We had the good fortune of connecting with Cheyenne Curtis and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cheyenne, what’s something about your industry that outsiders are probably unaware of?
I work in the animation industry, and one thing that “outsiders” don’t realize is that animated shows take at minimum one year to make! Some shows actually have 2 seasons totally completed but the network has decided to wait to air the show. So audiences could currently be watching a “new” show that actually wrapped up a few years ago and the crew has moved on to a new production. I think this is fascinating because sometimes storylines, jokes and characters can sometimes have similarities with other shows and the audience thinks shows are copying each other, but in reality the shows were made years apart! Also when fans hope that a show gets more seasons, or want story-arcs to change it’s most likely impossible since these decisions were made months/years ago.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I work in animation doing a variety of things from storyboarding, character design and creating show pitches. I’m originally from Montreal, Canada, but knew I wanted to work in Los Angeles because that’s where some of the most amazing animated shows are made. It took me a year of rejection before landing my first job, and deciding to move away to a new country away from my entire family. It’s still a struggle not being able to see my family everyday and celebrate birthdays and holidays with them. It sucks to have to choose between career or family, and i’m very envious of the people who get to have both. The beautiful thing that happened to me throughout the years of living in a different country was the amount of newfound appreciation I had for the city I grew up in. The stuff I once didn’t think twice about or took for granted became what made me feel unique and special in LA. I am able to bring new stories and discuss foods and cultural practices that people didn’t know about. I also think the Canadian shows and comics I grew up with helped inform my art which also made me feel unique as an artist among many. Living abroad has also exposed me to new cultures and foods that i’m so grateful I get to experience and influence me. Some days are harder than others, but I try to overcome being homesick with my passion to have a fulfilling career. Plus knowing i’ll eventually move back home! I’m most proud of the way I was able to make a life and career for myself, and really work on my mental health with a therapist. I’m definitely a stronger person because of it, and feel more in control of my life and the decisions I make. Working in animation means collaborating and putting your whole heart into projects, while also keeping it professional and not becoming too overly emotional. It’s a really difficult balance that I still have trouble with, especially when it comes to pitching your own original shows. You basically pour your heart and soul into an idea and ask important people to critique, judge, and either approve or reject you. It’s really hard not taking that personally! I’m a commercial artist, which is a total oxymoron and where so much of that internal struggle to express yourself while simultaneously sharing your vision to a giant corporation.
A big lesson i’ve learned in my years of working in animation is to not take things personally, and make time to have life memories. Life inspires authentic art.
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 love food, so much so that i’ve dedicated entire Saturday’s to driving around the city going to different bakeries. Every area in Los Angeles has some of the best and unique food, and i’m always learning about new spots. Korea Town, Little Tokyo, Eagle Rock, and Los Feliz are some of my favorite spots for food and shopping. Special food shout outs to Daikokuya, Pine and Crane, Lou the French on the Block, Mochinut, Sugarfish, and CaCao Mexicatessen. My friends and I recently did a “storybook house tour” where we drove around the city looking at different homes/buildings that were made in the 1930’s and 40’s and they look exactly like what they sound like; homes that look like they’ve been taken out of a storybook! My favorite one was the Spadena House aka The Witch House which goes all out in looking like an actual spooky witch house.
I also love to relax at some amazing Spas such as Two Bunch Palms Desert Hot Spring Resort, Glen Ivy and the Wi Spa. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I don’t think i’d be where I am now without my family. My family loves film and television and we have long discussions about them and recommend media to each other. My two brothers are both in the film industry, and would watch cartoons with me like The Simpsons, Beavis and Butthead and more. I think if I was restricted from watching certain animated shows and films I wouldn’t have been so inspired as a child to draw and create. I also have to give a huge shout out to my friends. They are such an inspiring, driven, encouraging group of people that always leave me in awe of their talent. Seeing them live their lives while balancing having fantastic careers has been so good for my mental health. Watching them succeed gives me the courage to push myself and try new things, but also acknowledge that real life experiences and friendships are just as important as our careers.