The Animator Letters Project: A Goldmine of Inspiration from a Hundred Accomplished Artists

 The Animator Letters Project is a book for aspiring animators that dream of working at a major studio but don’t know how to get there, it’s encouragement for those that feel lost and discouraged in their creative journey, and inspiration for those trying to make their big break into the animation industry. The nearly one hundred handwritten letters by some of the most creative animators and directors in the animation industry tell their own unique story, along with words of wisdom for the next generation of artists. In an age of technology, where texts, tweets, blogs, chats and emails are the norm, this book's handwritten element offers a personal connection to those in the industry. Get ready to be inspired by the likes of Pete Docter, Don Hahn, Byron Howard, Gary Trousdale, Roger Allers, Gary Goldman, Brenda Chapman, John Musker, Ron Clements, and Rob Minkoff, among many others. Their voices will awaken that creativity inside of you, if you are willing to listen.



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Willie Downs is the creator of The Animator Letters Project, which has been featured by Cartoon Brew, Animation Magazine, Letters of Note, and KCRW's The Business. Downs is a former student of Animation Mentor Online Animation School, and is a graduate of The University of Texas at Arlington, with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management. During his junior year of high school, Downs joined the Texas Army National Guard, serving six years with one deployment to Iraq, where he was awarded The Army Commendation Medal for meritorious service. Downs, his wife and two children reside in the suburbs of Fort Worth, Texas where they enjoy spending time outdoors.



For a young person contemplating how to land the coveted “dream job,” the road to the future can seem bleak, long and downright scary. That’s one of the many reasons mentors are so important. An experienced voice of reason can make all the difference in helping someone get a start in an industry, which is why I am such a fan of The Animator Letters Project.
— Brenda Chapman, Writer and Director of Pixar’s Brave & The Prince of Egypt
Who should read The Animator Letters Project? Anyone. Everyone. You don’t have to care a single bit about the art of animation, these letters can be treasured by literally anyone from any walk of life who is searching for motivation.
A lot of people have dreams. Some people follow those dreams, but they simply follow them around without actually getting any closer. This is a collection of wisdom and journeys from people who didn’t just follow their dreams – they hunted them down, caught them, and then refused to let go. What could be more inspiring than that?
— Shawn Kelly, Lead Animator at ILM & Co-Founder of Animation Mentor
If only there had been something like this when I was growing up. The people I admired in this industry seemed untouchable. Not anymore, thanks to Willie and his Animator Letters Project. Willie has brought people, whose dream it is to get into animation, so much closer to having that dream fulfilled. And thanks to all those professionals out there who have contributed to this project. You haven’t forgotten where you came from. I hope everyone in this industry contributes to this project. Thanks again Willie for giving this opportunity to our future talent.
— Dale Baer, Supervising Animator at Walt Disney Animation Studios