"Love it. Breathe it. Live it and keep growing..."

By VFS Web Team, on December 2, 2013

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Jay Roxas, a 3D Animation & Visual Effects graduate, was working professionally as a graphic designer in Australia when he decided to pursue his childhood dream of making giant robots, space cadets, and jumping plumbers his career. Not only did Jay land an animation job two weeks before his graduation from VFS, but he was also invited by Disney to visit their Burbank studios on October 3rd, when they opened their doors to a select group of emerging animators. Fresh from his trip to California, Jay was generous enough to answer some of our questions, talk about life at VFS, and even pass along 12 survival tips for animation students!
Where are you from? What were you up to before coming to VFS?
This is probably the funniest question to answer. I'm of Filipino/Spanish decent, an Australian citizen, and living and working in Vancouver.
Before coming to VFS, I was a Senior Graphic Designer in Sydney, Australia. I have a Bachelor's Degree in Information Technology and never thought that I was creative enough to even be considered for a school like VFS. My heart was always in Animation and after years in Graphic Design, I decided to finally try my luck and pursuit my dream of becoming an animator.
Were you always interested in animation?
I grew up with giant robots, turtle ninjas, and jumping plumbers. I loved watching, pretending to be, and playing with these things but I never thought that I would actually re-start a career in this industry. No way! But it was my grandfather who got me to watch the first Toy Story when I was still in the 5th grade, and my cousin who introduced me to Japanese Anime, which got me hooked on appreciating animation.
A few years ago I was able to attend a Pixar Masterclass in Sydney and I met Simon Allen who had been animating for Pixar for some years now. Those two days spent learning how he would animate finally got me to dream bigger. A year later I was able to visit him at Pixar and that completely blew my mind. Ever since then my work and everything I try to do is compared to their standards and work ethic. Simon's become a great animation and life mentor. I urge anyone who wants to always grow to have a mentor who will push you harder and smarter in your craft.
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Why VFS? How did you find out about the 3D Animation & Visual Effects program?
I'm so thankful for a good friend who came from the Digital Design course at VFS and recommended to me to have a look at the VFS programs, specifically the 3D Animation & Visual Effects Program. I was blown away at how polished and cool all the alumni work was. More impressive is how many alumni are now in the industry and actually contributing to the creative industry. I died. No way was I going to be able to get into THIS school. I couldn't draw or sketch. I felt completely un-creative compared to what was coming out. All I knew is that I wanted to learn and that I loved the craft.
What was your experience like in the program? What was the hardest thing about it? What was the best thing about it?
Coming to VFS and the year spent there has been the best year of my life.
It was tough, absolutely tough, crazy tough. Harder than anything else I've ever done in my life because I wanted to succeed so badly. In retrospect the hardest thing about your time at VFS is managing to cram so many amazing things into such a short amount of time and applying them. The other hard thing is saying goodbye to the amazing people who are your classmates at graduation. You grow with them, become family, mature, and become much bigger than you think you are. Then hopefully you become colleagues.
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The best thing about VFS are the mentors and all the passion and support they bring from their own life experiences in the industry to you. I took advantage of going to every single graduation and every guest speaker that came to speak. I also volunteered in whatever capacity for the VFX and Animation festivals that happen throughout the year. Being in such a creative city helps so much in the contacts you make and I urge all students to do the same. Guest speakers becomes contacts that become colleagues that eventually become friends.
What does life look like for you now? 
I graduated with Honors at VFS and I've been able to achieve a life dream.
I was hired two weeks before graduation as an Animation Production Assistant at Nerd Corps and currently working on the new show Kate & Mim-Mim. On Graduation Day I was also selected to attend Disney Inspire Day 2013, which mentors students in Animation courses on a very special day at the Disney Animation Studios in Burbank. I've also been very fortunate to have been a guest speaker (via Skype) for Murdoch University's Animation Program taught by Simon Allen in Perth, Australia. Up and up from here now! It's all about building experience and using all the tools I've learned.
You can find me on my website jayroxas.com. Or on LinkedIn. I love connecting with like-minded people! Please say hello!
Do you have any advice to share with new students? For people thinking about a career in Animation & Visual Effects?
Love it. Breathe it. Live it and keep growing.
Nobody HAS to be an Animator or a VFX Artist or Modeler.
You choose to be it because you love it.
Work your butt off. Talent means nothing without hard work.
The harder you work the more talent you gain.
12 tips I can give a VFS Student to survive this year:
1. Trust the process
2. Question it
3. Apply it
4. Learn from it
5. Excel in it
6. Pass on the knowledge
7. Be nice
8. Listen
9. Be passionate and have joy in what you do
10. Hard work = Opportunity
11. Unlearn
12. Repeat.
13. Oh and have fun!
Wow! Thanks Jay for all the amazing insight into what it takes to be an animator, and best of luck!