Time flies… I still remembered, back in 2004, on the forums at CGTalk.com (now CG Society), reading about the conceptual foundation for a new online school called… “Animation Mentor,” and thinking (mentoring… an old idea made new) “that is a kick-ass idea… I WANT IN!”
Now, years later, I’m half way through the program, and, as it turns out, it is Animation Mentor’s 5th Anniversary.
After working for two long years on our free time, in March 2005, Bobby, Shawn and I opened the doors to our first group of very enthusiastic/motivated and passionate animation students. Many friendships and experiences were born out of what to the three of us was a very scary new adventure. I remember our very first Q&A. We met at Bobby’s house…and we were ready to start meeting students online. About a 100 students were waiting to log into this Q&A from all over the world. Within a minute of the Q&A starting, the server crashed. Couldn’t handle things. We were terrified to say the least. I sat on the floor a bit lost. All our hard work and sweat, and many sleepless nights spent on the School all of a sudden seemed like they would not see the light, and that perhaps we were trying to achieve something ridiculously ambitious.
However, in the following weeks to that, and thanks to our very patience/supportive students, mentors and a ridiculously talented/hardworking staff/crew…what seemed like it was going to be a nightmare turned out to be one of the experiences of our lifetime. Things got turned around slowly, and our online community was born. Pretty unreal. So, the crew, the teachers, the students, have always showed us sides that have made the experience unforgettable.
I think one of the things I remember constantly is the support from people in a lot of ways.
A moment I clearly remember, was one of our first Birds of a Feather in Los Angeles’ Siggraph. It was just a few of us. Bobby, Shawn, Rachel, Becky and Lleslle if I remember correctly. We were going to have a few of our first mentors speak about their experiences. We were stressing and rushing to get the event ready and organized for the students to arrive. One of the first people entering the room while we were finishing things quickly and running around one side of the room to the next, was one of our mentor guests of that day, Jason Schiefler. Someone who’s been definitely one of the most supportive mentors we’ve had in our School, and someone who I respect tremendously. Jason was coming to just speak about his experiences. However, first thing Jason says walking in the door without even saying hello “Ok guys, what can I do to help!”. Those exact words. Right in that moment, that showed me a lot about Jason from the very beginning. So for me, it’s been always moments like that were people surrounding us have been there with us very very generous along the way. Hopefully we’ve been trying to do the same as much as we’ve been able to.
So from here I wanted to say Happy 5th Anniversary to AnimationMentor, the crew, the teachers/guests/students who I’ve been lucky enough to meet/hang out in these 5 years…and a big thank you for being there along the way. Thanks to you, I’ve been lucky enough to meet people from all over the world, who have treated me above and beyond what I could ask.
ps: check out this “Once Upon a Time…” video in the front page of the Public School site that will show you more about the beginnings of us starting all this.