Today I’m headed off to California, with my sights set on Cal Arts on monday for move-in! I’m soooo excited and can NOT wait to start! The first weeks is going to be awesome; Meeting everyone and having a good time! Gotta get a ton of stuff this weekend for school! Gonna be one hell of an experience and I doubt I’ll have time to blog about it being that my schedule is soooo freaking busy! From the time that I began commenting like a robot on the Frederator Blog when I was only 15, I never knew what would have become of my, almost spam-like-but-real-commenting.
Frederator is probably one of the greatest companies I have become close with. Fred has been extremely generous to me, taking my pitches when I was 15 regardless of an agent, unlike any other company. I have kept improving my pitches and I still do. Learning to grow a thick skin from rejection from a very young age has absolutely been a blessing. I’ve learned alot about animation, the industry, business, and this blog is where I discovered this thing called Cal Arts.When the 39 cartoon blogs started to pile up, I was nervous that I didn’t have anything to pitch and the slots would be filled up. They did regardless, but it was fun trying to squeeze my idea in! As the blogs and posts started, Frederator Blogs grew to a large community that I became a family with. It seems as though some of these creators had attended Cal Arts. I saw the blog post for it and looked into what it was all about. That blog post changed my life.
Fast forward a couple years. I had a meeting with Fred just to catch up. I was discussing my plans of how I was going to get into Cal Arts and live happily ever after. Fred said to me, “What happens when you don’t get in?” I wasn’t sure what to make of it at the time, mainly due to my ignorance, and assured him I was going to get in. Got the rejection letter in the mail a few months later. When I first applied I had absolutely no idea what the criteria for accepted students was. I had no starting point, just submitted a bunch of black and white life drawings. The rejection didn’t discourage me one bit. I decided to take the year off, since spending a year anywhere would have just wasted my money since I knew I was going to Cal Arts.I attended the Gnomon School of Visual Effects in the fall of last year (wow, I can’t believe that was already a year ago!) more motivated and determined than ever before. I was going to be in California, what could be better? I took several classes and improved my life drawing tremendously. I had a couple meetings with Libby Hux and found out EXACTLY what they were looking for in perspective students. I returned home from Gnomon in November and began putting my all that I had learned at Gnomon to work. While there I grew as a better artist, person and gained a lot more confidence. I re-applied to Cal Arts the following January, 2010.
My family and I recalled around the time I was rejected last year, which was in March. That was last year. March 7th 2010 approached and for some reason the mail was extremely late that day. We kept searching our mail box, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, still nothing. Then around 3pm the mail finally came. I had gotten something from Cal Arts with the back envelope reading “Congratulations.” My mom yelled down, “I THINK YOU GOT IN!”. I ripped open the letter and read “Dear Stephen, I am delighted to inform you of your acceptance to the California Institute Of The Arts.” I was soo happy! We were all jumping up and down and for some reason I started crying. It was one of the greatest moments of my life. I was headed to California, to the Walt Disney animation school that I had been dreaming about for over 3 years. Me. In Cal Arts. They actually want me there! WOW!
I’ve met a ton of awesome people from the school already and on Facebook and I can’t wait for the amazing experiences I will have at Cal Arts.
Thank you Fred Seibert, and everyone else who’s helped and motivated me to push and reach my goals. This blog and company has been and continues to be one of my greatest outlets. I don’t know where I would be had I not discovered this blog and left my first comment on the website. Regardless, I’m moving ahead and will visit Frederator whenever I can!
Stephen M. Levinson