I have a sister who has a sister-in-law and a niece. I'm told by Tricia (sister) and Rose (sister's sister-in-law) that Gabrielle (niece) considers me to be one of the 'coolest old dudes that she knows' partially because I work on cartoons and partially because Gabrielle and I watch a lot of the same Anime. Visiting Trish in Boston is usually pretty fun for me because, even though I don't go to as many Anime cons as Gabrielle does--nor do I cosplay like she does*--we do speak the same language that comes from the shared experience of Japanese animated film. Needless to say, when I finally break down and have kids, Gabrielle is who I hope they'll turn out like. Would make things so much easier if they accept Dad's career choice. But, that's neither here nor there.
However, it does highlight the point that I don't have much experience with girls, be they toddler, tween, teenage, or anything in-between. Whenever girls come up to me and say that they want to get into animation (an experience that I have more often as I attend more cons and the influence of Anime extends further and further into the female community), I never know what to say other then to speak in generic advice that would work for both girls and boys.
So. Back to International Women's Day and blog posts in March dedicated to Women in Animation. This month, I came up with four biography questions and four career advice questions, then e-mailed them to prominent women animators who I have met in my travels--some work in the film industry, some are educators, and some are independent animators. My instructions were to answer any of the questions that spoke to their hearts.
- What is your current job description?
- How long have you worked in the animation industry?
- What roles have you performed during your career in animation?
- Is there a book or film that you worked on that you are particularly proud of?
Career Advice Questions:
- How have opportunities changed for women pursuing a career in animation today as opposed to when you started your career?
- What do you think is the biggest obstacle to women who want to pursue a career in animation?
- If your daughter said that she wanted to work in animation, what advice would you give her?
- What is the most important thing that authority figures (parents/teachers/professors) can do to encourage girls who are considering a career in animation?
Therefore, I'd like to dedicate my Tuesday blog posts this month to my sister's niece: Gabrielle and all the girls who see "Smudge Animation" printed on my badge at conventions and ask me about how they can become an animator. I hope that the advice that everyone shares over the next month helps them find their way as they embark on their own unique career path.
I would also like to thank all the women who helped me put together this series of blog posts. I really appreciate you taking the time out of your schedules to share your career experiences and respond so thoughtfully to my questions. All of your hard work and dedication to our craft continues to inspire me.
Their interviews can be read at the following links:
- Jessica Borutski
- Jessica Bayliss
- Ellen Besen
- Eiko Tanaka/Women in Animation (not an interview, just a WIA month wrap-up)
* Though I'm not into cosplay, I have debated the merits of getting back in shape and shaving my head so I can take Gabrielle to A-Kon dressed like Major Armstrong from Full Metal Alchemist. Not sure if that would make me the coolest old dude she knows or just the strangest! :)