Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Purpose of a Second Bachelor's Degree: a.k.a. I'm Not Crazy, I Promise

I get a lot of odd looks and reactions when I tell people that yes, I am in fact getting a second Bachelor's Degree. These range anywhere from "What the hell are you doing here?" to "Stop wasting your money on a degree you already have" to "You're too smart to take up your time with that." People are basically telling me that school ends for an artist once they graduate from their Bachelor's. I'm here to tell them: "You're wrong."

(Photo courtesy of http://i.imgur.com/wZU0q.jpg)

So Why the Second Degree?
First of all, a Master's degree is for someone who is already well-versed in something to master at it, meaning that you need to actually KNOW your major. For those of you who know me, you're aware that I got my first BFA in Sequential Art (Art in Sequencing), aka Comics/Film Design/Creative Writing/Self-Publishing with a double minor in Business and Storyboarding. I fell in love with comics and will continue to make them til the day I die, but the industry I've had my eye on is Animation and Film.

I'd love to storyboard and direct animated feature films someday while developing myself more fully in the comics industry. There's just one problem... I don't actually know how to animate, and in order to succeed in any aspect of the animation industry, you should know how to animate so you know the medium inside and out. A great knowledge of animation is also useful to make your characters and panels come alive in comics and avoid stiff and static visual storytelling.

So basically, I want to be more flexible and learn animation, the tool of one of my trades. But if I don't know how to do it, should I get my Master's degree in it? I say HELLS NO. Be patient, go through another BFA, and learn your damn trade. So that's where I stand. There's also the benefit of me having the first two years of foundation arts classes done since I already went through them at my past art school. So overall, a 2-year BFA? Yes please. It's the smartest option for me.

And for those of you who say artists don't have anywhere to go after their first degree clearly need to learn more about our industry. Yes, it's a competitive one, but it's a steady and good one that you CAN survive in. All hope is not lost. You just have to be stubborn, patient, and hard-working. Two of these I have, one (patience) I'm working on.


What Are the Benefits of a Second Bachelor's Degree?
  •  You have the Career Services people as a resource. This is MUCH easier, if you have the right kind of people, than trying to get into the industry on your own.
  • There's more chances for networking, especially across fields. I networked in the comics industry with my first degree and now I get to network in the animation industry. Can it get any better?
  • More knowledge. Knowledge is power and the entertainment industry is constantly changing. The more you can learn, the better.
  • Knowledge in a more specific field. In your first Bachelor's, you're just figuring out what you want to do. By the second one, you can finally focus on what you want to do and use your resources to get there instead of wasting time experimenting.
  • Up-to-date resources. Resources are expensive and softwares are constantly changing, and in the arts, they're usually about $500-$1000 apiece average. Then there's the equipment, which costs even more. With a part-time schedule and full use of these things, you set yourself up for success.
  • Studio space. It's about the same price as renting your own studio, but you get to be in a productive atmosphere around creative people versus being in an empty apartment or storefront. It doesn't get better than that.

Still think I'm crazy? Feel free to pick my brain and I'll happily convince you I'm not... or I may just be out of my mind, but all the best people are so I welcome it.

Have a great day all!

-S

P.S.--I just started my own Facebook Artist page that I will be updating semi-regularly with my work. Please like my page when you get the chance and you'll get the latest and greatest about my work and professional career! https://www.facebook.com/rosered91sarahsteele