A Word from the Wise Animators

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

One new idea for every day in 2011. We're talking big, small, local, international, in action, and on the drawing board. Here's today's -- what's yours?

The spring of 2010, Willie Downs knew he was studying to work in the wrong field. His dream was to go to animation school, but he opted for another major and found himself regretting the decision during most of his classes. 

It was that spring that he wrote two letters to Pixar and DreamWorks animators. And to his surprise, both replied. 

Downs was looking for some encouragement, and after each animator responded, he posted the handwritten letters on his blog. Countless replies from hopeful and professional animators later, Downs is on a mission to collect more letters.

Downs hopes to publish a book of letters he collects from animators of different major studios that push students that were in his position to stick it out and apply to animation school. 

If you're an animator, here's his pitch: 

Perhaps you could tell a personal story from your own life that tells how you got to where you are now, living your dream. Have you gone through any hardships- emotionally, financially or even mentally while becoming an animator? Was this a struggle for you, and how did you overcome it? What gave you the strength to keep pushing on and to not give up on your dreams? 

If you have a story, no matter how big or small, and would like it heard, I would really appreciate it if you could please write a handwritten letter (please write it in your own hand, as it will be much more personal than a typed letter), addressed to aspiring animators (please don't address it to me), with advise and encouragement that you think would help someone who needs that extra boost of encouragement and inspiration to take that first step in following their passion of animation, like I did.

For more information on the project and to see the letters Downs has collected, check out the Animator Letters Project website.

Follow Jackalope Ranch on Facebook and Twitter.

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.