In comments below, Alishea asks:
...[Y]ou have any advice for those aspiring to get into the treacherous business of animating? So far I've found two options- 1)paying $100,000 to get a degree, or 2) apprenticeship under an established animator in which case, if you don't know any, then what do you do?
A fine question. As a commenter mentions, there is Animation Mentor, but you are going to spend considerable coin for the training.
However, there are many other roads into AnimationLand, and here I outline a few.
* Training programs at Community Colleges -- lots of different two-year institutions have computer training, everything from beginning to advanced. Off the top of my head, Santa Monica College and L.A. Valley College offer classes; there are numerous others. State colleges (which cost more than their community cousins) also have programs.
* On the private college side, well-known schools with proven track records include Cal Arts in Valencia, California, and Ringling College in Sarasota, Florida. Sheridan Institute in Canada (not private) is also well-known. (Good training programs in computer graphics have grown up at a lot of different institutions, both state and private. Check your local listings for more detailed info.)
The Animation Guild (us guys) have run the American Animation Institute for years. We provide an array of art classes at reasonable cost, also some trade classes. Studio Arts and Gnomon (both in Los Angeles) also offer training. (Also, the Animation Guild participates in industry grants that subsidize training in CGI categories. These grants are limited to active and inactive guild members who have worked at a union facility within the last two years.)
But there's a larger point to be made here. Quality training is good and necessary, but the best training in the world won't get you a job in the business if you don't have the right work ethic and attitude to get that first crucial job, and the right social skills to keep it. (It also helps when the industry is in an expansionary mode. Lucky for you, in the CG area it's been expanding for, oh, the last fifteen-plus years.)
There are always more applicants than there are job positions. You're always competing with people farther up the food chain, but what you bring to the table (hopefully) is youth, zest, boundless enthusiasm and solid training. Also a willingness to bust your butt to get the job done. (If you read this as "Game companies and visual effects house exploiting young, naive, malleable labor" you would be partially right. We're here to stop it, but it's part of the landscape, so deal with it.)
Some folks will get into the business working at smaller, non-union facilities, some will enter via the video game industry. (They often chew you up and spit you out, but it's a fine way -- I'm told -- to acquire more chops. The goal at the start of your career is to "build your resume.")
Some will come into larger studios as production assistants, interns and trainees, and work up from there. Like I say, there are a bajillion different routes in to the wide, wonderful world of animation. To hike the myriad trails successfully, you will need 1) Luck (also known as "being in the right place at the right time"), 2) Talent (a facility for performing the required work), and 3) Tenacity (the inner fiber to get up and slog on when your are knocked down. Otherwise known as "a capacity for hard, sometimes frustrating work.")
Anyway, those are my nuggets of advice. I've given them before, and I will no doubt give them again. You can take the nuggets for what they're worth. (Obviously if I were a true genius I would be running DreamWorks Animation or Pixar or sleeping on a beach in the Grand Caymans, not sitting here blogging in Burbank, so I think we can stipulate that I'm far from a genius.)
Good luck with your grand voyage into the industry. May the trip be rewarding and soul enriching.