A:M Guild (as culled from the logs of wednesday night chat )
OK here's the deal and the vision as it sits. First off this whole idea is in place to help produce more quality animation, and more users that are trained and capable of producing said animation. I have been approached not only by people who are interested in learning but also professional animators who are interested in training people. (And when I say professional I mean people I myself would be more than willing to apprentice under.)
The immediate goal behind apprenticeship is this: The people who are the most capable of providing direct and focused training are often those who really have the least amount of time to do so. How can we help them make time to help the community learn? Conversely the best way to learn something is often by having a more experienced person provide direction and critique on our work, but for most A:M users this would either cost a lot of money or just isn't feasible for a number of reasons. (i.e. can't quit job to go to art school full time.) If only there was a way they could get access to a knowledgeable tutor and focused critique....
HEY you got chocolate in my peanut butter!
the intermediate goal is to increase the A:M user talent pool. You spend lets say six months to a year learning and working on some animation as an apprentice, you walk away a better animator. You apply that learning to your personal projects and you find it's easier, and you make more progress more easily. In say two years the number of short animations produced by the community increases as does the overall quality of those animations. That's good for Hash inc. its good for users its good for all of us. In a few years you might say to yourself: "Self, I know a thing or three now and I might like to help some new folks learn like someone once helped me." You just happen to be working on a short film of your own. You take on an apprentice and pass on the lessons you learned and the cycle is completed.
We build a stronger community, we create more animations, we help pass on our learning. If none of that sounds like a good idea to you then... well skip it please.
But by the poll there does seem to be enough interest to at least get a first round started. So I'm going to go ahead and spend some of my personal time to get it running. (Yes this costs me something (as if four hours of sleep a night was too much.))
First some guidelines for both Mentors and Apprentices:
Mentors: will need to have a project description, and an idea of what they can offer to a prospective apprentice. They will need to demonstrate a firm knowledge of A:M, art and animation. They will need to be available via email, A:M Community, or some other instant messaging/chat service, to the apprentice for the duration of the apprenticeship. A given mentor may not take on more than two apprentices (just to be certain that each apprentice gets the attention they deserve.)
Apprentices: will need to have a basic level of A:M knowledge, this can be demonstrated by completion of the exercises in TAo A:M, anyone who has a certificate from Rodney qualifies. if you have done the exercises on your own but have not gotten a certificate please post your exercise results and get certified . They will need to be available via email, A:M Community, or some other instant messaging/chat service, in order to receive assignments/critiques from the mentor. An apprentice may not sign up for more than one mentorship at a time (lets keep this sane ok? )
Other than that it would be up to the apprentice and mentor to come to terms on what the apprentice would be working on and what kind of schedule they were working on. I have some suggested guidelines but if an apprentice and mentor agree to something different then they can work that out on their own.
as a general guide:
An apprentice can be expected to start on something small, like back ground animation. but they should be constantly working towards bigger more involved tasks, ideally ending up with some amount of "hero" animation as a final goal. The apprentice should expect prompt response and full critique of their work by the mentor, this means that the mentor will generally say something other than "great work" indeed the mentor might seem to be very harsh. (Depending on the mentor of course, 'cause some of us are cuddly wuddly.) The apprentice should expect the mentor to point out flaws and pick nits. The apprentice should expect to work hard... let me clarify that: ANIMATION IS HARD WORK, you should be willing to apply yourself to the full extent of your ability towards your assignments, if you can't see yourself putting in more than a few minutes a week on this then you should probably wait until you have the time to spend.
In turn the Mentor should expect that an apprentice will work on an assignment and keep them informed as to how they are progressing. It should not be necessary to send constant reminders or ask for updates. The mentor should expect to spend time viewing the apprentice's work and providing full and thoughtful critique of it. The mentor should expect to be asked questions and be fully willing and ready to answer them. The mentor should be willing to hand over work to the apprentice in line with their progress meaning that you shouldn't hog all the hero shots to yourself. A Mentor should not expect to put the apprentice to work on all the 'boring' stuff that they don't want to deal with.
A project should be the extent of an apprenticeship once the project is finished the apprentice should have 'graduated.'
Projects should be non-commercial unless the apprentice and the mentor agree otherwise.
Otherwise we are all adult(ish) here so we should be able to come to terms amongst ourselves. I am working on a set of criteria for Mentors and will post those as soon as I have a general idea of what those will be. I would like to keep this moving along at a rapid clip as momentum is definitely required to have this work.
Lastly I have read this thread: http://www.hash.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=8775 and I do appreciate the concerns expressed. However, nothing is going to be perfect especially right out of the gate. there are years of hard won experience and thought behind this proposal most of the alternative suggestions have been tried or failed to get off the ground. Short of charging buckets of dollars to compensate professional instructors for their time this seems the most feasible way to get more involved/in-depth training. If you don't think so or don't like it.... well don't sign up.