Computer Graphics World

November/December 2013

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Page 33 of 51

EDUCATION in high school, teachers often overload students with homework to prepare them for the next step in their education journey. Students then spend the next year, or two, or more, learning the vital skills they will need to succeed in the professional realm. However, given the current state of the visual effects, animation, and video game industries, landing a job can be a difficult proposition for just about anyone, let alone recent grads or those about to enter the workforce. In the distant past, students who learned their craft could slip into the job market fairly easily. With an internship added to their resume, all the better. But today, with the economy being the way it is and available positions at studios more elusive than ever, what's a student to do? And, what can a school do to ensure that its students are properly educated and prepared to embark on a career, as well as assist them in finding employment? Here, we talk to various schools to find out what they are doing to help students navigate the challenging professional landscape. For the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), this entails dedicating the education it provides around the life of the art- ists, rather than just creating a kind of temporary educational skill set. "Our education model is intended to create a series of critical-thinking and creative skills that are adaptable, flexible, and future-proof, says Tim Leeser, director of the Art and " Technology Program in the School of Art and director of the Center for Integrated Media at CalArts in Valencia, California. "It is designed for the students who are interested in expanding their practice and expanding what we currently see as art forms that are within our culture right now. " Leeser emphasizes that CalArts students, for the most part, are those who want to break new ground in their industry – Tim Burton and John Lasseter are two examples of just such alumni. "Our students want to make new groundbreaking work and move the culture forward, not just get a job. They are motivated beyond that. They walk away [from CalArts] with options and possibilities. " Leeser has been in the film industry and art world for a long time, and every studio he had worked for prior to his position at CalArts is now out of business, the last being Rhythm & Hues. "This is due to a number of reasons, one being the volatile market. Another is because the technology they have incorporated and use is obsolete, he says. " an educator, " As .com 32 ■ CGW Novem ber / Dec em ber 2013 ARTICLE: Go to "Extras" in the November/ December 2013 issue box for a feature on how schools outside the US are helping grads find jobs

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