I am incredibly proud to present a project that I worked very hard on that has finally premiered on the internet! Over a year ago, back when I still worked at Hero4Hire Animation as the art director/lead design, I was given the reigns to direct a big project for the Geena Davis Institute on Gender and Media. Its a wonderful foundation that fights for the interest of one of the things very closest to my heart; that being the portrayal of girls and women in animated media, as well as for equality of roles for women working within animation. Things are slowly changing (Rebecca Sugar being the first women to get her own show on CN!!!), but animation is still largely dominated by men, especially in roles of power like direction and creators. This is often reflected in the female characters that arise from this disparity, that can often be cookie cut outs, token in nature, or at worst just there for the pure reason of sassy eye candy. That’s not to say there aren’t great female characters in media, but the numbers are actually quite staggering. Even being really in tune with the issue myself I was blown clear away by the actual numbers when I attended the institutes conference in NYC last year. I’d recommend taking a look at the research found here, as it’s really eye opening.
So I got to meet Geena Davis. I’d never met a celebrity before, let alone sat down with one over tea to show her my drawings and pitch book for the short I had made for her foundation. It was a little nerve wracking as I sat there in the small NYC cafe waiting for her arrival, only made more so when she walked in and was the tallest person ever. Let me describe to you the inner monologue of someone who has a stunningly beautiful, 20 foot tall movie star walking at them:
“AAAAaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAA AA AAAAA”
Needless to say Geena is a rad lady and super nice. Also I managed to not make any “There’s no crying in baseball” jokes despite how my terrible brain kept a constant feed of them supplied to me throughout our ensuing conversation.
The project went through a few stages before the finished product. Initially it was drafted to be a more story based short. I’d written a 14 page script which even still I think is pretty funny/informative, about traveling through the various animated stereotypes of girls (and boys too!). Maybe someday that will see the light of day, but it ended up a studio decision in interest of time/funds to go with a more infographic style short piece instead. Which is fine, because flat art is my bread and butter baby. Aw yiss gimmie dat illustrator program.
Anyway before I get too far off and write a novel, I am super proud to present this piece for the foundation and SeeJane.org. It was a joy to work on, and a privledge to be given a writing, directing, and design position on it given the content. I am flattered that Hero4Hire and Geena put that much salt in me.
This project, of course, would be nothing without the others who made it possible. Adrian Garcia, whom I worked with on storyboards, also made the animatics and did most of the effects animation you see here that makes everything look so 3-D and beautiful. He’s such a pro. Dan Flynn and Mike Nordstrom who did all the beautiful character animation. Evan Sussman who did all the post work that really made this thing look special. And Mari Kidder! My super sweet intern turned junior design assistant who is going to graduate college this year! She came in for a week long whirlwind and saved our butts for which I will be forever grateful, haha. Oh man we would have died without her help aaa aaaa.
But I digress, This project was my baby. I would be honored if everyone took a peek at our little film, and even more honored if it helped people think a little harder about the issues it brings to the spotlight.