Meet our awesome Brown Bag Toronto Storyboard Revisionist Samantha Braithwaite. We recently chatted with her about all things animation and are delighted to share some of her insights, inspirations and advice for artists looking to get into the industry.
First up, what is your life motto or favourite quote?
“You don't need to be great to start, you need to start to become great” ~ Zig Ziglar
What is your role at Brown Bag Films Toronto?
Storyboard Revisionist on a new 2D animated series here at Brown Bag that hasn’t yet been announced!
My previous roles here include working as an animator on Wild Kratts season 4 and 5, and storyboard revisionist on Peg + Cat season 2 and Creative Galaxy season 3.
What do you love most about your job?
Learning from everyone at the studio. I'll be in the kitchen getting something and strike up a conversation if someone else happens to be there and I usually learn something neat. It's not always animation related maybe just a neat fact.
What tools and programs do you work with most these days?
StoryboardPro. It’s by ToonBoom so there are a lot of similarities to Harmony when it comes to hot keys and where tools are. The layer system on each panel is sort of similar to Photoshop layers. It’s like the baby of both programs where it mostly has Harmony’s features but with Photoshop’s nose. ;)
What is your origins story? Aka, how did you get to where you are today in your career?
I wanted to be a part of the X-Men, so I kept drawing them. Turns out they aren't real, but I kept drawing anyways!
Who is one of your biggest influencers or inspirations?
Marcos Mateu-Mestre and Teddy Newton. Marcos creates these really incredible cinematic shots in his work. He's also the author of the book 'Framed Ink' which is well-known among artists. You can check out some of his work on Instagram.
Teddy's ideas are completely bonkers. There's a story pitch he did for The Iron Giant that's ridiculous. You can view a clip from the behind-the-scene's of The Iron Giant DVD below:
What have you found is the most challenging thing about working in the animation industry?
Getting my first job. It was almost a year of putting out demo reels and working smaller jobs before I got the job animating Wild Kratts season 4.
I had a Toonboom teacher at Seneca College who used to work in the studio here who told me to apply for the role.
The animation industry at that time was tricky to get into, I had to wait until studios were doing a big hire and that's when I got my job!
What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue a career as an storyboard revisionist?
Let people know you want to change departments early if there's another role that you feel is a better fit or your true goal. I talked to our HR Team about changing it up at a TAAFI job fair while I was working as an animator on another series.
A few months later, Wild Kratts season 4 was over and a new show needed someone to do storyboard revisions in Flash. I told my supervisor at the time that I really wanted it and he said he put in a good word for me. Later I was told because I asked about changing departments earlier it helped me get chosen for the board revisionist position.
A tip or trick you might want to share about what you do?
If the layers are named consistently in a StoryboardPro file, there are a couple tricks to edit multiple panels at once or to update artwork in like 2 seconds - Edit Artwork > Copy Artwork.
What do you love about animation?
Collaboration. Getting a bunch of people together that all want to push an idea and push each other. And also, really crappy internet cartoons.
Outside of work what are your passions?
I run to and from work, which seems to impress some people. It's 7km to, then another 7km back home a day, which is 70km a week. By the end of my current show contract, I will have run 10,000km going to and from work, since I started in 2014!
I also paint with traditional media. It gives my eyes a break from a screen and I find it fun.