Hard Work Defines BYU Animation Program

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    By Julian Cavazos

    It’s called “Pajama Gladiator,” and it’s about the adventures of a boy abducted by aliens whose mom doesn’t believe him.

    This is one of the films created by BYU animation students.

    “We’re really lucky we’ve got such great kids,” said Kelly Loosli, assistant animation professor. “It really takes 40 to 60 hours a week just killing themselves to make films.”

    The animation program is one of the toughest programs to get into at BYU, with a limited number admitted each year, said R. Brent Adams, animation professor. Each Fall and Winter semester, about 150 students take the prerequisite classes, introduction to film and introduction to animation.

    Of those, an average of 65 to 70 students apply to the program. For continuing students, 20 to 25 are accepted for the April deadline. Transfer students have until August to apply, and five to 10 of them get in the program. Those who are not accepted are allowed to apply once more.

    Those admitted then start the animation-learning process.

    “I’m really enjoying the program,” said Cameron Taylor, an animation student from Provo. “It’s what I love to do and what I’ve always been interested in. It provides me with lots of opportunities.”

    As part of their senior project, animation students work on films as a group.

    Students work in an atmosphere just like a real studio, Loosli said, assuming the roles of producer, director, art director, writers, editors and student composers, among others.

    “Pajama Gladiator” will be completed within the next few months. Other films recently produced include “Las Pi?atas,” “Turtles” and “Lemmings.”

    Since 2001, the BYU animation program has won five student Emmys from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Foundation, according to the BYU animation Web site.

    BYU animation students have interned and worked for major companies such as Pixar, Walt Disney and video games companies such as Avalanche. Most do not go on to graduate school since industries seek artistic talent over level of education, Loosli said.

    “Animation is not about computers,” Loosli said. “It’s about the art. Figure drawing and good drawing skills are what’s going to get you in and make you successful in the program.”

    Besides drawing, critical thinking is also a must.

    “Make sure you’re passionate about the industry,” Adams said. “Learn to be creative problem solvers and work both sides of your brain.”

    Anyone planning to apply may talk to Sonya Schiffman in E-509 HFAC or go to animation.byu.edu for more information.

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