What’s university life like?
1 Social aspect
You will learn how to drink heavily without paying too much for it!!! This great article concurs featuring an interview with Disney Tangled animator Darrin Butters. However, you will make some great friends for life you wouldn’t of met other wise, you will learn independence both in lifestyle and in learning.
Most creative courses allow you to explore and learn for your self, if you imagine you pick an English Literature course, you will of course be left to read the books your self, not sit in a read along class. If you can translate this to an equivalent animation course, you will be left to develop your skills yourself, there will not be much hands on “teaching”. Use your time well, use some books on animation technique, then you can practise exercises again and again and enhance your skills as you want to avoid learning things in hindsight!
The reason you study a degree is to prepare yourself ready for the job market, so don’t forget that. Complete all your course modules, but make sure the completed animation will be content appropriate for a great show reel- don’t waste time copying your favourite films or “in jokes” that you and your mates find hilarious, but you employer will find tedious. (for example, I started university in 2000, and everybody wanted to replicate the film techniques of The Matrix- great film, but to copy it is obvious and boring). The course won’t necessarily prepare you for the job market as much as you might hope. This aspect won’t be “taught” to you in a direct way, but will nurture and give you time to develop your animation technique showreel and your cv and job seeking approach.
Once you complete the course, it might take longer than you think to find work, but the better you use your time at uni, the shorter this should be. You can prepare yourself for those job applications during your course, for example, research production companies and be already signed up to email job alerts from all relevant sites. These production companies would be those that you would want to apply for work experience anyway!
Whats the alternative?
Take a few years out of employment. Buy your own equipment, be very self disciplined and use books on animation technique to practise religiously. Then create your own short film, upon completion contact those in industry for feedback and apply for more and more work experience. Of course university is a great life experience in its self and it would be a difficult choice not to go.
I wish you lots of luck and please subscribe to make sure you don’t miss part 3– where I give tips on securing that first job post university!