Exceptional Minds, a nonprofit academy and working studio for adults on the autism spectrum who are pursuing careers in animation and visual effects (VFX), has launched a Virtual Private Tutoring (VPT) program. VPT is designed to offer the academy’s specialized training to students wherever they may be.
The three-year full-time Exceptional Minds program includes technical and professional skills training and provides a critical bridge between high school and employment for animators and/or VFX artists on the autism spectrum. The VPT program is modeled after the academy’s full-time curriculum as a self-paced, individualized program for animators and VFX artists on the autism spectrum. Potential VPT students can take lessons to work on digital projects for personal or professional aims, to learn the fundamentals of digital arts, animation and VFX, or to apply for Exceptional Minds’ full-time program.
“We have students move to the Los Angeles area from all over the world to attend our program,” says Exceptional Minds manager of outreach and communications Ronalis Naveo. “Not everyone can make that move and we hope that by offering Virtual Private Tutoring, we can extend that same success to other young animators on the autism spectrum, wherever they are.”
The academy’s private lessons offer students ages 16 and up the chance to develop talent (both for entrance into the full-time program and for other aims). Initial lessons follow a six-lesson curriculum, where each lesson is two hours in length. Once the initial six lessons have been completed, the instructors will assess the student and develop a personalized lesson plan and learning objectives for the student’s and caregiver’s approval.
Technical lessons offer the training of critical technical and conceptual skills for post-production, VFX and animation to advance the individual’s goals for career prospects and project completion, along with prerequisite building and remediation for the full-time program.
Vocational lessons are focused on the development of professional “soft skills,” creating the professional material and practicing the communication skills needed to apply and maintain good performance at a job.
Enrichment lessons support students who are learning basic computer/internet skills while exploring subjects of their interest. Students work on preferred projects at their own learning pace.
Graduates of the academy have gone on to careers at Marvel Studios, Cartoon Network and Warner Bros Animation. Graduates also participate in apprenticeships and paid projects at the Exceptional Minds Studio in Sherman Oaks, where they have completed VFX and animation work for the Los Angeles Zoo, ILM, Sesame Workshop, Netflix, HBO and Special Olympics, to name a few. In 2016, Exceptional Minds animators were nominated for a daytime Emmy Award and received the Joan Ganz Cooney Award from Sesame Workshop.
Learn more about the academy’s programs at exceptionalmindsstudio.org.