Animation Guild

Fall 2019

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FALL 2019 37 DAVID FAIN David Fain came to an industry career in animation in a roundabout way. His original goal was to create his own weird films and try to make a living by teaching. After getting a BFA in Animation from the Rhode Island School of Design, his alma mater offered him a job as Adjunct Professor. He went on to earn an MFA from CalArts, and then taught animation in Philadelphia. It was only after returning to Los Angeles that Fain stumbled into the industry. Staff writing for SpongeBob SquarePants, writing and directing shorts for Nickelodeon, and working for Warner Bros. led to his current role on the Disney Jr. show, The Rocketeer. Despite commercial achievements, Fain never abandoned his passion for making his own weird films—he has three independent animated shorts under his belt—and he also never stopped teaching. Working as adjunct faculty at USC is still part of how he makes his living, but that's not solely why he does it: "I always find it energizing to work with students who are so enthusiastic it can't help but rub off. Sometimes the stuff they come up with is so great; so powerful or funny or just cool-looking, it's inspiring. It encourages me to make more short films of my own." As for what his students take away from his classes, Fain illuminates the practical, whether it's explaining how the history of unions can have a direct impact on their careers, or helping his students figure out "what aspect of animation they are really passionate about and how to make it a part of their life." Clearly, Fain has succeeded in the latter. Not only are many of his past students working in animation at the highest levels as directors, writers and show runners, he now counts them among his network of valuable industry contacts. "I always find it energizing to work with students who are so enthusiastic it can't help but rub off."

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