Hi, I'm an Australian student who's almost finished with the HSC (Higher School Certificate).
It has been my wish to do animation for a few years, stemming from watching old cartoons and playing several PC games while my parents are not around. My older brother has been encouraging me to continue improving my drawing skills and to work harder to reach my goal, which is to one day work for PIXAR! My dilemma at the moment is that while I did get accepted in AIE (Academy of Interactive Entertainment) Sydney, I have yet to decide whether or not I should complete my enrollment for the following reasons:
1. It's really expensive, $15 900 for first year and I've heard that the teachers decide whether or not you'd make it into second year, which is why I don't know who much second year will cost.
2. I can't find much recent reviews for AIE, but from the small number I've found, their teaching methods are "questionable".
3. Their site advertises "90% employment rate", which was what attracted me to them in the first place. I'm not entirely sure if those figures involve self employment as well.
So I was wondering if anyone from AIE, Sydney campus specifically, can shed some light on how AIE actually operates? What are their teaching methods? Is it worth the money being spent?
If not, what other places would you recommend?
Note: The course which I applied and got accepted in is "Advanced Diploma of Professional Game Development – Specialising in Art".
To surpass another, you must surpass yourself first.
I recommend America! CalArts is pretty much one of the best animation schools in the world.
A Cartoonist is just a lazy Animator.
If you're sure that you want to animate, iAnimate and Animation Mentor are cheaper and better than most colleges (at teaching that particular specialty, at least). If you want to have the college experience, the only english-speaking colleges worth putting your money into, in my opinion, are CalArts, Vancouver Film School, Ringling, Sheridan, or The Animation Workshop. If you ask employees at Animal Logic, maybe they can point you to good animation programs in Australia - it's an area I'm less familiar with.
The sad fact is that most animation college programs just aren't very good. They give a broad overview of everything but rarely specialize well in anything. You NEED a specialty to make it to Pixar. The few I mentioned I think can actually give you a good foothold in a specialization before you graduate. Among my peers, those five college programs are more often spoken of positively rather than negatively.
So, as far as getting into Pixar itself: It's hard. Very hard. Other than maybe Valve, they're probably the most difficult popular studio to get into out of any of the animation/VFX/game houses. They're looking for people who are not only technically excellent, they also - more than Disney or Dreamworks - want people with a unique voice. Being able to match their movie style is important of course, but they are so inundated with reels that you'd better be great AND stand out from the crowd.
If you want an easier time getting into Pixar, I really recommend that you do both their internship program and sign up for the Pixar's Animation Collaborative classes. This will give you an "in," and your mentors/professors from these programs will recommend you for entry level positions if they like you.
Last, in the words of Anton Ego: "Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere." If you work smart and are completely dedicated to your craft, it doesn't matter where you go to school. Cream tends to rise to the top.
In sydney the only choices I hear talked about are AIE, Quantm, and JMC. Outside of sydney there is griffith and QUT. I'm also trying to decide which if any are good options. Since you want game dev, then why pixar specifically?