Student Experience: Being an Animation Student Near Los Angeles

by Morgan Rogers

“When it comes to defining moments in careers like animation, most people realize this is what they want to do in their childhood,” Qamdhyn Hale ’22 explained. But for Hale, an animation and visual effects (VFX) major at Azusa Pacific University, the career-defining moment took place at the 2019 Annie Awards, an award ceremony presented by the International Animated Film Association in Los Angeles.

Hale took an animation class as an elective during his freshman year at Azusa Pacific University. When a nearby industry opportunity arose for him and his classmates to work as talent hosts at the Annie Awards, he jumped at the chance.

He described the occasion and the impact it had on him as he waited outside the greenroom where talents gathered for photos: “I saw the cast from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse swarm the greenroom after winning Best Animated Feature. They were all celebrating and embracing each other.” The cast’s excitement and joy were contagious, and it was in this instant that Hale decided to pursue visual effects as a career.

As he continues to advance in the animation and visual effects program, Hale has had the opportunity to cultivate his creative passions through course topics like computer graphic animation, sound design, and storytelling. Throughout the experience, he is frequently reminded of that moment at the Annie Awards. “After seeing them celebrate, I just realized that’s the main reason I wanted to be in animation; I wanted to complete influential projects,” he said.

Morgan Rogers is an editor in the Office of University Relations.