Animation Mentor has dedicated themselves to providing the most personal and fulfilling learning experience on the planet by bringing the animation school right to your home. Animation Mentor’s most recent graduates were treated with a commencement speech by Pixarian Andrew Stanton.
The speech was about 10 minutes and was absolute perfection. Below are a few of my favorite highlights from the commencement:
“I make you this challenge. From here on, when someone asks you what you do, tame your eagerness and simply tell them that you animate and refrain from calling yourself an animator. Why? Because an animator is a gift word. You cannot give it to yourself – it is a distinction for others to bestow upon you.
In the early days of Pixar when Toy Story was just a notion, John Lasseter, Pete Docter and I were in daily, sometimes hourly struggles to conquer this rising new medium called computer animation and we would constantly remind each other that you simply couldn’t call yourself an animator just because you wanted it to be so. We didn’t make this rule up, this wisdom was passed down to us by the master himself – Chuck Jones.
Chuck Jones explained to us that animator was a title that he had to earn every day and if he excelled at his job, pushed himself, and strived for betterment in all instances, it would naturally provoke his employers, his peers, his fans, and even his enemies to call him an animator. If he simply focused all his efforts towards his craft, then recognition would take care of itself and that kind of attitude is what will fuel any real success you gain in this field.”
Towards to end of the speech, Stanton mentioned what he believes is the most important animation lesson.
“It’s a lesson that can never be completed and that is – “live a life”. Don’t study animation, study life. In order to observe life, you have to have a life. Live, observe, animate – in that order.”
Stanton ended the speech by being the first to call each of the graduates “animators”- which was an incredible gift.
To watch the commencement speech in its entirety, click on Animation Mentor’s YouTube page.