Filmmaker Xinhui Ma On How To Get Started as an Animator Image

What inspires you as a designer and an animation artist?

Definitely, all the other amazingly talented artists out there that push the envelope and are so creative that their work tickles my brain and makes me want to experiment with certain elements in my own work. I also love watching live-action films and drawing inspiration from life. One of my favorite thing to do is to sketch sitting in a coffee shop, people wear the craziest outfit on a Tuesday morning in Bushwick, and it’s always a pleasure to just take that in and be inspired by other creative people from other disciplines.

“…it’s always a pleasure to just take that in and be inspired by other creative people from other disciplines.”

What was the greatest lesson you learned from a mentor in the industry?

Maybe not strictly a mentor per se, but I definitely learned a lot from other artists that I’ve collaborated with and friends I knew from school, by just having conversations and bouncing ideas off each other. One thing still find really helpful was when I worked on my friend Jack Maschka’s short film Seed Supreme, I remember asking him “Jack how do you have time to work full time while making this film and still manage a social life?” And I remember him telling me that he’s all about time management, we only have so much time in a day, so we have to be very mindful of how we use our time and energy, in order to make time committed to this project he has to make sacrifices on certain things.

How do you make a living as an up and coming animator? Any advice? 

There’s always a workaround, as long as you have a banging reel and portfolio, be dependable and easy to work with. It’s always hard in the beginning and requires some luck to land the first gig, but you have to be patient with yourself and the future ahead. I’m lucky to have been where I am, and I’m thankful of all the opportunities that came my way and the amazing projects that I got to work on. But the important yet difficult thing is to keep going and persevere regardless.

Check out Heads Up! along with work in progress art on Xinhui Ma’s official website.

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