At the age of 17, Mario Pochat made his way to a computer graphics expo held near his home in Mexico City. He shared his work with exhibitors and landed a job as a demo artist at the Mexican subsidiary of a Canadian-owned firm. Through this opportunity he was able to gain critical experience as he was continuously given more responsibility over a two-year period. He then went on the spend six years working in different animation studios in Mexico City.
Following this, he applied to the Vancouver Institute of Media Arts (VanArts) where he received formal training. Despite having a lot of experience, he needed to know how to animate by hand, with no computers. Charles Phillips, an instructor at VanArts, took Pochat under his wing, teaching him much more than animation, including English language skills. He went on to graduate from the program but then had to return to Mexico.
After some time, he received a job offer from Charles at VanArts to teach computer animation. However, it took over a year for him to make it back to Canada, as he was going through the process of applying for permanent residency (PR). He was finally granted PR and moved back to Vancouver, where he worked as an instructor until being promoted to Head of Animation within his department.
Pochat had a vision of someday running his own animation studio, and so he started taking online business courses. This e-learning experience failed to meet his expectations, but it sparked an idea of developing a web or cloud-based school for animation as opposed to a studio. He began developing software specifically for his school. He discovered just how unique this idea for online educational programs was at the time and enjoyed that his school would give students equal access to learning, as it was all online.
Finally, his full circle moment arrived! He needed additional funding, so he decided to reconnect with his first employer, Patrick Suberville, who signed on as an investor and provided him with the money he needed to launch the Vancouver Animation School.
Today, the Vancouver Animation School (VANAS) is a leading educational institution devoted to educating aspiring artists in the diverse disciplines that form the Animation, Visual Effects, and Video Game industries.