When did you first know that you wanted to pursue a career in this field?
I knew from an early age that I wanted to be an artist, and I practiced a lot when I was a kid. My Dad was is a graphic designer and I enjoyed growing up having access to all the tools and paper a kid could even dream of. The "ah-ha" moment came in 2006 when I was studying comics and illustration in college. Instead of doing my illustration homework, I started going through all of my animated movies and viewing them frame by frame. I was fascinated by how even a single animated shot was put together. When I saw my comics collecting dust on my shelf, I knew my interests were in animation and I switched majors that week. The next semester after that, I landed an internship at MAKE.
How long have you been working at MAKE?
Since summer of 2007. 16 years. Ouch.
What inspired you to join the team here?
There was a fantastic team of my upperclassmen already working here. They were working on professional and personal projects that I wanted to be a part of. I felt lucky and incredibly honored to work with such a talented team.
Tell us something about your professional development journey at MAKE.
My progression at MAKE has been one of developing different skill sets and then adding them to the job description. I started out primarily in Pre Vis design and matte painting, I branched out to audio design and motion graphics. I also do a lot of script writing and occasionally voice acting. Every year is a little different and it is wonderful to have a position where I can add different skill sets as they pique my interest. The environment here is one where I can hone these skills to a professional level. I wear a lot of different hats.
What is the most important lesson that you’ve learned from working with the team?
Balance. Budget your time and energy and get it done in a regular 8 hour day. This was the hardest and most important lesson that opened up long term stability for me in this profession.
What fills your creative tank?
1.) Collaboration. Nothing more rewarding than crafting an idea with people who are as excited as you are to make an idea happen.
2.) Broad creative interests and curiosity in music, literature, history and art. These interests land well outside of animation but they come into play a lot as I work on different projects.
3.) Great storytelling in any medium. I love seeing it all come together and that makes me want to sit down and work on stories of my own.
What’s a core memory from working at MAKE?
In 2012, there was a small team of 2d artists working in the back room of the studio. That backroom was an amazing collaborative experience and we worked on a lot of projects like Dead Moon Walking. Some people from that group went on to work at Disney or started working on their own films and absolutely killing it in film festivals and the national stage. Every one of them started evolving what success looked like to me. To work with that group was really special for me and and it was more formative than my college experiences.
What tips or advice would you give someone starting a new job?
Learn to accomplish what you need to in an 8 hour day. No one wants to watch you kill yourself. Studios, and more so clients, are really looking for people who can accomplish quality work on a budget and in a certain amount of time. Don't pull long hours or all-nighters. That time becomes invisible and impractical and it takes a big bite out of your energy and ability to earn as an artist. My second piece of advice is make a habit out of doing extra learning on the side. Always look to add new tools and processes to your own personal tool kit. Be curious enough to find a better way to accomplish the same thing. Revisit the basics, often, and don't assume you've mastered all of them.