Bauer, a 2012 MFA graduate in Animation & Visual Effects, initially majored in theater. Next she worked as a compositor for a number of studios, earning credits for titles such as Pacific Rim, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Mad Max: Fury Road and Thor 2: The Dark World. She started at CoSA on a contract, then was plugged-in full time.
“I was really excited about the opportunity,” she says. “The size of the company is appealing to me…each person isn’t just a small part of a huge machine. I felt like I could really form a second family here.”
Both Gitler and Bauer say their time at the Academy was crucial to learning how to be a professional in a highly competitive industry. Bauer says Animation & Visual Effects instructor Catherine Tate’s compositing collaborative—known as Studio X—was instrumental in learning how to collaborate using real footage from real clients.
“[The class] was pretty invaluable in getting a taste of what a studio pipeline would be and having people you’re beholden to and a team you work with,” she recalls. “And it’s not working in a vacuum in your dorm or apartment, projects only you and your instructor might see. Having that kind of exposure early on was really unique and special.”
For Gitler, these types of hands-on, real-world scenarios wouldn’t be possible without the high-caliber instructors the Academy brings in to teach its students.
“Getting to see how industry professionals work and how they think is much better than someone just teaching you how to push a button to get something to work,” he reflects. “At the end of the day, you really want inspiration out of the people you work with to want to be better and learn new things, and I think that starts at school. If you have teachers and department heads that inspire you to go further and do better, then you will.”
“School is not only a place to learn how to do the art but it’s also learning what to expect once you get into the industry,” Bauer adds. “Having people who have been in the industry as your instructors is crucial so that you know how to not only be good at your art, but make yourself a useful employee that companies will want to bring back time and time again. Not just because you’re good, but because you’re a great teammate and a good collaborator.”
Photos courtesy of Alex Gitler
Article by Nina Tabios, a reporter for Academy Art U News