‘Hyper Island’s methodology made me feel like I have more control over my life’ – meet Louise
Louise, what did you do before you came to Hyper Island?
Originally, I started a course to become an art teacher. However, when I began I quickly noticed many flaws in the training for teaching. I’d always thought that teachers are experts in their fields but during my studies, I suddenly realized that that just isn’t true. I felt like this way of working wasn’t going to work for me. I wanted to specialize in a skill, so I changed to a Graphic Design degree instead. After finishing, I found it difficult to get work, because after I graduated, graphic design was already very different from what it was before I started studying. There had been a strong shift towards programming/UX which my degree never covered. I ended up not having the skills in demand and ended up only working with design part-time. So when the opportunity came to move to Sweden with my husband and reset my career I took it!
So I assume you’ve been passionate about art all your life then?
Yes. From when I was really young, art was what I enjoyed doing. My dad would often sketch at the kitchen table, I would watch him totally fascinated and when I got a little older he would set up little still life sets of fruit etc and we would do a lot of still life drawings together. When I started school, art was the thing I was really good at so I latched onto it and kept at it throughout my school years. It turned into the only thing I really wanted to do. During my last year of school, I also started creating my portfolio. People called me nuts for that because they told me to focus on my final year and do the portfolio the year after, “get the good grades just in case the art thing didn’t work out”. But I knew art was all I wanted to do so I worked hard to achieve both.
So how did you then end up at Hyper Island?
The first thing I did when I heard my husband got a job in Stockholm was to look up animation courses in the city. I was excited to see that in Sweden there was a lot of great education available for free. During this research, Hyper Island came up. From that moment on I had it in the back of my head. After moving here, I mentioned that I was interested in Hyper Island to a few people and got very positive feedback on it. People kept telling me ‘you have to go there’. That was when I realized the great reputation the school has. That really convinced me that it was the right place for me to be, so I applied.
You chose the Motion Creative (1-year) program. Can you describe it in a few words?
Motion Creative is a program that allows you to study all aspects of motion: life action, film, 3D, stop-motion. Basically, anything that brings something to life. The people I studied with took so many different paths because they had the opportunity to explore so many things during the program. For me, it’s all about putting the life into projects. You learn to make projects fun, understand briefs, and think outside the box.
I expected the program to be like every other course I had done. I expected to go in and get briefs that initiate learning hard skills. But Motion Creative was not like that at all. The program managers were very open and straightforward about telling us from day one that we wouldn’t be taught any hard skills and that, instead, we’d learn how to motivate ourselves to gain hard skills we need. We had the opportunity to decide freely what hard skills to train. I felt like the program taught me how to find out what I need to be able to do. And I found that very valuable moving forward. Overall, it’s a lot about self-awareness and getting what you want out of your education. At the same time, you learn about the industry. It’s very liberating because you learn the tools you need to learn whatever you want to learn later on. I very much believe in this educational approach.
What’s the best thing about Hyper Island for you?
The methodology is the best thing. I don’t think you get that anywhere else. The best example is the first week: Way Week. You get introduced to this group of 40 strangers and just a few days later, after working with the methodology, you suddenly feel like you’ve known these people forever. The methodology made me feel like I have more control over my life and over how to collaborate with people.
You eventually went to do an internship. How was that?
My goal had always been to work for a small team and not a big corporation so that I could easily be involved in different parts of a project. Additionally, I wanted to work with 2D animation. Luckily, that’s exactly what I got for my internship. The company was called ADME. It was a very small team of three people and me. I was there for three months and was given a lot of creative freedom, which was a great first internship experience.
They let me do team development sessions but also involved me in a lot of their work directly. They were super open about the Hyper Island methodology I brought with me. Overall, it was a great experience for me. Sadly because they’re such a small company they weren’t hiring at the time, but towards the end of my internship there I got a job at VIACOM (Nickelodeon) and could continue working there.
So where do you see yourself in 2 years when you’re 30?
My hope is to progress into more projects that complement my 2D animation and illustration skills. I really love storytelling and cel animation so I would love to learn more and work with them. But my ultimate career goal is to be able to work somewhere that allows dogs! That’ s the dream
Do you think you’ll ever go back to Hyper Island?
Regarding Motion Creative I think I got what I needed from Hyper Island. But a small part of me doesn’t feel like my Hyper Island journey is finished yet. One of the reasons for that is that I helped out doing Way Week for the new students and seeing that process really motivated me in terms of my personal growth again and it made me aware that I’m passionate about this methodology. I navigate towards both psychology and art, so when I can combine it I’m in my happy place.
What would you say to a potential student considering to study at Hyper Island?
Do it. Don’t think about it too much. Once you get here all your expectations go out the window and you’ll learn even more valuable things that you’d ever anticipate. Embrace it and be patient.