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From Lupin House to Feature Film - Jonathan Valentine

My name’s Jonathan Valentine and I graduated from the 3D Animation program at Dawson College in May of 2022. I was eager to use all the tools I had learned, so I quickly began applying to jobs in my area like a madman. I was a bit disappointed to see how little entry-level jobs were available to juniors, even here in Montreal. I remember thinking how unlucky I was to have graduated - alongside so many others - at the start of a tumultuous time in the industry, especially considering that the year prior had been so successful for graduates at my school.

All my friends had already found their place in the industry, while I was still struggling. But, I’m a stubborn person by nature and I knew that I wanted to pursue animation, so I wasn't about to give up. So, like many others, I began pumping out personal shots and posting them on social media to gain exposure and get feedback. I was improving, but not at the rate that I wanted to. I knew that, without proper guidance from an industry professional, I wouldn’t get recruiters to turn their heads.

So I decided to sign up at Lupin House for my first animation mentorship, and boy, did it ever make the difference. As Steven Morris told me during our first call together, sometimes it’s about knowing what to do, and not only how to do it. I was paired with Samuel Webster from DNEG, who would later mentor me a second time. I cannot put into words how amazing Samuel was during my mentorship. Not only was he extremely knowledgeable and explained things very clearly, but he was also very patient and cared deeply about our shots. He really wanted us to get the most out of the experience, and went out of his way during his busy schedule to give extra feedback outside mentoring hours. If I could give him 6 stars, I would. Superb.

I also loved his teaching style and personally found it to be a perfect match for me. Samuel also gave me simple and effective ways to structure my workflow that just made sense to me. This was especially true when it came to blocking, with the “4 or 6 frame rule”. Having tricks like that under my belt has been great since I always struggled with devising a plan of action that worked for me. This would often lead me to becoming overwhelmed. Now, I have much more confidence as an animator.

I couldn’t give praise to Lupin House without mentioning the man himself, Steven, who also went out of his way to mentor me - at no extra cost - during an animation test for a Feature Film role. Thanks to him, I was able to successfully complete the test and land my first role in the industry, and I could not be more grateful.

There are pieces of advice that he gave me that I will carry with me throughout my entire career. Even simple ones such as, “characters live in keyposes”, really helped me since I was never taught that way at school. Sometimes, all it takes is a different perspective, or a small tip, that will make something click. I had quite a few of those moments during my time at Lupin House, and it was such a great feeling. I animate much more efficiently now, which in itself puts me way ahead of where I was just a few months ago.

Joining Lupin House may have been the best decision I could have made to kickstart my career, and I will stand by that. Having professional guidance is invaluable, and I encourage any prospective students interested in the program to give it their all and really listen to what the pros have to say. Sometimes, they’ll share a nugget of wisdom without even realizing it, and for them it’ll be common sense, but for you it may make the world of a difference.

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