For the second year, Momentous has had the privilege to sponsor the Exceptional Minds Industry Open House in Sherman Oaks. Exceptional Minds is a pioneer in providing vocational training in the fields of animation and visual effects and a model for similar vocational programs. Each student is empowered with the technical skills required to obtain employment in the visual effects industry and is adept in animation, graphic design, roto and cleanup, green screen keying, simple compositing, object removal, tracking mark removal, and end credit work. The day’s events included an opportunity for students, each on the Autism spectrum, to share their professional demeanor and expert reel with attendees. Momentous supporters Matthew Iacovone and Greg Jones attended the event to cheer on the graduates.
Each of the seven 2015 graduates had a few moments to share desires on what type of work he or she would love to do post-graduation to about 100 visual effects industry professionals. “Thank you to Exceptional Minds for giving me the skills necessary to do this, to start off my career,” said 2015 EM graduate Nicky Benoist, who will be starting his new job as visual effects artist with Mr. Wolf Studios the day after graduation.
Many EM graduates go on to work in the Exceptional Minds Studio, which provides visual effects and other digital animation work on a project basis. The Studio’s resume includes credits for American Hustle, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and Avengers: Age of Ultron.
“I will tell you what they have that other people don’t have: obsession over detail,” said Victoria Alonso, Marvel Studios’ Executive VP of Visual Effects and Post Production. Jamie Lee Curtis was on hand to present Alonso with the “Ed Asner Award,” which is presented to the school’s most important supporters.
More than 3.5 million Americans are living with an autism spectrum disorder, with one in 68 children now being diagnosed (increased from one in 88 just two years ago); more than 500,000 U.S. children impacted by the disorder will enter adulthood during this decade. Autism services cost U.S. citizens over $200 billion annually.
About Exceptional Minds
Exceptional Minds is a non-profit vocational center and working production studio for young adults on the autism spectrum. It was chartered in 2011 to provide the training necessary for creatively gifted individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders who may not otherwise be able to make the transition from high school to careers. Exceptional Minds offers technical proficiency and work readiness training that prepares students for careers in graphic arts, animation, web design, visual effects and rotoscoping. Exceptional Minds is both an instructional learning facility and a working studio with hands-on student involvement in production projects, many for the film industry.
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