Three years out of SVA, ’13 BFA Animation graduate Dana Terrace is directing Disney’s new DuckTales reboot! Here, Dana talks about what its like to direct a high profile project that didn’t begin with her.
Update: check out the Ducktales Trailer!
Working in animation is a masochistic, thankless, and tedious process, and I decided to make it my career! I graduated SVA in 2013 from the animation department. That summer I interned at JibJab Inc for 3 months, and during that time someone from Disney TV’s Gravity Falls saw my student film Mirage (co-directed with Iker Perez) and decided to send me a storyboard test. The crazy part is, I got the job. Since then I’ve boarded on a variety of shows at Disney TV, Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, and others.
Currently I’m one of three directors on Disney’s reboot of DuckTales, run by Matt Youngberg and Frank Angones. I work with a team of 3 board artists to board a full 22-minute episode and I couldn’t be happier working with the crew I have, though I’m sure they’d be happier if I didn’t spend most days in the editing room cutting out their scenes for time.
Nurturing someone else’s creative vision can be stressful, especially in animation when you have a bunch of creatives in one room and everyone has their own specific ways of drawing, seeing, and interpreting. I’m learning that directing in TV isn’t just about being able to draw; it’s about balancing individual visions and managing temperaments, all in hope that you can make a funny family-friendly cartoon without tearing each other’s throats out.
If I had advice for students it’d be this: Read as many books as you can. Watch as many shows as you can. Really think about why you liked/didn’t like something and learn from that. If you draw, draw EVERY DAY and make sure to post your work online because you have a better chance of getting your portfolio seen on Tumblr than submitted in person. As someone responsible for employing people, trust me.