The Spring of 2010, I was two semesters deep into a degree that I knew I didnít want to do for the rest of my life- in fact I disliked everything about what I was going to school for. I was constantly wishing I had followed my dream and went to school to be an animator. I found myself frequently browsing the Animation Mentor website and wishing more than anything that I had gone to school there instead of where I was at, even though I was going to a top notch university. I started thinking real hard about changing degrees, but I didnít know if I should, because my parents had already spent so much money for me to do what I was doing, but I knew I would be unhappy if I didnít change. Seeking for advise and encouragement, I wrote a letter to a Pixar and DreamWorks animator and they were such a blessing to me. Both of them wrote me back and the encouragement they gave me helped me make the decision to tell my parents that I wanted to change majors and become an animator, because that was my dream job. Thankfully, they supported my decision and told me they wanted me to do what would make me happy. Since then, I have visited both Pixar and DreamWorks Animation Studios and met both of the animators that made such a huge impact in my life, and I am currently a student at Animation Mentor, and I am loving every minute of it.
I posted the letter that the Pixar animator wrote to me on my blog, and a popular website called Letters of Note found it and in almost no time, my letter was spreading around the internet and being viewed by people world wide. The best thing about it is that the letter that was written to encourage me was now encouraging people everywhere to not give up on their own personal dreams. Seeing how the letter affected so many people in such a positive way, it inspired me to start a project, called the Animator Letters Project, that I would be honored if you could participate in.
My goal is to publish a book packed full of letters from animators of different major studios, encouraging people who have a passion for animation to not give up and to follow their dreams. Perhaps you could tell a personal story from your own life that tells how you got to where you are now, living your dream. Have you gone through any hardships- emotionally, financially or even mentally while becoming an animator? Was this a struggle for you, and how did you overcome it? What gave you the strength to keep pushing on and to not give up on your dreams? If you have a story, no matter how big or small, and would like it heard, I would really appreciate it if you could please write a handwritten letter (please write it in your own hand, as it will be much more personal than a typed letter), addressed to aspiring animators (please don’t address it to me), with advise and encouragement that you think would help someone who needs that extra boost of encouragement and inspiration to take that first step in following their passion of animation, like I did.
Once the book is published, I am going to donate all of the proceeds and plan on starting a scholarship to help an aspiring animator financially to go to animation school. I feel if there is someone out there that has a dream to become an animator but is being held back because of money, then if I can help out in even a small way through this project, then I want to do whatever I can. If for whatever reason, I am unable to start the scholarship with a school- be it legal issues or whatever it may be- then I will find another great charity to donate the proceeds to that will benefit animators in some way. I should know for sure in September or so which it will be, but please know that all of the proceeds will be donated to a great cause.
If you like this idea and want to help me spread the word and get more animators involved, then please pass this letter and blog around and ask them to participate as well. I have mailed this letter to a bunch of animators, and still trying to be creative as to how I can spread the word about this project, but I could always use extra help. I would like to try to have all the letters in by the summer of 2012 to start putting them into a book.