F.A.Q.

Who can write a letter?

Any professional animator or director within the industry that would like to share their story to encourage and inspire aspiring animators to keep pushing on towards their dreams! Whether you have been in the industry for 50 years or 1 year; you have something unique and personal to share, to encourage those trying to break into the animation industry. If you are interested in writing a letter, you can read some helpful tips to get you started here: Contribute.

What is the deadline to submit my letter?

The official deadline to have all letters submitted is April 19, 2015, in order to have your letter in the upcoming book. The publication date is still to be determined, but will be posted on the website when it is confirmed.

Where do I send my letter?

Please mail your letter to Willie Downs, 7317 Amber Drive, Watauga, TX 76148, or you can email a scanned copy of it to willie@theanimatorlettersproject.com. If you choose to send your letter by email, then please scan your letter at a high resolution.

Will a book be published?

The official deadline for all letters to be submitted is April 19, 2015. In the weeks following the deadline, the publication process will begin! The publication date is undetermined at this time, but will be posted here when it is confirmed. When the book is published, 100% of the proceeds will be donated. Hopefully, a scholarship will be formed, funded by the proceeds of the book, that can help send an aspiring animator to school who can’t afford it. If starting a scholarship isn’t an option, then alternatively the funds will be donated to an animation charity or organization to support the industry.

Who runs The Animator Letters Project?

The Animator Letters Project was started by Willie Downs, a life-long animation enthusiast. He maintains the blog, and spends his spare time contacting professional animators asking them to write inspiring letters.

 What inspired The Animator Letters Project?

Willie Downs was two semesters deep into an university doing something he didn’t have a passion for, and knew in his heart that he wanted to become an animator. Unfortunately though, he felt trapped in his decision and was facing uncertainty about switching degrees. Looking for advice, Willie wrote to animators Aaron Hartline at Pixar, and Jim Vanderkeyl at DreamWorks. Both of the animators wrote him back, giving amazing words of advice and encouragement to follow his dreams and to not give up. Willie posted the letter he got from Hartline on his blog, and a very popular blog called ‘Letters of Note‘ found the letter and posted it on their website. Within no time, the letter had exploded across the internet and around the world, and Willie started receiving emails from people just like him who had found encouragement in his letter. This sparked an idea! “If this one letter written to me can impact other people’s lives…then what if I can get more professional animators to write letters to aspiring animators, encouraging them to not give up on their dreams!” At that moment, The Animator Letters Project was born.

I have a question that isn’t answered here.

Feel free to contact Willie Downs here with any questions you may have, and he would be happy to answer them for you!

Willie Downs and his wife Jill with Disney animator, Glen Keane.

Willie Downs and his wife Jill, with former Disney animator, Glen Keane.

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