Huntington University is a Christian liberal arts college in Indiana

Animaniacs:

Grad credits ‘silly’ animation professors for his success
Aaron Deal describes the advantages of studying animation at Huntington University, a Christian college.

“I was looking at several other schools, but (digital media arts professors) Steve Leeper and Bryan Ballinger were just brewing up something way too cool to pass up."

You have to be a little bit nutty to be an animator. Zany, wacky, simply creative — whatever you want to call it. It’s a skill.

The digital media arts professors have it (one meeting with them will tell you that), and they make sure their students have it too.

Aaron Deal, a 2010 animation graduate, spent June through December interning with MediaSauce, a branding-type services studio in Carmel, Ind. There, he created storyboards, characters, props and animatics (imagine the graphics at the end of a TV commercial). His projects were then turned into animations.

“It is good work, and I’ve learned a lot from the experience,” he said.

As a student, Deal ran the Signs and Wonders film club which is a weekly film viewing event led by digital media art majors offering a variety of documentary and feature films with a student-led discussion following each viewing. After graduation, he began looking for work, and unknowing (and thankfully) fell into a paid internship at MediaSauce.

“I called MediaSauce simply to find out if they were hiring at all. They mentioned the internship and so I thought I’d throw my name into the hat,” he said. “I sent them a link to my online portfolio and got a phone interview shortly after. Later, (when) I had found out that I could have the internship, I was surprised. I hadn’t really even officially applied for it, but it was an absolutely great opportunity so I accepted immediately.”

Over the next six months, Deal built on the skills he gained first at Huntington University.

“Now, because of this experience, I am much more marketable, and I’ve learned quite a bit because of it,” said Deal as he is currently searching for new full-time and freelance opportunities.

Deal first developed his interest in animation in high school, and it was the digital media arts program that brought him to the university.

“I was looking at several other schools, but (digital media arts professors) Steve Leeper and Bryan Ballinger were just brewing up something way too cool to pass up,” he said.

Admitting that there was some silliness amid the seriousness of the program, Deal is thankful for everything that he took away from HU — zany and all.

“HU had given me the opportunity, and my animation professors were the best I could’ve ever asked for,” he said. “Actually, what I learned through them, both inside and out of the classroom, has been incredibly important to who I am as a person.”
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