find a balance between doing "work" and going out to experience the world instead of burning yourself out.

You'll be sending out hundreds of letters and reels trying to get internships and jobs and you'll get hundreds of rejections, or worse, no responses back. Don't let rejection discourage you, instead, u it as a driving force and let it push you forward. When checking in with a recruiter, just email to confirm if they received your submission once. Just. Once. Otherwise: hands off. If they really want you, they'll contact you, usually within a few weeks. If you don't hear back, don't get stuck with all your eggs in one basket! Look at other places and take whatever you can get. All experience is god experience. Don't be that person who makes other people wait just because you're sitting there waiting to see if Big Corporate Company X will respond to you.

Carlos had a lot more he wanted to share with us (unfortunately his lecture was cut short), but he looks forward to joining us again in the spring. Keep your eyes peeled for part II!

Happy Animating!

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Questions? Don't hesitate to get in touch with us at
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