California State University, Long Beach
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Animation Program On The Rise

Published: August 3, 2015

Illustration sample depicting 8 different male characters gesturing
Artwork by Rodrigo Tello

Although fairly new, the CSULB animation program in the School of Art has quickly gained a national reputation, prepared award-winning students and produced alumni who are impacting the industry.

In Animation Career Review’s recently released rankings of animation schools, CSULB came in at No. 10 among public institutions and at No. 14 among animation programs on the West Coast.

“The program at CSULB is fairly new and gaining a strong reputation in a short amount of time with our graduates finding their way into the animation field in a variety of capacities like feature films, television, online, toy companies, video games, freelance and galleries,” said Aubry Mintz, faculty member and head of the animation program.

“I believe the success of our program is due to our dedicated faculty, outside the classroom initiatives and solid curriculum progression,” added Mintz. “Our highly skilled illustration/animation faculty collectively bring with them a variety of experiences that range from TV show creators to award-winning independent filmmakers to published authors/illustrators to highly experienced employees from major animation studios and more.”

That collective experience is leading to success for students. Earlier this year, winners were announced for the prestigious ASIFA-Hollywood’s Animation Educators Forum’s Student Scholarship. More than 110 applicants from all over the world applied and for his senior animation film “Galaxy Gas” CSULB student Alan Huynh was one of three winners earning a $5,000 scholarship.

Mintz believes much of this kind of success comes from the hands-on experience CSULB students receive. He credits student success on the program’s outside-the-classroom initiatives such as the annual 24-Hour Animation Contest, where students work through the night to conceptualize and complete an animated film in a nearly impossible amount of time.

Regarding the rankings, the Review considered hundreds of schools in the United States that offered programs geared towards animation or game design and based their ratings on such criteria as academic reputation, admission selectivity, depth and breadth of the program and faculty, value as it relates to tuition and indebtedness, and geographic location.

That success of the program and its students has certainly spilled into the industry. Alumni are working in the entertainment industry at The Walt Disney Co., DreamWorks, Nickelodeon, the Cartoon Network, Warner Bros., Hasbro, Pixar, and on television’s longest-running show The Simpsons. They also worked at Mitsubishi (graphic designer) and Whole Food Markets (graphic designer), as well as with greeting card companies and as teachers.

Mintz summarized, “Adopting the CSULB School of Art’s unique model of educating our students to find their own voice—rather than a one size fits all approach—truly allows them to reach new potentials they might never have thought possible.”

Artwork of castle and lute player by Susie Gonzalez.