Exploring Mentorships and Career Growth: Alexander Tullo's Journey in the 3D Animation Industry

Exploring Mentorships and Career Growth: Alexander Tullo's Journey in the 3D Animation Industry

Meet Alexander Tullo, a Ringling College of Art and Design graduate recognised as a Rookie Awards 2021 Finalist and Career Opportunity winner. In this article, we celebrate his success and look at the impactful mentorship program at ON Animation Studios.

Meet Alexander Tullo, a Ringling College of Art and Design graduate who achieved recognition as a Rookie Awards 2021 Finalist and Career Opportunity winner. In this article, we delve into one of the success stories of the Rookie Awards and explore the impactful mentorship program offered by ON Animation Studios.

Alexander Tullo - 3D Animation Mentee

Ringling College of Art and Design graduate Alexander Tullo, was a Rookie Awards 2021 Finalist and Winner of the ON Animation Career Opportunity. Alexander is now currently working full time at ON Animation in Montréal.

What were your first impressions of the team at ON Animation?

I didn't know what to expect coming up to Quebec. There were a lot of alumni from my university working in Vancouver and L.A., but I had no connections or friends in Montréal.

ON was incredible at helping me feel situated and grounded immediately, and everyone there was so kind in getting me set up. I was invited to coffee after lunch on my first day and ended up becoming friends with everyone in the studio soon after.

Can you provide examples of how you contributed to the team or added value to the projects you were involved in?

Despite having no real industry experience, I felt like my ideas had as much weight as everyone else. If I got notes on blocking or spline passes, the Leads and Head of Anim would always check in with me, asking questions like. "Do you agree with these notes?" or "how do you feel about where the shot is going?"

Being asked if I was happy with the shot's progress and was satisfied with the notes was so humanising.

How has this internship contributed to your professional growth and skill development?

Getting to work with such fantastic animators and 3D Artists has encouraged me to explore my art, even after my time at ON Animation. I left the film with a really comfortable footing in working at a feature studio, and also the motivation to grow as an artist in my own right.

How do you plan to apply what you've learned during this internship to your future work?

"The industry" always seemed like some scary world when I was in school. To be an "industry animator" was some far off goal, even after I graduated. But to join ON as a Crowd Animator through The Rookies' career opportunity, then develop that relationship into a full time Main Animation position that lasted 18 months before the film concluded was an extremely gentle, encouraging process that I'd recommend to any animator or artist trying to break into the professional world.

What advice would you have for others looking to enter their work for a career opportunity?

During my 4 years studying animation in college, I had a very grounded, consistent idea for where I wanted to be, and who I wanted to be post-graduation. I had only applied to studios in LA and tried to make connections at all the biggest companies.

Winning a career opportunity through The Rookies turned that plan on its head, but I trusted it and the direction it would take my life. Two years later, I'm nowhere I expected myself to be. I'm happy, and embracing wholeheartedly the artist that I'm becoming.

My advice would be to embrace opportunities like these, and the paths they can take you on.

Thalia Vitaniotis - Head of Talent & Culture at ON Animation Studios

Thalia currently works as Head of Talent at ON Animation Studios, Montreal. ON Animation is the home of the technical and artistic team that developed and produced Playmobil the Movie, The Little Prince and Mune - The Guardian of the Moon, and Ladybug & Cat Noir: The Movie.

Thalia and the team at ON Animation Studios also provided the 4 week mentorship that Alexander won for his entry to the Rookie Awards 2021.

What was your first impression of Alexander's entry?  

Our first impression of Alexander's entry was that it was fun, unique and well-rounded as he demonstrated a variety of skills (this is something we alway appreciate at ON Animation Studios).  

Outside of a great portfolio, what other qualities did you see in Alexander?  

We first met Alexander during the pandemic and we were unsure what form the internship would take.  There were a lot of uncertainties regarding work permits and relocation around that time, however Alexander showed a lot of motivation and a positive attitude.  Ultimately, the Studios found a solution to have him join us in Montreal!

What advice do you have for someone joining your team?

The best way to get the most out of your experience is to keep an open mind! Speak to people in different departments, be open to feedback and take advantage of all the training opportunities that we offer.  If you have a collaborative and supportive attitude, you will definitely find yourself at home at ON Animation!

I would also say that staying true to your passion is extremely important.  You may be hired in one department that has specific needs, whereas you may be interested in exploring another department. The same advice as above applies to this situation.  Keep working on your personal projects and keep the studio up to date on the skills you would like to continue developing!

Share your thoughts on the future of your industry?  

Our industry is always evolving, and I think that the types of roles we will be recruiting for will also change in the coming years as projects will have different needs.  This is why diversifying your skillset and staying up to date with training and new softwares is the best way to stay prepared.

Keep an eye out for Rookie Awards 2024 career opportunities via our contest page here.