Michael Castro Wins Bronze Telly Award
July 10th, 2010

Michael Castro with Telly Award
Living Arts College @ School of Communication Arts (LAC) is proud to announce Michael Castro’s MMI Public Relations Telly Bronze Award. He competed on a national level and produced the video, “TCG Machines”. Why is this video different? Michael says he wanted to tell the story from a machine’s point-of-view. He adds, “It’s not impossible, it’s just difficult.”

The Telly Awards honor the very best local, regional and cable television commercials and programs, as well as the finest video, film productions and work created for the Web. Since 1978, their mission has been to strengthen the visual arts community by inspiring, promoting and supporting creativity. The 30th Annual Telly Awards received more than 13,000 entries from all 50 states and five continents.

Bronze Winners are awarded a Bronze Telly statuette designed by the same firm that makes the Oscar® and Emmy®. In addition, each Winner is awarded a commemorative certificate. Judges evaluate entries to recognize distinction in creative work — entries do not compete against each other. Instead, entries are judged against a high standard of merit.

Michael is currently pursuing an Associate’s degree in Digital Filmmaking anticipating graduation in September 2010.

Graduate’s Career Soars at Rhythm & Hues by Training Others
June 3rd, 2010

Rhythm & Hues is the animation and digital arts studio always at the top of their game. Craig Slagel, a graduate of Living Arts College @ School of Communication Arts in Raleigh, North Carolina; is helping the production organization stay that way.

Debra Hooper with Graduate Craig Slagel from Rythm & HuesCraig provides staff Education for the Motion Department. This office supplies creative Animation, Technical Animation, Rigging, Match Moving and Track Services for countless cinema and broadcast projects.

His support efforts include training new and current employees both in the Oscar winning Los Angeles studio plus the firm’s worldwide studios in India and Malaysia.

Prior to R&H, Craig consulted for Autodesk, lectured at Dartmouth College and worked for seven years as the Senior Worldwide Graphics Trainer for Electronic Arts. Outside of training Craig has worked on several major titles as a Lighter, Rigger and Technical Artist.

Craig has trained 1000’s of students and professional artists, consulted with schools, studios and corporations, presented at SIGGRAPH and GDC and now has over 13 years experience in the Computer Graphics Industry.

“I have not forgotten the core and on-target applications training I received at the Raleigh, school. The School’s always forward thinking “is no different from the forward vision I bring to my work here.” reports Craig.

Outside of work, Craig is an endurance runner and has run some of the world toughest endurance races including Western States 100 mile, Hardrock 100 mile and Ultra Trail Du Mont Blanc.

Living Arts College is the creative content College that has “jump started” the digital careers in top places for many graduates of the advanced programs here. The college is on the Internet at www.Living-Arts-College.edu.

Alumni News – 3/27/10
March 17th, 2010

Barry Safley is a veteran of twelve years with Industrial Light and Magic. Barry worked most recently on the movies Star Wars and AVATAR. Barry is a compositor and loves NUKE for compositing.

Carl Schmidt was just promoted to Assistant Art Director at Electronic Arts. Carl has been working at EA for over six years on the SIMS project and is now busy on SIMS 3 AMBITIONS. Carl is also planning a spring wedding to his fiancé, Kristen.

Craig Slagle is coming up on his one year anniversary with Rhythm and Hues. Prior to Rhythm and Hues, Craig worked at EA for seven years. Craig is also a former Living Arts College @ the School of Communication Arts professor and is an avid runner.

Pierre Chastain is busy working on Zoo Keeper at Sony. Pierre recently worked on the just released movie, Alice in Wonderland.

Dean Sauls is now at AFK Interactive working on mobile apps. Dean was the owner of PRAXIS Studio before selling to a larger company. Dean and his wife, Tricia, just had their third baby.

Lights! Animation! Passion!
November 13th, 2009
Lights, Animation, Passion!
Lights, Animation, Passion!
Lights, Animation, Passion!
Lights, Animation, Passion!

Former executive of Disney and Pixar’s Animation Studios, Doug Nichols, made the stage at Living Arts College (LAC) presenting, “What Studios Want: Getting in and Staying Ahead.” Mr. Nichols has over 20 years of experience working in the animation film industry and has managed both Pixar Entertainment Studios and Disney staff.

Students welcomed Mr. Nichols with open arms as he provided insight into the working world of digital animation as a highly rewarding and competitive field. He expressed the importance of making a great impact, as a talented animator is not all it takes to succeed in the entertainment industry. If animation films such as “Finding Nemo”, “Up”, “Mulan” and “Fantasia 2000” ring a bell, then one could only imagine his passion. He is admired in the entertainment industry as a production professional that has contributed his knowledge and expertise on what studios look for in an artist.

“Your name, exceptional work and interaction with people will never go unrecognized” – Doug Nichols

Being talented alone is not all it takes to make a great impression with an employer. Teamwork, relationship building and maintaining a good name in the industry will do wonders in maintaining a career in a most highly competitive field. Mr. Nichols expressed the need for passion to strive and sustain a creative career in both animation and game design. When you have the passion working overtime doesn’t seem so bad, which calls for the saying, “time flies when you are having fun.” How’s that for a career?

“Find it, define it and execute!” – Doug Nichols

As the discussion moved forward, Mr. Nichols covered the key points of success and how to get the job you want. Plan your career by creating goals, know your skill set and define it. Once you are skilled take it to the next level and execute your design. Animation is a talent driven business and “the best get the best” jobs so let your work speak for itself. Your reputation will follow you, respect your colleagues and partners, present your work with open critique and never burn any bridges. Setting goals will help execute the final result and land you a dream job.

The presentation ended with a few final words of wisdom from the “guest of honor”.

“The future of animation is very bright. While it is hard to predict where the industry will be in five or more years, one thing is certain, it will grow and there will definitely be more jobs.” – Doug Nichols
Debra A Hooper
Vice President/Director
School of Communication Arts
@ Digital Circus

A Trip to the “Big Easy” & SIGGRAPH 2009
September 21st, 2009

Siggraph 2009
Siggraph 2009

New Orleans is known for its great food and music but this year the “Big Easy” had other things on the menu. It was the home of the SIGGRAPH 2009 conference that Living Arts College students attended and enjoyed a feast of animation delights.

The SIGGRAPH conference and exhibition is a five-day interdisciplinary educational experience and commercial exhibition that attracts hundreds of exhibitors from around the world. SIGGRAPH is widely recognized as the most prestigious forum for the publication of computer graphics research.

“SIGGRAPH was a life-changing experience for me. I enjoyed my first flight, and the Big Easy was quiet an interesting town!” Amanda Conklin – student

“SIGGRAPH, as always, is an amazing and knowledgeable experience. I would recommend it to anyone in Digital Animation or Digital Media. Anthonie Jones- student

In addition to SIGGRAPH’s leading-edge technical program, the conference’s installations provide close-up views of the latest in digital art, emerging technologies, and hands-on opportunities for creative collaboration. The smaller venue made exhibitors and vendors more approachable, giving LAC students insights and networking opportunities.

“I liked talking to the people inside the company…it gave you a chance to learn about what you want to learn from someone who actually worked on games and movies!” Jesse Howard- student

“The professionals I spoke to were very inspirational.” Sasha Cheeks – student

The conference is home to the international SIGGRAPH Computer Animation Festival, showcasing works from the world’s most innovative and accomplished digital film and video creators. Content included outstanding achievements in time-based art, scientific visualization, visual effects, real-time graphics, and narrative shorts.

“The overall global connections were overwhelming for me; I have never seen so many people from different countries in one location!” Clint Kernodle- student

The trip’s biggest surprise was the winners of various contests given throughout the conference. Current student Erin Nakagaki won the “Navida Challenge” drawing contest. Alumni Lacy Brown won two preliminary rounds and placed second overall and Jasimin Motley placed second in two art competitions. The experiences the students had at SIGGRAPH and the networking events they attended will leave a lasting impression on them and jumpstart their careers.

“…SIGGRAPH was a great experience and I’m gonna try to go every year from now on!” Michael Vitrano- student

Debra A Hooper
Vice President/Director
School of Communication Arts
@ Digital Circus

Red Storm Art Director & Living Arts College Alumni Relentless Pursuit of Perfection
September 2nd, 2009

Do you ever wonder how the environments in many video games look so authentic?

Living Arts College alumni, Peter Sekula shared with students how his position as Art Director for Red Storm’s game “Bio Shock” created the very realistic environments. Pete found himself in the jungles of Costa Rica. He had to take in every detail and put a team together to design an environment for “Bio Shock”. Pete said, “As an animator, you always have to think, life is a mirror to an immersive experience. How are we going to get characters to imitate life and how are we going to animate them?”

“Companies are searching for animation talent that is awesome at their craft and their portfolio showcases their talent. A good portfolio must focus on believable movements”, reports Pete. As an Art Director at Red Storm Entertainment, Pete is responsible for hiring new talent. Musts for the “killer” portfolio!

  1. Full body human movement.
  2. Research the company. Be open-minded to new technologies.
  3. Have “game ready stuff” to show.
  4. Have a wire frame to show and how it was rigged and imported.
  5. Understand the entry-level game position and how team-building ramps up in the performance of a game.
  6. Learn the rules of production and expect to execute the rules.

It takes a team of people to develop a game at Red Storm Entertainment. The Art Director steers the ship (the game) from one phase to the next. It always takes one more layer to achieve where you really want to go with the game. “It takes a group of interactive minds to come up with one theme and run with it.” states Sekula. Visuals are very important to emersion in a story, so pictures have to draw in the gamer.


Debra A Hooper
Vice President/Director
School of Communication Arts
@ Digital Circus

Happenings in May @ School of Communication Arts
May 4th, 2009

May 6th, 5-8pm : Spring 2009 Gallery Exhibition

The Exhibition showcases juried creative works of current students in Animation, Film, Audio Production, Advertising Design, Web Design, Photography and Interior Design.

May 7th, 9am-3pm : Professional Development Day & First SCA Talent Show

School of Communication Arts is very excited to be holding their first Talent Show hosted by the student government, MODIV.

Motivational speaker, Karen Gilliam will speak at 10am. A workshop by Laurie Muriel will be held at 11am on “How to Get a Part-time Job in These Challenging Economic Times”. This is in preparation for the upcoming Part-time Job Fair.

May 11th, 10:30am :  Local Rock Band Defines the Importance of Branding

Ariel Down is Setting the Rules for “Breaking In” with Their Ideas About Music Promotion. Experience a national touring independent rock band based out of Raleigh, NC.

May 14th, 2-4pm : SCA Part-Time Job Fair

Are you looking for a part time job? Local non-industry businesses will be on campus advertising open positions and doing on-site interviews.

May 27th, 10:30am : Multimedia Expert to Present: “How to Prepare your Career for the Unexpected”

Plan to be entertained. Greg Carter’s work is wild and vivid.

Mr. Carter has designed print media for Reebok and Sports Illustrated and multimedia for Discovery Channel. He has worked on projects for Warner Brothers and the American Lung Association.

All events are open to the public and there is no cost. Media are welcome and encouraged to participate.

Debra A Hooper
Vice President/Director
School of Communication Arts
@ Digital Circus