Could anything be more fun than promoting a course you love in an exotic location? Animation Department Head Sean Ridgway tells us all about his (pre-Covid!) trip to Central America doing this very thing.
Viva La Mexico!
In the first week of March I was recruited to deliver a whirlwind weekend info session in Mexico City, designed to aid in our International recruiting efforts with respects to the animation programs at both Langara College and CAT.
First, a little background noise. I have worked in the industry and educational sectors for the last 28 years. Graduating post-secondary in 1992, I got my first job animating on a video game title ‘Spiderman vs. The Kingpin’ for the Sega CD-Rom system at a small independent game studio in Oakville, Ontario.
I moved on to Vancouver in 1994 and worked in the industry for the next 8 years, designing and animating on projects such as Magic School Bus, Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas, NBA Live and lots of Disney features. In addition to the mouse house and some other studios, I have also worked at Electronic Arts (EA) and Bardel Entertainment.
I started teaching during my time after Disney and fell in love with education and the effect I had on young, eager artists looking to kickstart a career.
So fast forward. Here I am landing at 7am in Mexico City, my first time travelling anywhere internationally. My entire trip has been wonderfully coordinated by Mayra Wiszlicki, Director of International Admissions for both Stenberg College and CAT.
Thankfully she has provided some transportation from the airport as I absolutely would not have survived driving the streets of Mexico City on my own.
My driver knows his way around and how to navigate the tangled web of traffic, complimented with motorcycles and scooters constantly whizzing between vehicles. I hit my hotel at 8am, exhausted! Thankfully Mayra has some pull with the hotel and I can check in right away. I crash hard for a few hours and then meet Mayra and her team to start my mission and get introduced to the city.
Beautiful weather, friendly people and great food helped make this a very enjoyable, yet brief, encounter. As much as I would have liked to explore and act like a tourist, my real mission and purpose in Mexico City was to deliver a presentation and Master class to a group of 60-70 people, consisting of many young, budding artists and animators eager to learn more about me, the animation process, our province, the schools and what opportunities the industry might provide them here in BC.
We wanted this to be a fun, interactive event, coupled with me reviewing portfolios afterwards and giving out prizes to the top artists
I believe all of this went very well.
I was told by several attendees I had delivered a motivating and inspirational speech and presentation. These kids I met, most of whom are done high school and in a post-secondary situation already, are so talented and wonderful to talk to. I could see myself teaching many of them in my own class and they all remind me of our own students.
Animation is so universal and knows no real cultural boundaries.
Overall a rewarding and wonderful experience.
Words: Sean Ridgway