I am sure all of you out there are just as excited as I am to see Pixar’s up and coming film, ‘Brave’! As many of you may know, the original writer and director of the film is a very talented story teller named Brenda Chapman, and this morning she wrote a great post (below) on her blog about the Animator Letters Project. Thank you so much for the kind words Mrs. Chapman, and I look forward to sharing your letter! I hope many more professionals in the animation industry will step up and follow in your foot steps by writing their own letter of inspiration.
For a young person contemplating how to land the coveted “dream job,” the road to the future can seem bleak, long and downright scary. That’s one of the many reasons mentors are so important. An experienced voice of reason can make all the difference in helping someone get a start in an industry, which is why I am such a fan of the Animator Letters Project.
The project is the brainchild of Texas resident Willie Downs, an aspiring animator who struggled with his decision to attend school and pursue a degree other than animation. He couldn’t shake the feeling that he was going down the wrong path but, as he writes on the project’s website, he was hesitant to change degrees—and schools—because “my parents had already spent so much money for me to do what I was doing.”
So Willie reached out to Pixar and DreamWorks via letter, and asked the studios for advice and encouragement. The Animator Letters Project was born, and Willie now aspires 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.”
Wow. How much more inspiring can you get? And I’m not talking about the letters, although I know they’re full of invaluable advice and wisdom. I can’t help but be moved by Willie’s effort, his decision to reach out for help, and his further commitment to share the results with others who are in a similar position.
I plan to write a letter to Willie, and if you work in the animation industry, I urge you to consider participating, too. As if you needed additional incentive, Willie plans to donate the proceeds of the book to start a scholarship that will help an aspiring animator attend animation school.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a letter to write.