DreamWorks Internship—The Real Deal for Animation's Kelly McLachlan
Posted on Thursday, December 3, 2009 by Jim Norrena
Kelly McLachlan is a senior in CCA's Animation Program.
While earning her bachelor of fine arts, Kelly has also been excelling professionally and personally, landing an impressive semester-long internship at DreamWorks Animation SKG, the celebrated Bay Area computer-generated animation company. DreamWorks created Shrek and Shrek 2, Monsters vs. Aliens, Kung Fu Panda, Flushed Away, Sinbad, Medagascar and Antz, among others.
Here Kelly shares her thoughts about her education thus far at California College of the Arts and how the college is paving the way for future successes.
Meet Animation's Kelly McLachlan . . .
CCA’s Animation Program prepared me for my internship at DreamWorks Animation by educating me not only on the technical aspects of animation but also in developing my story and conceptual skills—each necessary to gain a broader scope of the medium.
I’ve acquired a well-rounded understanding of practically everything that goes into making an animated feature film: physics and body mechanics, character design, layout, 3D modeling, filmmaking, and story creation, along with the invaluable fine arts practice gained from the college’s foundation courses.
Since coming to CCA, I’ve been lucky enough to learn from the absolute best in the animation industry—mentors and educators who work closely with students to ensure we hone our own ideas and develop our unique styles, all while preparing us for working in the real world.
The studio class critiques are similar to what occurs in actual production studios. I always felt encouraged to explore various methods and aesthetic approaches in my work, and the instructors at CCA have given me an incredible amount of guidance and insight through lessons and personal feedback.
In addition to the group critiques, the small class sizes allow us to really get to know one another and receive individualized attention. The Animation Program faculty and students are composed of amazingly talented, passionate, and dedicated artists, who provide an even more solid foundation to work from when going into our own practice. We all support and inspire one another—collaboratively and in our own individual work—which cultivates a strong creative culture within the Animation department as well as across the various disciplines at the college.
Not only do I get to leave here with a portfolio of work and the skill set needed to develop my career but also with the tools and mindset to further develop my personal work as well.
Every teacher I've had thus far in the Animation Program at CCA has been amazingly talented and experienced—not to mention leaders in the industry. I've had the privilege of learning from Michal Makarewicz and Andrew Gordon, both of whom are award-winning lead animators at Pixar Animation Studios, as well as contributors of the Spline Doctors blog.
For my Visual Storytelling course I had the endlessly hilarious and insightful Mark Andrews, who has served as head of story on a handful of Pixar and other acclaimed major motion pictures, and is an Academy Award–nominated director of Pixar's short-animation film One Man Band).
Andrew Lyndon, who serves as advisor and chair of the Animation Program, has also given me a much greater understanding of cinematography and filmmaking, and how everything works together in sequence to effectively tell a story.
[Editor's note: Kelly admits there are plenty of other truly influential instructors in and out of the CCA Animation Program, but she didn't want to go on and on—something she's learned good storytelling doesn't do.]
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