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adrian
04-20-2003, 02:22 PM
Hi,

Does anyone here know anything about www.daveschool.com?

Who would do this course if they had the money? Has anybody actually done it? If so, is it as good as it sounds?

I would be very interested to hear people's thoughts.

Adrian.

private
04-21-2003, 10:16 PM
School does not guarantee you a job. With the way the market place is now, are you willing to bet $24,500 plus living expenses for just under a year? You're looking at a $33,000ish year of education. Then, look at how long it would take you to pay that back, if you got a job. Competition is fierce too. Something to think about.

On the other hand, what about spending your money on LW DVDs, a kick *** computer, joining a user group in your area and locking yourself in your room for a year with an internet connection. That is by far a better value. You could get all the Lightwave learning material out there for around $2500 USD. That's isn't mortgaging the future, but making an investment that you can watch over again. It's really hard seeing people drop soooo much money, and find out that they can't cut it in the industry. For some, it works, but for many, it was an expensive year.

I am all for education, but I'm also all for being smart. Choose carefully.

Oh, and before someone says, "You make so many contacts at school, blah, blah" , that is true. But you should pay for contacts. You pay for an education. You bound to make as many contacts as you want if you do some kick *** work on cgtalk monthly challenges or kick *** images in the gallery...and that doesn't cost you anything.

mattclary
04-22-2003, 05:36 AM
You know, it's kinda funny, one of the things I tell myself I might do if I win the lottery is go to the Dave School. No way I could ever afford to take a year off of work to go. :)

kevman3d
04-23-2003, 05:18 AM
Hehe! What's even funnier is that I requested a Tape from the Dave school, explained my intentions that I wanted to check out the work done by the school, and show it at the LWUG here...

2-3 weeks later I get a single page letter in the mail saying thanks, and that they'll get back to me when International Student access has been approved for my student VISA application... This was followed up today with an email with attached application form to sign up to Dave school...

Hmmm. I only wanted the video... Like most, US$24k is well, after conversion to NZ$, like an entire years salary (if I didn't spend any of it that is!).

Wonder if I'll see it... Hmmm... :confused:

adrian
04-24-2003, 03:31 AM
Hmmm, same here. I'm going to fill in my application form - maybe they are only going to send the tape to people who are REALLY serious about joining (they do, after all say not to bother filling in the form unless you're serious).

Maybe they do this due to the cost involved in sending out a tape overseas - especially if they have hundreds of enquiries.

Which begs the question, why not put a sample on their website?

The bottom line is for me anyway, if money was no object, I'd be over there as soon as they could accept foreign students - not only for the qualification, but also the experience.

As it is, I'm going to try to get the money together and go for it - after all, it's better to follow your dreams and fall flat on your face, than not to have followed them at all. We only have 1 life.

Adrian.

kevman3d
04-24-2003, 05:34 AM
Originally posted by adrian
maybe they are only going to send the tape to people who are REALLY serious about joining (they do, after all say not to bother filling in the form unless you're serious).

Maybe they do this due to the cost involved in sending out a tape overseas - especially if they have hundreds of enquiries.

Which begs the question, why not put a sample on their website?


Well, I emailled them back and those were the kind of comments I got back, but I did manage to get a confirmation that a tape would be shipped...

I would have been happy enough to pay for a copy of the tape if cost was an issue, however the site does say 'To get your FREE copy...', so I was assuming they'd just send out copies wherever (since the request form also had a country selection option too)

Interestingly, on the request form there was a question :

When Would You Be Most Interested In Attending The DAVE School?

They had an answer option "-I just want the tape-", so I was also assuming they'd ship copies out whether you wanted to apply or not. (Unless it was a 'trick' question!) :)

As for web examples? There *are* snippets of video spread all over the gallery, however I'm assuming the tape is a bit *more* then those quicktime clips.

Anyway, we'll see what happens in the next couple of weeks. DaveSchool always has some pretty nice looking student work in their galleries. I've always been impressed... Besides, they may find by sending me a tape, I can send them some students in exchange! (Maybe - I meet all kinds of people, some have more money then others!) :)


Kev.

Velerium
04-25-2003, 08:20 AM
Hi Guys!

Yes, I'm going to the DAVE School.
It's quite expensive, that's true. But I'm sure it's a good school.

Best regrads
Velerium

adrian
04-26-2003, 03:49 AM
Good luck Velerium and congrats on making the big decision.

Could you let us know if you have any problems with gaining a student visa (hopefully you won't as they said by next year they will have permission to take on foreign students).

Also, you would be doing a GREAT service to the lightWave community by posting to these forums how you're getting on when you're there.

Adrian.

Velerium
04-27-2003, 11:56 AM
Thank you.

I'll inform you about the troubles (and the good things of course) that happen.

Best regards
Velerium

SplineGod
04-30-2003, 11:01 PM
I think it all depends on what you want or expect to get out of a school at that price. My personal feeling is that no visual fx school is worth that kind of money unless they can absolutely guarentee job placement. The problem is that in Orlando you pretty much are doomed to minimum wage work. School plus living expenses is going to put you in debt to the tune of at least $40,000 USD as private mentioned. Not a good way to be entering a very competitive market now. Ive never had a studio here ever ask to see any credentials beyond a demo reel. Depending on what you want to learn there are lots of alternative learning materials.
I have some courses that come with online support here:
http://www.splinegod.com/onlinetraining.htm

TyVole
05-01-2003, 06:25 AM
One alternative might be Friedman in LA. From what I understand, while it's extremely competitive, it's effectively free of charge.

Does anyone have any experience with them to share?

Also, I believe some studios, like Digital Domain, offer educational programs. That would seem to me to be more practical.

amorano
05-03-2003, 02:28 PM
Originally posted by Velerium
Hi Guys!

Yes, I'm going to the DAVE School in January!
It's quite expensive, that's true. But I'm sure it's a good school. After all it's on the Univeral Studios site...
I can't wait to get there :D

Best regrads
Velerium

I know five people who have attended and since graduated. Universal, first off, has nothing to do with the school. The school is just luck to rent a trailer on their backlots.

As to the people that have come and gone, they do say it is a waste of money. None have jobs, and they have been out for over a year already.

The school didn't seem to teach them the art side of CG, just how to use LW and AE.

They all agree that it was a huge investment for very little return. Meanwhile, 2 of them are attending Gnomon now, moved to Maya, one is working on a short, and the other two are still attemting to get into the games industry.

Good luck though, It may work out for you.

SplineGod
05-03-2003, 02:49 PM
Originally posted by amorano
I know five people who have attended and since graduated. Universal, first off, has nothing to do with the school. The school is just luck to rent a trailer on their backlots.

As to the people that have come and gone, they do say it is a waste of money. None have jobs, and they have been out for over a year already.

The school didn't seem to teach them the art side of CG, just how to use LW and AE.

They all agree that it was a huge investment for very little return. Meanwhile, 2 of them are attending Gnomon now, moved to Maya, one is working on a short, and the other two are still attemting to get into the games industry.

Good luck though, It may work out for you.

You make a very good point about a few things:
1. Check with graduates and get some feedback
2. Check the credientials of the teachers. Where have they worked and what have they done? Be very specific. Being a TD or a supervisor doesnt mean that you know how to teach, model, texture, animate etc etc. If someone shows you a demo reel ask SPECIFICALLY what they did.
3. What do they offer as job placement or assistance?
4. Do they offer internships and have direct ties to studios?
5. Check out other alternatives.
Youre going to spending a LOT of money and time doing this so make absolutely certain it is a good deal.

adrian
05-05-2003, 03:33 AM
Thanks guys, this was EXACTLY the kind of feedback I was looking for - ie from someone who has been there, or who knows someone who has been there.

So after reading this, I think that I would only go if money were no object - that way I could go along for the life experience as well as the qualification and not have to worry "am I going to get a job out of this....?" but unfortunately as I don't have a spare few hundred thousand stashed away, life is not like this - so for me, I would need to have the reassurance that I had a *good* chance of forging a career for myself upon graduation.

As has been quite rightly pointed out, it's not just the $25,000 you have to come up with - it's the year's living expenses on top as well.

I sent the school a list of very specific questions, most of which were answered but some not: "Is there any way I can contact some of your students so I could get their thoughts on your course?" being one of them not answered at all.

I also asked if they were well known within the film industry to which they replied "As to how well known we are, we have been in business for just over 2 years. We are becoming more well known every day. "

They also don't offer a finance package whereby a student could pay in installments which is ridiculous considering the amount of money we're talking about.

As far as the degree you get if you graduate, they said "the degree you will receive from the DAVE School is an Occupational Associates degree - I do not know what the equivalent is in the UK, however what will be recognized more than the degree is your work and skill level."

To be fair to the school, they said they didn't mind me asking around about them - in fact, they said they'd be interested in what kind of feedback there was.

I am in the process of checking out other schools - I haven't heard of the Friedman one though (any web links?) - also one in Vancouver I think.

Adrian.

Karl Hansson
05-05-2003, 04:36 AM
Hello adrian. Im about to enroll a computer animation school in the UK (I'm so happy :D). It's a 3 year full time education at the Bournemouth University. They will teach you every thing from modeling and animation to programming in java, c, c++ and OpenGL. In addition you,ll learn storyboarding, 3D specific mathematics, motion study, still and moving image theory, cinematography, postproduction and lots more. They are using Maya.

It's a really though course and you'll have to qualify to get in, but you'll get a real university degree. And the course fee is about 1500 per year for UK and EU students. Thats A LOT cheaper than dave school and you'll probably learn A LOT more. Also I hear the school is visited by people from major studios like Pixar and ILM on a regular basis. Its a great oportunity to show of and make contacts. Its the only real computer animation school in Europe.

adrian
05-06-2003, 01:41 PM
Hi Karl,

Good luck with your course in Bournemouth - unfortunately I don't qualify for the course :-(

Although to be honest there's stuff in there I don't have the remotest interest in (mathematical formulas for 3D, programming in Java - yuk!)

I came across this site:

www.vfs.com

I'm blown away by what I've seen and read here - this one's for me! And the chance to live in a beautiful country whilst studying for a new career - perfect.

Time to save up some cash.

Adrian.

Karl Hansson
05-06-2003, 02:07 PM
Good luck your self Adrian. I hope you succed at the vancouver filmschool from what I heard its probably a one of the best schools for computer animation. But dont sell your self short, I was certain I was not going to qualify for the school at Bournemouth but I applyed anyway. Before I knew it I was accepted to join the course. So go for it.

SplineGod
05-06-2003, 05:01 PM
Originally posted by adrian
Hi Karl,

Good luck with your course in Bournemouth - unfortunately I don't qualify for the course :-(

Although to be honest there's stuff in there I don't have the remotest interest in (mathematical formulas for 3D, programming in Java - yuk!)

I came across this site:

www.vfs.com

I'm blown away by what I've seen and read here - this one's for me! And the chance to live in a beautiful country whilst studying for a new career - perfect.

Time to save up some cash.

Adrian.

I would recommend getting a good handle on what exactly you want to do. Ive never worked with anyone in this business that went to a hardcore film school. I met some guys once who had gone thru Sheridan College but were making video games. Im not against education per se but I am against the stigma that a person can only get an education thru a school. Lots of people out here in Los Angeles take classes on the side but the fulltime film school thing can be very very expensive and starting out with a load of debt is not always a good thing.

DigiLusionist
05-06-2003, 08:08 PM
NO school can ever guarantee career placement. That is, unless they want to be open to liability suits from former students and the regulatory agencies that oversee them. So that is not a valid statement, Larry.

Having gone through Film and Theatre training at UCLA and at SDSU, I can tell you that education, training, and alumni connections make ALL the difference in that industry.

You may not have ever worked with a film school grad at your previous places of employment but then you probably haven't worked at the types of places where having such a degree is de rigeur. Different circles have different standards.

Those who work in the LW CG arena haven't had call to require such credentials. Just a "kick *** reel." So the comparision between attending a CG school and a film school isn't a fair one.

Learning from videos and books ARE great ways to learn the CG craft. But this is a different craft from filmmaking. The tasks are different. However, the same thought processes can be employed for both. That's where academic training in the field at a film school really comes handy. Learning from professors (usually former or current professionals in their fields) cannot be replaced by solitary learning. It just can't. And for those of you who haven't attended a university, it's impossible to adequately communicate all the reasons for my saying this is so.

So, if I were to answer question of whether attending a CG school is worth the money or not, I would have to say it depends on whether it is a degreed curricula that trains its students to think like filmmakers, and to do the same basic writing and cinematographic tasks that could also be utilized in the CG field, (in addition to giving them excellent training and advice in 3D animation technique). If this is the case, THEN I definitely would recommend the experience.

Getting a degree in CG beats not getting a degree at all. Not everyone will be able to get to the level they need to alone. Some can. For those that want guidance and academic interaction, formal schooling is a good way to go. Even students who major in Basketweaving have better job prospects than those without degrees. And, YES, everyone still needs a kick *** demo reel.

Of course, I would qualify the above with the same recommendations Larry made earlier about learning more about aprogram and the backgrounds of its instructors in order to find a good school.

Ultimately, even reel isn't enough. It's CONNECTIONS. And so far there haven't been any good connections saved as files on companion CDs for books...

SplineGod
05-06-2003, 08:37 PM
I agree to most of that in principle. Going to school also doesnt guarentee that you will be able to learn and apply the information they give you. It also depends on how much an instructor knows as well as the instructors ability to teach and your ability to learn and how talented you are in the first place. Theres lots of variables and all Im saying is to be very careful before signing on the dotted line. Ive worked with a few people who did have formal training and in the end they werent any worse or better then anyone else working where I did and having the credentials didnt guarentee better pay or position.
In the end most people fresh out of school are usually just dangerous enough to train. Thats the way it is in just about every field you get into. Many of the top people in the CG industry have no formal film or art school background. The bottom line is that once you get into the field as an intern or whatever you WILL learn from those around you. Most of the time when working at a studio doing CGI you are not going to be directing a project. You will be given storyboards and work for somone else. Based on the amount of sheer exposure you cant help but learn and learn and learn. Again, Im not downplaying the idea of film or CGI school but just impressing that there are many ways to learn. Many think you have to be able to show credentials from a school to get hired. I have never in all the years Ive done this ever had anyone ask to see formal credentials. The reason why is that a piece of paper will not demonstrate what you can do. If you have a good demo reel thats the best credentials you can have and is one of the biggest advantages of working in this field. I used to work as a Laser Technician and you cant simply pull out a box of junk and build a laser in front of someone.
So people end up getting hired based on how well dressed they are or how impressive the resume is. Ive been in positions many times where I had to review demo reels. Too many times I get a great looking resume only to be followed by a horrible demo reel.
Ive also seen some awesome work by high school dropouts.
I also agree that contacts are your #1 way to get hired. Too many studios get inundated with reels. Simply mailing a reel has little chance of getting you hired unless its a smaller or out of the way studio. I dont think school is as good a way to make contacts as other ways. Basically all your contacts are going to be out of work students that youll be competing with for jobs. The best bet which has worked for me for many years is to put up a website, be active on forums, go to shows, join user groups and in short, rub shoulders with people already working. When a job comes up where they work that person is going to be your best way to get in. Thats when your demo reel comes in handy. If other people know you can do good work, know your a team player, eager, trustworthy etc etc then you have a good chance of being recommended. ANY training you can get from ANY reputable source will be for your good and benefit. My advice would be to decide if you want to be a film maker, 3D artist, compositor etc etc and where or what kind of place you would like to work. Use that as your guide to educating yourself. Having a degree may be useful in some circles as was mentioned but meaningless in others.

adrian
05-07-2003, 03:20 AM
I agree with everything that has been said here in principle. However as to my own circumstances:

1) I'm in a profession (computer operator) I absolutely loathe and which makes me physically ill (due to long shifts overnight) - but I'm not qualified to do anything else
2) I've never been to university but wished I had
3) I've always wanted to study in another country (combining my love of travel with learning new skills)
4) Financially I have more than the course fee saved up so I might as well invest it in my future.

as for specific CG stuff:

1) All the jobs I've seen advertised here in the UK demand that the applicant has a degree and/or formal qualifications
2) Going on a course such as this would really focus my mind on where I want to go in my life - doing this CG thing as a hobby in my spare time is great but I'm still just a computer operator by trade - and a lot of the time I feel too ill to be creative
3) I would rather go for it and follow my dream and fall flat on my face than not go for it at all
4) Right now, I'm just not good enough to put a demo reel that will blow the likes of Larry away - I hate to say that but I'm being realistic - if I could dedicate myself 12 hours a day to LW then my learning would accellerate. But still would that be enough?
5) Contacts from the industry visit the school, at least according to their website.

As for knowing exactly what I want to do, you're absolutely right Larry - if you don't know what to do, then how can you do it?

Here is my life right now: I have just been offered a job (shifts!)paying 27,000 pa after 5 months unemployment due to redundancy, with great career prospects and all that
- and yet I can't begin to describe the desperation I feel inside that I "should" take this job because it's the right thing to do - except it isn't because I KNOW this isn't what I'm meant to do with my life - becoming a professional CG artist is - if I don't follow my dream I might as well be dead. That sounds melodramatic but it's how I feel.

Having spent about an hour at the Vancouver school site yesterday I got really good vibes about the place - unlike Dave School. There was something that bothered me about that place. I'm not saying I don't think it's any good, just maybe that it's not right for me.

Anyway they (vfs) are sending me their DVD - and someone from the admissions dept. should be contacting me shortly - if anyone is interested I will keep posting here to update on my progress in terms of application/info on the DVD.

kevman3d
05-08-2003, 06:32 AM
I'm in a profession (computer operator) I absolutely loathe and which makes me physically ill (due to long shifts overnight) - but I'm not qualified to do anything else

Here's a secret - I'm not qualified to do anything at all - No degrees, no cerificates... However what I do have is *personal* expertise I've built through doing things as hobbies, with a lot of passion that's gained me a lot of knowledge.

'No qualifications' doesn't limit you to no career path - Its all about positive attitude and a strong passion for what you want to do.

In 3D, if you can slap a cool set of images, animations or models under someones nose, they won't care whether you went to the xyz school of digital arts or you doodled on a PC in a bedroom for 10 years. Good art is good art. If you can produce hot looking work, you can probably guarantee you'll get a job.

While a job description might ask that you need 'qualifications' to apply, in most cases, they'll hire the best person for the job, not always the most qualified...

Its late - Half past midnight - Need sleep!

Kev ;)