Happy International Women’s Day 2019! #BalanceforBetter





Today marks International Women's Day and this year's IWD campaign theme is #BalanceforBetter! The theme aims to promote and help forge a more gender-balanced world and celebrate women's achievements. Taking inspiration from this theme our Brown Bag Manchester team created the video below:

IWD2019 video created by: Yasmin Dwiputri, Francisco Ruiz, Frida Ramirez, Andrew Brittain. Music: The road by Esteban Orlando

A balanced world is a better world. How can you help forge a more gender-balanced world? Celebrate women's achievement. Raise awareness against bias. Take action for equality.

via www.internationalwomensday.com

We're huge believers in this philosophy and we wanted to embrace this year's theme by celebrating some of the women across our studios, how they have navigated their careers in the animation industry and see what advice they have for others who wish to follow suit!

Nicola Maxwell, Lead Animator, Brown Bag Films Dublin

What lead you to animation?

I was always interested in animation and drawing. I would draw all of the time and I knew every word to every Disney film! I also loved to watch any of the ‘making of’ features at the end of animated films and it just fascinated me. Eventually, when it came to choosing a course for university I didn’t think I’d ever be good enough to excel at animation and due to a lack of confidence, I chose to do Film & TV instead of what I actually wanted to do. That lasted only one week and I switched courses as fast as I could!

Nicola Maxwell, Lead Animator, Brown Bag Dublin
Nicola Maxwell, Lead Animator, Brown Bag Dublin

How did you navigate your career path?

I always knew I wanted to do character animation and I wanted to do it well, but I knew I couldn’t get there without knowing the basics, so I saved up after university and started taking courses at AnimSchool alongside my jobs - I’m still taking their courses now! I think that forcing myself to spend the time making sure that I knew all of the fundamentals, has helped me immensely and given me a lot more confidence in my work. I also make an effort to improve on my drawing skills constantly and create character designs by keeping an art Instagram.  

What advice or recommendations would you give someone looking to get into a similar role?

I would say never doubt yourself and work really hard. Make sure you go out of your way to keep learning and pushing yourself to your limits!

Are there any resources out there you would recommend for women in the industry in particular?

There’s a really nice book called ‘Lovely: Ladies of Animation’ featuring the work of six amazing female artists from the industry: Lorelay Bové, Lisa Keene, Claire Keane, Mingjue Helen Chen, Brittney Lee and Victoria Ying.

There’s also a podcast that I enjoyed listening to from “On Animation” featuring a group of female animators from Blue Sky Studios, in which they discuss their paths to animation and what it’s like working in the industry today: On Animation - Episode 3: Women in Animation

And of course, there's the Women In Animation organisation who aim to make the animation industry 50/50 by 2025.

I also think that following female artists from the industry who are killing it on social media platforms, particularly Instagram, is really encouraging and inspiring. 

Theresa Mayer, Senior Producer, Brown Bag Dublin
Theresa Mayer, Senior Producer, Brown Bag Dublin

Theresa Mayer, Senior Producer, Brown Bag Films Dublin

What lead you to animation?

I studied Animation at IADT in Dun Laoghaire after having studied and worked in Visual Communication and Advertising in Germany. 

How did you navigate your career path?

I looked for opportunities in the animation industry but also related industries to gain experience working with professionals and real clients.

Throughout my career, I stayed focused and I was dedicated to learning more.

What advice or recommendations would you give someone looking to get into a similar role?

Get work experience, meet and mingle with professionals, ask questions, show interest and follow up to see if there are bigger opportunities.

Today everyone is very busy and despite best intentions, it is easy to forget about someone or to forget to respond to an email. It is up to the individual to follow up, even if it is daunting. We all started somewhere and most people I know like to help and mentor!

Are there any resources out there you would recommend for women in the industry in particular?

There are lots of resources out there - the obvious one is Women In Animation who run regular events in their chapters around the globe. 

Sophie Gallo, 2D Animator, Brown Bag Manchester
Sophie Gallo, 2D Animator, Brown Bag Manchester

Sophie Gallo, 2D Animator, Brown Bag Films Manchester

What lead you to animation?

I always loved Disney movies and I got really inspired when I read the story of Andreas Deja (animator of Jafar, King Triton, Scar). He lived in Germany and wrote letters to Disney when he was 11 years old and they responded back to him telling him how to become good enough to work for them and after following their advice he managed to fulfil his dream. 

How did you navigate your career path?

I wanted to be an animator since I was 15. After graduating my degree in animation, I applied for a cleanup job for The Amazing World of Gumball and then later became a retakes animator at Brown Bag. I was lucky enough to change my job role to 2D animator after only a few months! 

What advice or recommendations would you give someone looking to get into a similar role?

My advice would be to learn different software and be adaptable to the style of animation that might be required from you. 

Are there any resources out there you would recommend for women in the industry in particular?

I don't have any specific resources but I think it's important to look at other successful women in the industry, like Ami Thompson (Art Director on Ralph Breaks the Internet) and Jennifer Lee (Director of Frozen) and also having a close network of female friends in the industry who you can ask the advice of. 

/images/labs/IWD2019-Sophie-Gallo-001.jpg Artwork by Sophie Gallo, 2D Animator, Brown Bag Manchester /images/labs/IWD2019-Sophie-Gallo-004.jpg Artwork by Sophie Gallo, 2D Animator, Brown Bag Manchester /images/labs/IWD2019-Sophie-Gallo-002.jpg Artwork by Sophie Gallo, 2D Animator, Brown Bag Manchester

Giuliana Bindi, 3D Animator, Brown Bag Films Dublin

What lead you to animation?

My life has been surrounded by animation since I can remember, I used to be the kid that watched Nickelodeon at age 14 while the cool kids were watching MTV.  When Toy Story was released it completely blew my mind, it immediately turned into my favourite movie and I started to follow everything that was done by Pixar. After watching Monsters Inc. for the first time the decision was made, my dad had been watching this movie right next to me and was not able to stop laughing. This is what I wanted to do, generate emotion in people. Making people feel through my art became my mission.

Giuliana Bindi, 3D Animator, Brown Bag Dublin
Giuliana Bindi, 3D Animator, Brown Bag Dublin

How did you navigate your career path?

Coming from Colombia, there was no established path already set up for me, I had to create my own as there is no animation industry there. I graduated high school and as there were no schools of animation in Colombia I decided to study the closest thing to animation while we gathered money for me to be able to go to California. The time finally came and I enrolled for a Master in Fine Arts in San Francisco.

While in school I worked as hard as I could to get my skills up to par, this thankfully translated to great opportunities that have helped me grow my career. I have been open and have worked in many different cities (San Francisco, Bogota, London and Dublin) with people from all around the world, I feel very fortunate to be a part of this industry.

What advice or recommendations would you give someone looking to get into a similar role?

Work, work, work. I think one of the greatest myths I’ve come across is the one where people say that there are no jobs in the animation industry. There are A LOT of jobs in the animation industry if you are good, especially now with the industry booming. The real question is how prepared are you to take on these roles, how much are you willing to sacrifice? Keep working, ask for feedback, be curious, observe around you. Inspiration comes from your own life. The more hours you put into your work, the faster you will get better. Keep at it and be patient, it will be a matter of time before you land your first job. If you are an international person, work harder.

Are there any resources out there you would recommend for women in the industry in particular?

Reach out to female artists and ask about their story, learn from their paths, go onto the credits of your favourite movies/TV shows and look for the women, check out their portfolios/reels and get inspired. All the work is out there. Be involved with the community through organizations like WIA, Siggraph or LatinX Animation, these are all groups that empower diversity and they could all use your help.

Lastly, opportunity comes from within, try and not let your gender define you, keep working hard, opportunities will come.  

Hope Philips, Scene Set Up Artist, Brown Bag Films Manchester

What lead you to animation?

I've always enjoyed watching animation, particularly old children's cartoons like Willo the Wisp and many of Tim Burton's stop-motion pieces. 

How did you navigate your career path?

I studied live-action film production at university and made a few short films, so once I finished university I looked for a job in media production and saw an opportunity to work at Brown Bag in scene setup. I finished my studies in May, started my Job in June and then graduated in November whilst working for Brown Bag.

Artwork by Hope Philips, Scene Set Up Artist, Brown Bag Manchester
Artwork by Hope Philips, Scene Set Up Artist, Brown Bag Manchester

What advice or recommendations would you give someone looking to get into a similar role?

I would say that loving animation, art and film is key. And openly experimenting and working on your own projects and expressing your passion for creating film, animation, art or whatever, makes you much more employable as the people who work in media are just as passionate about some of those things as you are.

Are there any resources out there you would recommend for women in the industry in particular?

There are lots of great resources out there, some of my favourites are Bafta Guru, The South Yorkshire Film Network, and The Royal Television Society.

Jen Bradley, Producer, Brown Bag Films Toronto

What lead you to animation? 

I was initially enrolled in a television broadcasting program with the eventual goal of becoming a news anchor. However, after one newsroom class, I realised the job wasn't for me. Being in a television program I got to explore many areas of the TV industry and found an animation class and fell in love! 

Jen Bradley, Producer, Brown Bag Toronto
Jen Bradley, Producer, Brown Bag Toronto

How did you navigate your career path?

By learning as much as I possibly could and saying yes to all of the opportunities that came my way. I was given the chance to intern at a studio while in the midst of my university schedule but I immediately said yes to gain further experience which proved to be one of the best professional decisions I've made. 

What advice or recommendations would you give someone looking to get into a similar role?

Talk to someone in that role and ask about their experiences. Learn from people who have done it before and ask the questions you would want to know.

Are there any resources out there you would recommend for women in the industry in particular?

There is a great network of support in Facebook communities that specialize in women supporting women in our industry eg. Women Drawn Together-Toronto

Happy International Women's Day from all of us at Brown Bag Films!

For more information on International Women's Day, please visit: www.internationalwomensday.com


Anahita Tabarsi

Anahita is Brown Bag Films' Digital Marketing Manager and drinks more than five coffees a day...

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