We had the good fortune of connecting with Sapphire Sandalo and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sapphire, can you tell us about a book that has had a meaningful impact on you?
I really enjoyed Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Big Magic.” There were many things that stuck with me, like how she believes that we don’t own ideas but rather they come to us, and if we don’t use it, it will move onto someone else. But the one that I think about often is her advice to follow your curiosity, not your passion. If you follow your passion, you will find yourself tired and burned out very easily and often. But if you follow your curiosity, it will continuously lead you down new paths. I think this is really important for working creatives to keep in mind because we’ve been raised with the cliche of “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life,” but that has always led me to end up hating what I loved! I still have my set of core things that I am passionate about – animation, ghost stories – but when it comes to the details, I allow myself to venture into new territories to keep things interesting for me.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’d always known that I wanted to have a creative career, but I didn’t know the specifics. I ended up majoring in Animation in college because it combined everything I loved: drawing and storytelling. I had always thought that my ultimate dream was to work at a major studio like Disney or Pixar, but once I started working in the industry (on obscure TV shows and commercials) I realized that working in the studio system may not be that fulfilling. It’s really important for me to put my skills towards stories that I believe in and care about, and that wasn’t going to happen working on other people’s shows. When I was in a particularly long period of unemployment, I decided to explore other career options. It was this exploration that led me to a YouTube channel that eventually hired me to create my own web series, and that’s when everything changed for me. I have since left that channel and am pursuing a career as an independent creator. I’m not going to lie – it is HARD. And I’m so thankful to have a partner who can financially assist me while I make this transition, a privilege not everyone has. But I have never been more excited about work than I am now – I work harder because I have no other choice but to make this work. A stark contrast from when I could clock in at a studio, do some half-assed work, and clock out.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
It has been so long since I’ve gone out so it feels weird thinking about this, and I’m not even sure if all these places are still in operation! But my go-to’s for activities are usually karaoke at Max Karaoke in Little Tokyo (they have the best song selection hands down), drinks and games at Button Mash, hiking at Griffith Park. I’m not a fan of crowded bars so Angel City Brewery was always a staple since it’s so spacious and we could bring a large group no problem.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My grandpa used to share the most amazing stories from when he lived in the Philippines. You name it, he’d encountered it – giants, fairies, ghosts, witches. His stories ignited my passion for ghost stories and folklore, and have inspired everything I do today. He is no longer with us, but if his stories have taught me anything, it’s that he is still present in my life, making his presence known from the other side. I’d also like to shout out Lyn Pacificar, Filipino shaman and owner of Herbalaria, for being instrumental to my spiritual journey, as well as Manong Lane Wilcken, who I received batok from in October 2020.