The business side of animation schools takes centre stage at Cartoon Business
- Three representatives from Gobelins, École de Condé and The Animation Workshop spoke about how they aim to expand their reach and form solid connections with the industry
On 17 November, Cartoon Business hosted a panel titled “Animation School Business”, moderated by Eleanor Coleman. The talk zoomed in on how some of Europe’s leading animation schools approach the business side of animation, and how they are expanding, or are planning to expand, their reach.
The floor was first given to Cécile Blondel, of Gobelins – L’Ecole de l’Image. The prestigious French school hosts some 1,100 students, split across six different departments, and 400 of these study animation. 88% of students find a job within six months of graduating, with the percentage increasing to 100% for those who studied animation. She explained how, before she embarked on her work to “internationalise” the school, it had a reputation as the “Harvard of animation schools”, which sounded prestigious but also a tad too old-fashioned. One of the steps taken was to align the educational offering with the Bologna Process, thus providing three-year bachelors and two-year masters programmes, and implementing the ECTS system. Only ten years ago, the school had just nine international students, two international partnerships and one summer school. Today, the institution hosts 150 international students from 58 countries, and handles six online master classes, two summer schools and 15 international partnerships.
“Internationalisation is not only about mobility and double degrees; they’re just a small part of it. [...] Listening to graduates, to the industry and to society is key,” Blondel revealed, placing particular emphasis on the school’s support projects with institutions based in countries outside Europe, such as Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Ghana, Benin and Morocco. In contrast with what other players are doing, Blondel’s idea is not to open new Gobelins branches overseas, but rather to provide mentorship and advice to support the growth of local colleges and their instructors. Finally, she also mentioned other services provided to students, including talent scouting, scholarships, promotion of end-of-studies works and the “Safe Campus” platform, which can be useful when it comes to reporting cases of discrimination and other forms of misconduct.
Next, the mic was passed to Kasper Kruse, of The Animation Workshop, who described the Viborg-based school as a small community driven by passion in the middle of Jutland. The institute receives around 350-400 applications each year, but only 52 places are granted. As a public body, it grants free education to Danish and EU students. The BA programmes on offer (which last between three-and-a-half and four years) are based on teaching collaboration and the craft within “a production-structured environment”, while relying heavily on guest teachers who are active, successful members of the industry. The school also hosts a small R&D department, which employs five faculty members who serve as both teachers and researchers. Besides this, the Viborg Animation Festival acts as an important platform and an opportunity for exposure for both the school and its students.
Finally, Christophe Mounié, of École de Condé, spoke about the institute’s School of Illustration & 2D-3D Animation, stressing its mission to teach students how to create original universes through both animation and video-game production. Speaking about the MA programmes, he highlighted how the first year is fundamental for acquiring technical skills, whilst the second focuses on the completion of an animated project or a video game, with the aim being to turn the students into artists and directors ready to enter the industry.
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