KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Kansas City native who’s worked in the animation industry for more than 30 years returned to the city to open a post-secondary animation training school called Hollywood Animation Academy. Classes begin Jan. 9.
Founder Gavin Dell will be the lead instructor. He said seven students are enrolled in the inaugural class. He’s currently enrolling new students for the fall 2023 semester. The school is located at 1740 West 92nd St. in Kansas City, Missouri.
The Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development confirmed Hollywood Animation Academy is certified to operate within the state. The department refers any potential post-secondary student to review its Journey to College online guide.
Dell worked for Warner Brothers, Disney, The Simpsons, Family Guy and on many other projects. He says his experience, his curriculum and his connections in the industry is what separates his school from others offering animation programs.
“We get a direct from the front lines report on what’s going on inside the studios and the kinds of stuff they’re looking for,” Dell said.
The academy’s vice president, Jason Lethcoe, said there has never been a better time to get involved in animation. Demand for content to watch is at a high; whether it’s a TV show, video game, film or short clip on social media. Plus, studios based on the coasts are now hiring more remote workers.
“Animation has just grown exponentially in terms of the types of stories you can tell,” Lethcoe explained. “It used to be maybe just a fairy tale here or there, but now the sky’s the limit.”
Dell said the curriculum is designed to help students create a portfolio to get them hired in the industry. Upon completion of the two-year program, students receive a certification. Tuition is about $27,000 per year, which Dell says is lower than comparable schools on the coasts. Students are required to have an intermediate level of artistic proficiency to be accepted into the program.
Learn more about Hollywood Animation Academy on its website.
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