The Game, Cinema, & Animation Summer Academy

students in alley with film equipment    
student working on digital animation scene    
classroom with students    
closeup of female student with camera equipment    
students in alley using camera
two students working on game

Program Details

The Game, Cinema, and Animation Summer Academy is an intensive week-long program for high school students interested in the film, television, and game industries. This year’s Academy will be held at DePaul University's Loop campus from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on July 8-12, 2019. Students must have completed their freshman year of high school by July 1, 2019 to be eligible. Apply to the 2019 Summer Academy by June 24.

Applications for Summer 2019 are now closed.

Participants will receive hands-on instruction using the latest equipment and technology, and will be taught by full-time DePaul faculty members with real-world experience. The Academy provides students with valuable educational experience and an advantage in today’s competitive world of college admission.

Students apply to one of five tracks: film and television production, game development, hand-drawn character animation, 3D modeling and animation, or screenwriting.

Film and TV Production Track

Students will work in groups to write, produce, shoot, and edit short films. Students will have the opportunity to take on multiple roles within the productions. The films are shot in HD video using professional cameras and audio equipment. Students will learn basic editing techniques to complete their films using Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere. This track will be taught by Gary Novak, DePaul Film Production and Screenwriting professor and Director of the School of Cinematic Arts.

Game Development Track

Along with students in the 3D modeling and animation track, game development students will work in teams to brainstorm, design, program, and produce assets for a 3D computer game. Students will have the opportunity to explore multiple roles in the game production process. Game assets will be created using Maya 3D Modeling and Animation software. The games will be designed and programmed using the Unity 5 game development platform. This track will be taught by Mike DeAnda.

Hand-Drawn Character Animation Track

Students will be introduced to the basics of classical hand-drawn character animation. Students will get hands-on practice using Adobe Animate and TVPaint Animation software on Cintiq interactive pen displays, just like the professionals use. This track will be taught by Brian Ferguson, veteran Disney feature film character animator (Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Aladdin) and DePaul Animator in Residence.

3D Modeling and Animation Track

Students will learn the basics of computer animation and modeling using Maya 3D software. Along with students in the game development track, students will work in teams to brainstorm, design, program, and produce assets for a 3D computer game. Students will design, model, and texture creatures, vehicles, and environment objects, and learn how to import them into Unity 5 for use in a working game. This track will be taught by Joshua Jones, veteran animator and DePaul Animation professor.

Screenwriting Track

Students will learn the basics of script format and visual writing style, while being introduced to story structure, character development, and the business of screenwriting. A series of in-class and take-home writing assignments will push students to discover their own unique point of view in a creative workshop environment. This track will be taught by Hollywood screenwriter and DePaul professor, Brad Riddell.

For additional questions, email us at

Stay connected Facebook Instagram


The cost of the Summer Academy is $750. This includes the cost of tuition, lunch for the 5 days and any associated field trips. Housing is not included in the cost of this program. Students wishing to attend the Academy who are not within commuting distance must acquire their own housing accommodations. The University Center, a downtown dormitory just a few blocks from the CDM Center, does offer weekly rates for housing. All arrangements should be made directly with the University Center. Students must be 18 years of age to stay at this facility. 

High School Senior

"The most fun, educational, awesome experience was the team effort of creating a video game."

Once admitted to the Summer Academy, students must submit a non-refundable deposit of $100 within 2 weeks of their admission in order to reserve their spot in the program. The remaining tuition balance is due 30 days before the start of the Academy. Space is limited so it is highly encouraged that you submit your deposit and the balance of your tuition by the applicable deadline.

The Summer Academy can be paid for by check or credit card.

A limited number of scholarships are available for those demonstrating financial need. A separate scholarship application is required in order to be considered. All complete scholarship applications must be received by June 1st, 2019. You must first apply online to the Summer Academy and receive an admission decision before submitting a complete scholarship application. Download the Summer Academy scholarship application .


All students admitted to the Summer Academy must have one of each of the following forms signed and returned prior to the start of the program.

Forms for Minors

If you will be under 18-years-old at the time attendance, both you and a parent need to sign Minors Forms.

Forms for Adults

These signed and completed forms can be mailed to:

DePaul University
College of Computing and Digital Media
243 S. Wabash Ave.
Chicago, IL 60604
ATTN: Summer Academy

Or they can be emailed (with signature) to or faxed to 312.362.5179.

Faculty Bios

Scott Roberts

Scott Roberts

Associate Professor // Animation
School of Cinematic Arts

Scott Roberts received his M.A. and M.F.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His sculptures, video installations and animations have been exhibited internationally, including solo exhibitions in New York City, San Francisco, and Chicago, and screenings in Spike and Mike's Sick and Twisted Animation Festival. He also has over ten years of professional experience in television art direction, post-production, animation and 3D game art, and was the production designer for the independent film 'Making Revolution.' He most recently was Associate Professor at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, where he taught animation and motion graphics for five years and helped establish a Time Based Media BFA program.

Scott Roberts was the Art and Story Advisor for Devil's Tuning Fork, one of ten winners of the 2010 Independent Games Festival Student Showcase.

Contact Scott


Gary Novak

Gary Novak

Assistant Professor // Screenwriting
School of Cinematic Arts

Gary has been at DePaul since 2002 and is one of the founding members of the Digital Cinema Program. He has worked as a producer, writer, and director. The projects have included commercials, documentaries, and independent feature films. Gary has a M.F.A. in Screenwriting from the American Film Institute.

Contact Gary


Meghann Artes

Meghann Artes

Associate Professor // Animation
School of Cinematic Arts

Meghann Artes holds an MFA from the Animation Workshop at UCLA. In addition to her academic work, she has over fifteen years of entertainment industry experience working for companies like Dreamworks, Nickelodeon, Bix Pix, Noggin, NBC, ABC and Sesame Street. She has won both an Emmy and a Peabody and her short films have enjoyed success in film festivals both across the country and internationally. Her film Speed Dating (2014) was selected as a Short of the Week and won a national jury award at the USA Film Festival. Meghann’s latest film, Sleepy Steve (2015), a comically absurd short film that combines live action, animation and visual effects, is playing in film festivals now.

Contact Meghann


Josh Jones

Josh Jones

Associate Professor // Animation
School of Cinematic Arts

Joshua Jones is an animator, film maker, and Associate Professor at DePaul University’s School of Cinematic Arts. He received a BFA from Syracuse University in Computer Graphic Arts, and an MFA in Animation from The University of Southern California where he created the student Academy Award-Nominated film “A Short Lifetime's Poem of Memory.” As a stop motion animator at Will Vinton Studios, Jones animated on 8 episodes of the 3 time Emmy award winning show “The PJ's,” and the 2 time Emmy award winning UPN show “Gary and Mike.”

Following his stint as a puppeteer, Jones found renewed interest in his electronic roots, and went on to work as a CG animator in feature film and television. He has animated for studios and clients including Fox TV, Fox Kids, Warner Brothers, Crystal Sky, Creative Visual EFX, Skyler Animation Studios, Oregon Public Broadcasting and National Geographic. “Make It A Great Day,” his most recent animated film, was a project that began as part of DePaul University’s Project Bluelight and then continued on as a 2 ½ year online collaboration between faculty and students. It has screened at 28 film festivals both nationally and internationally.

Contact Josh


Brian Ferguson

Brian Ferguson

Animator in Residence //
School of Cinematic Arts

Brian is a 25-year veteran Walt Disney Feature Animation animator whose filmography spans 15 feature films, several as supervising animator, including the classic animated feature films Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Aladdin, Pocahontas, Mulan, Fantasia 2000, and Winnie the Pooh. Brian is especially skilled at conveying humor and appealing personality, as can be seen in his characters among these landmark films.

Contact Brian


Brad Riddell

Brad Riddell

Assistant Professor // Screenwriting, Cinema Production
School of Cinematic Arts

Brad Riddell has written four feature films for Hollywood studios including Paramount, MTV, and Universal. His first film, American Pie: Band Camp, remains one of the highest-grossing live-action DVD releases in history, and is now syndicated on TBS. His most recent film, Crooked Arrows, was released nationally in theaters in 2012, and is the first lacrosse movie ever produced.

Contact Brad