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Masterclass with Geoffrey Fletcher. November 17, 2017. Digital Media Center, Atlanta, GA.

I grew up in the small city of Greenwood, South Carolina. Being from a football town, the only thing that saved me from utter loneliness and boredom was art. From an early age, my father and older cousin helped shape my love of art as a visual medium.  I loved watching them draw for me so much that I eventually started drawing on my own. Drawing pictures allowed me to create my own world.

As my talent for drawing grew, a pivotal moment happened to me when my second teacher saw a ship scene I was drawing. She immediately took me to the art teacher where my artistic skills began to be nurtured. From then on, I spent my junior high and high school years taking as many art courses as possible leading to my artwork published in a magazine at age sixteen.

While drawing was my gift, my true obsession was animation whether it was the 1990’s Disney Renaissance or Fox Television’s “The Simpsons.” As I continued my animation infatuation, Genndy Tartakovsky’s character design and story pacing in “Samurai Jack”, Craig McCracken’s child-like stylized animation in “Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends” and Hayao Miyazaki’s style and storytelling in Graveyard of the Fireflies pushed me towards a career in 2D animation. These influences led me to pursue my Bachelor’s degree in Animation from SCAD.

While in the undergraduate program, I participated in events for ASIFA-South and the SCAD-Atlanta Animation Society. Those experiences prepared me for my internship as an apprentice for my local arts council as well as a 24-hour video competition for the LEGO company. But it was being taught and mentored by industry veterans like Gregg Azzopardi and Keith Ingham that fed my love for the medium.

As I matured, storytelling became just as important to me as animation. Reading was my second love especially Gertrude Chandler Warner’s Boxcar Children series. Reading authors like Mark Twain, Harper Lee, Joseph Heller, Ralph Ellison, Zora Neale Hurston, and Walter Dean Myers shaped me as a writer and storyteller. My love of storytelling helped me to find my calling as a screenwriter as I pursue my Master’s degree in Writing from SCAD.

Having worked as a freelancer, I created content for companies like Green Cage Security along with a music video for independent artist Chyle. As a writer, I have written pieces for outlets like Seoulbeats, GameSkinny, and Paste Magazine.

As I have come into my own, writing and animation have become who I am.  I feel traditional animation through various media has helped to give the look and feel I want in my projects. My vision is to span both comedy and drama across various audiences. With that in mind, I hope to change the animation landscape by addressing the lack of diversity in terms of both the stories and characters as a creator and screenwriter. As I continue my journey, I still feel like that little boy in his room creating his own world.

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