Animation Mentoring

The Orange County Animation Project: Mentoring From The Real World with Michael Guerena, Program Specialist, Orange County Department of Education (CA, UNITED STATES), Dave Master, Director, ACME Animation, and Don Isbell, Animation Teacher, Century High School.

Dave started by explaining the need for students well trained in animation. When professionals review students’ portfolios, they only keep 1 in 1000 of the portfolios that come in.

He showed a video how how students get feedback from professionals on their work.

They have 3 levels of telecasts:

  1. Audition room for students who are just learning the basics. At this level they have a year’s resources for teachers.
  2. The intern level is for students who are really serious. The students work is evaluated by professionals in the industry.
  3. The apprentice level is the same as in the industry. Students have to have 5 pieces of work that are at the level to get a job.

The pros in the studios just walk down the hall to their videoconference room to evaluate the students’ work.

He showed another clip where the students at the intern level are given an assignment. The students work on it for two weeks, revise, review, and then the professionals critique the students work. Then the students do an informed revision on their work. The teachers in the classes around the US also interacted and learned with the pros through the program.

Their group is now considered a major source of talent by the studios!

They do have room for other schools to join (jr high, high school, & college). The telecasts are a round-robin. They make webcasts available for other classes as well.

How do you participate? Contact Debbie Brooks, 323-334-6191, dbrooks at who is the director of this program.

It’s $1000 a year to participate online or $12,500 for all the telecasts which is about half the cost of what it really costs to do the program.

Here’s the project website.

Next we’re hearing from Michael Guerena, and he’s explaining how they are implementing this project on a county wide basis. The project goals include developing opportunities to showcase student animation work through exhibitions, broadcasting, and the Internet, as well as preparing students for a wide range of animation careers.

They partner with local colleges and also work to develop highly-skilled animation instructors.

It’s incredible really how students interact with professionals and get live feedback on their work. One student shared how good it makes him feel to realize that pros care about giving feedback to them and helping them work with their work.

On a side note, you can really tell that these guys are all into video. They have a great background and really good lighting that makes the presentation really easy to listen to & watch.

Now Don Isbell, Animation Teacher, Century High School, is explaining how the program works in his school. His school is in a high poverty and most of his students haven’t been to a museum or traveled much. This program brings an incredible experience for the poorer students and expands their understanding of the types of jobs open to them and gives more of them the realization that they CAN go to college!

Don shared how his students learned collaboration skills, how to behave professionally interacting with the professionals, and how to mentor each other. In addition, the program raised the literacy levels of students as they had to use technical jargon in communicating about animation.

Neat program! My ideas of what can be done with VC have expanded again!

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