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Mastering Your Interest through Scholarship

I am almost done with my final year school project in Gobelins L'ecole de L'image. Like all other teams in the graduation class, my team is working on an animated short film as our graduation project, and it is the very first time I am fully collaborating and working on an animated project with other people because I was previously used to working individually as a freelance 3D artist.

My journey to this prestigious school in the city of Paris began way before I could see myself in a place like this, and one of the fundamentally significant drivers that carried me all the way through is building meaningful relationships with people. After high school, the only goal I could not compromise on was studying 3D animation, but I soon realized there was not a single 3D animation school in Ghana. I then went ahead to teach myself animation and simultaneously getting a degree in Psychology from the University of Ghana after having no luck with finding scholarships to animation schools outside Ghana. After learning just enough to apply my skills to actual projects, I started doing freelance work and entering competitions with the personal projects I made. In fact, for some of the freelance work, I took them with no knowledge at all of how to make them, but I pulled them off because I learnt on the job and stayed determined to better my skills.

I established good relationships with certain industry professionals, and consequently, a recommendation from the organizers of the Digital Lab Africa competition was instrumental in helping me win a scholarship from Netflix to take the masters course in Character Animation and Animated Filmmaking in Gobelins. In September of 2019, I got to France, and it has been smooth sailing from that time until now. It definitely has been challenging, but I live for challenges, so I'm constantly pushing myself more and more because I believe there's much more to be achieved and learn. Rubbing shoulders with like-minded individuals is also one of the best things to ever happen in my search to master my field. I get to discover different ways of doing things because, as an international class, we are made of students worldwide. When you find yourself in a place that is overflowing with so much talent, it is almost impossible to leave that energy untapped.

Because of my school's pedagogical system, we have access to real industry professionals with master classes and very close interaction. These are our mentors and, in some cases, idols. And personally, I have evolved so much as an artist and thanks to these relationships with my classmates, teachers and industry professionals. And the best thing about nurturing deeper connections is how simple it is; experiencing open-mindedly and sharing whole-heartedly.

I have become much more confident in my artistic expressions, and I now consider it an obligation to share my ideas with the rest of the world as I would love to make my films and tell my own stories eventually.

Razahk Issaka

Student,Masters in Character Animation

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