About Ben Juwono
Ben Juwono is a director for Dreamworks Animation TV, currently working on “The Adventures of Puss in Boots.” He graduated with a degree in physics, but upon watching Edgar Wright’s Hot Fuzz, he decided to trade a mundane life in academia for excitement in carpal tunnel and tendonitis. Ben started out as a storyboard artist on “Ultimate Spider-Man” at Film Roman and has since progressed from drawing spiders to drawing cats for a living. In his free time he enjoys unsuccessfully making latte art. Recently, he received an Annie nomination for outstanding achievement in storyboarding for his work on Puss in Boots.
Ideal Mentee: The ideal mentee for me would be someone who has picked storyboarding as their career choice and will always stick with the field even if it takes awhile to break in / get a job. A wise teacher once told me that you should already be doing the job before you get the job, so that’s something I will expect from my mentee. They must also realize that being a storyboard artist is different from being a writer, so if their main interest is in telling a story, then they should become a writer and not a storyboard artist. Storyboarding concerns less with the creation of a story idea and more with the execution of said story idea. A lot of people can come up with good ideas, but not many can execute said good ideas. A storyboard artist must be able to come up with good ideas AND execute them to perfection. My ideal mentee should also treat this mentorship as a full-time job and give 110% of their effort into it. They don’t need to be a film buff or a film critique, but they need to have a positive attitude and an appreciation for the art of filmmaking. They need to be open minded and be willing to learn from even films that are deemed “bad”. More importantly, they need to have a taste; they need to know exactly what things they like and what things they don’t like. Their taste don’t have to match mine at all, but taste is not something I can teach, and so if a mentee comes in not even knowing what they like, there’s nothing I can do. But if they know what they like, I can help them develop whatever it is that they like into some kind of portfolio that may help them get a storyboarding job in a project that matches their sensibility. They also need to have a decent draftsmanship, shorthands, and good understanding of perspective. These, however, are secondary to me because I believe that technical skills can always be acquired through mileage. Work ethic and taste, on the other hand, you either have it or you don’t.
10-Week Plan: This depends on the skill level of the mentee. If the mentee is already very strong in their foundations and storytelling, then the 10 weeks will be spent developing two different sequences to be used in their portfolio. They start from scratch with a story and will polish up the story and the boards to professional level. If the mentee is weak in their foundations, the 10 weeks will be spent on developing one portfolio sequence and improving their drawing skills to a point where they can just storyboard and not worry about drawing anymore.
Maximum Number of Mentees: 1
Maximum Distance: US & Canada only
Language(s): English only
Preferred Meeting Times: I’m usually available for lunchtime at my studio, weeknights, or weekends. I have no real preference because my schedule varies every week depending on how busy work and/or freelance is. The mentee must be able to work with the variations in my schedule.
To apply to become Ben’s mentee, click here.