Previous Panels

Are They Trained and If So For What?

Are They Trained and If So For What?

With over 10,000 new students a year enrolling in schools and looking to be trained for a career with a future in the fields of animation, media graphics, film and video games we need to explore options and understand better the educational requirements for this medium. Listen to this great group of educators discuss the pros and cons of university programs vs trade schools vs virtual schools vs internships vs on the job training and hear what they say is needed to teach those who hope to become the next Glen Keane, Walt Disney or Jim Henson. Where is the future of those careers and are we preparing students for the animation industry that is of 2011 and beyond.
tchonin_thumbModerator Tenny Chonin Former Director of Artist and Professional Development at Walt Disney Animation Studios, Tenny Chonin combined her teaching and artistic experience to develop programs designed to enrich the creative lives of the Disney artists.

Tenny led the department that conceived and produced all training and enrichment activities for the feature animation division.
Her group provided cross-training, new software training, daily art classes, workshops, seminars, production-specific events,
mentoring and much more. Tenny had the pleasure of working closely with Disney’s studio artists and trainees, apprentices and new hires.  No wonder she proclaims that she had “the best job at Disney Animation.”

Tenny is currently consulting on projects that further the education of animators in film and television.


Panelists Bobby Beck, Cofounder and CEO at Animation Mentor
As Animation Mentor CEO and cofounder, Bobby Beck works with partners and cofounders Shawn Kelly and Carlos Baena to define the school’s overall direction. He oversees the implementation of their collectively developed vision, which includes spearheading the school’s business relationships, culture and curriculum and supervising the development of its Web 2.0 strategy and next generation tools.

Bobby attended the Art College of San Francisco and later was hired at a game studio because of character tests he had worked on during his spare time. In 1997, he joined Tippet Studio in Berkeley, Calif., where he animated on the films My Favorite Martian and Virus. The following year, he moved to Los Angeles, where he animated on Dinosaur at Walt Disney Feature Animation. In 1999, Bobby was offered a position as an animator at Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, Calif. At Pixar, he animated on Toy Story 2, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Cars, and the short film Boundin’. In September of 2004, Bobby made the difficult decision to leave Pixar and devote himself full-time to run Animation Mentor. He embarked on a second wave of self-schooling — studying business development, leadership, administration and education — and began working with a business coach. It is a process that continues through today as Bobby and his Animation Mentor team strive to provide their students with the highest quality and most personal learning experience possible. Bobby lives in Oakland, Calif. He is married and spends his spare time kiteboarding, playing music, doing random art projects and treasure hunting.

Panelists: Brian Bradford Director of Admissions Gnomon

Prior to joining Gnomon, Brian studied illustration, graphic design and 3D at various schools across his native Southern California including Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa and Gnomon School of Visual Effects.

Brian began his career in the Visual Effects industry at Gnomon in 2005 and subsequently grew his experience in the areas of art counseling, recruitment outreach and program development. As Director of Admissions, Brian oversees a team of school representatives and works closely with the marketing and administrative departments in serving prospective students while maintaining Gnomon’s high admissions standards.

Outside of Gnomon, Brian remains active in community youth programs focusing on art education.

Panelists Lori Hammond ~ currently the Academic Director of Media Arts & Animation, Game Art & Design, Visual Effects & Motion Graphics and Visual Game Programming at The Art Institute of California – Hollywood.
Ms. Hammond has worked as a Training Specialist at Disney Feature Animation Studios, where she worked on films; “Bolt”, Goofy Short “How to Hook Up your Home Theater” and “Princess & The Frog”. Ms. Hammond has worked in feature film, TV, Webinars, and shown her work in galleries both nationally and internationally.


Panelists John Mahoney Cal Arts – John has taught around the world such diverse classes as: Character Sculpture, Zbrush, Figure Drawing, Character Design, Production Design, Story Board, Stop Motion Animation, Traditional Animation, and Portfolio Development for over ten years now.

John Mahoney: Cal Arts, Gnomon, USC, Lucasfilm Drawing & Sculpture Professor
Idea Concept Professor – Lucasfilm San Francisco & Singapore
Drawing & Sculpture Professor – Cal Arts, Gnomon, USC
Drawing & Sculpture Professor - Ngee Ann Poly – Singapore
John Mahoney has taught around the world such diverse classes as: Character Sculpture, Zbrush, Figure Drawing, Character
Design, Production Design, Story Board, Stop Motion Animation, Traditional Animation, and Portfolio Development for
over ten years now.

John graduated from Pratt Institute in NYC with a BFA in Illustration. He left New York to do a Disney animation internship in Orlando Florida. Several months later he returned to New York to work on a series of television commercials. A few years later he moved to Los Angeles to work for Disney feature Animation as a Visual Development Artist on such films as Atlantis, Treasure Planet and Emperors New groove. His short film created for a pitch to help sell Emperors New Groove was instrumental in getting that film green lit.

After working on ten Disney feature films John decided to pursue his passion as an independent film maker. Since then, John has produced over twenty short films and two independent features. He has directed numerous documentaries on such prominent people as Doug Chaing, designer of the new Star Wars films and Tyrus Wong, designer of Bambi. He taught such diverse classes as figure drawing, sculpture, film design, storyboards, stop motion animation, and character design in the United Stated as well as in Singapore and Taiwan. John’s illustration work has been showcased in Spectrum, the Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art, The Great Big Book of Fashion Illustration, Heavy Metal Magazine, and in the Erotic Signature Books.

Featuring Recent Posts WordPress Widget development by YD