Written by Eugenia Orozco
Getting rejected from every single job you apply to is not an ideal situation. But in a life full of inopportune moments, I believe one of the most important skills is to acknowledge your current position and then move forward. In January 2019, I found myself in precisely this situation. After allowing myself a week to wallow, I pulled myself together, opened my computer, and started to plan. My life wasn’t going how I thought it would be, so it was time to pivot. I was still going to achieve my dream of becoming a 3D Animator at Sony Pictures Imageworks, just not through the path I initially thought I would take. And that is how I found the Master of Digital Media program at Centre for Digital Media.
In a market full of schools offering technical training, the Master of Digital Media program stood out to me with its project-based curriculum.
I was far from being a master in my field, but after years of learning everything there was to know about animation programs, I was in dire need of socialization and team-working skills. I didn’t know how to deal with a client. I didn’t know how to work with people from other disciplines. I wasn’t the best with team projects; I didn’t trust other people to do the work so I would take on most of the project myself. If I ever wanted to get far in my field, these were areas I would need to improve in.
The Master of Digital Media program, true to its word, gave me the opportunity to work on some amazing projects, with some incredible people. I worked on a project for the Museum of Vancouver, a VR experience about the Holocaust, and a mobile game. These projects pushed me outside of my comfort zone, taught me incredible things, and helped me grow as a professional and as an animator. And most importantly, the skills I acquired during my time in the program were practical and broadly applicable.
However, I still put in extra hours on my own, to focus on improving my animation demo reel during the free time I had. And although the Master of Digital Media program didn’t help me improve my animation skills, it did teach me how to market myself and my talent to increase my chances of getting a job. After learning to interact with different types of clients during my project work, job interviews turned from being nerve-racking to something I felt confident handling. Practice really does makes perfect, and the MDM program was the perfect environment to practice everything I needed to know. I never felt self-conscious about messing up, because I knew that my classmates and instructors would never judge me and instead would help me improve.
After a year of hard work and learning, the time came to apply for jobs. My plan was to start with TV animation studios (of which Vancouver has many) and slowly work my way up the ranks until I made it to Sony. I had previously applied to Sony and hadn’t received a response, so I decided to wait until I had a better demo reel before applying again. But I did apply to every single TV studio I could think of. And lo and behold, I started getting interviews. And after those interviews, I started getting offers. I accepted a job at Bardel Entertainment and had a wonderful experience there, because I worked with some incredible people.
This chapter of my story ends two months after starting at Bardel, thanks to the lovely people at Centre for Digital Media. An instructor sent out an email saying Sony was offering an apprenticeship program, and that we should apply. I applied, but with very low expectations. To my surprise, I was invited to an interview a week later, and the following week I was accepted into the program. After completing the apprenticeship, I was hired as an animator, and almost a year later I’m still at Sony - incredibly happy and learning from everyone around me. I got here faster than I thought I would, and I’m incredibly grateful to the people who helped get me here, the people at Centre for Digital Media included.
In my experience, things rarely fall into your lap. You may perceive it being so, but behind all of life’s successes is your own hard work and the people who helped you along the way. It’s important to make the most of any situation, because even if things aren’t going the way you want, with the right amount of work and planning, you will always be able to reach your goal. Don’t let life get you down; there is more than one way to achieve the dreams you have.
Eugenia Orozco is a 2020 graduate of the MDM program. She is an Associate Animator at Sony Pictures Imageworks.