|Location||Emeryville, California, California, USA|
Animation Mentor is a for-profit university online animation school that teaches students character animation skills. The school will become a film school in 2013. Headquartered in Emeryville, California, the school offers an 18-month program in which students are taught by “mentors,” experienced animators who are professionals working in the animation industry. Animation Mentor is a distance learning school at which animation professionals teach character animation to students in over 50 countries. 
The school was founded in 2005 by three working animators: Bobby Beck, who is the CEO and president of the school, Shawn Kelly, who is a working animator at Industrial Light & Magic, and Carlos Baena, who is a working animator
Animation Mentor is an online learning institution and operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The tuition for the 18-month program is $18,928.00 if paid in full. The school is certified by the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education.
The program includes live Q&A sessions with mentors from the animation industry, and mentors provide audio-visual critiques of weekly assignments. The school hosts student events, including BBQ's, open houses and a graduation twice a year where students attend from multiple countries. Graduates of the program receive a Diploma of Advanced Studies in Character Animation and create a demo reel. The school is also part of Sony Pictures Imageworks Professional Academic Excellence (IPAX) program.
The school’s program includes career placement support to graduates and works with recruiters at major studios. Animation Mentor also has an alumni website that hosts career services, events and specially tailored learning experiences while allowing graduates to continue their participation in the Animation Mentor community. The school also features a “student showcase” twice a year, a web reel that includes creative work animated by students representing all levels of training.
The school has won several awards, including the 2006 Best Practices in Programming Award Gold Level, 21st Century Distance Learning Award from the U.S. Distance Learning Association, and was an honoree at the 10th Annual Webby Awards.
The school won the 2008 PRSA Bronze Anvil Award for its white paper "Behind the Characters: Job Satisfaction, Career Outlook, and Salary Survey Report" and was again named an official honoree at the 13th Annual Webby Awards. In 2008, Sony Picture Imageworks awarded its top scholarship to Luis Rodrigo Huerta to earn a Master’s Degree at Texas A&M and participate in online animation courses at Animation Mentor.
Notable Animation Mentor alumni and productions
Students who have graduated from Animation Mentor have worked on box office features, including Horton Hears a Who!, Pirates of the Caribbean, Bee Movie, Monsters vs. Aliens, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Kung Fu Panda, Bolt, Garfield: The Movie, Transformers, and others.
Early in 2013 Animation Mentor shifted its focus from one-on-one instruction to collaborative instruction using their distributed pipeline (AMP). They have plans to expand the pipeline further beyond Animation Mentor.
- "Animation Mentor". Movie Maker. February 5, 2007.
- "Animation Mentor Graduation Ceremony". AWN.
- "IPAX Schools". Sony Pictures.
- "Animation Mentor Opens Alumni Campus". Animation Magazine.
- "Animation Mentor Showcases Student Work". Animation Magazine.
- "Animation Mentor Garners Leading Distance Learning Awards". AWN.
- "Sony Picture Imageworks Awards $50,000 in Scholarships". Business of Cinema.
Further reading and listening
- Interview with Co-founders
- CG Society Interviews Co-founders
- Interview with Shawn Kelly and Carlos Baena