EDIT: For those of you who are on Artstation, check out my profile!
Hey everyone, I've had a lot of people asking me about FZD and whether I recommend it. There isn't a short answer. And I don't have THE answer for you. It's a personal decision and every person will have a different set of factors to take into account before making a decision one way or another.
I'll do my best to be as straight forward about this as I can. Before I went to FZD, I was doing corporate transaction tax consulting, and I could hardly draw anything. I did a few pieces of abstract art when I was in high school. When looking at schools, I was looking at what would help me gain the skillset I needed to get my foot into the industry. I was NOT interested in schools that you could cruise through working only 8 hours a day. I didn't care about if the teachers actually cared about me or not, as long as they taught me how to do concept art. I didn't care if the teachers were compassionate and nice, in fact I preferred they were pretty brutal and honest. But however they were, I didn't care as long as they taught me how to do concept art. I didn't care if the school was perfect or not, as long as it taught me concept art. I didn't care about ANYTHING, as long as I was taught concept art.
That's why FZD worked so well for me. You have to really
know that you want to be a concept artist and be willing to give it your all. That doesn't mean work hard for 10 hours a day. That means killing yourself trying to get as good as possible for 20 hours a day. You HAVE to have that mentality, because other people do (case in point - me) and if you don't, they'll get in and you won't. There's too many people who are good and too few jobs. I'm sure some people get lucky, or meet the right person who helps them, or whatever. But I wouldn't count on making this a career unless you pretty much don't care about anything else, at least for a while. This is the attitude that you need to have if you want to go to FZD. If you find a more relaxed way to get into the industry, props to you. There were always people way ahead of me and I was destroying myself trying to catch up to them.
FZD only works if you have this sort of 'cards down guns drawn' attitude about it because that's how they look at the industry. Feng will tell you the same thing, and the classes are set up to be hard. You get a metric f**k ton of homework. No gfs, no games, barely any sleep, etc. Whether this is the "right" way to teach or not, who knows. It doesn't really matter. IT WORKS. But certainly not for everyone. A lot of people can't handle the complete lack of compassion or empathy, or the workload. Some people hate being competitive, but you have to be. I'm fairly competitive by nature, and I feel like you only deserve what you work your ass off for. If you aren't sort of thick-skinned and used to emotionally straining and physically exhausting environments, then FZD will be a terrible experience. If you're the kind of person who challenges yourself and is seriously passionate about working hard, FZD will probably work well for you.
In the end, FZD just tries to get you to crank as many hours of work out as possible. There's a thing called the "10,000 hour rule" and FZD just tries to make you get as close to it as possible. If you need 6 hours of sleep each night, you'll notice people slowly but surely pulling ahead. Those people are probably sleeping 3 hours or less a night. Everyone there wants to be a concept artist - you just have to want it more. The school is made for people who think like this.
A bit more 'general info' about the school and my time there:
I was there for about 2 years, minus a few months. I did the Advance Diploma program after my first year. Prior to FZD, I didn't do art and had never touched a wacom or photoshop (well I made an attempt when doing my entry portfolio lol). I was hired at Sledgehammer Games before I graduated. With the right mentality and effort, the school will give you what you need to get results. Classes are not really treated like art classes. You're taught art almost as if it were math, which I thought was fantastic. You definitely miss out on a lot of things a fine art school might teach, because FZD's program is pretty accelerated. It's a fast course, the're just isn't any way they could teach more without making the program longer. Those things though, like color theory and anatomy, even though they don't teach it in great depth, they go over enough for you to get started and learn more on your own. Even if you just use what you learned there, you'll have all the fundamentals covered and be good to go once you are done. The school doesn't wait on anyone; if you are weak it's on you to catch up. You can get some help but truthfully, with practice you'll get better. They can't answer a question and suddenly make you better. Some people say "the school doesn't help you if you are struggling" and that confuses me. The school taught you more than you can possibly fully understand in one lesson, so the only thing to do is practice. When people say that, I can't help but feel like they are complaining because the school didn't want to listen to them complain. I struggled and talked to the school about it a few times but eventually I realized that I just needed to work, and the time spent talking was time my classmates were using to get better.
Some classes are all friendly and helpful towards each other, and other groups are pretty competitive and stuff. Good and bad things about both. Whatever people you end up having in your class with you, just work hard and focus on improving. This isn't really the school's fault anyways, it just depends on the personalities of your classmates.
Singapore is actually pretty American in a lot of senses. It's very easy to get around, everyone speaks English and food is cheap. Pretty cool city. I liked it well enough. I've traveled a lot though so maybe I'm the wrong person to ask.
I made FZD sound a bit evil and ruthless, and maybe it is. But to be completely honest, I had an incredibly fun time there. Had some serious lows and highs, and I came out of it tougher than I went in, which makes me happy. Put simply, I gave the school a lot of money, and they gave me a skillset that got me a job. But like everything in life, it's a bit of a risk, so just think about it before you jump in.
It's been a long post, but I hope this helps people understand why you hear good and bad things about it. The people who had the right mindset for the school are probably too busy working to talk about it much. The people who needed a different type of school probably have more time (and reason) to complain about it lol. In the end, really figure out how bad you want to be a concept artist, and how hard you are willing to work. Good luck with whatever you choose!