I think time has passed enough that I can share a story from my teaching experience. A funny story (now) of when circumstances stopped being a coincidence, and, even from the outside looking in, seemed to have the hand of God involved.

OK, so here goes. A few years back I was teaching at ACA. One of my former students asked if I would teach him in what was called an Independent Study, a one-on-one course of a unique curriculum not offered in a normal class. The assignment was simple, take the entire semester (14 weeks) and create 1 3D/2D animated video 30 seconds to 1 minute long. I requested that by the end of this project I wanted to be blown away by the result, this piece alone should be strong enough for them to get a job.

As the semester progressed, the student presented storyboards, rough sketches, and screen shots, and we discussed possible directions for the piece. The student even discussed with me how their grandmother would handcraft puppets to be mixed in with CG animated parts of the video.

The semester was drawing to a close and the student was almost done with the project. They felt it didn’t need sound, my response was “even silent movies were presented with sound, add some music or something, maybe sound effects”. The student complied.

The last day of the class was here, and I brought my colleagues over to help me critique the piece. We all agreed, it was a stellar piece, well worthy of the A I turned in for their grade.

One week after the grades are turned in, a rather supernatural turn of events occurs:

Friday:
My friend and mentor, the late & great Lou Hertz, was telling me a former ACA student, M., was working at ILM on the Yoda team.

Saturday:
I was telling a friend of mine, K. – another ACA grad and Star Wars geek, the news about M.

Sunday:
K. sends me a text saying ” Hey I think I found M. on IMDB (Internet Movie Data Base).

I think, “I wonder is MN., another grad that worked at ILM, on IMDB.” So I look him up, no luck. I then go to MN.’s web site to see what he is up to, but the site is under construction. I decide to click around the front page to find a way into the site. A small button hidden on the page lets me in to the old site. I went to the site’s Links page and found a curiously named site called Massive Black. Thinking it was MN. joking about his size and stature, I decide to investigate the site. I find that Massive Black is a portfolio site for the entertainment industry.

It is on this site that I found my student’s final video that was turned in. Upon further investigation (only 7 days) I found that the video was taken from part of a larger music video, from the Australian group 1200 Techniques , that had one the ARIA Award for best music video 2 years prior. The video was worked by several artists and studios. Ironically, the song is called Karma.

The artist that worked on the section turned in by my student was, at that moment, unreachable because he had just finished working on Lord of the Rings, and was now busy working on King Kong.

I reported the matter to the proper channels at ACA, alas, the student transferred before any administrative action could be taken. I wonder if karma caught up with them anyway.