Mayet Andreassen

Media Arts & Animation

Media Arts & Animation Instructor
The Art Institute of Austin, a branch of The Art Institute of Houston

Culinary Faculty Member Mayet Andreassen

Soft skills and critical thinking are just as important as technical skills. Mayet Andreassen , Media Arts & Animation Instructor
, The Art Institute of Austin, a branch of The Art Institute of Houston
Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

My "ah-ha" moment came when I watched the movie Fame at age five or six. I remember thinking, "I want to be surrounded by creative people like that." When I saw The Little Mermaid in 7th grade, I realized I wanted to be an animator. I never strayed from that path.

How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

I always try to connect class projects to the industry in some way. For example, I give students the same projects they’d get on the job, complete with time and project constraints. I share anecdotes from my own professional experience, along with some that colleagues have shared with me. I want my students to understand that soft skills and critical thinking are just as important as technical skills.

What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching, mentoring, and pushing your students beyond their own perceived limits?

I like to give students small projects that build upon each other. For example, in my 3D Character Animation class, they start by rigging a simple character. They then create video reference of themselves running and kicking an object, and use that to animate their rigged character. A student once exclaimed that she felt really satisfied because she’d created something from start to finish and it felt really good to see it all come together. That was a great moment—it's what I want all my students to feel.

How does collaboration contribute to students’ success?

I tell students that no matter the industry, you have to work with others. Typically you’re communicating with several different departments and people outside your zone. Collaboration helps teach communication skills—a lot of students don't realize how important that is till they’ve worked in a team. Students in my Production Team class write a post-mortem the last day of class. It’s a document that game industry teams fill out after a project that asks what worked and didn’t work, and what each person has learned. It’s a great way to assess what students have actually learned in their team-based class...95% of the time, they learn how important communication is for success.

What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

Attention to detail and a willingness to change are, I think, the most important things I impress upon my students. A lot of people don't pay attention to the details or don’t put in the effort to make their work better. Those are the ones who don’t succeed. Being willing to change also means working well with others and being receptive to different ideas and points of view, which are essential to success.

What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?

Learn to be a critical and creative thinker, express your ideas, be on time, pay attention to the details, and try and work well with others.

Anything else you’d like to share?

My core philosophy centers on promoting artistic and creative excellence in my students and myself. I strive to fully prepare my students for the realities of working in their chosen professions.