Reflections on 2016 from a guy who started out making tutorials in his bedroom and now runs a company with amazing alumni all over the planet and an incredible team helping to make the best Motion Design training ever.
Holy smokes… what a year.
If I had to describe School of Motion’s 2016 in one word it would be “Bonkers.” Maybe someone more poetic could think of a prettier word, but I think “bonkers” pretty much covers it. We continued wrestling with the difficult task of figuring out how to best teach Motion Design on the internet. We added more courses, made a lot of new friends, helped launch a few careers in Motion Design, and grew as a company in ways I never would have imagined when this whole thing started in 2013.
Before I tell you what we have in store for 2017, let’s recap what happened this year… because there was a lot and if you blinked you probably missed something.
Ants. Several Exquisite Ants.
We partnered with Giant Ant, Antfood, and Red Giant to create a one-of-a-kind contest for our incredible Bootcamp Alumni. Giant Ant kicked off an Exquisite Corpse animation project that our alumni then ran with. In the end, we had 4 winners, a sweet :30 animation (download the project file here) and Antfood was amazing enough to sound-design the whole thing. We’re unbelievably proud of the end-result.
Design Bootcamp. It’s epic.
We partnered with Emmy-Award-Winning-Design-God Michael Frederick to create a course that takes a radically different (and effective) approach to teaching Design. Since launching, we’ve had over 500 students sign-up for the course and seen some incredible alumni successes. Check out that course here.
We have over 2000 alumni.
Speaking of alumni, we’ve hit a pretty amazing milestone recently. When we added up all of the alumni from all five programs we offer, we realized that we now have more than 2,000 alumni. There are now literally thousands of School of Motion alumni out there, all over the world, kicking ass and getting BOOKED on Motion Design gigs. It’s amazing to see.
We’ve had alumni meetups in Boston, San Francisco, Paris, Warsaw, Barcelona, and other cities all over the globe. The education you get in our programs is top-notch, but the best part is probably the community you become part of once you finish. Our tribe has grown tremendously in 2016. Oh, and by the way, nobody is really sure why it’s now “a thing” to give the bird to the camera when you’re at a School of Motion alumni meetup… but apparently it’s what you do.
In-person tutorials in Seattle!
I had the honor and privilege of running some classes at Adobe Video World in Seattle, WA this October. I got to hang with some amazing folks… legends in the industry like Chris Do, Eran Stern, Matthias Mohl, and EJ Hassenfratz. I got to meet some of our alumni in person, and I got to do some in-person tutorials on Animation, Design, Expressions, and some other fun things that I love to geek out on. It was an incredible time, and I hope to do more in-person teaching next year (NAB Anyone?)
Rigging Academy has gone gangbusters.
We also launched a new non-Bootcamp course called Rigging Academy. It’s the companion course to Character Animation Bootcamp, and teaches you just about EVERYTHING you could possibly need to know create amazing character rigs in After Effects. The mighty Morgan Williams put it together, and it has been incredibly popular since launching.
Our team grew. Big time.
What started in 2013 as a blog in my bedroom is now a team of 4 full-time staff, 10 Teaching Assistants, and a small (but growing) crew of Content Contributors. Every team member that’s come on has given us a new weapon in the battle for Motion Design Mastery. We’re pulling out all the stops to bring you some incredible content and learning opportunities next year, and we expect to have even more new faces around in 2017.
So what’s next?
Let’s start with a big one. For the past several months we’ve been busy building the ultimate Online Learning platform for Motion Designers. We’ve been designing it from scratch with one goal: To be the perfect place to come hone your Motion Design skills. So, what will be different on the new School of Motion site in 2017?
A new site: The ultimate MoGraph learning platform.
We are building an environment where our students (both free and paid) will be able to track progress, interact with our amazing teachers, and interact with each other. Bootcamps will be more streamlined with integrated critiques, easy access to your Teaching Assistant, searchable transcripts for every lesson, and more. It may not seem like a huge deal yet, but the new platform will let us start adding a LOT more of the training that you all have been requesting. We’re super excited, and the new platform will launch in Q2 of 2017.
Frequent, killer content.
We’ve signed on some amazing Contributors like Jake Bartlett, Sara Wade, and Billy Chitkin to help us keep a constant stream of new lessons, articles, and interviews coming your way. We’ll also be doing more interviews and podcast stuff. The goal is to have new content every single week by the end of 2017.
New courses to kick yo' butt.
We’ll be expanding our course-catalogue with new training programs… some will be Bootcamp-style guided courses with staff available to critique and answer questions, and some will be deep-dives into niche topics that are self-paced.
And, since you might be wondering, we are starting to figure out how we might create the ultimate Cinema 4D Bootcamp (it’s our most requested course BY A MILE). We’re also starting to work on some beginner-level courses so that we can help brand new Motion Designers get their feet under them before throwing them into the gauntlet of our difficult Bootcamp programs.
Long Term Vision
2017 will be the year we get a stable, scalable platform to grow from. The goal is to (slowly but surely) find the best Motion Design teaching talent out there to create a place where someone can come learn about this amazing field, dip their toes in, and then go all-in with the tools and training necessary to become a real-life, bonafide, professional Motion Designer. It’s a lofty goal, but one that we are 100% committed to. We’re always looking for new Instructors and Contributors, so if you’d like to help build the curriculum with us, hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A million times… Thank you!
None of this would be possible without your support. Even if you never take one of our courses, the fact that you’re here and checking out what we’re doing gives us the confidence boost we need to push through the challenges ahead of us. We’re extremely lucky to be doing what we’re doing, and we hope that we can continue to be a helpful resource for Motion Designers of all stripes.
From all of us at School of Motion, we wish you a happy new year, and hope that 2017 is your best year yet.
Joey and the SOM Crew