How can I become a film animator

How do I become a digital character animator? (28)

Many dream of creating cartoon characters for film productions such as "Finding Nemo". The path in animation studios like Pixar is difficult. Angelique Kesselring, 29, is about to fulfill her professional dream. She told us about the ups and downs of her training so far.

When Angelique talks about animation, she doesn't think of her last Mallorca vacation, but of cartoon characters.

Angelique Kesselring is 29 years old and when she was little she didn't want to be a teacher, but a digital character animator. Today, after a long journey and a few setbacks, this career dream has almost been fulfilled.

When she was around ten years old, like many other children, she was fascinated by the cartoon Arielle. But in a different way than her peers: She was interested in animation and watched the film in picture-by-picture mode. She knew immediately that she wanted to create such a film herself one day. She was not lacking in drawing talent: the art lessons at school were too challenging for her, “especially since things like potato printing were taught there. It was a bit frustrating, ”Angelique recalls.

After graduating from high school, she wanted to put her long-cherished career dream into practice. But how should she do that? An arduous journey began, but Angelique never lost sight of the goal of digital character animator.

At first she tried the classic route: She applied to art schools, but got one rejection after the other. "Then I did internships in advertising agencies as a web designer and on the side I worked here and there," says Angelique. She was 23 and got panic at the end of the day. “I thought to myself: I'm not going to study, I need something for my head. And so I enrolled at the University of Freiburg for Arabic, Turkish and German, ”says Angelique.

She liked the course very well, but after three semesters she was hit by panic for the second time. Angelique explains: "The drawing was still so deep and I thought to myself, you have to get ahead somehow."

She gave up her studies and applied to the media design academy in Berlin. There she was accepted promptly, but her joy was limited, because media design was not 3D animation. After initial hesitation, Angelique gathered her courage and applied to the German Film School in Berlin. “I got a place there straight away and my application portfolio got a grade of 1.5. It was like an accolade, ”says Angelique proudly.

At the German Film School she felt like she had arrived. There she could do what she always wanted to do: animation. She also liked the atmosphere. 90 students worked together in an almost familiar atmosphere. "Some of the lecturers came from the Walt Disney Company," recalls Angelique. "Then suddenly I was taught by the heroes of my childhood."

Just as Angelique seemed to be on the right track, the next setback came: The German Film School was withdrawn from state recognition and became insolvent. “In February 2008 the bankruptcy administrator suddenly came and said, 'You now have one more day to save your stuff. The school will be closed from tomorrow, ”says Angelique.

After the film school closed, Angelique once again did not know what to do next. She stayed with a fellow student for a few months and did small film projects with him. Through a friend she got to a remote university in the USA called AnimationMentor. “The course works completely online,” explains Angelique. "You take part in the lectures directly and you get a task every week."

At the beginning of the training there are simple animations like the bouncing ball, that is a bouncing ball. Later, arms are added to make the ball bounce and other parts of the body until a complete character is created.

Angelique will be trained as a digital character animator within 18 months. If something unforeseen does not happen again, she will soon have reached her goal. Professional dreams: There is, for example, Realtime Technology AG in Munich, which produces animations for television advertising. “When you see a car in an advertisement, it's rarely real. Mostly it's 3D animations, ”says Angelique. But what appeals to her most is working on a large film production like Finding Nemo.

That would be possible at Pixar in California, for example. Angelique describes a job there as the final. She hopes that her acquaintances from the German Film School will help her find a place in a dream workshop like Pixar.

Angelique's only job as an animator to date was during the European Football Championship this year. At that time she helped produce banner ads. "This experience gave me courage because it showed me that you can actually get a good job as a digital character animator."

So if all goes well, she will finally have her dream job in the near future. That won't be the case until she is 30, Angelique regrets, but she has learned from the bumpy time that there is always a way.