IVC News > October 03, 2018

Professor Pat Beckmann-Wells: Author, Filmmaker, Educator

By: Katie Chappell


A wealth of experience in the animation industry and as an independent filmmaker allows Dr. Patricia Beckmann-Wells, assistant professor in Interactive Media Arts (IMA), the opportunity to give students a unique industry-oriented perspective of the field. Beckmann-Wells teaches animation, game and toy design, virtual reality production and emerging technologies at Irvine Valley College (IVC).

“I am impressed by the love of gaming shown by my students,” she said. “The skills they develop in this program transfer to many new technology outputs, such as entertainment production, educational technologies, marketing and more.”

​Dr. Beckmann-Wells brings 15 years of industry experience to her teaching role. Prior to IVC, she worked as an animator for Warner Brothers Digital and was executive in charge of training for Walt Disney Animation studios and Dreamworks SKG.

Beckmann-Wells came to IVC four years ago to create the Interactive Media Arts certificate program, and has ushered the fledgling program into notable success. In 2017, five IVC students were finalists in the IEEE GameSig competition, a local intercollegiate computer game showcase. It's in high demand among students, and IVC is only beginning to see the impact.

“Enjoying industry experience prior to creating a curriculum allows me insight into what skills are most necessary,” she said. “It makes me a more relevant instructor. Sometimes there can be a disconnect between the industry and education. My insight helps bridge that gap.”

Dr. Beckmann-Wells with her work at the Supernova film festival in Denver in September​

As an independent animator, Beckmann-Wells has created films that have premiered at art festivals all over the world. Most recently she was invited to bring a short film to Supernova – a digital animation festival held last month in Denver. Her project, Propolis, is a two-minute, story-driven, 2D animation that is an introduction to a larger film she is currently creating. During the motion-based art festival in September, her work was displayed on large LED screens attached to building walls in Denver. Her other previous animated films have placed in festivals, won numerous awards and sponsored by Luna Bars.

beckmann-wells.JPGBeckmann-Wells appreciates the freedom to work as a practicing artist, while encouraging a new generation to create and tell stories as well.

“Often students come in with their own stories that need to rise up,” she said. “I see really interesting work in the storyboarding class because students are required to use immersive writing to tell their own stories – which is a key skill for game design.”

Additionally, Beckmann-Wells is engaged in scholarship in her field, authoring several publications on 3D software and art. She holds a doctorate in Educational Psychology and Leadership from the University of Southern California, and a Masters in Cinema from the University of Southern California.

“The virtual reality sector is projected to be a billion-dollar industry over the next few years,” she said. “If students can show persistence and discipline in this field, they will have wonderful odds of employment. And they should get their start here at IVC.”

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