Interview with David Tonkin

Interview with David Tonkin

Interview with David Tonkin


Shawn: Thanks again for this David. Why don’t you start by telling us who you are what your background is?

David: OK… So, I am David Tonkin – but most people know me as Tonko. Originally, my background was actually in live action film, not so much CG. But I did study at AIE way back in 2006 – Actually Shawn, as you remember we were in the same class.  Unfortunately, it was back before the days of VET FEE-HELP, so I couldn't afford to continue, so I had to drop out after a few months. After that I got heavily involved in the Independent Film Industry. I crewed for lots of films and acted in a few. I was even Ewan McGregor’s stand in on a film last year. After a while I started producing. I was even lucky enough to win a couple of international awards for a film I produced back in 2010  In 2012 I decided to get back involved in 3D and discovered that AIE was a registered VET FEE-HELP provider.  Again I applied and was lucky enough to be accepted into the Mid-Year Advanced Diploma of Screen and Media.  The rest is history! 

Shawn: Congratulations on those awards David!  So what have you been involved in recently at AIE?

David: As a student? Well, my biggest achievement, apart from surviving the Intensive mid-year class was probably working on the Film “Position Vacant” last year. As an AIE employee, I have been working with the VET in Schools Department.

Shawn: For everybody who doesn’t know, can you explain what is VET in Schools?

David: So, the VET in Schools Program, or “VETiS” as we call it, is a program in which we supply curriculum to high schools so they can run Cert 2 and Cert 3 courses for their students through years 10, 11 or 12. We help train the teachers, and regularly visit the schools to run workshops or lessons.  

Shawn: That sounds so awesome compared to some other subjects at high school.  So, what are the benefits of VET in schools?

David: Well, the program gives students a chance to get a head start on an industry that can be notoriously tough. By doing a Certificate 2 or 3, it means they are getting skills that will help them become better students when they go on to study at a tertiary level. At the end of the day, it means they get much more out of a course like the Advanced Diploma, and ultimately become better artists/programmers/designers because of it.  Another important factor is that upon completion, students can use all of their work as part of a portfolio to apply for our Advanced Diploma Courses.  

Shawn: What are some of the skills you learn throughout the course?

David: Well, the program teaches a wide range of skills – It’s basically an introduction to the whole Film/Game pipeline, starting with basic 3D modelling and animation skills or Programming and going right through to understanding scripts and game engines. It’s quite comprehensive.

Shawn: Is there a pathway from VET in schools into our Advanced Diploma Courses?

David: A number of students have gone on to study at AIE after doing the VETiS Program. In fact, I would say that a student having done the VETiS program, would be looked upon very favourably for a place in the Advanced Diploma Course.

Shawn: How do you get involved in VET in schools?

David: Well, I’d say the best way would be to check if your school offers our VET program. If it doesn’t, then tell them about AIE and we can come down the school to give a talk about what we offer and how we can help.

Shawn: Thanks a lot for your time to answer these questions, David.  If anybody is interested in our VET In Schools program, please get in touch with us or refer your VET Coordinator to get in touch so we can get the ball rolling!