From Woodbury to DreamWorks Animation, Alumnus Shares his Story

A recent graduate of Woodbury’s Animation Program (’19), Andrew Arcilla is reveling in his role as Production Assistant at DreamWorks Animation, currently working on the television series, Fast and Furious: Spy Racers.

With internships being a requirement to graduate, Andrew secured the DreamWorks job after interning at the studio. Encouraged to apply for internships early on, he also interned at Warner Bros. and was a staffer at Creative Talent Network before that.

Andrew grew up fascinated with animation. “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.”

When selecting a university, he says, “Woodbury seemed like an obvious choice. 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, were all draws for me.”

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.”

While at Woodbury, Andrew points to his senior thesis film, made in collaboration with a fellow student, Hannah Garcia, as his proudest accomplishment. The film, Taylor the Latte Boy: The Animated Musical Spectacular, has received awards for “Best Animation” at the Top Shorts Film Festival and “1st Quarter Honorable Mention for Best Short Animation” at the Queen Palm Film Festival.  It also was recently selected as a semi-finalist for the KCET 2020 Fine Cut competition, which will air the winners’ films.

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 is 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.”

 Since graduating Andrew says he continues to grow, learn, and set himself up to become a producer, “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.”

In addition, he has had the opportunity to return to Woodbury to teach an ‘Internship’ seminar class this past semester. “It was great being able to give back to the Woodbury Community and share what I have learned over the years,” he says. “Overall, the animation industry is full of amazingly nice and talented people which makes me hard-pressed to think of another field I would rather be a part of.”

Looking back at his time at Woodbury, Andrew advises potential animation students “to make friends and rely on your colleagues. They say networking is a huge part of getting work and the sooner you realize that the people in your classes can be your strongest advocates the better.”

Learn more about the Animation program

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