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Straight-Ahead Scholarship and Production Residency

A 12-month mentor-focused program offered by the Quickdraw Animation Society (QAS) intended to assist neurodivergent Youth (16-25 years of age) in learning animation or animation adjacent processes (gaming, 3D, storyboarding, etc) and discovering potential career pathways.

illustration of a character running along a track made up of a film reel with frames of their run animation

What is the Straight-Ahead Scholarship and Production Residency?

The Straight-Ahead Scholarship and Production Residency is a mentor-focused program offered by the Quickdraw Animation Society (QAS) and mentored by artist Ryan Fry intended to assist neurodivergent Youth (16-25 years of age) in learning animation or animation adjacent processes (gaming, 3D, storyboarding) and discovering potential career pathways.

This is a non-cash award open to Calgary, AB (and area) artists of all disciplines that are in early stages in their careers. No previous animation experience is necessary to apply for this program, however interest in animation or animation adjacent processes (gaming, 3D, storyboarding) will be given priority.

The spirit of the Straight-Ahead Scholarship and Production Residency is to approach learning in a new way. In-class learning structures at Senior high school level or post-secondary level can be restricting and discouraging to some learners that are otherwise passionate about the medium of animation. This program is designed to foster the development of an emerging animator through a more needs basis which could include classes, mentorship, free production space, and technical support. The goal of this residency is to guide an emerging artist's passion through one-on-one fluid direction as opposed to more traditional classroom structures.

Application Deadline: Monday, August 5th, 2024, 11:59pm MST

Recipients of this award will receive:

  • 1 QAS course in the Fall semester (valued at $360)
  • 1 QAS course in the Winter semester (valued at $360)
  • 6 months of Hot Desk Studio Space (valued at $1500)
  • Twice a month 1-2 hour meeting with Mentor Ryan Fry for one year.

Who is the Mentor: Ryan Fry

Headshot of Ryan Fry. He is wearing a blue button up shirt, purple plants, a baseball cap, a backpack, and is holding his infant child

Ryan Fry is an animator from Calgary Alberta who resides in Burnaby with his wife Marina, daughter Lucia and cat Mu. Ryan has over a decade of animation experience working on films, video games and animated tv series working on projects for clients such as disney and dreamworks. He has developed curriculums for highschool animation programs and taught an intro to 3d animation class at the Quickdraw Animation Society in 2015.

Ryan has ADHD and was diagnosed as a young child, he really had a hard time finding his way after highschool, eventually he learned about the opportunities to work in animation and hasn't looked back.

The aim with this mentorship is to pay it forward. He wants to help other young adults with similar challenges to learn about the opportunities for careers in animation and also provide some of the resources and time to help foster their development as an artist so maybe one day they can do the same for someone else.

You can see his work at

Scholarship and Residency Timeline

This is a 12-month program to allow the participant to learn animation through fall and winter QAS courses as well as get project specific mentorship.

The successful applicant is expected to adhere to the timeline below:

  • Apply for the Straight-Ahead Scholarship and Production Residency
  • Interview with QAS Staff regarding application
  • Meet with Program Mentor discussing possible goals and projects deliverables
  • Sign up for Fall and Winter QAS Courses
  • Meet with a mentor at least twice a month
  • Finalize project
  • Set up Hot Desk Studio Space
  • Discuss with QAS Staff possible project exhibition

Am I Eligible for this Scholarship and Residency?

This scholarship and Residency is designed for youth 16 - 25 years of age that identify as neurodivergent and may need accommodations to support their learning needs. The intent is to have an adaptable learning environment to foster creativity, community, and encourage a path forward in the animation artistry. We don’t care about your grades, we just want to see that you have a passion to create!

This scholarship and residency program is only available to artists based in or around Calgary, Alberta, Canada. This is not a remote opportunity – the program takes advantage of our in-house resources, so being able to come down to QAS for classes, meetings, supplies, books, studio space, etc. is essential. Mentor meetings will be held remotely via online platforms.


This application is open to individuals of all races, genders, sexualities, backgrounds and abilities. Our studios are mostly accessible to those with mobility issues but not entirely – our main facility is accessible to wheelchair-users but our upstairs space and library is unfortunately not. Please let us know if accessibility in mobility or modifying the environment to support any needs you might have in your application and we will work to make sure you can access our resources.

 If you have any barriers in creating an application please let us know via email ( as we are happy to adapt if needed. For example, we would accept a video cover letter/application video instead of written for those who struggle with writing. Video applications should be 1920 x 1080 .mp4 file formats.


Applicants are judged by the strength and feasibility of their project proposal (more information below), their artistic work (animation or otherwise), and the benefit of the scholarship to the applicant (Cover letter).

What do I need to apply?

Cover Letter

  • Please speak to how you hope this opportunity will better accommodate your neurodivergent learning needs.
  • Describe what you are hoping to achieve by creating the project. For example, new skills, portfolio, or a new piece to be publicly exhibited.
  • Please feel free to voluntarily self-identify your preferred pronouns, and/or indicate if you belong to an underrepresented group.

One Page Project Proposal

The Project Proposal is meant for you to have a chance to pitch an idea of what you would like to make during this opportunity! Your  project will most likely change throughout the residency as you learn more skills about art and animation, but this is something that helps us understand what you're interested in and how we can help you achieve your artistic goals. This should include:

  • A two-to-three-sentence summary of your project
  • A description of the ideas behind the project, and
  • Information about what animation techniques you would like to explore. 

Feel free to include any images or materials in with the application if it will give us a sense of what you are proposing, but please keep it concise. 

Remember you can use this Scholarship and Production Scholarship to create Animation or Animation adjacent projects such as, but not limited to, Game Design, Character Design, 3D modeling, 2D Animation, 3D Animation, Motion Graphics, Storyboarding, Projection mapping, Procedural Animation, Drawing, or developing your artistic Portfolio, etc.

We understand that the project is likely to change and evolve, especially as one takes classes and learns more about the art of animation;  the project proposal allows us to get a sense of your interests and approach as you start this residency.

NOTE: All animation techniques proposed will be considered for the scholarship, including (but not limited to): hand-drawn, stop-motion, collage, cut-out, cameraless, mixed media, digital, 3D, experimental, virtual reality, etc.

Resume or CV

Artistic Portfolio

Completed Application Form

Tips for your Application

  • Keep your project proposal short, sweet, and concise
  • Visual examples help us, but keep it to the essential items to convey your idea
  • Include select items from your portfolio in the application, we want to get a sense of your current artistic practice. Stills, paintings, prints, performance documentation, and film links are all valid. If you have a portfolio website do include that in your application, but please provide examples of your work with the application as part of your portfolio.
  • Your proposed project can be experimental, non-narrative, weird, etc. or traditional, narrative, cute, etc. We don't discriminate, but we will not support projects that are racist, sexiest, ablelist, homophobic, transphobic, or hateful towards marginalized communities.

How do I Submit?

Please submit all required documents in a zipped folder, PDF Format. Each file and your folder should be labelled in the following format: Yourname_StraightAhead2024.pdf

Submissions are accepted by email only, labelled with the subject line: Straight Ahead Scholarship 2024: YourName

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Monday, August 5th, 2024 11:59pm MST

Send submissions and/or questions about the program or application process to Quickdraw’s Programming Director, Ryan Von Hagen: