Mo-Graph Mentor

{Student Interview} Brian Saar


1) Tell us a little bit about yourself.  I’m 32, married, 1 daughter 2 years old. Im the Creative Director for a small-mid sized church in Raleigh NC. I enjoy design, photography, distance running, science & technology and lots of reading.

2) How did you find out about MoGraph Mentor and what made you interested in joining the program? I heard about MoGraph Mentor through Dave Keller on Twitter before it started and thought it was super interesting. I’ve always thought motion design was cool but I’ve never tried my hand at it and haven’t had the time or need to learn it but I wanted to. I didn’t think it would be something I could do due to time constraints, family requirements and money but my wife was supportive and very encouraging and that led me to decide to give it a shot. I want to expand my skill set, i feel pretty confident in my fundamental design skills but wanted an opportunity to try something new and I want to launch my own freelance design business soon. I felt like adding motion design seemed like the next logical progression and would better enable me to serve my future clients.

3) What do you like best about MoGraph Mentor? Anything that can be improved? What I like best is that everyone in the program is working hard to better themselves. I like the mentorship model better than a traditional school model because I’ve already been through design school and realized it was a huge waste of money and time for what real world experience I got out of it. The hands on, learn by doing approach i think is much better suited to subjects in the design field. I think a few areas of improvement would be the use of class time. I enjoy the critique from the mentor but also from the other students as well. The class time isn’t really set up to allow for that. I feel like one way students improve is by learning how to positively give constructive feedback and ask questions of each other. I think that part of the reason other students don’t give as much feedback during class time is that they might be working on their projects during that time and listening to the critique period of class in the background. I think it would be an excellent exercise to actively encourage students to come up on the camera or mic and ask questions or give feedback. That was one of the aspects of design school that I think helps a lot with confidence and learning how to discuss design feedback in a constructive positive way. The critique time during class can seem to really drag on and on when you have 10-12 projects being reviewed. Perhaps the mentor can arrange to do the critique individually with students throughout the week so that class time can be better spent on learning or reviewing techniques, principles, processes or methods. Another improvement would be access to something like a “common area” or a “lab” classroom or something like it. A place for students to go to when they are working on their projects and might want to see who else is working at the same time. A lot of times I run into a simple quick problem I might Google to find answers, but sometimes getting answers from another student or mentor would be so much faster. I wold be glad to help other students with those kinds of questions and could see myself logging into a “lab” area while I’m at work or working on projects just to help others out. I like the access to digital tutors content but honestly haven’t had much time to delve into it even though i should because I have to spend all my time just working on my project. I think the live Q&A sessions are invaluable! And I’m really looking forward to more live demos, or more technique oriented class time. Sometimes class seems like its only critique. Michaels course material (the lectures and case studies) he has made is of great quality! I think that’s the kind of material I’m looking forward to coming back to over and over.

4) Do you feel like you have grown as a motion designer since joining the program? Definitely! …Considering that I’ve never really done any motion design before this program with the exception of minor title screens and other little effects I’ve learned a great deal!

5) Do you have any advice for future students? My advice would be to carve out a time in your schedule every day to work on your projects if you can. Working 40+ hours a week, and trying to make time to be a husband and a father PLUS going to school has been the biggest challenge. The only time I’ve been make for school was by altering my work schedule. I work four 10’s, Sunday through Wednesday 7am to 5pm, then I  work on school Thursday and Friday and try to make time for family on Saturday. It’s been very challenging for my wife to have our daughter all that time without much help from me but I’m doing this to be able to better provide for my family and we see it as a temporary sacrifice for long term gain.  I think this program would be ideally suited to people currently in college or people who are freshly graduated and haven’t fully moved into the working world. Or ideally if your employer were willing to allow some of the school hours as employee training time that would be a great situation.

6) Any last comments about the program? I think what you guys are creating with MoGraph Mentor is so awesome and I hope it really takes off! The traditional education model is so painfully unsuited to today’s students and challenges. I really believe that by the time my daughter reaches college the entire educational landscape will look completely different. Its not that I’m against traditional education systems, its just that they are filled with so much dead wood and so much needs to be cleared out that the situation looks rather hopeless… short of a forest fire. I think traditional public education or college has a role to play but programs like MoGraph Mentor, Khan academy, CodeSchool, The Iron Yard, MOOC’s and countless others will be so much better suited to transmitting knowledge and training faster, more efficiently and effectively at a lower cost than anything we see available today. Keep up the good work!


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Tags: Motion Graphics, Motion Design, Online School for Motion Graphics, Motion Graphics Courses