It’s a new beginning for the Animation and Visual Effects Program at Dodge College.
This fall, the program welcomed Aubry Mintz as the new director for the 2021-2022 school year. Mintz previously built the animation programs at Laguna College of Art and Design and Cal State Long Beach respectively, and brings that experience with him here to Dodge.
Mintz has also found success in his own right, with his animated short Nothing to Say starring Danny Aiello having been accepted into 42 festivals around the world and sweeping up 8 awards along the way. He additionally founded the 24 HOURS Animation Contest, which featured students competing from more than 72 schools across 14 countries in its most recent year.
Stepping into this new role, Mintz is ready to listen.
“The first goal is to listen and to hear from the students, faculty, and staff about what is working, what is motivating and exciting, and what needs work,” said Mintz.
Last month, three sessions were held where Animation and Visual Effects students had the opportunity to offer feedback on what they were looking for out of the program, as well as ask questions about the changing landscape of the animation industry, and receive career advice.
Mintz has also met with outreach from major studios including Disney and Netflix, in order to have a better understanding of what the studios are looking for out of the next generation of animators.
“It’s important to figure out what the students want, what the studios want from incoming students, talking to the faculty, and then putting all of those pieces together,” said Mintz.
Mintz also hopes to encourage more collaboration between the Animation and Visual Effects students and the other majors within Dodge College.
“Animators can feel like they’re in this little silo with us being in our own building here, so there is a definite need to cross-pollinate,” said Mintz.
Despite Film Production and Animation and VFX students sharing certain course requirements such as AVE 120, they are split up into different classes with different teachers. However, by placing students from both majors in the same class, Mintz hopes that both majors will have a better chance to meet and collaborate with each other.
As the lines between animated and live action films continue to become more and more blurred in the industry, he believes that Animation and VFX students can benefit from more teaching on the film side and vice versa.
“Animation films are still films; we follow the same story structure and we follow the same character arcs,” said Mintz. “And look at all of the great Marvel films, are those animated or live action?”
At the end of the day, whether it’s teaching students to use the newest technology, or animate with the simplest of objects, Mintz is excited to be here and is ready to motivate students to create their best work.
“Whatever motivates them is the best by me,” said Mintz.