So my husband and I were having yet another discussion at the dinner table with my eight-year-old son about why school is important. If he had it his way, he’d quit third grade and get a job tomorrow.
He often says, “When you get your own life, and I get my own life, things will be better.”
Well, his life is ours for now and he has to do what we tell him. But he asked a great question that led to a great discovery for him, and also for career changers, high school kids who just got a college rejection letter, and anyone else who’s always had a passion for something not mainstream. “Did the guy who created SpongeBob go to school?”
He did indeed, but it wasn’t what you’d expect, at least not initially.
Stephen Hillenburg, creator for the popular “SpongeBob SquarePants”‘ animated series, went to school at Humboldt State University and got a degree “in natural-resource planning and interpretation, with an emphasis in marine resources,” according to Wikipedia. He went on to become a marine biology teacher. If you watch the show, you know this background is put to use often, but overall what he set out to do was light years away from what he does now.
He had a passion for the arts and animation and in the end found a way to follow that path.
This from an interview with the Washington Post:
“I definitely was interested and became real interested [when I started going] to animation festivals. I went to the Tournee festival and the Spike & Mike festival in the ’80s right before. I was working at Ocean Institute — I was a marine biologist, but I was trying to figure out [how to get to] art school. It was at those festivals … that I thought: This is what I want to do. When I was at one of those shows, I saw several films … made at Cal Arts … and thought: That’s were I should go.”
The rest is squarepants history.
OK, sing with me…“Who lives in a pineapple under the sea…”