Help Cain attend CalArts


My name is Cain.

More fully, Eryn Cain Pickens Rich.

I make hand drawn animated short films. The California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) has just accepted me into their Character Animation program. It is arguably one of the best schools for animation and a community that I've always pictured myself within.

As I do not have enough time to meet the entire cost before the first semester's tuition deadline, I have decided to set up a GoFundMe to raise the remaining funds.

Film concept and storyboard - What on Earth :

Early on, I was diagnosed with a range of learning difficulties. For example, writing the letter B was a challenge. To me, it was alive and contained feelings with interesting circuitous shapes. I drew "B" as a straight line, thinking the letter was lying down as if in "bed".

After a lot of help from numerous specialists, I was able to somewhat express myself on paper. By the end of my primary school years, I had won a city-wide story writing contest which helped me believe in my creative voice.

CalArts online portfolio, animated show concept - Speech-Less :


Growing up, all of my free time was spent drawing. At about 5 years old, I saw the movie Toy Story. I knew then what I wanted to do with my drawings - I wanted to make movies and one day work for Pixar.

At the end of middle school, I was invited to Pixar after several months of correspondence with a character supervisor named Bob Moyer and was fortunate to have him critique my work.

In high school, I entered a work-study program in graphic design run by the Ministry of Labor here in France. As I am an American born and raised in France, on my 18th birthday, I was asked to leave the school for non-French citizenship while awaiting French government processing of my papers. I then applied, and was accepted, to The International Film School of Paris (EICAR) - where I achieved my BFA in Screenwriting before completing high school. My second-year film, G'old Fish, won the Albert R. Broccoli Award for "best student film".

Shortly after graduating from EICAR, I decided to apply to CalArts. To help in preparing a portfolio, I took my first ever drawing class. My drawing teacher recommended I visit a class at l'École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts. Upon realizing no one noticed I was there, I decided to continue going. I greatly improved my drawing skills during that time.

After submitting my application I had to go back and get my GED. CalArts has now accepted my portfolio and granted me the Lillian Disney Award merit scholarship. Although I am grateful to be accepted, it does not come close to covering my full tuition needs. Because I was required to get my GED, I had an exceptionally late acceptance, months past the usual deadline. By that time, little financial aid awards and scholarships that required being enrolled in the program were available. 

This GoFundMe is my last recourse to meet the Fall registration deadline. The cost for a full year at CalArts is $48 000. I plan to use my GoFundMe, loans, and scholarship money to pay the remaining costs of the tuition, supplies, flight and living expenses. Your support is essential to helping me reach my goal.

I would like to sincerely thank everyone who has continued to support me over the years - teachers, mentors, family, and friends - to whom I owe a great deal of gratitude.

My accepted sketchbook video :

I now hope that an even larger circle of supporters will help me complete my education and realize my dream of becoming an animator.

I hope my story resonates with you. No donation is too small. Anything you can do to help would be greatly appreciated.


Header photo by Lewis Watts.


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Organizer and beneficiary

Cain Pickens 
Valencia, CA
Camille Rich Pickens 
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