Thursday, September 13, 2012

Big Changes: Pixar to Dreamworks

Being in the visual effects industry is hard. Not just trying to get your foot in, but maintaining some stability in a world where supply and demand are in constant, dramatic flux.

I attribute my ability to get a job at Pixar a mixture of luck and a LOT of hard work. I feel very fortunate to have been there for two years as a shading artist despite all many obstacles.

More than a handful of times I was told that there were no shading positions available, and yet I was still put onto shows time after time. Sadly, when I was once again told that there really were NO shading positions available due to scheduling problems this year, it turned out to be true, and I had to leave Pixar.

It was kind of like a break up where Pixar was the dumper and I was the dumpee. No one likes to be the dumpee. It's a huge self-esteem blow, even if there was nothing you could do about it. My leads assured me that it had nothing to do with my performance, but all I could think of was the cliché, "it's not you, it's me". Even so, I understood why I had to leave, and I harbor no ill will against Pixar whatsoever. In fact, I'm incredibly grateful to them for allowing me to gain production experience right out of grad school. In this industry, years of experience is the measuring stick companies use to determine your worth, and two years of experience at Pixar is worth quite a lot. I also had the opportunity to work with some of the brightest, cleverest, most down-to-earth people I've known. How can I possibly feel bad about that?

So I left without a plan, and without another job lined up, fully determined to enjoy the CRAP out of my vacation time. And I did.

I vegged out for the first 2.5 weeks and let the house get messy around me. Then I was suddenly filled with energy to DO things. I started exercising, cleaning, doing projects that I had put off for the past year. I took on a not-so-small bathroom renovation, which I will be chronicling on this blog.

And just when I was wondering how I could go all Young House Love on my life, suddenly I got a job! Dreamworks called me up and said they had an opening at their Redwood City studio, and they wanted me to interview for it. Within a week I had accepted their offer and would be starting on MONDAY as a shading artist (or as they call it, surfacing). I'll be working on a show called Mr. Peabody and Sherman (you may remember the cartoon...or not, if you're youngish) and guys, I'm SO excited!

I'm not sure why I told you all of this. Maybe I felt like such a big turn of events should be noted in blog-form. Maybe I wanted to warn all those die-hard Pixar fans that I would be going to the "other" side (though I've only lost one follower on Twitter so far). Or maybe I'm just really, really excited about trying something new. In any case, I'm gonna scoot over to the About Me section and give that a little dust off/update.

Um, ok...enough heartfelt you go now (but be back in time for my bathroom makeover)!


  1. Hardwork and talent pays off! Way to go!

  2. Congrats! As James said, hard work pays off! I'm working right now to build my skills every day in hopes to join the ranks of Pixar animators. Some day! But kudos to you for having made your dream come true! :) Stories like this make me believe the impossible can happen. Thank you for posting this!

  3. Great news Stephanie! And just goes to prove it wasn't you--it was them! Suma