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Digital Design Student on L.A. Co-op Contributes to National Commercials (and Popular Culture)

When he headed to Los Angeles for his first animation co-op, UC digital design student Andrew Kinsler never expected that work he contributed to would be spoofed on "Saturday Night Live." But that’s exactly what happened, and now the UC co-op student is back for more, currently working his second L.A. co-op.

Date: 12/10/2007
By: M.B. Reilly
Phone: (513) 556-1824
Photos By: Submitted by Andrew Kinsler
UC ingot It’s not hard to see why University of Cincinnati digital design senior Andrew Kinsler, 24, of Western Hills, returned to Los Angeles this fall for his second cooperative-education quarter with interactive design firm Exopolis, Inc.
Andrew Kinsler
Digital design student co-op student Andrew Kinsler at work in Los Angeles.

Last spring, during his first co-op quarter with the firm, Andrew got to use – all to himself – both the impressively large desk and fittingly large office of the firm’s president. He also got to meet comedian Dane Cook. All the while, Andrew was contributing his animation skills to commercials for national clients, including work as the lead 3-D modeler creating much of the animation for a commercial related to Pivot, a service provided by Sprint Nextel and Time Warner Cable.

So heavy duty were Andrew’s responsibilities on that commercial that he worked every day of the week and even slept on the floor of his (presidential) office to get everything done. But he recollects it was all worth it when the commercial aired last summer when he was home with his family in Western Hills.

“It came on during a Sunday night, and we were eating dinner. Suddenly, I heard this very familiar music and audio, and for a moment, I didn’t know if it was real or just in my head because I’d lived with that soundtrack for so long,” says Andrew. He adds, “I actually spit out my rice to tell my parents to watch.”

During his last two weeks of his springtime co-op with Exopolis, Andrew also contributed to a Fox/TBS commercial related to baseball’s World Series. He made background flags in 3-D and then provided a billowing motion so they seemed to be moving in the breeze. That particular commercial was later spoofed on Saturday Night Live. States Andrew, “I laughed really hard when I saw the spoof. It was 100-percent funny and probably funnier for me because I’d lived, if only a short time, very intensely with the real commercial. It was a rad experience to be involved in the process and to see it all used as a send up on SNL.”

And now on his second co-op with Exopolis, Andrew says his work life is a complete roller coaster – literally – as he contributes animation work to a national commercial for Pigeon Forge, Tenn., a vacation destination with museums, theme parks and more.

“We’re exploring many ideas, including one where a roller coaster goes up and down hills while dinosaurs snap at it,” he explains.

Everyone contributes ideas, Andrew adds. That’s because “in modeling and animation, no one person can do all the work. It’s 100-percent all about a team, finding the right people to work with and working right alongside them.”

That, states Andrew, is the most important lesson he’s learned on his co-ops. And it’s a lesson he has learned and put into practice well. That’s obvious since he already has a number of job offers waiting for when he graduates this June from UC’s internationally recognized College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP).

“It’s been an adventure, and it’s all been made possible because of DAAP. If I hadn’t gone to DAAP, none of this would have happened,” Andrew claims.

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