Grads of Okanagan College’s Animation Diploma program are finding their skills have never been in higher demand.
First- and second-year students showed samples of their artwork and demo reels to industry partners at OC’s annual Animation Industry Night on May 17.
“Lots of the work was very professional,” says James Wood, Chair of Okanagan College’s Animation Department.
“Our program is short, but intense. The instructors make sure the students have a realistic understanding of what they need do to succeed in a competitive and demanding work environment. Our grads develop a good work ethic.”
Okanagan College Animation instructors regularly make presentations at area high schools, chatting with students about the opportunities in animation and video game design. That’s how Graham Phillips from Kelowna found out about the program.
“I was always interested in art,” he says. “I loved cartoons and video games but wasn’t sure if I could do anything with that.”
He praises the Animation program instructors, who all have industry experience.
“They are always willing to go the extra mile to help you. Because of that, I have a lot of practical knowledge,” Phillips says, adding he is confident about his ability to have a career developing video games.
Ashlyn Schmautz from Quesnel knew from an early age she wanted to work in art. “I’ve been drawing since I was old enough to hold a pencil,” she says
Schmautz feels the work she invested in the program really paid off as she gets ready to work at a Vancouver animation studio. “It helps prepare you for the real world. My knowledge has grown by leaps and bounds.”
The grads are entering one of the hottest job markets on record, and several of them have already been snapped up.
Ashley Ramsay of Yeti Farms Creative, a Kelowna animation studio, was impressed with the work presented during Animation Industry Night.
“There was a great diversity of talent. We’ve just hired one of their grads,” says Ramsay. “There’s a massive talent shortage. Studios are competing for workers and wages are very high.”
To learn more about OC’s Animation Diploma, visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/animation.
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