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>Samantha Harrison Recap

>We had a great speaker tonight – Samantha Harrison, a Color Key Supervisor over at Rough Draft Studios. Rough Draft studios is a small studio (roughly 50 people) located in Glendale and their current focus is on the new seasons of “Futurama”.


Samantha talked a lot about working at a small studio and television animation in particular. Samantha explained that at Rough Draft Studios, they usually work on one show (such as Futurama) but will pick up smaller projects here or there. Small studios will sometimes come up with their own ideas and do pilots as well to see if they get picked up. The studio stays running as long as the work keeps coming in (i.e. their shows being renewed, picking up new shows, smaller projects, etc.).

She said when it comes to working at a small studio, every gets to know each other very well. Because you’re at a small studio and television is so demanding, you do get opportunities to jump into other positions to help out, thus gaining more experience. Samantha emphasized the importance of doing a great job in this industry because it is so small. She explained that a small studio is often comprised of teams with supervisors being able to choose their own assistants. So when given a choice as to who to hire, Samantha would always prefer to choose someone she’s worked with before. “Knowing people is very important,” she said because they’ll often give you your next job.

Working at a small studio can also be very demanding. In television, “everything is due yesterday.” It’s a very high stress situation and a group effort so sometimes you’ll have to learn to let things go.

If you are interested in working at a small studio, they offer a variety of jobs. There are: directors, assistant directors, character designers, background designers, prop designers, background and character layout artists, camera compositers, clean-up artists, 3d animators/modelers, colorists, timers, effects artists, and production assistants.

When putting together your portfolio for an art job, she says it’s just like feature animation. You’ll want to tailor your portfolio to the specific department/job you’re hoping to get. If you want an art department design job, make sure you have a lot of drawing. Your stuff doesn’t have to be at the clean-up level that the show does because they want to see your thinking ability more than your line work ability (though it would be good to have one or two clean-ups because you might have to clean up your own work if they get behind). If you want to do storyboarding, the studio will also give you a story test before hiring you.

Samantha’s last advice to all of us was to always “Take the job. Just say yes.” because in doing so you’re going to get more and more jobs from it. She also advised us to do more things like Picture This – ask questions and get to know what’s out there, the different kinds of jobs, and what other people think. Lastly she said the best thing you can learn while in school is to “do the work you’re given.”


An extra special thanks to Jocelyn for being the only entry
for ‘Pattern’ this week. By default, she won ‘The Simpson’s
Handbook”and her piece was spectacular to begin with.

Jocelyn Liang

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