As Jacob Wingate was headed to the airport on New Year’s Eve, a flurry of emotion filled him like a deep breath of air. He was nervous, tired, but above all, excited.
Wingate was embarking on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Los Angeles, where he currently resides to study at the Gnomon School of Visual Effects in Hollywood, Calif.
Following in his two older brothers’ footsteps, Wingate came to Springfield three years ago to study in a major he considers to be heavily overlooked.
“The Computer Graphics major at Springfield College, I feel, doesn’t get enough recognition. Mainly because Springfield really isn’t known for being an art school or associated with computer graphics,” said Wingate. “There are some brilliant minds studying in this major, as well as the professors. They are honestly the best. They expect a lot from us, because they know there is potential in every one of us and they are just trying to help us unleash that potential.”
The trip provides Wingate with the opportunity to do just that.
Taking four classes, along side three other Springfield students – Luke Delaura, Josh Rojas and David Matos – Wingate works tirelessly to perfect his passion.
“I knew from a very young age that I wanted to get into the gaming industry,” said Wingate. “With the experience [here] I have had so far, that aspiration is becoming more real than I ever envisioned.”
Wingate is currently living out his childhood dream. His apartment is a mere five minute walk from Universal and Warner Brothers’ studios, and he was also able to work with one of the designers from the Halo game series. By getting to interact with students from New Zealand, France, Japan and the Philippines, Wingate is also obtaining a wealth of knowledge.
“You really get a sense of what it takes to get a job and succeed in this profession, if you’re willing to take it that far,” stated Wingate. “As a person this program has really taught me how to make a living by myself and with a couple of friends.”
The gaming industry is a multi-billion dollar industry, with there being an average of two gamers per American household, according to the Entertainment Software Association. Wingate is immersing himself not only into a booming industry with no signs of slowing down, but a culture. Staying in a city unknown to him and taking advantage of every opportunity, Wingate feels as though he is on cloud-nine.
“I knew that I would have to sacrifice a lot in order to make it into the CG industry, and this trip is really emphasizing what exactly it takes in order to make it,” Wingate said. “I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, and honestly I [was] hoping it wasn’t going to, because I love challenges and embrace them. They make me into the person I am today.”
With months left still to go before Wingate takes the inevitable, and most likely reluctant trip home, he is still eager to soak up all 12 hours of class time that he takes a week.
Knowing that this trip has been nothing short of amazing for his skill and growth, Wingate is looking forward to the rest of the semester.
“I feel already I have changed into a more independent person, but at the same time [I am] gaining a lot more knowledge than I could have ever imagined,” stated Wingate. “This program has made me enter the deepest parts of my creative knowledge and set it forth.”