If only there had been something like this when I was growing up. The people I admired in this industry seemed untouchable. Not anymore, thanks to Willie and his Animator Letters Project. Willie has brought people, who’s dream it is to get into animation, so much closer to having that dream fulfilled. And thanks to all those professionals out there who have contributed to this project. You haven’t forgotten where you came from. I hope everyone in this industry contributes to this project. Thanks again Willie for giving this opportunity to our future talent.
-Dale L. Baer
Supervising animator at Walt Disney Animation Studios
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. I plan to write a letter to Willie, and if you work in the animation industry, I urge you to consider participating, too.
Writer, director, original writer-director of Disney-Pixar’s Brave
(Source: Brenda Chapman’s blog.)
I started in animation (pre-Who Framed Roger Rabbit) in a time when I was being told by industry insiders that I should “choose something else to do with my life if I ever wanted to be married and have kids”. It was a dark time for animation. I blindly pushed forward because I knew there was nothing else I could do with my life but draw for a living. I had failed at everything else and the animation passion wouldn’t go away. How would I have known that less than two years later, the industry would be booming and hiring like crazy? During that time, I sure wish I had a site like “The Animator Letters Project” to go to for words of wisdom and inspiration. We need it now as much as I needed it then. Thank you Willie for being the guy to do it- today’s animators say “thank you”.
Former Disney Supervising Animator, Character Designer, Author
When I was a young student of animation the goal of a professional career just seemed so far away sometimes. I often wondered how my idols Ollie Johnston, Freddie Moore or Chuck Jones made it to where they were. Thanks to “The Animator Letters Project” and the work of Willie Downs there will be a new generation of animators that will have to wonder no more. The inspiration, advice, and stories are there in every letter. Stories just like mine. Just start reading.
Former Supervising Animator at Walt Disney Animation Studios
Willie Downs has accomplished what few would dare dream–he’s gotten animators to communicate in words rather than imagery. Words of encouragement, none the less! Too often, the emphasis in the animation industry is on job openings, technology, and the competitive side of things. It’s nice to have a place for animators to share their knowledge and experience, putting industry aside for community. If you’re a professional animator, please consider contributing to The Animator Letters Project. It only takes a few minutes to hand-write a letter, but you never know who you may inspire!
Animator at Pixar Animation Studios
For any budding artists dipping their toes into that vast pool known as the animation industry, Willie’s project will give them that little push they need to jump right in…Willie’s Big Idea is already such a positive influence on so many young talents that it’s a no-brainer for any professional animator in the industry to contribute.
Animator at PDI/ DreamWorks Animation Studios
The Animator Letters Project is such a great way of letting you connect personally to some of the best professionals in the animation industry. Seeing pen to paper really humanizes people that can otherwise seem like celebrities in the eyes of students. These letters give budding animators all over the world a way to keep going, and a way to see that they too are no different, and no less capable of becoming great animators as well. Thank you Willie for giving the animation community such an amazing resource!
Lead Animator at Reel FX Creative Studios
I’ve been aware of The Animator Letters Project since its inception and have been happy to share it with my students, friends and colleagues. Willie Downs has dedicated himself to developing the project as an inspirational resource for everyone striving to reach a professional level with their skills and breaking into the animation industry. Even if you’re already in the business you can appreciate reading through the collective wisdom embodied in the motivational hand written notes that many of today’s great animation artists have contributed for the benefit of us all. Thanks very much Willie for the initiative you’ve taken to get The Animator Letters Project going and thanks to the animation professionals who’ve reached out to us with their written word, personal stories and encouragement.
The Animation Academy, AnimationNation.com
The history of animation is a history of mentorship. Since the days of John Bray and Winsor McCay, experienced animators have taken newcomers under their wings. Every veteran artist in our field has stories of what they have learned from “the greats”.
The Animator Letters Project brings the tradition of mentorship into the twenty-first century. The Animation Guild, Local 839 IATSE enthusiastically supports The Animator Letters Project.
Business Representative, The Animation Guild, Local 839 IATSE
If you would like to endorse The Animator Letters Project with a statement, then please email it to Willie Downs at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your support!