MR. BRAY

Studios, LLC

503-334-7521

       MR BRAY

A boutique design & animation shop that dissolves the line between studio and agency.

My Eyes Are Bigger Than My Stomach

Sometime last year I got a wild hair and wanted to create my own LMS (Learning Management System) for a FREE animation program. I've had quite a bit of success in the past teaching, especially animation and design, so I thought out loud "what if I could do the whole thing myself and for FREE"?

 

Well reality set in and I started to pull apart the hiccups to create this program all on my own. I thought perhaps I could use the exercises and projects I've had my interns create over the years or even rework my previous course work for this platform. Then I got seriously stuck. 

 

While I'm an animator and graphic designer, the hurdles to create this sort of online FREE "Animation Boot Camp", I needed to sort out more than just lessons and examples. Teaching the materials wasn't my problem; time, costs and technology were the real problems.

 

Firstly time is the most significant and the most limited. I'm just one person, and when exactly would I be able to pull together the extra 40hrs a week on top of my work and life to build this thing? This dream project requires a great deal of time and energy.  

Secondly I've gotta keep the lights on and working on a FREE animation school isn't going to pay the bills. Even if I had unlimited server credits on AWS (Amazon Web Services) and it was 100% free to build (which it's by no means) I need some upfront costs to build it.  

 

Lastly, and this is my most persnickety point, technology. While there is amazing technology available, the cost of the greatest tools are the immediate barrier that cause would be animators to miss out. From Toon Boom to Adobe and beyond these softwares have a steep learning curve and a hefty price. While they're amazing software and I'm confident I can teach them to anyone; basically I would be creating free advertising for an existing animation software company. 

 

Which got me thinking why not create my own tools? Why not create animation & design tools that are free to use?! Well that's my current ambition. I personally feel a quality educator, cares so deeply for their students, they're passionate about removing as many obstacles as they can so their students can learn uninterrupted!  

 

So what does that mean for the future of "Mr. Bray Academy/ Animation Boot Camp"? Well I haven't abandoned my dream project. In many ways I've just refined it. However I'll mostly likely be creating course work that is flexible and modular for those limited to just an internet connection and interested from multiple entry points. I've even been playing with the idea of creating a character animation course using, CSS  (Cascading Style Sheets) & JavaScript, web languages that in many ways are a whole different animal to the classical digital animation approach.

 

Also you might be thinking why not create the course on Udemy or Skillshare or an existing LMS site without having to deal with all these technical issues. The truth is currently I'm really disappointed in their lack of functionality and boilerplate approach to learning. Most of those sites allow you to show a slide, have a fill in the blank or multiple choice quiz, play some audio or a video. Which is fine for some learning but animation is highly, highly interactive. The people that are often drawn to animation range greatly too. I've taught people from hundreds of different countries, from ages six to sixty and beyond and each person has a very unique learning style. So my hope is to create an LMS that's adaptive to peoples own learning styles. Something that's smart enough to allow people to approach a problem differently. Not always the linear approach, and in a way when they finish the course they'll be empowered to create beautiful animations, films and even teach themselves. 

 

This is my basic disrupt thinking. Remove the old lecture then test model and get the learners involved! This might be beyond me to finish I have no idea at the moment. Yet I have a clear vision for it. Animation is in my opinion is one of the most exciting subjects you could possibly teach. And being that animation is inherently exciting that means the bar is exceptionally high to begin with. This LMS can't be just another string of YouTube playlist tutorials. I need a platform that's built for interactively, that I can add my own custom code and measure and refine the course materials.

So as you can see my eyes are clearly bigger than my stomach. I want to revolutionize how animation is taught and hopefully how stories are told and shared across the globe. Perhaps this might eventually mean a pivot in my companies business model or even an offshoot non profit. I'm not sure yet. I personally don't like the paperwork and administration aspect with the whole non profit idea. I'd like to not have this project be dependent on tax deductible donation or grants. In my mind's eye I can see a dozen ethical and positive revenue options for the school. But I don't want to sacrifice the educational experience and I don't want this to only cater to people that could already afford conventional learning.

There's lies the creative nut I'm trying to crack and there's your long winded answer for if you were curious what happen to the Animation Boot Camp. If you're interested in chatting more about this or if this idea excites you please feel free to reach out to me via email: jesse@mrbray.com

 

thank you so much for following along. Have an excellent day! 

 

-Jesse