Calling All Animation Artists: Why You Should Participate In The Animator Letters Project

Animator Letters Project For a young person contemplating how to land the coveted “dream job,” the road to the future can seem bleak, long and downright scary. That’s one of the many reasons mentors are so important. An experienced voice of reason can make all the difference in helping someone get a start in an industry, which is why I am such a fan of the Animator Letters Project.

The project is the brainchild of Texas resident Willie Downs, an aspiring animator who struggled with his decision to attend school and pursue a degree other than animation. He couldn’t shake the feeling that he was going down the wrong path but, as he writes on the project’s website, he was hesitant to change degrees—and schools—because “my parents had already spent so much money for me to do what I was doing.”

So Willie reached out to Pixar and DreamWorks via letter, and asked the studios for advice and encouragement. The Animator Letters Project was born, and Willie now aspires to “publish a book packed full of letters from animators of different major studios, encouraging people who have a passion for animation to not give up and to follow their dreams.”

Wow. How much more inspiring can you get? And I’m not talking about the letters, although I know they’re full of invaluable advice and wisdom. I can’t help but be moved by Willie’s effort, his decision to reach out for help, and his further commitment to share the results with others who are in a similar position.

I plan to write a letter to Willie, and if you work in the animation industry, I urge you to consider participating, too. As if you needed additional incentive, Willie plans to donate the proceeds of the book to start a scholarship that will help an aspiring animator attend animation school.

If you’d like to help, send your letter to:

Willie Downs
605 W. Main St.
Whitehouse, TX  75791

Kudos to you, Willie. You’ve already achieved so much, and are an inspiration to so many. I can’t wait to read the Animator Letters Project book.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a letter to write.

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  • How cool!

    • Anonymous

      Yeah. 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Thank you so much for the kind words Mrs. Chapman, I sure do appreciate it. It is such a great feeling knowing that this project is encouraging and inspiring thousands of people around the world to follow their dreams! I am looking forward to receiving your letter and sharing it; I have no doubt it will be inspiring!

    • Anonymous

      You’re welcome, Willie. I have to think on what I’m going to say… Looking forward to writing it. 🙂

  • Ive seen this its awesome! I know when you wrote words of encouragement on my blog I was walking high on inspiration for days. This is great stuff!

    • Anonymous

      Wonderful. I hope it turns out to be a great reference for those who need it.
      You just keep making me blush! Thank you. 🙂

  • Bigedbell

    You must write well, Brenda. I can feel all my misgivings about the business of animation falling away like a crusty old shell. I have to say it feels wonderful when you can find ways to share your experience with.
    Your shared thoughts in this space are really bracing, galvanizing and needed at the moment. Just wanted to say it’s deeply appreciated.
    Hope your well!

    Ed Bell

    • Brenda Chapman

      Hello, Ed! Thank you – but more importantly, it’s so good to hear from you! It has been a long time. I hope you are well… and I’m happy if any of my musings helped. I’ll be in touch via email if I can… xox

  • 🙂

  • I can’t wait to read your letter, Brenda. You’re story has already been a huge inspiration to me. I have also followed Willie’s project from the beginning and because of that he has become a good friend – his whole project has been highly motivational as I continually work to break back into the industry. Thank you, thank you, thank you! People like you keep me excited for the future of animation!

    • brendachapman

      Thank you, Scott… but I’m a HORRIBLE procrastinator! I still owe Willie that letter! I’ve tried to write it a couple of times, but didn’t feel it was right. So… I put the pen down… and procrastinate. 🙁

      • I’m procrastinating right along side you. Willie asked me to write a letter when I was animating at R&H, but I wanted to wait till my second animation job – you know, more experience. 16 months later, I’m still busting it out to get that job (keep getting SOOO close). And I’m still going to write that letter…it will be much more insightful when I do, because of this long push. Right?

        • brendachapman


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