Monday, June 16, 2008
Posted by Bobby Beck at 10:01 PM
Animation Mentor: An Alumni's Journey into the Industry

I love getting emails like this one. I wanted to share this with you guys because I thought it was a great story about Arne’s journey into the industry and what happened. It’s an exciting tale and one I think a lot of people could learn from. We’re so proud of Arne and when we go see Hellboy in the theatres we’ll all be cheering when your name comes up! WOO HOO!!!

Hi guys!

[Arne here], yup, it is the Norwegian dude again.

As this was my first real studio job I really didn't quite know what to expect, if I would be able to keep up (as I started at the time of crunch) or if I would be way over my head. Actually I would say it worked out perfectly, and that Animation Mentor was the perfect preparation for the real world of production. Here's how it worked out:

During the show I got some very demanding shots, which surprised me as I really was the "newbie" after all (and the only AM alumni). My very first shot was a 500 frames long shot featuring about 35 pixie characters I all had to animate individually... Talk about shock! I had only animated 2 characters in a shot at the most earlier. Lol! I had no animatics or storyboards to work from, and was given carte blanche to do whatever I wanted with the scene, based on a short brief by Guillermo del Toro. All my previous AM classes on staging a shot really helped me getting through that one. And 6 weeks later the shot was done and approved by Guillermo. That was an exciting moment! My first shot done! Who-hoo!

Later on the show I was given what I would consider to be more senior animator shots. Full-on action hero shots with huge robots fighting and stabbing head-on with Hellboy. Everything you learned me about weight came to good use in those. And this wasn't just background characters, but full-screen primary characters in the climax of the movie! I just felt so incredibly lucky.

A funny story is that the first robot action shot I worked on got approved the first time Guillermo saw it. First pass. Done! I was told this was one of only two shots in the entire movie Guillermo had approved on first pass, as he normally sees at least 5-10 versions of a shot until he's happy. So I was teased by the other animators and was nick-named "First Pass Arne" after that... Lol! Beginners luck I call it.

We were about 25 animators finishing about 800 shots of animation in the movie (I did about 5 myself and worked on 5 with others).The film looks awesome and I think you'll love it when it opens in the US in July!

As I had no character animation experience before Animation Mentor, I'd say this is also a great testament to [the program] - It works! And it works incredibly well! I possibly couldn't have been better prepared in any other way. When I got there, I pretty easily got into the workflow and pipeline, getting crit's from the supervisors felt familiar and was like being given feedback from the mentors at Animation Mentor. And the terminology used by sup's and others was familiar as I had heard it all so often during my time at Animation Mentor.

Both my supervisors and colleagues thought I had worked in features before, and that was the best feedback and testament I possibly could have gotten.

You guys really did a great job putting Animation Mentor together the way you did! And I owe you more beer than I can afford... lol!

Thank you!

All the best,
Arne :-)

PS! Enclosed is a pic of "da man" Guillermo del Toro and me, taken
the day before I left London. [See Image in blog post, above]

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