Hi and welcome to the backlot a discussion with the entertainment industries top talent. I’m Aerial Segard acting alum and in this episode we bring you three extraordinary women from a panel that NYFA recently held about women in animation. Careen Ingle director for Cartoon Network’s Unikitty and Anne Walker Farrell director of Netflix’s Bojack Horseman and Kelly Harper who works as a development exec for Comedy Central.
You do it for yourself. You draw because you love to draw but you can’t undervalue somebody enjoying.
Also I draw because I like to entertain too. It’s like you should only be making a film for yourself. Like that’s a bad.
The Art of Animation has been around since the late 18 hundreds and has been mostly dominated by males. But as for recent years more women have been taking the reins and it all sounds like fun and games. But behind the scenes is a lot of hard work. And just when you think there’s some R&R in sight. Reality kicks in.
Currently I’m on hiatus which is a magical time where I tell myself I get to sleep in and then I don’t. I just finished up directing on season 5 of Bojack Horseman. So thank you. We have one fan.
I think you have many more.
Yes, but I’m coming from Bojack and in August I’m beginning as a director on final space which is a show on streaming on TBS currently and I believe on adult swim as well and I’m going to be directing for them for season 2 with Bojack my directing duties were kind of twofold. I would direct the storyboard phase of productions I’d be in charge of overseeing the storyboard process keeping the episode as a cohesive whole while also you know encouraging our talented board artists to do what they do best and bring everything they can to the table and then for the latter half. I am one of two animation directors and I direct retakes on our scenes that come back from Big Star Studios in Korea and so for final space I’ll be doing the former I’ll be directing storyboards and working you know working with a design team and crafting the preproduction side of a cartoon.
So, I work on Unikitty over at WB just like down the street and it airs on Cartoon Network. And so I’m a director so I both direct like I have a team of storyboard artists that I direct I’ll do about a fifth or fourth of the episode I’ll do the boards myself like I’ll rewrite chunks of scripts to make everything more cohesive and more affordable and funnier and better and like also I go to voice records and I’ll direct the voice actors and stuff and just a whole big umbrella of stuff is my job on Unikitty. And it’s super fun and I love it very much.
And I work in development so my job is just going out to comedy shows and scouting talent. I work on the live action production side of stuff so I don’t know if that’s I know we were talking about this earlier but I feel like a bit like I can talk more to that but we’re on the development side so I work with writers to get scripts into shooting shape and making sure that their voice is coming across and they’re being their voice is being represented in their own script.
The entertainment business is tough. Everyone comes here with big dreams of being the next big thing. You go to auditions or meetings with your head in the clouds and the more you work the more you hope the next one will be the one. But the rejections you do get can start getting under your skin and it can be easy to think of quitting packing your bag and shipping out. But Miss Walker Farrell reminds us how important it is to stick with it. Even when quitting sounds like the next best thing.
I started out in animation really wanting to tell stories visually and so I got very lucky and I was able to do. A pilot for nickelodeons random cartoons back in 2006 called mind the kitty. And from there. I was very young so while I had a lot of fun making my own cartoon I think if I think it’s you know all of us if we could go back and redo our projects that we did when we were twenty five like you just sort of cringe in shame and wish for a time machine. But I learned a lot from it. So I got into storyboards and. From there I stayed in storyboards and animation largely in Flash productions and I kept boarding and I kept animating and it was fine but I wasn’t advancing at all. And it was frustrating and so I got to the point where in early 2014 I was laid off from a job at bento box. I just finished production in a show called Murder Police which never actually aired. I was frustrated. And so I started I started thinking like oh is this really what I want to do you know is this worth it is the struggle worth it. And Mike Hollingsworth who’s a supervising director on Bojack he sent me a Facebook message and was like I hear you’re unemployed we need a board revisionist come to us. And I said okay sure fine. I was sulky and I so I sat and you know we call the area storyboard Canyon at shadow machine this little hallway. I’m doing my board revisions and I was watching animatics and I hadn’t really seen anything of the show I tell the story I watched the animatic for episode 4 and there’s a montage at the end of 4 that is Diane’s exboyfriend Wayne kind of telling her you think that you’re all bright and cheerful but you’re pardon my language you’re a piece of s**t like the rest of us. And you’re going to go back to being a piece of s**t and it was so dark and weird and smart. I was just blown away. And so I realized oh my god I need to I want to be involved with a show. This is an amazing show. And so I worked with Mike with my friend Amy Winfree who was one of the directors she’s this amazing talented filmmaker. She’s been our director one of our directors since season 1 and they both kind of worked with me to advance from a board artist and a lead animator to an assistant director and lead animator to director of boards and animation in season 4 and I’ve been really lucky to work with good people on the show who have kind of guided me and launched me really into what I do now. I feel very lucky.
I think the Rolling Stone said it best. You can’t always get what you want. Careen Ingle learned the hard way that even when you do the hard work that doesn’t mean you get the job but instead you get you need.
Well I guess for me was. So I went to USC and just like you study animation the whole time and then to your senior year you make a thesis and I worked really hard on my thesis. And it was like I want to work in television. So I structured my thesis around like this looks like it would be for TV this is the kind of jokes like this. And like eventually people saw it and then like it took like a year like I was kind of like underemployed not unemployed but underemployed for like a year after I graduated and then I started getting work as a flash animator. So it’s like I worked I did jobs for Titmouse did jobs for Disney Junior stuff all over the place like preschool adult. Like everything in between like that was fun but you know that’s I want to do kind of big picture story stuff so you know it was just taking board tests all the time where you know you get a prompt and it’s like OK like do two minutes of a show you know on the boards. And a lot of times it’s a show that hasn’t come out yet. So it’s like guess guess what we want. And like okay and they’re like I don’t like this. Well I did so. You’re a fool and eventually got a job on Peabody and Sherman at the Peabody Sherman show at DreamWorks. Don’t confuse it with the movie. Like everyone on Netflix does. And I was there for two years and that was great but it was like You know I was a board artist and I had a lot of fun. It was a board driven show which meant like instead of getting like a script for everything was planned out you just got an outline with maybe like 10 percent of the dialogue on it and you filled in the rest. So like basically I was a writer and an artist on that show and you know I kept telling them it’s like when a position is open you know because the show ended after four seasons or two. I want to direct I want more responsibility and DreamWorks is like yeah maybe. And then the show it and they just like let me go and I’m like put me on another show and they’re like nobody gets it. Like I’d invite people to like my pitches like for the other shows that really like looking to staff up and like I invited them all to this one pitch where the episode was about they went back to England 1800’s and they had to find John the ripper who farted on everything. I’m like so if you have a spot on your show for me. And they were all like. And nobody ever talked to me like well if you don’t want this. This is the best work I’ve ever done. I don’t want to work for you. So like DreamWorks made no effort to try and keep me even though like I really wanted to work for them and you know like I was trying to show initiative and stuff and they were just like. And then like you know it was like OK well I’ll take more board tests. Basically took a summer off and then like WB was like hey we need people you wanna take a test. And I was like Yeah. So I got a test for Unikitty did that and it only took like two days. You usually have a week to do it. But it was just so easy. It’s like I know what this is going to look like and then like two days later I get a call from DreamWorks. Like saying like OK we want you to come on a Rocky and Bullwinkle after like them saying For the longest time we don’t know if we’re gonna hire you or not. We don’t know if we want you even though you worked with all the same people like on the show and I was like okay cool yeah. And then I get a call from my reps like later and they’re like Oh Careen did you hear the good news and I’m like oh yeah that I’m going back to DreamWorks and they’re like What are you talking about. No WB wants you you know on Unikitty. I was like oh oh it’s like cool two people want me and then they’re like here’s the dollar amounts. And it was like oh DreamWorks wasn’t paying me fairly you know. So there was a back and forth and DreamWorks was like OK how about we pay you four hundred dollars less a week. I’m like no you know with a dollar amount. You can’t. That’s not how negotiations work. So it was I went from a company that didn’t appreciate me at all to like WB where it’s I get there. I’m just working they’re like you want to be a director I’m like I didn’t even have to ask thanks you want to do development. I’m like yeah sounds fun you know. So it’s you know not every company you work for no matter how hard you try it is always going to appreciate the work you do or like see the value in it. And DreamWorks was great when I was there it’s just now that I’ve been unplugged from the Matrix. You know it’s like oh I wasn’t. They were there to exploit me as a new worker. All my bosses and stuff were cool. It’s just the company culture you know with it being a new media company it’s different.
I cannot stress this enough. Paying Attention. Being on time and saying yes to jobs that may not be ideal can really affect where you go in this business. The key is growing and becoming who you want to be by the lessons you learn on the way up. A lot of people come here with the fact. That it’s so cutthroat and they have to beat out everybody else. It’s not like that. There’s so much work on all sides on all platforms to get you where you want to go. You can make it that way but it doesn’t have to be that way. You choose. To. Follow your path and help someone along on the way if you can. And if you like the sound of that. Ms Harper tells us that she too enjoys making dreams come true.
I went to New York University and I graduated right when the economy took. A nose dive. So a lot of jobs are pretty scarce so it’s kind of like take whatever you can get the first job I had out of college was at a company that sells credit card machines. And I worked there for a week and then I got I got a phone call asking if I wanted to come in and interview for a job as like a casting intern. And I was like I’ll take it. And they’re like no interview it’s like no I’ll take it like I’ll do whatever you need me to do. How is it minimum wage. I’ll take it like I’ll figure it out like beans on toast I don’t care. So I took that job at that company and that company was a production company in New York City it did a lot of other live action productions and kind of just bounced around to different projects that they had there which is how I ended up on like cash cab and history detectives which was like great to learn like on Cash Cab I was in the field doing production as a P.A. and on history detectives I was doing archival work so I was like calling small history societies in Oklahoma being like hey I’m trying to find a rare picture of this Indian chief. Can you help me. And then these people like don’t have any digital means so like we can’t scan this photo we can send you the photo was like Don’t send me your historical artifacts. Every job I ever had has taught me how to be scrappy and just like get done what needs to get done. So I kind of like bounced around a little bit at that company. Then from people I met there got a job working at AOL from that job. Since then I had cut my teeth in like digital production got the job at above average which is where I always wanted to end up because I always wanted to work for Broadway video because I always wanted to work for comedy. And like Broadway videos like the name in comedy to me until I then worked at Comedy Central and now that’s the name in comedy for me. But yeah. So now I just moved out to L.A. like I’m five months into my time being in L.A. so I’m learning everything I’m sorry I don’t know what any of the freeways are called I’m sorry if you tell me where’s the five I can’t I am. Good luck.
You know to just put the in front of it. That’s enough.
I heard that that’s just a southern California thing.
Also that like people are like oh it’s called a freeway not a highway. I’m like what is happening. So then I recently transitioned out of production into development because I realized as a producer a lot of times working with people in development or getting scripts from people in development I’m like this doesn’t really align with like the amount of money we have to make this product amount of time. So I get these scripts and have to go back to the writers and be like your dreams. We can’t make them. And like that’s the worst feeling in the world. And I was like there was definitely a step. I feel like we could have told you that this dream was a little bit or like fixed it and like maybe done it cheap so I was like I really wanted to get in development. And like yeah make people be able to make the thing they want to make the way they want to make it. And I also have like the company be happy like it’s getting made for the dollar amount because that is king. So that’s that was my path.
Nothing worth having comes easy and having a successful career in animation is the same but loving what you do can be the greatest motivator even when those working hours start in the morning and end the following sunrise.
Generally. I’m a morning person so rather than working late I get an early. But. Every production is different so sometimes you know you will be on a production that demands those long hours. It depends on the production it depends on the situation. The important thing is to make sure that you’re getting paid for those long hours. It’s been a situation I’ve been in before where I’ve been putting in my offer a job and not getting paid fairly which which sucks. I think the important part especially of leadership positions like you know supervising directing you’re sort of going into it with the assumption that I’m going to be putting in extra hours to make this good. Like this is my episode and there’s an ownership of it that for me makes those hours easier. And again that’s not to say too that. When I was a board artist it was like these are my boards on the episode like this is something that I am a part of and I want to do my best. And generally as an artist I’m told that I’m pretty fast. I’m speedy which I think helps in that regard. But I know I mean during animation for season 5 of Bojack. My codirector and I there were a lot of issues with the lip sync coming back it was it was funky fresh. And so we ended up having to go we called it lip sync Apocalypse which might have been an overstatement but we were going into lip sync and fixing the lip sync and we were there like we were working weekends. We were working through lunch and you know not working to like 11 12 at night. But like I would get in usually around 10 and I would I would not leave before 730 most nights. And that’s not you know crazy crazy hours but like I’m I’m I’m working that whole time you know. And again it’s an ownership it’s like well this is a problem like we need to fix this. It’s on us to fix this. And I don’t want to pass this down the line I don’t want to shove this off onto my animators it’s like we’ve got to we’ve got to get this done. So there’s long hours but as long as you know you’re compensated fairly and you love what you do. It’s not too bad I daresay.
For me it’s pretty much I work until I’m happy with the product and like sometimes that means I have to work more hours sometimes it means I don’t have to work as many. It’s good for me as a director. I’ve always felt that I work more hours so that my board artists don’t have to overwork themselves because I get paid on call. I get paid for more hours in a day like that’s just the way my job works. But then also it’s like the things that you ‘re going to focus on. I want you to like kick butt on those. So if you need help I’m here to help you. Like I’m here to make sure that you have the support you need and sometimes that means like I’ll be up until 4:00 in the morning. You know and not all the time. You know you have easy weeks and you have hard weeks and it’s just you. If you have too many hard weeks you know you just be like OK what can I do faster. What really really matters or what can I kind of ignore. But you know that’s just how it is sometimes but you know it’s just as long as like for me it’s like am I getting paid. Do I like the work I’m doing. You know like it’s that’s really all I need.
Do I like the work I’m doing is the biggest motivator to being like OK I know this is a 12 hour shoot day which means like an 18 hour like being awake day. But I’ve been very fortunate so like every crew that I’ve ever been on like knock on wood. It definitely you hit a wall at some point in the day. But then like if it’s a crew that you really love there’s always someone who recognizes you’re hitting a wall and is like hey I noticed that you’re kind of tired.
Because there’s always that point of the day where you’ll be at the office really late and somebody will be like are you still here and it’ll either be yeah I’m having a great time I’m having tons of fun. I’m riding this wave as far as I can. And then like other times it’s like oh you’re right. It’s time to bounce like time to go home.
Whatever you do or you dream of doing needs to drive you. It needs to be that voice in your head that gets you up in the morning but just know that voice won’t sound the same for everyone.
For me it’s crafting a good story it’s crafting a story that speaks to me personally. Obviously sometimes if I’m working on a kid show or if I’m working on a show that I don’t connect with sometimes that’s a little harder to find that sort of spark. But when you find a project or a show or you know a movie or whatever that you that you’re working on that just something about it speaks to you and you connect with it and you’re living with these characters in your head and you just see the world so clearly like that. That’s like crack. That’s amazing. It’s you know and that’s I think that’s the magic of Hollywood Hollywood. It’s – it’s you’re – you’re just crafting. Stories that aren’t real but that feel real to you. I think for me that’s what that’s what keeps me hooked.
I get to wake up every day and then drive and work and then draw funny faces and butts all day. And then I talk to another person and I’ll be like make that face funnier. And then it gets animated and then it’s on TV and like kids see it and they’re like hurray hurray we love it and it’s like yeah kids like it adults like it it’s just like oh it made somebody laugh. Cool I’m having a good time.
A thousand percent. When like when people say oh I saw that it was so funny. I’m like Yes that’s all I wanted. Yeah that is the best. It is it’s crack. You feel like a high like no other high when like also like you know the amount of time it goes into like making the thing so when you see it like fully done like the sound mix the color everything’s finished. You’re like my baby yeah it’s a baby you gave birth to this beautiful thing and then like the minute somebody laughs while you’re watching it back you’re like oh my god I’m going to like it’s the best it’s the best.
It’s always there’s a high at the beginning there’s a dip in the middle because then you’ve been with the story for so long. Is this even funny anymore. What is this is this funny. And then like and then it’s on air and then I’m like oh it is funny.
And it’s it’s worse when it’s your own stuff and it’s like a side project like I’ve been doing a web comic for a couple of years and it’s I’ve gotten to that point with it where I’m like What is this. What am I doing. But it’s very that feedback from an audience is so huge and so important. And I’ve had people who have said to me like oh that makes you less of an artist like you have to like no you do it for yourself to draw because you love to draw but you can’t undervalue somebody enjoying your work.
Also it’s like I draw because I like to entertain too. It’s like you should only be making a film for yourself. I’m like that’s a bad film. I can just think it if I want it just just for me why am I going to waste all this time putting it on paper. If I can just sit in a chair and be like. Like that’s it’s for other people.
It’s a good film. I’m a great filmmaker. Well back to work.
My target audience loves it.
Retta Scott who worked for Walt Disney Animation Studios was the first ever credited female animator she worked on the storyboards for Bambi and was on the production side for Fantasia and Dumbo really paving the way for women in animation. And although there is still an imbalance in the field it really has gotten better though it probably won’t come as a complete shock to you when I say it’s still got a far away to go and creating characters that are real and not just based off stereotypes is really something our panel women would like to see more of.
For me and like a lot of people our age it’s like we grow up like all dudes doing cartoons all the time and I remember being like a little kid watching I’m like I feel left out. You know it’s like cool guy cool guy. The fat guy who likes food like that guy. Girl. And I’m like I don’t want to be girl like she’s dumb a girl didn’t write her. I always feel left out. So it was like OK what can we put in this cartoon to make sure nobody feels left out. It’s not like P.C. police it’s just reality police. It’s not hard work you know. Just make sure it’s all types of stuff.
There’s something so powerful in seeing yourself in media and seeing yourself in the stories that you consume. And because I remember this specifically from something Lisa Hanawalt had posted on Instagram about like her old childhood drawings and she had drawn like this like cool cat guy and she’s like yeah I drew him as a dude because all the cool characters that I watched as a kid were dudes and I’m like I did that I have a s****y cat drawing from when I was at 8 and he’s a dude or like you know all the women are sort of overly sexualized.
Yeah well it was they only had one mold of action figure and they had to saave money by having them all fit.
They all need to look like She-Ra.
Kids today are better about it like they don’t seem to care like people bring their kids into the office and we have like a big Unikitty mural and like when there’s a boy or a girl they’re like yes. Unikitty I love her like boys don’t care like they don’t care if it’s a boy or girl they just care if it’s a fun character that they like to watch and it I think it’s always been that way but it was always parents like being like. No no no girls and boys they got to do their thing blue for you and pink for you. And it’s like kids don’t care.
I’ll also say we were in a meeting recently at Comedy Central and they were saying you know Broad City the majority of the demographic that watches that show is guys and like Key and Peele the majority of the people watch that show were white because the majority of our viewership is white males and they’re just going to watch what’s on TV because it’s funny doesn’t have to be like them projected back to them. It can be something that’s really funny and they’re just going to watch it because it’s good jokes so long as you have statistics look science says it’s OK and then you’re like OK fine the math check out great cool.
And the like the female characters now are – they’re characters they’re not just like like you said the girl.
They don’t just like horses.
They can like horses.
It used to only be that they had to like horses or be a horse.
The other the other thing that I noticed sometimes with female characters that bugs me is when they’re they’re like the writer’s afraid to give them any flaws. Like they’re not they’re so good and they’re smart and they win at everything all the time. Like.
You have to be the best if you’re a girl.
Yeah like that’s not I’m not going to be offended if you know a character with my gender is flawed.
It’s true. We are the best.
That for me sort of raises my hackles because it’s like come on we know better at this point.
No one is perfect in real life. So it’s like this girl you saw on TV and you’re not that and you’re like I’m not good enough for anything. Nobody’s ever going to love me or think I’m cool like no they just didn’t write it good. But it’s like really it’s just women and men are so similar you know like people are the same it’s just the way society treats them that like that they maybe reacted to differently. But it’s like were you going to write a boy. OK. Make it a girl like. There you go. You’re done. You did it. You know we don’t act different we’re the same we’re all people we’re more similar than we are different.
This is a great time for women as we push through the barriers and show we are worth more than the stereotypes placed upon us. Now more than ever people all around are witnessing it allowing a shift to happen which paves the way for more women to rise to the occasion.
We’ve always been good at it and people are just figuring it out right now.
I think it’s like an exponential growth thing. Like if you get one person in there who has a different way of thinking about things and then they hire two more people then they hire four more people and it just kind of spreads out from there. That’s why I think maybe the change is happening.
There’s also a culture of men who are incompetent and mediocre getting into positions of power and keeping women who were really good out because they would threaten their own position. Their job It’s just like oh crap they can’t get in or they’ll see that I’m not good. I know I’ll say they’re bad it’s stupid.
Also now too with like internet with digital media there’s just a lot more being made and there’s a lot more opportunity for different viewpoints to be seen and I think like for example if we’re watching a bunch of cartoons where all the main characters are basically male they’re men they’re boys like it’s the girl that creates sort of a cultural norm that I think is sort of being broken out of now that we have you know there’s YouTube and there’s Vimeo and there’s streaming and there’s like so much is being made and there’s so many opportunities for different voices to kind of come onto the scene and say no like this is not how it should be. It needs to change. Like here’s a story I have to tell. Here’s why I want to tell it like listen to me and then you just wave your arms.
The ability to find people like the Internet has helped that. Like it cannot be underestimated that that is a huge reason why things are different because you can just find people now versus like Jon Stewart was telling a story about how he got a lot of flak because everyone’s like you don’t have any female writers on your show but you are a big feminist pro women’s rights kind of guy and he was like This is crazy isn’t this crazy Mark isn’t this crazy John isn’t this Oh I see what happened here. I need to like change. I need to actually do. But it took other people being like hey there is a problem. And I also think the internet was not only a way for people to call out people in a very public forum and like also a way for people to just be like Here’s my work do you like it and everyone’s like oh my god I love it. Like I love your work I want to work with you it’s just like it breaks down that barrier for entry.
Social media can have its flaws and can possibly cause problems from time to time but it’s an excellent way to get your material out there to be discovered. Whether it’s photography directing even if it’s just your acting real. Curating your online identity is one of the best ways of getting noticed. Although leaving out those party pics may be in your best interest.
Oh my god. Get online get online get online.
You don’t have to be like unbelievably famous and popular. You just have to have your work be easy to find and accessible.
Make a SquareSpace site your email your contact information and some samples of your work should be front and center like we shouldn’t have to dig for it. Tumblr can be useful. Honestly I found the most ground promoting my own work on Twitter and social media is strange because it’s half like place where I scream in the woods because the world is on fire and also half where I show off a drawing and in recent months it’s you know as I have met more people online and sort of grown it’s become more of the latter where it’s less of a place that I can rant and rave about things and more that it’s more a professional outlet for me. I’ve encountered some people for whom the line is a little blurred and so it’s like well you have cool art. And then also here’s a rant about how you had a fight with your friend. Like make sure if there’s a place that you’re showing your art. Make sure it’s just art and it’s something that you would show to a boss or to you know a work person.
Yeah also. Yeah like photos of you like partying and stuff. I’m like okay. I see you like to party a lot. I just want to see the work if you can party and do the work like cool. But I don’t need to see it.
It’s yeah it’s tricky too because it is like part of being an artist is your life. Like that’s where you draw your inspiration from but it’s all it’s this fine line of your curating your online identity. A lot. And that in of itself is a challenge. But if you find it intimidating if you don’t want to you know go through the whole social media rigamarole SquareSpace site email at the top clear samples of work. I’ve had luck with that.
It’s just anything you’re going to put on your SquareSpace is just like OK. Then if you have Twitter just get it so no one can steal your name and then just like Here’s a drawing and that’s all you got to do. That’s it.
I would say Instagram is the one where I like find people a lot. Oh yeah I love I love Instagram.
Los Angeles is full of dreamers and it can be a powerful inspiration to be around. Or if you let it it can be extremely intimidating even debilitating at times. Everyone has an idea or a project. They talk about. Sometimes it can feel like everyone is getting somewhere and you’re standing still. But the secret is and lean in close for this because the majority of them won’t admit it. A lot of those very people who do all the talking never finish their projects or worse they never even get started. They don’t actually put in the work. So when asked for some advice for our students. Let’s just say our panel of women gets straight to the point.
Make your. Like just make your stuff.
I was up at JFL just for laughs and like I was on a panel that was talking to some of the creators of family guy and some of the creators of animals on HBO and the guys from the animals team were just saying like don’t think you have to like make your 22 minute like 30. Don’t make your feature length film now like they said they just started by being like we’re gonna animate this joke we’re going to animate a minute of this joke and then like see how that goes. And if you love that. Like okay let’s animate five minutes. And then eventually like you get your whole thing or at bare minimum you have a minute of like this is what my show sounds like this is what my show looks like. Do you like this. And then someone’s like oh yeah. Do you want to do a lot more of that for money. It’s like yeah I do. I want to do that. So like just make your thing and like in reasonable chunks so that you don’t burn out because if you’re like I’m going to make 15 minutes and you get 30 seconds into it and you’re like I hate this then now you’re going to be like then I’m never doing it again it’s like no just like you animate 15 seconds that’s awesome. So like animate 15 more seconds animate 15 more seconds.
Not to mention like if I’m like looking at videos on the internet and I see it’s 15 minutes I don’t want to watch that like make it three.
I’m scrubbing through .
It’s just like yeah if you start something just finish it even if you’re like it’s like I don’t know if I like it anymore it’s like just get it done. Like so people can see it and it’s you know it’s not as good as I want but it’s like that was you had it in your head. Everybody is just happy to see it. You know.
You would be shocked at the number of people who start things and cannot finish them if you can finish a project that sets you head and shoulders above half of your peers at least. And again yeah it will never look as good as you want it to look because you are constantly getting better as an artist as you’re making it you know as a filmmaker as a board artist as a designer whatever you know you’re working on a film for two years. You’re drawing constantly so you’re going to look back at those drawings from a year ago and cringe but I’m watching it as a new viewer. I’m just sucked into the story and I don’t care. So don’t pay attention to the self-doubt goblin it is only there to hurt you. It will bite you.
A little known fact. Being nice and being social goes a long way in this industry because your reputation is everything. There are a million excuses out there to stop you doing. The things you love doing. Most artists fear the very success they crave. Creating a show is no different. And the fear of success can be real. But thinking you can do it all on your own that’s a hindrance all in itself. Because it takes a team. It takes trust communication and it takes total commitment and knowledge of where your show is going. Even past the first episode.
Writing a pilot is great and it’s really hard. What does your show look like in the 17th episode. Like really know what story you’re trying to tell because if I read the pilot and like great write a show and then you’re like oh no no. Get a good grip on what the story is and what the characters are going to be doing. If if that’s what you want to do.
About to say. Also don’t start out thinking that you’re going to have your own show there’s like so many people fresh out of school and they’re like time to have my own show. It’s like you’re going to do a bad job work for somebody else first like learn stuff. Figure out what it is that you really like doing. And then get really good at that. Meet everybody know how all the jobs work even if it’s a job you don’t like doing like if you know how to do everything or if you know what everything like entails it’ll make you better at your job it’ll make you better at working as a team with your co-workers. It’s just good to like learn and talk and communicate. Just like see what everybody’s doing.
Learning how to work on a team is another big piece of advice I would say like it takes a village. Like nobody made a show by themselves. And you need to learn how to like you said like talk to everybody communicate what you’re trying to get done. Understand what they’re trying to get done and like everything is negotiation everything is a collaboration. And also learn how to take notes like if you have friends that you like and trust. Send your stuff to them and have them give you notes on it and try to implement their notes because that is what your job is going to be for the rest of your life is like implementing other notes and feedback.
You’re not going to get it right on the first try. Ever and people like but I worked really hard on this. It’s like not hard enough. Like do it again.
Sometimes it’s not even a matter of hard it’s just experience like you just need to spend that time and you have every now and again lightning strikes. But for the most part the people who get shows have been laboring in obscurity for like a decade. Like you just you haven’t seen them because they’ve been in obscurity and now you see them and it feels like oh god they just come out of nowhere. But it’s true. It’s you put in your time you know you work hard to do your best and be generally kind to people and it grows from there. You’ll get there. It takes time but you’ll get there. And you will run into the same people over and over and over again. So do not be a dick.
I want to think Careen Ingle, Anne Walker Farrell, and Kelly Harper for speaking to our students. I’m Aerial Segard. And this episode was based on the panel moderated by Kelly Williams. To watch the full panel or just see our other Q&As. Check out our youtube channel at youtube.com/newyorkfilmacademy. This episode was written by me edited and mixed by Kristian Hayden our creative director is David Andrew Nelson who also produced this episode with Kristian Hayden. Executive produced by Jean Sherlock and Dan Mackler. Special thanks to our events department Sajja Johnson and the staff and crew who made this possible. To learn more about our programs check us out at nyfa.edu. Be sure to subscribe on apple podcasts or wherever you listen. Thanks for listening.