There are the The Art Institutes, up north is Sheridan College, Westwood, Academy of Art University right across the bay, Savannah College of Art and Design, ITT Tech for the gamers, for the eager Animation Mentor, and the big one with a lot of weight to throw around: California Institute of the Arts (Cal Arts)
But I want to Talk about one: California College of the Arts
I went four years through their animation program and now I'm animating at Pixar. Yes I am 23 years old.. If you haven't guessed what this post is by now, get ready, I'm about make THE CASE of why you should go to California College of the Arts for animation. And since this is my school, hell yea I'ma go ahead and say this school is one of thee best, this will be hard-core juiced, ultra favorably biased, and VERY VERY DETAILED, the good the better and the best of CCA.
California College of the Arts: Is it The best Animation School?
-Danny explain yourself..
First I'd like to get to the point, It is unbearably close to Pixar :) I leave the parking lot of Pixar and can get to California College of the Arts in 5 minutes, Mapquest.com says it's seven minutes, but what do they know.
And the consequences of being so close to pixar.. a lot of our animation faculty who work here lead double lives.. Pixar Animators by day, teachers by night. The student to teacher ratio is TINY. An animator teacher rarely has more than 12 students in their classes. They like the intimate face-to-face time, it seems to help the students learn more and develop better. Revolutionary.. I know..
Who's Teaching now at CCA?
We've got story artists, animators, directors, art and design... To throw a few names out there can tell you that Andrew Gordon is amiably teaching animation, director of future Pixar film Mark Andrews is teaching his brutal Visual Story Telling class, Anthony Cristov amazing drawing skills are also at work here, Brett Parker teaches in experimental animation and as well as Film based classes, Don Crum is on top of good old traditional animation and making sure the students are exposed early in their curriculum to the basics (His class I can say was AMAZING) I can not leave out Stop Motion! Doug Sheppeck is busy in those trenches teaching this fascinating style of animation and keeping it alive. I can go on and on with our faculty and the classes CCA offers.
Do not get me wrong, Pixar is great but we also have other faculty that are also worth boasting about. They hail from Tippet Studios (awesome place) and other Animation studios that conveniently in the area CLOSE to California College of the Arts. (Tippet is located just up the street from CCA towards Berkeley as well.) We even have teachers who worked at Disney in their Second Golden Age that work here now. Yes CCA is spoiled when it comes to faculty... but it doesn't stop there. Connections baby..
You want complete connection to professionals who still have their feet wet from the business, This is the place to be. With the small class sizes they are not only your teachers, they end up being your friends. I was going to save this juice 'till the end but I'll just spit it out now. -
Monday April 25th, Pete Doctor will be giving a talk at California College of the Arts. Why?
Because he can. He's a boss. He can talk where ever he wants, and he wants to talk at CCA. (He was originally just going to talk to just a lucky class of students, but he ended up choosing to talk in our lecture hall.)
This is open to the Public. And will be either around 6:30 pm or 7pm in NALL HALL (Right around the corner to the animation department) Be there, you know I will. *cough *cough.. It's only 5 minutes away.. Are you applying to CCA yet? Fine, ok here's some info on the Anim Department..
The Animation Department:
Has a lot of good things going for it. The Department is still in it's infancy (only barely on it's 3rd graduating class) and it's growing exponentially every year. CCA will supply you with anything you need. You need Down-shooters for your 2D short? We have a whole room for them. Animating on maya? They have rows and rows of spanking new powerfull imacs for you, each one with a Wacom tablet. Have you ever animated on a Cintique? Well you will here, tons of new Cintiques to use for animation (seniors get priority on these.. nice..), there's nothing like Animating 2D directly on a screen and pressing the arrow key for a new blank page..
The facility got a make over with a new lay out that include new classrooms and a new sound recording studio included. The thing I always repeat about CCA is that they don't have any other agenda other than to make you the best artist YOU want to be. You just want to be a modeler or story boarder, go ahead, you only want to do experimental animation, fine! Character animation is your interest, CCA will help you be what you want to be. This is no cookie cutter Art College, these teachers will FAIL your ass if you suck garbage, or maybe they'll just let you know that your work is bad and then tell you how to fix it. But ultimately you are your own person and the Medium of animation is at your mercy. You will not be FORCED to changed, but you will be showed how to become great.
With all the improvements to the department, you are missing out on a great experience if you pass this school up. The sweetest addition to the department in my opinion was the Light Table bar that lines both sides of the whole entrance way to the animation department. It is open 24/7 you will always find some one flipping their animation there.
California College of the Arts:
CCA is over a hundred years old (1907). It didn't start out as an animation school but was founded during the Arts and Crafts movement. So this school is ARTSY. It has a very, very, VERY broad range of disciplines here. Here's a few:
Stuff we don't even have names for!
As well as.. Fashion Design, Graphic Design, Architecture, Illustration, Industrial Design, Jewelry and Metal Working, Tons of Drawing classes,Visual Studies, Writing and Literature, Fine Arts, Film, Community Arts, and more.
-CCA is an ART SCHOOL,
..no more no less. It's not just filled will tech heads or JUST animation students, you get EVERY possible kind of artist you could think of! (Fine art, Abstract, Impressionist, psycho, emo, hipster, introverted, bubbly, troubled, conscientious, yoga enthusiast, urban, B-boy/girls, activist, face value type, passivist, too serious, partyer that always has a funnel, the stoner, the straight edge, the coke fiend, the zen master, the liberal, the conservative (Very rare) the rocker, the gay the straight the in-between, black shades beat poet, promiscuous, nerdy, and All the internationality's you can think of..etc etc I can go on)
Being an art school so close to University of California, Berkeley has history of being involved in social issues. Being so close to San Francisco and hippie lifestyle Oaksterdam University it comes kinda expected that The Princeton Review would name CCA one of the most 'Green Schools of 2011'. The bottom line is that CCA has a diverse population of artists. And you constantly get to see their work and mingle such as Spring fair help on campus for selling and trading art.
HOLD UP. Don't think it's all fun and games. This school is accredited. You do earn a REAL bachelors that can be used to get a job other than animation or art.. you WILL have to to take english and science still. And being right next to Berkeley, one of the best universities of the world, we do get teachers from Berkeley teaching at CCA. (Art school producing well rounded artist? whaaAA!?!?)
-CCA has two campuses,
One San Francisco and one in Oakland (animation is in Oakland) There is a shuttle between the two campuses. Sometimes you might have a morning Life Drawing class in Oakland and then Philosophy class on San Francisco campus. :) San Francisco offers the urban modern feel while Oakland keeps it Old school and full of nature.
Hands down what CCA is good for is scholarships.. I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for those scholarships. California College of the Arts might not be the biggest school on the map nor the most famous one, but it is one of the best. CCA has tons to offer. Your experience there will be one of a kind. Your first year you will most likely be in the Dorms.
Dorm life IS the business..
..for like only a year. You could only handle so many dorm room parties haha, and with Berkeley down the street and San Francisco 15 minutes away, you will never run out of fun things to do. And Oakland has some fun spots as well. I've been here 4 years and am still finding new spots here in the bay. You can go hiking, bomb fire on the beach, drive to the snow, visit one of countless museums here, be a tourist, I can go on for a while and this post is already quite long.
So I hope I made my case of why you should pick CCA as your animation school or just as your art school in general. I came from no where, a slummy, run down, druged out, hood banging neighborhood, single parent mom making under 25,000 a YEAR and Look at me now. You would of never known. Maybe it was CCA, maybe it's because I worked my ass off, maybe it's no ones credit and it's the way the cookie crumbles...
Either way, California College of the Arts a bad ass school and it's waiting for you.