Tommie Lee Washington

Tommie Lee Washington

Success comes when preparation meets opportunity. Tommie Lee Washington III , Media Arts & Animation Instructor , The Art Institute of Charlotte, a branch of Miami International University of Art & Design

Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

In my senior year in high school, Mr. Dretch encouraged me to attend The Art Institute of Philadelphia.

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

As a 30-year veteran of the motion media industry now in my 22nd year as an animator for ESPN, I share my past and current experiences with my students each week.

What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

In every class each week, we discuss a “hero”—an industry giant they can learn from, and whose determination and work ethic can inspire them.

In what way do you inspire students to push themselves beyond their own perceived limits?

I always assure my students that they’re capable of achieving their goals through preparation and perseverance.

How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?

Collaboration is a good tool for teaching students how to work with other artists to achieve a creative solution. It prepares them for the real world, where they’ll likely team up with co-workers on a specific project.

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

Choose the specialty that excites you most, and become a master at it. Because the old saying is true: “If you love what you do, you won’t have to work a day in your life.”

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

Success comes when preparation meets opportunity. Do your best to prepare for success, and when opportunities present themselves, you’ll be in a position to take full advantage of them.