Tell us about yourself!
Hi! My name’s Christy and I am a senior animation student. I currently specialize in 2D animation, but I’m also building my 3D skills as well.
What area of animation do you enjoy the most?
Animation! By that I specifically mean the actual movement of the characters. I’ve always loved how expressions, attitude, and humor are exaggerated in animated films. It’s really amazing how animators can create an acting shot that blends real-life actions with stylized gestures and make it extremely believable. I’m still fascinated by how they do this, which is why I’m learning to become an animator myself.
What is a challenge that you’ve had to overcome?
Coming to SCAD, I had an absolute fear of working in a team/group setting. I had a bad experience in my senior year of high school and this caused me to believe I was no good in that kind of environment, afraid something bad would happen again. When I was invited to join my first collaborative project, I was excited someone wanted to work with me, but I was terrified of working with an entire team again. I’m not sure if it was obvious to anyone. Now I’m currently working on my 4th collaborative project and it’s really exciting!
What advice would you give yourself as a freshman?
I’d share the best advice I’ve been given so far during my time at SCAD: if you go around saying and believing that you’re not really that good, then, sooner or later, other people will start to do the same thing. I’m notorious for being too hard on myself and not owning up to my own skills when my work can clearly back me up. In the industry, you really need to not only sell your work, but yourself as well! Build your brand, hone your skills, and OWN it. Honestly, this was something I needed to hear even when I was a senior in high school. I still struggle with confidence, but this is what I refer back to whenever I need a push to NOT put myself down again.
What inspires you during a difficult project?
Seeing my friends’ work is always inspiring to me, especially when I’m struggling with an assignment. I’m grateful to have met so many great artists throughout my years here, and seeing them grow and create fantastic artworks is always wonderful to see. They’re rock stars! Also, my family helps me a lot as well. They always encourage me and build me up, especially when they know I’m getting through a tough project. And last but not least – Disney movies. What better way to inspire me to get through an animation assignment than to watch some of the best examples of animation?
What experiences have stood out to you?
James Baxter’s visit to SCAD! Seeing him animate in real-time while also answering questions for 3 hours was just fascinating.
What classes have you enjoyed?
I really do enjoy being in the collaborative courses, but I think 2D Principles and 2D Character 1 really stand out to me. It was awesome to see progress in my work throughout those quarters and the lessons were dedicated to understanding and then later doing animation alone. In a project, you need to wear a lot of hats, which I’m not complaining about, but to be in a class solely focusing on 2D animation is truly what I enjoy the most.
What made you decide to go to SCAD, and when did you choose to go to SCAD?
A recruiter came to my high school and he used the magic words including “animation,” “Disney,” and “Pixar,” and I planned to go on a SCAD tour in a span of 15 minutes after that meeting. When we were walking in Montgomery Hall, I stopped to watch someone draw what appeared to be an animatic with Superman in it. If I could’ve stayed there all day, I would have (and I do now!) After the tour, I was convinced this was my dream school.
Do you have any advice for working as part of a team?
I wish I could come up with something else that isn’t so often said or extremely obvious, but it really does come down to communication. Your teammates are there for a reason too; there’s no point in not talking to them and asking questions. Don’t go off and do your own thing for the project without telling anyone. It’s repetitive, I know, but communication is key.
What has been your favorite project been during your time at SCAD?
As much as I love being a part of the 560 projects, I still look back on my first collaborative experience as my favorite. As You Walk (directed by Kate Caillet and Jaden Mangrum) was an absolutely positive experience for me. I still basically remember everyone who was on that team and I still communicate with a lot of them!
Do you look up to anyone in the industry?
Yes! Brad Bird, Jennifer Lee, Pete Doctor, Domee Shi, Tom and Tony Bancroft, and Glen Keane. These people are some of the greats and their works are extraordinarily inspiring to me.
When in your life did you decide to choose animation as a career?
In the middle of my junior year of high school. I had recently realized that I had no passion or ability to attend medical school, so I needed to figure out what it was I really wanted to do. At the time, I was taking my second art class and was debating about going into an art-related field, but couldn’t specify beyond that. Then Frozen came out; I was blown away by the music, the characters, the visuals, and the animation, of course. As the credits were rolling, I saw the word “animation” scroll by with a lineup of almost 60 names following it and it hit me! I blurted out, “You know what? That would be my dream job,” in front of my dad, who was temporarily shocked by my statement. He asked me if I was sure, I confirmed I did, and that was really the beginning of the journey.