Oct 12: The ACME Network

The ACME Network, is a non-profit online educational community that uses its website and videoconferencing technology to connect creative professionals from the entertainment industry with middle school, high school, and college classrooms for mentorship in 21st century creative and critical skills. ACME’s unique practice is defined by our “pay it forward” approach to mentoring.  Students actively participate in offering constructive feedback to their peers in order to earn access to professional mentors on our website and over on-air telecast real time videoconferencing and via our online mentoring platform.  The V3 beta platform went live on 10/3/2011 and connects students, professional mentors and educators.This is now made easier. ACME and Bill Haller from Sony will present The ACME Network tools and discuss animation and mentoring.

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38 comments on “Oct 12: The ACME Network

  1. Ruthie Williams says:

    I am really impressed that there is such a well-developed mentorship program in animation that is available to High School students and evev Middle school students! Back in my day all we got was Oregon trail, maybe a dial up Internet connection if we were lucky!

    I think ACME is a great resource, especially as a means to have access to a simulated dailies environment while still in school. For those of us that want to work in one of the big studios, it’s an opportunity to get broken in early. It’s always better to have more than one place to gather advice and mentorship.

  2. I’ve always though that many problems our global society face today are rooted on difficult access to education and control of information. Prejudice, intolerance and new forms of non-physical imperialism have developed from this chasm, emphasizing the idea of first and third world countries.

    Fortunately we have the internet today and society has shifted thanks to this platform. Some governments or corporations may still try to fight this notion, but luckily there are some organizations concentrated on spreading knowledge as much as they can.

    What I appreciate of the ACME network is that they seem to be striding in this direction and they understand the value of the mentoring relationship as an exponential factor for generating new teachers in every student, thus de-centralizing knowledge.

    At first I was kind of disappointed that this amazing service and platform they developed was restricted to some high schools and colleges. In my opinion, It defeated the purpose of having it. But It was nice to hear that they are willing to open it for individuals and are looking for ways to connect with communities outside Hollywood and the U.S.A and places where there’s no animation culture or schools. I understand they are doing it with Brazil right now.

    I respect for the fact that they are trying to make of this mission a sustainable endeavor. If they manage to cross boundaries with this project and reach the kids who need this kind of support, they would be providing a tremendous service for animation and for the world. If this is the case, they can count with my support.

    • Ruthie Williams says:

      Your post is very thoughtful and nicely written, and I like how you were able to discuss the mentoring program in a broader context. Unfortunately, brevity is crucial if you want to be first every week on the CTAN 522 blog, a lifelong goal of mine.

    • The day will come when I will best you miss Williams. Mark my words.

    • I would’ve been first If I had gone with my original comment.

      Animation Network
      Crucial is for learning
      Mentoring Important
      Everything was nice.

    • Ryan Gillis says:

      I’m not trying to troll here, but Ruthie’s the champ when it comes for first post. But I’m interested to see what happens now that there’s a blood-feud

    • Ryan, If you are trying not to be a troll, you are certainly failing. :_(

  3. Chen Huang says:

    I am very glad to see this kind of education program like ACME network.
    When I was a high school student, I didn’t have a chance to have a mentor
    in the field I was interested.. What I want to say is, this really means much
    more than we thought. It can actually change a person’s life.
    And it is definitely a good news for people who like animation

  4. Amy Ketchum says:

    I like the concept of Acme. It’s great that they are a non-profit, because it shows that they really care about making a difference in communities. I wish that they had talked more about how their program is accessible to low-income students if their program costs over $1000 though. Anyhow, I am glad that programs like Acme exist, because peer critique is one of the most important things one needs to grow as an artist.

  5. Ryan Gillis says:

    I’ve been looking for a way to give back, because I feel like I’ve been focused too much on myself for the past few years. ACME seems like a great outlet for that. It’s nice to see professional animators trying to figure out ways to continue the mentoring relationship. With the advent of the internet and the explosion in the industry it seems like that would be pretty difficult.
    I’m confused about the cost- something I’d have to look into. Right now might not be the time, since I don’t know much myself, but it sounds like a great idea for one of these days.

  6. Yang Liu says:

    I apprecate how ACME tries to offer an very educational community and environment to the college students and build the healthy relationships between them and the professionals. And I believe this is very promising project. Especially I was suprised that they spent some effort on minorities and high school students, because I always wanted to have experience with animation when I was little. It is very important to expand animation techniques to more people and the ones with different backgrounds. ACME is working really hard to promote animations and the fun of animation to everyone, and this part of the project is very exciting. I also was inspired by ACME that they uses internet system to make this goal possible.

  7. Meng Chia Chung says:

    The seminar of this week is quite interesting for me, and I like the idea of Acme. The idea of the mentoring relationship is really got my attention. I know how great healthy mentoring relationships can serious effect a high school or college student’s life, and they need that. This presentation actually got me start to remember all my mentors during my high school and college. They guide me on how to become a better artist or designer. I believe that I could not be here if I lose any one of them in my life. So, I think Acme is a great website for us, no matter you wants to find a mentor for yourself or actually being a mentor for someone else.

  8. Larry Lai says:

    ACME’s mentoring system offers a platform for animation learning and teaching. On this network, we can share our works with others and at the same time give or get comments. Furthermore, there are many experts of animation giving you advice and teaching you how to enhance your production. For me, animation is a way of conveying ideas and evoking inspiration for the public; that is to say, it is created for communicating with the world. Therefore, it is essential to know others’ opinions on our works so that we would not be isolated in our own stereotype and find no way out if we’re running out of ideas. Mentors are like tour guides who lead us to the right track. Through their experiences, they provide us with right methods of creating new thoughts that can be shared with the world.

  9. Rachel Jaffe says:

    Whether scanning the confines of a static frame for a hint of visual artistry or gazing at the gradual deflation of a tennis ball as it trails across a student’s posted animation, the ACME mentors who presented during last Wednesday’s seminar displayed a dazzling gamut of professional skills – not to mention an undying enthusiasm for the art that doubles as their collective career.

    Admirably donating untold hours of their time on the ACME site, those who spoke last week have volunteered an immense amount of effort to found a (relatively thriving) educational community to support students from (largely American) high schools and colleges with an interest in animation – many of whom have since entered the animation industry in some capacity. Watching the videos that ACME had cobbled together was undeniably fascinating – hopefully, ACME will soon become available for would-be animation autodidacts on an individualized level, as well!

  10. Di Gu says:

    I was really impressed by last week’s lecture. Especially when they mentioned ACME is a non-profit organization. There has some organization with similar education mode in China, but the purpose is totally different. Most in China, they focus on the economic profits, which is the reason they only open the platform for college students and adults. I admire the thing what ACME doing now, with their effort, the children here have the opportunity to communicate with professionals, which is hard to imagine in China. Hoping in the future, ACME can expand their network to China, let Chinese middle, high school students have same opportunity to get to animation knowledge following ACME development.

  11. It was nice to hear the goals and the teaching philosophy of the ACME network. It seems like a great way for people to engage in mentorship, as well as for them to learn to mentor and to communicate effectively. The thing that seems truly special about ACME is that it provides a simple means for connecting people within and outside of the industry. It is exciting to see people creating opportunities for education within and without the larger academic institutions. The other thing that I especially appreciated about the ACME network, is that it recreates the traditional apprenticeship model in a way that is modern and relevant.

  12. Simo Liu says:

    I really appreciate the ACME’s new way to provide the people who interest in animation from different ages a platform to learn animation. And ACME is a profitless community. I think its feature depends on that its group of accepter is relatively widely, from middle school, high school to college. It will give the student a lot of help, especially the ones who are interested in animation and want to be animators from their childhood. Another feature is communication and feedback. Animation, itself, is a way of communication. And ACME network also focuses on this point. Everyone can upload their works and get comments from other people. They can easily know the opinions, feelings and thoughts about their works from others. Communication and feedback is really a good way to learn and get inspiration from each other. In addition, many experts will give them some points academically, which is really helpful.

  13. Lisa Chung says:

    In high school I was approached to take part of a shadow/mentorship program where I would be paired up with a professional of my career choice. I remember being really excited because this would be my chance to learn directly from an animator and understand what it takes to be in the field. At the end, it never happened. It was a combination of the program’s neglect and the difficulty of finding a match for me. I actually forgotten this memory until last Wednesday when ACME came through to talk about their online animation mentorship program. Just seeing Eric Goldberg’s personal critic was profound. To think that I could have gotten personal critics from animation professionals as a high school student blows my mind. Although my mentorship did not work out, I am just grateful to know that there are companies such as ACME out there today who cares enough to unite animation professionals with students while promoting communication and teamwork skills. As someone who is interested in teaching and learning, ACME is a place I definitely would register in the future. Thanks for coming!

  14. Tristan Dyer says:

    Frank Gladstone made a great point about the ACME Network helping the mentors as much as the students. I paraphrase, “When you are telling people how to do better work then it forces to look at your own work more critically.” I appreciate this sentiment because it indicates that the mentors are aware that they too have space to improve, which in my opinion is the best kind of mentor to learn from. Even if there is only one pen in the universe that you should draw with.

  15. I’m glad to see that online mentoring is spreading and that ACME Network is contributing to that spread. I remember hearing how a lot of the big studios were using bits and pieces of that process for remote sessions with directors and better ways to give notes on work that animators could actually take back to their desks. I fortunate to have a similar experience at Animation Mentor and know many other could benefit from something similar. I certainly how what ACME is doing catches on and spreads throughout out the world. I think it’s one of the most effect ways to get new students from the classroom to their intended professional world.

  16. Having the ACME representatives come was a pleasure. It is very nice to see people work on getting people interested in animation at an early age rather than just at the college level. I feel that animation gives purposes to drawing and this type of initiative is perfect for inspiring people to keep drawing. I will be very interesting to see how this develops and if it reaches other countries. Mr. Castro brought up Colombia in a question and I thought that was an interesting point coming from a small country myself where animation barely exists. It will be great if American professionalism will be able to reach those types of places in such a direct way.

  17. Joseph Yeh says:

    Teaching is rewarding and fun. It is so satisfying to watch kids being guided in the right direction; some people just want to see the world learn! There is a lot of advice that younger aspiring artists need to grasp like working hard and having a positive attitude. Especially in tough industries like art and animation, aspiring young artists may not have the right opportunities or the will to find a vision. Teaching is also a great way to learn because you explore concepts in a new way as you show them to a student. If I ever become a master I would love to give up time to improving the future of film in the younger generation.

  18. Andrew Malek says:

    The ACME network is a fantastic program for a budding artist/student to start honing skills that will be used in a professional setting. In public high school it seems that there is hardly any opportunity to study what you actually want to do and can be very frustrating. Now with the internet the individual is empowered to take their future into their own hands and the ACME network is a prime example of this.

    Mentorship seems like such a crucial aspect of professional development and it appears to be a fundamental component of creating a rich culture surrounding a craft. If its possible for a student to learn and master the fundamentals of animation at young age there is no telling what levels he or she may reach later in life.

    I was also impressed by the multi-level approach that ACME takes with teaching, where the student will eventually become the teacher, what better way to master an art.

  19. So, I’m not really sure what to say this week. the ACME network seems like an excellent idea. I am curious how it is carried out in practice. It seems like it maybe an advantageous program especially for those seriously interested in character animation. The level of talent involved is seriously impressive.

    One area I think might be interesting for the ACME network to explore, is allowing graduate or upper class undergraduates serious about teaching with a demonstrable track record of quality work to participate in the mentor side of the ACME network as teachers and mentors to high school and middle school students. ACME could be a tremendous tool for training young animators and instructors.

  20. Eric Tortora Pato says:

    this program seems like a brilliant idea to me, mostly for combining the personal connection of mentoring with the wider networks that schools like ours offer. I hope we get more involved as involved as an institution with it, because as someone who’s interested in teaching people and getting people into our field, but not all that schooled on how to do it, I think that I could gain a lot through having this system.

    I guess that’s almost entirely selfish reasoning, so to counter it, I’d say that I’d also love to try to act in a program such as this to tying in collaboration with writers and live action filmmakers and programming for that, as I suggested to Frank Gladstone in my question last week. The way I see it, the walls between our subsets of the medium of the moving picture have been dissolving for years, and we haven’t been keeping up with it at a network level, meaning a lot of weak collab when people try to cross over and more difficulty doing it. we got to blow our networks and experience wide open if we’re going to stay with the times of the form, so to speak.

  21. LaMar Ford says:

    Mentoring is essential to developing one’s talent. I appreciate what ACME is doing, and it makes me jealous. I wish more high schools and college programs stress the importance of mentorship for students who want to go into various fields.
    When I graduated from XU, I didn’t go through a mentorship program, and I regret learning the value of meeting people in the industry and talking to them about their experience. It’s great that working professionals from the animation industry are teaching middle school and high school students the craft. As much I would like learning from someone in person and getting immediate feedback, ACME’s use of videoconference technology to link students with professionals around the world is a great solution to gain access to valuable knowledge.

  22. Lanzhu Jian says:

    ACME is amazing organization helping young kids in high school and collage to learn and be able to find their interest and life goal though this Mentoring network. This is the spirit of American I really appreciate and I think it should be abroad cast to the whole world. ACME is such a wonderful platform to provide good sources and cultivate young ambitious artist finding their path. I wish I could contribute my ability someday to help these young people with big dreams. Also, How I wish I could spread this sprite into China education industry help many of them just like when I was 16 and struggle to find my identity in this world.
    It is a such a small thing to the other people, but it is almost the whole world to teenagers in that certain time. In this case, ACME is not only helping people learning skills for art or animation, but also lighting people’s future.

  23. Robert Calcagno says:

    Understandably while the ACME Network may not be completely humanitarian since they do charge the schools to be a part of the network, it’s still extremely noble and would’ve been very helpful to have that kind of exterior assistance at DATA, my high school magnet program.

    I can attest to the fact that having that kind of mentorship, especially with things and programs as convoluted as modern technology tends to be, is of a great help and there’s a certain sense of partisanship in being able to assist a fellow animator/artist. It’s ultimately a community and therefore one should act as communal as possible.

    I can’t say if I can be an active member of the ACME Network quite yet; however I will certainly give advice if need be and give a helping hand for those that ask for it.

  24. Louis Morton says:

    It was great to see how the ACME network has taken mentoring, perhaps the oldest form of education and brought it into the 21 century through online programs. When I first got into animation I mostly learned by trial and error and a couple books. To have the one on one attention of a professional animator would’ve been invaluable. We are very fortunate to be surrounded by such animators here at USC, but it’s inspiring to know that programs such as ACME are also out there. Hopefully this will get more people into animation both here and around the world.

  25. Dan Wilson says:

    Mentoring isn’t something I usually think about as an organized thing; usually it is more organic. When we were asked if we could think of any great animators who don’t mentor people, their follow-up was about famous people from the industry. My first thought was not of anyone famous and inaccessible (and probably dead) but of a teacher from my undergraduate animation studies, himself an alumni of the program. I can’t imagine that I’m the only one from my class, let alone from all his years of teaching, who considers this teacher “my mentor”. A large part of why I’m in graduate school is because a master’s degree will allow me to teach. Having him as a teacher not only made me love animation even more, but it encouraged me to go to grad school so I can one day be called Professor Dan. I may not have the time during school to mentor people in any official capacity like ACME, but I already share many of its goals.

  26. Miguel Jiron says:

    It’s cool to see such committed professionals engaging with students and taking everybody’s work to the next level. ACME is a great program and I wish I had the time to take part of it. They seem to take student work and giving honest critique very seriously which is a blessing in any school or outside of it. Glad to see such inspired enthusiasm and genuine help within the animation industry!

  27. The role of mentorship has played a large role among animators in the industry. Senior animators have similar tales of starting as an entry level employee assisting major juggernaut animators. Adopting a similar mentorship idea to High School students as an internet resource.

  28. Cecilia De Jesus says:

    The ACME program is certainly a great asset to the world of animation. It is so wonderful to hear that master animators take the time to pass on their wealth of knowledge to the future generations of animators. In my experience with meeting professional animators, I have found that no matter how disgruntled or jaded they may be about animating or life in general, they still care about students and feel like giving something back.

    It would be great to see this program work on an individual basis for students. By this I mean it would be nice if individual animation students could sign up without having the whole school involved necessarily. However, I would love to see DADA take part in this program if at all possible. I think it could work so well with the amazing work that Trixie Sweetvittles is already doing. I hope to see this develop in the future.

  29. Brandon Lake says:

    Im happy to hear that programs like ACME exist. During my undergrad, I was an animator looking for as much help as I could, but I usually found myself left wanting. Having industry professionals and students who are further along in their studies of animation would have been a great part of my education and that is what made seminar so interesting. I wish I had known earlier about programs like this so I could even offer my services. Overall, what ACME is doing should be commended and I hope the company flourishes.

  30. Javier B says:

    It was insightful to see an on line program ACME expanding the world on animation , without leaving the comfort of your home. What I liked was that the visiting animator or master animators involvement and time to critic students work. I would like to see if the curriculum would open up more to other animation technique and not just studio base animation.

  31. Linda Jules says:

    ACME gave a wonderful seminar on the power of mentorship. It is an unmatched opportunity to network with people within our industry. It is also good to always keep in mind that the mentorship that we receive as graduate (or undergraduate) student with directly affect they type of industry that we end up in.

    There are times when I feel like the true power and relevance of mentorship gets overlooked by the many opportunities online available to us. But it is important to know that tutorials and communities formed online in random forums do not match what we can get from working closely with actual people in the industry.

    ACME is holding on to the single most important factor in keeping animation alive–passing the torch from one generation of animators to another.

    Thank you to our speakers for a wonderful presentation.

  32. Jay Kim says:

    When I first hear the word ACME I think of silly bombs and booby traps, but now I will ALSO think of ACME the mentoring program. ACME is right — mentoring makes such a huge difference! Having someone see your work and listen to your thoughts is nice enough, but for someone to analyze, criticize, and help improve your work is a whole ‘nother benefit! I mean, who better to have your work looked at than professionals in the industry of your dreams? It’s like…it’s like showing your jump shot to Michael Jordan, or…or cooking up a grilled cheese sandwich for Mario Batali to taste. ACME aims to provide students with a resource once only available to very few people before, but now they are expanding the spectrum of animation education. Hooray!!

  33. A.W. Gammill says:

    I am really glad to see that the ACME Network has been spreading the tradition of mentoring in animation and doing a great job of it. Their website was extremely well-organized and thought-out and it looks as if they really care about the students and how they learn. I agree with Linda about how important it is or animators to interact. The world of animation is small and we’re all in it together and should all try our best to learn from each other and to spread what we know. ACME really embodies this idea with the system they have devised. I would love it if this were something that could happen here at SC and hope that the ACME people can visit again to make connections with the faculty and staff here at Hench.

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