A Summer Fling With The Pros

Not every task at Vinton Studios—the Portland, Ore., animation shop owned by Nike’s Phil Knight—is glamorous. But “having interns push a broom doesn’t give you much of a sense of what they can do,” says Paul Golden, president of its ad division. “We really are looking for students who would potentially work here.”

So the shop created Project Backpocket. Eight students have been chosen whose talents will mesh to form a team. They’ll live at the Portland State dorms from June through August (but may crash on the studio floor once they see how the pros work). They’ll get “a little bit more than pizza money” to work with a veteran animation director, Emmy-winner Mark Gustafson, who will play the role of “avuncular shepherd, not task master,” according to Golden. They’ll complete a short film or commercial project under the supervision of ad-agency creative directors. (Copywriter Mike Fisher and art director Jimmy Bonner from The Richards Group in Dallas are among the creatives being considered.)

“The CDs will kick the project off, then meet weekly”—at least via video conference—”and the students will blog all they are doing,” says Golden. “Art schools give them very vague briefs but no expectations about outcome. We’ll start in preproduction and work the project until they convince the ‘client’—the classical way.”