The Quality of Education:
03 | Studio Animators Guide Student Work
In 1996 Dave Master of Warner Bros. was faced with a shortage of animators to draw for movies and television programs. To solve the problem, he developed a pilot program, called ACME (from the Wile E. Coyote cartoon series), which brought professional animators into the classroom for real-life, hands-on instruction.
“I visited 94 schools and picked three CSUs,” he recalls. “Fullerton was one that met the criteria: Enthusiasm of the students. Enthusiasm of the teachers – they had to be able to open themselves up to outsiders, which is hard to do. Having the interest of the students is No. 1. The third was an administration that understood that this program has special needs.”
The two-hour weekly sessions draw on professionals from Hollywood’s animation industry, who review and critique student work. But it is only one feature of the animation program, most of which involves instruction in art by Fullerton faculty. “One of our strengths,” says Don Lagerberg, professor of art, is producing “classically trained artists with discipline, who are responsive to team leadership situations.” The program also involves training in the use in state-of-the-art computer software that produces 3-D animation and skills needed to create video games.
Fullerton graduates now work for leading entertainment industry companies, including Walt Disney, Warner Bros., Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Film Roman, and others. “I was having lunch at DreamWorks and saw two Fullerton grads,” Master notes. “Fullerton wasn’t even on the map at Warners when I started there. Now, they’re probably in the top 10.”