It’s May the 4th, Star Wars day. I thought this could maybe be a bit of encouragement for artists. As artists we have to deal with a lot of rejection. One of the first times I was rejected for an opportunity was from the Lucasfilm Summer Internship Program. I really wanted to work in the creature shop. It would have been a great match for my Art degree I was graduating with, with a focus in sculpture and illustration. Getting turned down was a bummer. Classmates of mine applied and nobody got in. But I continued to learn, grow, and work as an artist and then animator.
The time you put in to work and grow can pay off. Roughly 11 years later ILM would offer me an animation position, but I had to turn it down because I had taken my CG Animation Director role at Nickelodeon. It was a bit heartbreaking. I had interviewed with ILM maybe 6 months earlier, and in-between that time I had started at Nickelodeon and quickly advanced roles. We had been planning on moving back to the Bay Area, but then delayed it for 3 years when the Nickelodeon opportunity arose. An ILM job would be my key to moving back to the Bay Area (which I really wanted to do), but the timing was too late.
When I was finally going to move back to the Bay Area in 2008, Lucasfilm Animation was interested in me for a supervisor type of role. They flew me up and I had a day of interviews. It didn’t work out that time. I thought I would have been perfect for the role honestly, but it didn’t happen. A few years later, when I was the Art Director for Marvel Heroes, they reached out to me again about a role, but I had to pass as I was knee deep in production, and really enjoying working with my team and the Marvel Universe. It was one of several times during my career that I’ve wished I could clone myself. Our timing just hasn’t worked out so far…
But it’s still on my career bucket list. I would at some point like to work at ILM or Lucasfilm. (I did get to work with ILM briefly when I was at Atomic Fiction and we were animating for them on the Transformers: The Last Knight movie). Maybe in the future the timing will work out before this droid heads for the scrapyard. “Star Wars” was the biggest influence on my career path, and I’m fascinated by the new realtime tech they are using on the Disney+ series.
Persist. Learn. Grow. You may not get opportunities you really want, but doors can open again in the future. A “no” now could be a “yes” at another time. Possibly a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away… (cue music!)
Also, how awesome is it that companies used to send letters? On stationary?!