We had the good fortune of connecting with Davey Jarrell and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Davey, how do you think about risk?
All the work I do is in comedy, and pretty much every time you write or perform a joke, you’re taking a risk. You risk it not being funny, and you risk it being offensive. I’m currently a writer and storyboard artist for the pre-school show “Let’s Go Luna!” It’s a constant challenge to make the show really funny given the limitations of it being for pre-schoolers, but that hasn’t stopped me from pitching my most outrageous ideas. Whenever I find myself thinking, “This is so weird, there’s no way this will work,” or, “There’s no way kids will get this,” I always try it. It’s true that most of the time it doesn’t work, but every once in a while, it does, and those end up being my favorite scenes. And I know I never would have gotten to that really funny scene if I didn’t fail a bunch of times first. I also like to throw myself into situations where everyone around me is smarter and more talented than I am. And of course, every time I do this, I risk looking like an idiot (and usually do). Everyone around me is amazing- at work and in all my other endeavors. But I always learn a lot from being around them. I’ve started doing standup comedy open mics again, which terrify me, but I think that’s why I like it. I find that if something scares me, that must mean I care about it. That’s been my approach: do what scares you. Maybe I’ll change my mind when I’m older, but it’s silly to be comfortable when you’re 25.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I work primarily as a storyboard artist in TV animation. Right now I’m writing and doing storyboards on PBS’s “Let’s Go Luna!” I’ve also worked on “Dinosaur Train” for PBS, Warner Brothers’ Flintstones spinoff series, “Yabba-Dabba Dinosaurs!” and the adult animated shows “SuperMansion” and “Crossing Swords.” Every job poses unique challenges. Storyboarding for a CG animated show like “Dinosaur Train” usually requires a much more dynamic camera and more imaginative shots than for a 2D animated show, but a 2D animated show requires more detailed and specific character acting. The two adult shows I worked on used stop-motion animation, so I had to storyboard it almost as if it were live-action, which has a lot of rules and limitations that a hand-drawn or CG show wouldn’t have. Now working on Luna, I’m writing in addition to boarding, and that’s a whole other animal, unlike anything I’ve done before. There’s been a pretty steep learning curve with every new job, but it gets slightly less daunting each time. It’s never easy, but hopefully the fun outweighs the hardships. I’ve found the most crucial ingredient to maintaining the fun and not get bogged down is to surround yourself with people you work well with, and who have your best interests at heart. That can make all the difference. The hard work will always be worthwhile if you like the people you’re working with. I have a lot of projects coming up outside of work, but right now, my latest independent cartoon is available on Seed&Spark: https://www.seedandspark.com/watch/just-say-no I’m also a member of a local sketch comedy troupe, Trifecta Comedy, and we put on a live show every few months and create content for YouTube. You can watch our sketches here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMC0dENBrNNOTInHtMfkvoA And I regularly post doodles and work-in-progress pieces on my Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/doodledoodledavey/
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’m not sure if you’d want to take advice on where to eat from a guy who’s favorite restaurant in town is Cheesecake Factory, but I can give not food and drink related tips! There are tons of great hikes in the area. Griffith Park is amazing and has the best views from the top. Unfortunately it’s usually pretty crowded, so if you want less crowds, there’s also a lot of great trails in Pasadena. Eaton Canyon is my favorite, there’s a waterfall and a lot of streams to walk through. Echo Mountain is also really nice. I also enjoy walking around Old Town Pasadena. If you like the beach, Santa Monica Pier and Venice Beach are fun to experience. There’s a lot of commotion and fun activities, my favorite being paddle tennis. But if you prefer a nice beach that has no people, I suggest Dockweiler Playa Del Rey. There are tons of great comedy clubs in LA. If you want to see an improv show, go to UCB, Groundlings, or Second City, and for standup, The Comedy Store, The Hollywood Improv, or Flappers Comedy Club are all great. Of course, I don’t know how relevant any of this will be after quarantine, so this is my pre (and hopefully post) Covid-19 itinerary!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There really are so many people who have helped and continue to support me. Right now I’ll give a shoutout to Stephen Worth and the people at the 501(c)(3) non-profit, Animation Resources. I started volunteering at Animation Resources in 2015 while I was a junior in college. Animation Resources has an incredible archive full of old artwork, cartoons, and illustrations that you’d never otherwise see. Being able to immerse myself in this work was cool enough, but Stephen Worth, the president of the organization and longtime producer in the animation industry, really took me under his wing and showed me what I needed to learn in order to land a job in animation one day. I don’t know how long it would have taken me to break in without his knowledge and willingness to share. I’m proud to say that I’m now a board member of the organization, and I hope I can do for other enthusiastic students what he did for me.