Q: Why Hollywood?
A: I studied cinema and theater at the University of Iowa and produced television shows for a college group called Student Video Productions. I graduated in 2007, and a month later, moved out to Los Angeles with a couple college friends.
I was pretty brave, now that I think about it. I knew no one in California, and it was kind of scary. My family was like, “Go. When else are you going to do this?” I think that encouragement helped me by lightening the stress.
During the first couple years, my two friends both slowly moved back home, but by then I had been involved with The Greenhouse and had established a great foundation of friends and community. For my first job, I was applying blindly on Craigslist while on the road to California and got a job at a kids talent agency. It was horrible — basically a scam. I ended up getting fired… and I’m glad.
The next job I got was as an assistant at a visual effects company. The owner was from my hometown in Illinois and even went to my high school. It’s such a small world! I worked there for about five years while doing freelance animation projects.
I now co-own a production company (You-nique Productions LLC.) that makes children’s books with Claymation characters. It’s a company I formed with two other members of The Greenhouse. I’m also the program director at an after school program for six middle schools. In that program, I teach a media arts class that includes animation, filmmaking, and photography. I get to animate and make art every day — it’s awesome!
Q: How has your perspective changed since moving to Hollywood?
A: Trust is important. You have to know who you can trust out here. It’s hard to know. I came with a couple of friends, but it wasn’t until I found The Greenhouse that I found those people.
I definitely had my guard up at first. Making friends and knowing who they are is difficult, but finding your foundation is key to staying afloat. There are hundreds of people coming out here everyday that don’t know anyone. The Greenhouse is great for both of those: trust and friendship.
Q: What are you reading, listening to & watching right now?
A: I listen to the radio a lot. Music, NPR, nothing in particular. I love The Simpsons. I feel like I watch a lot of TV, but when people ask me if I’m watching a certain show, I feel like I don’t watch anything. I watch Hulu a lot. Dr. Who. It’s a great, imaginative show. My students actually introduced me to it. I read a lot of scripts. I like fiction; Dean Koontz is one of my favorite writers. I just picked up Jim Henson: Puppeteer and Filmmaker. I can’t wait to read it!
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