It's a cold, early-November night at North Park. I struggle to hold a container filled with cornbread muffins and my Nintendo Switch with my tendinitis-cursed hand. I almost miss the door when it swings open to a familiar face. My friend Angel greets me with a hug, followed by many familiar faces from Cogswell. One by one, more students come through the door, bearing gifts of food for the feast. We’ve all gathered here to celebrate three important things: friendship, Thanksgiving, and a proper send-off to our dear friend, Wayne Moodie.
Looking around the room, it became very apparent that Moodie had touched the lives of many people during his time at Cogswell. There were upperclassmen and underclassmen alike. As we huddled in the crowded apartment living room, I couldn’t help but think of the first time I met Moodie. My friends and I had just founded the Cogswell Collective photography club, and we were in need of models. Wayne Moodie shows up at our doorstep, a name I’d definitely heard of. He was a natural model, especially easy to work with for beginner photographers of the club. He had this unshakable energy of a familiar face you immediately wanted to befriend.
Before coming to Cogswell, Moodie had already worked on live-action film sets for a few years. Though he wanted to be in the entertainment industry, the twelve-hour workdays began taking a toll on him. Eventually, he picked up a brush and learned to paint as a concept artist, before being introduced to 3D as a medium. Moodie would hear about Cogswell from a friend, alumnus Nate Oliver, and would become one of the most prominent names on campus.
“My time here has been great learning a lot from all the people I came into contact with,” Moodie tells the Chronicle. “What I found out about myself during my stay here is that I love learning about new things that interest me. This industry is filled with an infinite number of things that I can find interest in and learn about, and that's what I love about this field.”
At the time we gathered for Friends-giving, Moodie was getting ready to embark on a new journey to Portland to become a Junior Animation Technical Director at Laika, the stop-motion animation studio behind Coraline, ParaNorman, and Kubo and the Two Strings. “The transition has been surreal,” says Moodie, who hasn’t fully taken it in. Before leaving, Moodie decided to make time to spend with the people who have made his time in California memorable. “To be honest, it's still not real to me and won’t really sink until my first day on the job. Being in a brand new city, not really knowing anyone is going to be interesting too.”
Moodie’s time at Cogswell has been nothing short of iconic. His work is well-known among the students and faculty, even working as a tutor before leaving to Portland. Though he has many fond memories, one personal triumph for Moodie was getting Dustin Aber to display one of his sculptures around the school. Sculpting, after all (as many students know), is not an easy feat. Moodie was also on the team that won the Animation Career Review Competition for “Roger and the Doritos,” an animated commercial from a team of Cogswell students.
Though there are many memories to be proud of, even those that resulted in failure have made an impact on Moodie’s life and career. Applying to Pixar’s undergrad program and getting rejected, for example, inspired Moodie to improve his portfolio. Crystal Dynamics also helped fine-tune his portfolio when they told him that it was nowhere close to being ready. These critiques helped Moodie form the best iteration of his portfolio, which is what scored him the opportunity at Laika.
Describing his career so far, Moodie had one word to offer: curiosity. His curious nature lead him to Cogswell and Laika and helped him examine what interested him the most. Moodie encourages students at Cogswell to be curious and to take hold of their education:
“Your education is up to you. Cogswell will not give you the tools you need to a get a job. They will give you the foundation to build those tools on your own, and it’s up to you to get it done. Your education is negotiable. If you don’t like something about the way you’re curriculum is set up, go make some noise about it. Your department heads’ doors are open too so get on their nerves (respectfully) until change occurs.”
The students huddled up for Waynes-giving is a testament of Moodie’s impact on the Cogswell community. The feast was heart-warming and rightful for a distinguished member of the student body. On that night, we celebrated friendship, camaraderie, and a whole lot of Wayne, who is looking forward to his new kitchen in Portland and having a set schedule that allows him to explore other hobbies outside his field.