A speech I wrote for 4th years about to graduate from animation

I was asked if I could post this, so here it is.  This is just a little bit I wrote about how I felt around graduation as well as where I see myself going into the future.  Excuse formalities, feelings are serious business.

Hello soon to be graduates,

When I was near graduation, I honestly didn’t feel quite ready to join the work force.  I’d heard so many different rumors, ranging from positive to absolutely abysmal.  And as someone who strives for a sense of self sustainability, I wasn’t sure if this industry sounded like one that was well-standing.  Especially in these financially rough times.  I chose an alternative route, for many personal reasons, which I’m very open about.
Upon graduation, I remember my concerns very clearly to be 1) I don’t know if I want to move far away or live in a big city.  It really doesn’t appeal to me as it does others.  My family and friends are here, and they’re a big part of my life.  Bigger, dare I say, than any career path I might choose.  I’d already lost touch of various friends from high school due to college and the inevitable physical distance problems we’d all encounter when leaving to school.  2) I don’t know if I really want to be stuck in front of a computer all day long (which, studying 3d animation, was where I was headed) and 3) I honestly just didn’t want to work directly after getting out of school.
I got an interview with Arc Animation, but wasn’t too keen, and didn’t really follow up, for better or for worse.  I just began to look forward to being back with my family for a little while, to not have to deal with the many pressures of life on my shoulders – right away at least!  I found that being in this flexible life position, allowed me to keep exploring art on my own time, as opposed to regimented due dates.  Something, which I’m sure we can all relate to the greatness of.  I found that finally having time, I actually would use it for productive projects to keep learning.  That’s another thing to look forward to.  You may think you’re finished with school, but it’s just beginning.  There’s so much greater learning out there.

I’ve been working freelance since schools been done, the timing of contracts can be quite sporadic, and you never know when they’ll come.   I mostly work with motion graphics, which I’ve really come to like, and the occasional video editing.  Soon I may be drawing those white-board illustration/motion graphic videos that you’ve probably seen, for a company in Guelph.  However, on my own time, I’m about half way done a children’s animated storybook for the iPad that I worked with a fellow writer in Guelph on.  I’m also going to life drawing 4-5 times a week, 3 of which I’m personally hosting at my house.  I’ve also just started animating a short motion graphic for a master’s student on forest gardening, or as I like to put it: how humans are going to have to produce food in the future.  On this subject, I’ve been actively seeking out environmental organizations and companies in Guelph who really need a helping hand, such as a short video to explain their product or service.
My point is, there are a lot of industries that desperately need help from people like us that fly under the radar of what most animation students, including myself upon graduation, would think of trying to work for after graduation.  It became ever apparent to me when I had some time to myself in Guelph, that I was no longer okay with turning a blind eye to aspects of society that need to change, in order for humans to thrive on this planet.  Such things as the oil crisis, the environmental disasters, and even the horrible things going on in the production of food.  So I thought to myself, what could be the grand role of art in a world hell bent on its own destruction?  Art, to me, is the greatest form of communication.  A way in which to engage a larger number of people in something, than with words or text.  So this is where I am now.  I’m seeking ways to become associated with various non-animation companies and organizations that are trying to make the world a more livable place.  Whether by creating motion graphics, graphic design, 2d animation, 3d animation, whatever is needed.  All of these mediums are just another form of expressing a voice, and if I’m lucky, the message will help inform people.   So we’ll see how this goes. 

I wrote this to encourage others to look outside the box, and see what you would really like to do in this world, and how you can bring your animation background into that to make it even stronger, and more vivid – hopefully full of storytelling as we’ve been to taught to do.  Don’t restrict your search for a job, and thus, a life in this world solely to the realm of animation, there is plenty more industries and companies that could benefit from people like us.  We are all storytellers of various sorts, so we should make stories that will influence others to be better people, and find their purposes in their lives too.  Animation is an extremely powerful medium.  It’s capable of capturing the attention of people in a world with vastly dwindling attention spans, probably more so than any other medium in the past.  Use this power wisely, and support good things for the future.  Also, don’t work for free.

Thanks for listening or sleeping, whatever made more sense when I was reading this.


  1. A really great post!!

    I think a lot of us, not everyone, but a lot, go into animation programs with the ultimate goal of working at a major feature or video game studio because that might be all we know or it might be, in our mind's eye, the pinnacle of success, talent, and a good reputation.

    I think that's a bit of a shame since there are so many opportunities out there to do what you're REALLY passionate about.

    I'm on my own path of finding what works for me in terms of the balance between personal and professional life (or more like personal and professional work) and more and more since graduation - when the prospect of working at a large studio became more attainable than ever - the idea of working at a big studio, for the time being, stressed me out more than anything and I don't think it' would've been the wisest decision to trade inner peace for a strong resume.
    Some people thrive in a large, busy environment and so a big studio would be ideal for them.
    I think I'm just starting to realize that at this point in my life - the career path i thought I wanted isn't at all right for me so I completely agree with your advocacy for graduates to think outside the box in terms of where their talents and careers could take them.
    The possibilities are endless!

    Good luck, grads!

  2. Well put, Nicole! We really appreciated Garth's perspective, because he helped students realize they can aim their talents in all SORTS of places. There is definitely a push within the program (for various reasons) that sees students imagining life at a "big studio", but that is very limiting. There are vast ways to apply those skills. To some extent though, I think many folks can only learn that through experience, through going through life a bit, as you are doing now, in the real world. But a guest like Garth at least reveals other ways of thinking/being in the world of "animation" to students, and we'll hope that STICKS for more than a few! :)