SAY: Personal Perspective
• I'm still in a school environment so I haven't really made that transition!
• I like the idea of learning being an ongoing thing-- it would be good if everyone had those opportunities-- being in an
environment of learning, questioning.
• I liked school, and I liked teaching from the start.
• I haven't had much of a job in the "real" world for any extended period-- most of my life has been in academia as
student, teacher, or administrator.
• That's one question everyone probably has: "How do I make a living after school?
• I did cartooning and was always interested in animation. I thought, "I want to do art," so I thought I'd be a [graphic]
designer because aren't they the only artists who make money? It seemed socially acceptable-- to be a designer-- more
cool than penniless.
• I realized I could get a lot better at design, but I didn't want to. I enjoyed the idea of being an animator a lot more, but I
don't think I thought of it as a career you could make money from until after I spent some time doing desktop
• I thought of going to a [animation] studio or going back to school, so I decided I needed to go to school to learn how
to do this.
• When I graduated [with my Masters], I realized that I liked school and I liked teaching as well. After that point I
thought, "I'm aiming to be a teacher." Also, the more I learned how the animation industry operates the less I wanted to
go into it.
• Once I figured I wanted to do animation, I was stubborn about it.
SAY: Teacher Perspective
• I get that question a lot ["how do I make money"] because it's what students are concerned about,
naturally, and parents ask it at open house.
• Animation is not exactly considered an art form by many-- there is a large commercial industry-- and
a lot of my students see it that way too.
• My students' tastes are often very commercial so they often don't think about being an animator as
being an "author," they think of it more as being a "production artist.”
• My view on the money question has changed over time. Some of my decisions when I was younger
were maybe a little black and white: ”If you want to be an artist, you have to be a *designer*
because that's how you can make money. I think a lot of students think about art that way and I don't
think they should, necessarily. I don't think they should ignore it, obviously, but my attitude now is
"do what you want to do, become good at it, then at least you'll always have that integrity, that basis,
and you stand a better chance than if you're just making decisions based on what do I have to do to
get a job.
• If you're asking the question "can I make a living?" then maybe you should be doing something else.
• My assessment? You should be passionate, you should be doing this because you love it, you should
become very good at it, or don't do it.
• Becoming/being an artist is as hard as it needs to be-- it's always going to be hard.*
• We don't track placement or success per se. In a class of 14 people, 25-30% would carry on in
animation in some capacity. It's usually the best ones in the class who get the consistent work.
SAY: Teacher Perspective, cont.
• Those who make it have perseverance, are talented, and have good organizational skills to get things
done on deadline.
• As tight as the job market is, what the studios will almost always tell you is it's hard to find
animators who are really good at it, and they are still hungry for those people.
• Student expectations of the industry are often out of line with reality: they aren't as good as their
parents or friends tell them they are, or they think [well-paying] jobs are all over the place.
• Over time, students are getting more industry focused and job focused.
• As an animation teacher I want to encourage them, I want them to become authors and to hear them
say, "I want to make my own films." Last time I asked a class "what are your hopes for your student
film," a student said, "I want to put it on my demo reel so that I can find a job." And I think she
spoke for a number of students.
• One view I have: Art schools should be like conservatories-- really strong reputations, high
standards, be difficult to get into. Because it's difficult to make a living in the arts, no art school
should strive to be less than the best art school possible.
• As a [animation] teacher it gets tiring or frustrating at times but I never view it as working, unless it's
busy work-- committee meetings! It's never like having to make copies, or being a banker or
• As a teacher you have to recognize what/who is in front of you, and give them environment to
evolve; if you're the teacher you still want to take their situation and improve it.
SAY: Societal Perspective
• The kids I see these days, especially in the U.S., have very thin skin-- they have been shielded from
reality by their parents, have a need a lot of positive reinforcement, applause just for doing their
work, and often have an unrealistic view of how good they are. At the same time, they are under a lot
of pressure to perform on tests and all that kind of stuff "the establishment" cares about.
• Art is kind of a marginal thing, especially in a very pragmatically oriented culture like the U.S. It
would take a big cultural shift for art or artists in general to be more highly valued and supported as
an important part of our intellectual or aesthetic life.
• The "entrepreneurial" tilt of society and business these days really requires the artist to be adaptable
and flexible in the new economy and social contract. The U.S. has never placed significant value or
weight on art, culturally/societally.
• A lot of kids come out of high school with a patchwork of arts skills because of funding cuts and
whatever, so they come in missing a lot of what they need-- basic skills-- to succeed.
• There's a lot of results-oriented education vocabulary in the air-- especially from government.
They're still trying to aim at "results" as the panacea for all this. I would think about it in a more
renaissance way: you're educating yourself to improve the quality of your life-- all the other stuff
will follow if you're very good, and lucky, but if you're very good you increase your chances. Results
don't necessarily reflect the process if, let's say, someone's just good at taking tests.
• My goal and our university's goal: Not to create a "trade person" but to create a well-rounded, very
creative person who can put their imprint on any number of situations, as opposed to being a worker
• There's a big problem in the U.S. that we all rely on student loans to get us to school when the jobs
aren't there to support the price tag. People are taking on unrealistic amounts of debt ["practical"
education or otherwise].
• There are no "doing" actions associated with this interview.
• Not everyone who wants to be an artist/animator, can be an artist/animator.
• Getting a job isn't the point of the art/animation degree, but there is a noticeable mental shift in students from
an "art" to "job" orientation.
• Learning is an important ongoing/lifelong process, for the individual and society.
• Students are unprepared for or have unrealistic views of the job market or making a living.
• Money or prestige seems to hold outsize sway as a driver of what to do with one's life.
• Society/culture is a critical shaper/influencer of how education and work are formulated, structured, and
• There is a disconnect in students’ minds between "the job market" and the "education market" in terms of
communication of needs and expectations of opportunities.
• Culturally, the U.S. is very focused on "the pragmatic" and "results" to the detriment of support for arts
• Cultural dialogue (and renewed business opportunity) has placed "job" over "art" in mind of many art
• The current "results oriented" view of education has parents and students focus on trade skills to the
detriment of fine art.
• Jobs and schools (or lack thereof) are an important social lubricant/currency and can give you a social sheen
• One must excel at what you do to get ahead, especially given the currently-configured and increasingly hyper-
competitive, freelance world in which we live.
• Arts education is lacking in K-12 stunting future ability, development, and success in the arts.
• The relationship between education and job is unsustainable as it is currently formulated.
• There are almost no alternatives to taking on incredible debt to get an education.
• A good result generally requires a good process.
• Creative responses are necessary to meet current-day pressures constraining arts education and the arts in
• On some fundamental level, art must be a pursuit of love (or obsession).
• Art is not meant to be easy-- part of creating art is the struggle.
• If you love what you do, you may be more likely to excel because it is no longer "work" (it is part of
who you are)
• You need "stubbornness" to succeed, not necessarily "ambition." The sources and purposes of those
feelings are different.
• Everyone has anxiety about "how do I survive" and it must be addressed at various levels of society
and in various ways.
• An important part of all education is desire for personal discovery and discovery of the world outside
• STAKEHOLDER needs a way to ________(PROBLEM/NEED)____ Because
• A private university animation teacher, department head, and talented
professional animator who cares about his students' development as
people and artists…
• NEEDS A WAY TO strengthen the viability of developing artists (and
• BECAUSE of a desire to create a stronger and more accessible culture of
(lifelong) learning in the U.S.