Embracing the Humanity in Animation

Senior Animation major Andrew Arcilla sees beyond computer generated imagery.

For Andrew, animation is all about flesh and blood. As he describes it, it’s almost a language, a means of connecting people through shared experience.

“Animation has an innate ability to have people forget their differences, come together, and enjoy the same story,” he says. “Every phase of the animation pipeline involves a human element, which makes it truly one of the most beautiful forms of expression and an all-encompassing artistic medium.”

Although he’s yet to graduate, his understanding of the discipline isn’t just theoretical. Andrew interned at Dreamworks and Warner Bros. and has curated animation content and served as a TA in animation classes. He‘s even worked as a staffer at Creative Talent Network and Disneyland as a Photo Imaging Lead.

“Growing up, I pretty much watched and played everything,” he says. “From all the major studios to all the TV networks, the stories that they shared helped me realize that anything can happen, just as long as you’re willing to really work for it.”

As an aspiring animation producer, Andrew says Woodbury seemed like an obvious choice: “The draws for me? The university’s location in the heart of the industry, the fact that all of the Animation professors are or have been working professionals, and the size of the school, which felt just right in terms of professor accessibility and being part of a tight-knit community.”

Andrew explains that he hasn’t had just one mentor at Woodbury but a team of them. “The faculty is like a tool belt,” he says. “Everyone has different experiences and they’re always willing to help you grow in your career. So, in a sense, my mentor is the cumulative Woodbury faculty.”

Given his various gigs at some of the major players in the business, his universe of mentors is expanding. “The animation industry seems to be all about its people,” he says. “I’ve heard it described as a ‘big but small’ industry, and this oxymoron is oddly making more sense as time goes on. It’s a vast business, but somehow everyone in the community knows each other.”

All of which reinforces his view of animation as more people-dependent than silicon-dependent. “With advancements in technology, the fact is, the animation industry is always changing,” he says. “From traditional to computer animation, the medium extremely versatile while always relying on the same core principles. Technology isn’t in ‘the driver’s seat.’ There are so many ways one can animate, and the computer is a tool. Just because the screwdriver was invented doesn’t mean the hammer automatically became obsolete.”

After graduation, Andrew intends to pursue his goal of becoming a part of an animation production team, “doing what I love, which is helping people — in this case other artists — create their best work by providing them with administrative and logistical support.”

Before that can happen, however, he’s got a senior film to complete. For that task, he‘ll be drawing on his fascination with animated film soundtracks. He and a colleague, Hannah Garcia, are working together on – what else? — a five-minute animated musical.

Learn more about the Animation program