My family and I flew up to San Francisco on July 26th for an Animation Mentor filled weekend. We headed over to The Cheesecake Factory inside of the Macy's in Union Square because there was an AM diner extravaganza meetup thingy happening that night. I got to meet a bunch of the people that I have been going to school with for the past two years which was pretty awesome. AND there was cheesecake involved, which made it even better!
The next day we had the open house at AM headquarters. You could kind of see bits of it in the video news each week, but seeing it in person was fantastic! They have a super cool work environment where everyone gets to personalize their own workspace. There are castle cubicles, crazy lego models, cardboard cut-outs of Austin powers... We got to go on a tour and see all of the different departments. They also had a mini 'Spike Carnival' set up where you could shoot targets with a nerf gun and win prizes. Because I'm a stone cold killah I was able to knock a few of them down and win some candy and a lovely AM pin. My sister is apparently a trained assassin because she was able to get the hardest one down and won me a t-shirt! Way to go Paige! They also had snacks for us and a photo booth which I unfortunately missed out on. And I got to sign the alumni wall which was pretty cool!!! We went to the Walt Disney Family Museum afterwards which was lovely!
Guess who's inside of Spike?
Sat the 27th was the day of the graduation! I got to meet the rest of my graduating class and take part in an amazing graduation ceremony! We also had an incredible commencement speaker...ANDREW STANTON!!!! He gave a super inspiring speech and said that he could now call us animators. In the words of Sophia Grace, it was 'SO GOOD'. I got to walk across the stage and get my diploma from the 3 founders and I think that I surprised them with my 'creative accent'. They seemed to enjoy it though. :) There were also some student awards that went to some crazy talented and wonderful people and some great speeches from some of the mentors. At the end of the ceremony they released a ton of balloons from the ceiling and it was really, really magical.
Post balloon bombing.
With Shaun Kelly!
With Bobby (Boom) Beck!
With Carlos Baena
I was pretty excited about Shaun signing my hat.
Who wears Mickey Mouse gloves to accept her diploma? THIS GIRL.
Afterwards I got a chance to go and meet all 3 of the founders and take a picture with them. And I got them and a bunch of my awesome classmates to sign my graduation hat. My parents took my sister and I out for supper that night because she had also recently graduated from university. We also went to the Disney store...and it had 2 WHOLE FLOORS. It was a good day.
Then on Sunday the 28th we had the AM BBQ which was open to both students and alumni as well as their families. I got to meet and hang out with a bunch more awesome people.
The people at AM put on an amazing weekend for us and I'm incredibly grateful to them!! It was a fantastic (if slightly overwhelming :) ) weekend and it was great meeting my fellow classmates and finding out that they are actually real live people! I'm looking forward to seeing a bunch of them again at CTN later this year!