Mad Panda University: Getting a Creative Education on a Budget

Mad Panda University

Quick disclaimer: I am by no means discouraging anyone to NOT go to college. If you have the means attend college, by all means. Get your ass up and GO! I was very fortunate to receive a scholarship to attend Grand Valley State University in Michigan, where I received my B.A in Film/Video production. Don’t regret it at all. 

Alright, now that that’s out the way! Let’s talk about college a little bit. The perks of honing your craft at a university are definitely the resources. You receive unlimited access to equipment rentals, computer labs and creative suites, in-depth education from professionals, and of course collaboration with your peers. And Yes. All these things are indeed needed to build your craft. College just makes acquiring these things a whoooole lot more convenient.

And though it does look great on your resume, Do you truly need it? 

There has been an ongoing debate on whether or not creative/digital artists or any artist for that matter truly needs a degree to succeed in their specific industry.

Let’s be honest here, when it comes to schools that are centered around any kind of creative arts, the tuition is through the damn roof. I have heard countless stories of aspiring artists not finishing simply because they couldn’t afford it. All the while, Sally Mae is hounding them for the expenses they still owe. It’s a sucky scenario to be in, really.

But you can acquire these same resources outside of campus grounds. With a little bit of persistence, networking, and grinding. It can be done. Introducing Mad Panda University! this is the “becoming a creative artist on a budget” series—Where I give you the frugal version of getting a decent education in creative arts if I do say so myself—minus the insane tuition and debt sentence (I even made us a nice cliché university logo. You like?).

I consider myself a life student. There’s always something new to discover. Softwares are always innovating new features. Companies are always releasing new gear, other artists are discovering new techniques. Styles are switched up, trends come and go. It’s ever changing. That’s why I find it important to continue my education on my own time, and through my own expenses. So for those of you who are in college, or have graduated—this will work for you too. 

Each blog entry will highlight various resources that will assist in building your craft

Our curriculum will go as follows: 

  1. The Study Hall: Online courses for cheap
  2. The Book Store: Cool books to check out
  3. Media Lab: Obtaining equipment and software usage
  4.  Wrap up and whatever else I can throw your way that I find helpful. 

Ultimately, I’m trying to get you the resources you need to start building a solid portfolio. It’s usually what employers give the most attention to, and if your pieces are strong, chances are they’ll overlook the fact that you don’t have a degree. 

So, grab your notebooks, backpacks, and maybe pajamas (since we’re not going anywhere technically…) and stay tuned for part 1 of the series: “The Study Hall: Online courses for cheap.” 

--Mad Panda Out.