The 2024 Student Commercial Workshop Served up Power & Spice

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May 30, 2024
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4 min read
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There was so much HEAT brought to the table at this year's Student Commercial Workshop. With Duracell and Tabasco as the brand pitch, the artists cooked up some seriously cool ads together as a team.

One of our missions at MAKE is nurturing the artistic community, particularly young artists just starting their journey. We want to be a helping hand that provides emerging artists with the skills and insights they need to thrive in this industry. The Student Commercial Workshop is a shining example of our commitment to this mission, offering junior and senior-level animation students the essential tools every animator needs to navigate this fun, but competitive field. This workshop is more than just a platform for students to hone their craft; it's designed to expose students to the nitty-gritty of commercial production! We're talking about bridging that gap between what you learn in the classroom and what you'll actually face in the real world. So, the goal is not only to help students improve their technical skills but also to demonstrate the inner workings of the commercial pipeline.

For Jerilyn Tennison, Duracell Team 3D Artist, the experience was nothing short of a game-changer: "This project had a lot of exciting information on how the pipeline is managed in the industry. From more cultural things like clients having notes until the last day or moving deadlines, to more technical things like which render layer to put a character's shadow on or how much grain to introduce back into a comp."

At the project’s start, the workshop offers a bite-sized, realistic advertising pitch experience. Once each team’s pitch is approved, they dive into every aspect. As our Strategy Director, Iana Prakheeva, puts it, "From handling the brief to final delivery export settings, the teams act just like our studio does. We even hired professional voice-over actors to feature in these commercials and tasked students with directing them!"

When speaking to students, we’re aware, an advertising animation career isn't usually the first thing that pops into most students' heads when they think about animation. But this workshop is meant to expose students to paths they might not realize could be the perfect fit for them. Erica Chernne, Tabasco Team 2D Artist, shares her take on the workshop: "I would definitely recommend this to students! It's like diving headfirst into a commercial animation production at MAKE. Plus, the workload's manageable alongside classes, and you get to meet cool folks from all over the place!

Duracell Team Credits: Amanda Rabade, Fabian Sanchez, Galina Bovykina, Jerilyn Tennison, Josephine Ikehara, Katherine Fan, and Selin Giray

With all our workshops, we're incredibly proud of how a diverse team of students from various schools came together to create their spots, experiencing the collaborative nature of commercial production. In many educational settings, students primarily work on solo projects. This workshop provides a unique opportunity for students to mirror the team-based environment they will encounter in their professional careers. Liliana Cantillo, Tabasco Team 2D Artist, reflects on this, saying, "Most of my school projects have been self-directed, so this taught me a lot about handling specific project constraints, like ensuring the ad is cohesive and understandable within as short a time span as 15 seconds, or meeting the client's style preferences."

This workshop was undeniably successful and brought so much joy! From Danny Robashkin, the Creative Director himself: "Running the commercial workshop was truly a highlight for me this year. I love working with students, and seeing them grow as artists and teammates, and this year was the best so far!!"

These artists poured their artistic passion into these pieces; it truly takes all hands to make this happen. A lot of dedicated and appreciated work went into both of these. Fabian Sanchez, Duracell Team 3D Artist, shares the same amazement: "The moment I first saw a lit and composited render of one of our shots, I was in awe and filled with excitement, and knew we were making something special."

Tabasco Team Credits: Erica Chernne, Jaimi Qiu, Joanne Jian, Liliana Cantillo, Lydia Leiwang, Mandy Lin, Marina Abreu Souza, and Sijia Huang

If there’s one takeaway we want you to have, it's this: if you're a young animator, explore all of your options and don't write anything off. Animation, like all careers, is a building block journey! So be ready for that 2025 Commercial Workshop Announcement and take on the animation world with, first and foremost, another impressive piece to add to your portfolio. 😉  

But of course, it's not just about the work; it's about gaining confidence in your craft, networking within the industry, and finding mentorship along the way. Cheers to this year's students — you really wowed us!

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