What is your name and your current occupation?
My name is Rachel Young and I am currently working as an animator.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
My first job was a short stint as a summer camp/day care assistant and then as a clerk at a mall store, and then as a graphic designer for a while, which is not really something I would have chosen for myself.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
I usually enjoy most projects I work on, but in particular, “The Ricky Gervais Show” “The Problem Solverz” and some smaller projects such as animation for the “Phineas and Ferb” stage show. Mostly I’m pretty proud of the fact that I’ve gotten five 52 page comic books published in three years while doing all this at the same time.
How did you become interested in animation?
Wasn’t hard, I grew up during the 90’s when there was a lot of really well animated cartoons on TV, not to mention Disney’s second golden age going on. It was a very artistically inspiring time to have been a kid. I always wanted to be an animator as long as I can remember.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I am originally from the Chicagoland area. I moved to LA six years ago and I got into the animation business by just applying non-stop to every studio I knew of. Took almost a year before I finally caught a break.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
It’s pretty simple. You show up, animate for eight hours, and go home.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
Well, I like to animate, but I especially like it when I get an opportunity to be particularly creative, or get to animate something really detailed, or anything that is drawn frame by frame, provided I have enough time to do a decent job with it. I couldn’t really tell you why, it’s just what I like to do, it’s more enjoyable to watch.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Probably the hours. They aren’t abnormally long or terrible for a typical job or anything, it’s just hard to stay that focused and that creative for that long without ample breaks.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
A computer, and usually a cintiq or sometimes tablet.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
The uncertainty of employment can be pretty stressful. It hasn’t been too bad leading one job into another anymore, but it’s a matter of constantly being on the look out and networking and trying to find a new job or your next job while you’re still working that can keep you stressed out.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
Everybody on the creative end of the animation industry is great. I meet great people all the time.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
That’s kind of a personal question, isn’t it? Relating it back to the original subject- moving to LA and spending a lot of time struggling to find my first break into animation was pretty tough. Wasn’t sure that I’d make it or how long it would take, and had to work a graphic design job I hated to pay the bills in the meantime.
Any side projects or you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
Oh yes! As I’ve already mentioned, I’ve been self-publishing a comic book series for a while now. As much as I love animating for a living, I love being able to come home and work on something I have complete control over. I would be animating in my spare time, but I had such a big story in my head, there’s no way I would have been able to handle animating it on my own. So I tried out comics and I’ve been having a lot of fun with it. I put a lot of animation influence into my books as well, I think a keen eye could detect that easily. I love telling stories and sharing them with other people. It’s certainly a lot of work, and hasn’t been particularly profitable, but I really enjoy doing it and I don’t think it’s something I’ll be stopping anytime soon.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
Not really. I spend almost all my spare time doing typical animator hobbies; drawing, writing, playing board games, video games, listening to some metal.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Just to keep at it.