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Fall 2014 Motivarti Mentorships

Fall2014Applications for our Fall 2014 Motivarti Mentorship Program officially open Sunday, June 22, 2014!  We run the program twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall.   The Fall 2014 program, marks the 6th term and we’re excited to get started!

While we’d love to provide each applicant with detailed feedback on their portfolios, we simply get too many applications that we can’t do so.  In addition, the mentors are the ones who make the final choice as to who they work with so often, we aren’t informed as to the reasons for their final choices.

However, we’d love to share some common pitfalls we see and application tips to help you jump into the top 10 finalists round:

1)  The Copy/Paste Essay
Each of our mentors has a unique specialty that they focus in and each has a different set of skills they are eager to pass onto a potential mentee.  Our applications consists of several short essays that ask applicants to specifically address why they wish to work with a specific mentor and what they want to accomplish.  Too often we see a copy and pasted essay from one mentor to another with just the name changed.  (Even worse is when we see one name accidentally, not changed.)  While we understand the want to work with any artist specializing in your area of interest, really consider what skills you want to learn from the specific artist you are submitting your application towards.  Both our committee and mentors carefully read these essays, and can tell when an essay is written generic enough to be used for multiple applications.  So be thoughtful and take some time to craft a meaningful answer.

2) The Shotgun Portfolio
We’d say that a little more than half the applications we receive are from students still in college.  Having gone to art school ourselves, our committee remembers also having a portfolio that showcased work from our classes.  In school, students are required to take classes in all areas of study from figure drawing to visual development to storyboarding to character design, etc.  So we aren’t too surprised when we see a portfolio that has a little bit of everything.  However, we call these kinds of portfolios, “shotgun portfolios” because you’re showing us everything under the sun that you potentially want to do.  We appreciate your eagerness to take any kind of mentorship to get your foot in the door, and understand that sometimes you’re hoping we can tell you which area to focus on based off the success you attain but it’s better the other way around.  Both our committee and mentors would rather see a short, specific portfolio geared directly towards one area of interest (e.g. visual development, character design, environments, storyboarding, etc).  Our mentors are seeking out artists who want to learn what they specifically have to offer.  If you aren’t sure what area of the industry you’re interested in, create multiple portfolios/websites!  We’re perfectly happy to see your work separated and that shows us you understand that different areas need to learn different skills.

3) The Broken Links/Missing Passwords
Once our application rounds close, our selection committee gets straight to work.  We don’t waste a minute with application reviews so we cannot stress enough the need for all applicants to triple check the links they send us! It’s always sad to us when we are in the midst of reviews and come across a broken link that leads us to “page not found.”  In those cases, we set your application aside and try again in a few hours or the next day, but if the link is still broken, we can only judge your applications by the rest of the information you have given us.  In addition, we completely recognize the need to password protect some pages of your website due to confidentiality agreements.  Just remember to a) send us a password and b) send us the right password.

4) The Unrealistic Commitment
Two of the questions on our applications ask applicants what their availability is and how much time they believe they can devote to the mentorship.  We ask these questions in all seriousness because some of our mentors have very specific meeting times (e.g. Sunday evenings only or Wednesdays during lunch).  The saddest thing we have to deal with is when a mentor states a specific time on their profile page and selects a mentee who can’t meet during that time, so they must forfeit the mentorship.  It’s important to us to try and match the set criteria, so please be sure to read each mentor’s preferred meeting time and make sure you’re available to meet during then or specifically mention in your application that you cannot and your alternative solution.  In addition, please carefully think about how much time you can devote to the mentorship program.  We sometimes have applicants that state “24/7” because they are in between jobs or taking time off school.  Firstly, no one expect anyone to devote all their waking and sleeping hours to our program.  Secondly, we want  you to honesty state how much time you can devote to working on your assignments.  A mentee’s effort is one of the largest factors for many of our mentors in deciding whether or not to come back and teach again.  So when an applicant states they can devote 40 hours a week to the program because they aren’t in school or working, the mentor expects that.  Think about it like a promise, so even if your situation changes, you should honor your commitment.  Better yet,  don’t over commit to begin with – just be honest so everyone knows what to expect.  Everyone would rather see an applicant say they can devote around 12 hours a week and actually devote 20 hours (instead of the other way around).  We see it as a red flag if the application has every meeting day/time checked and “120 hours” as the amount of time they can devote to the program.

If all that information isn’t enough, be sure to check out Chris Oatley’s 5 Common Pitfalls of Portfolios – there is some amazing advice!

We hope this sheds some light on our application process and what our selection committee looks for during reviews.  In the upcoming days, we’ll be showcasing each of our Fall 2014 mentors through our ‘mentor of the day’ posts as well as some amazing work accomplished by their past mentees!  Be on the look out!

Applications for our Fall 2014 program are being accepted June 22, 2014 – July 20, 2014 (midnight PST). 

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