I’m a computer art and animation major from a small town in Massachusetts. For my whole life, I’ve been sure that I wouldn’t ever want to live in a city for many reasons. Cities have always felt so overstimulating and cluttered, cold and anonymous and gray to me. A fact of life is that there are very few places in the world that are home to the animation industry, and that is the path I have chosen to take in life. I decided to do the semester in LA because I wanted to see if I could stand to live here. I’d heard mixed reviews, mostly from people saying the city felt “shallow” or “fake”.
To my complete surprise, within the first two weeks I was hooked. Los Angeles is unlike anywhere else in the world. It’s like being on vacation all the time. The city is immensely huge but you never notice until you look at the horizon and realize you can’t see where it ends. Sun beams and palm trees line every road in every distinct neighborhood. It’s completely one-of-a-kind city which legitimately has something for everyone. There are places to go hiking, camping, swimming, or shopping; restaurants with every kind of food you can imagine; a cool downtown area, theme parks, concerts, conventions, festivals, and a ton of other LA-exclusive events like gallery openings and early film screenings.
It’s easy to feel like you’re a silly dreamer when you’re in Syracuse trying to cobble together a career in animation. People in other places don’t consider those kinds of arts a viable career path. Coming to LA has completely reinvigorated my optimism for my career. Here, everyone is in the biz! It’s the kind of place that would leave your judgemental but well-meaning family members speechless. No matter where you go you will see and meet creatives just like you. I’m sure the city does have its shallow social circles, but that hasn’t been my experience at all over the past four months. Every person I work with at ShadowMachine is incredibly nice and funny, all the connections I’ve made at animation guild events and networking meetups feel less like business connections and more like friends. It’s a great environment, and I look forward to moving out here in the near future.