Since graduating two short years ago, CAT 2D Animation and Digital Art alumni Samantha Chalmers has landed the animation ‘dream job’ on hit program ‘Rick and Morty’.
Did you always want to be an animator? Or did something specific open up that possibility to you?
I didn’t know animation was actually a job for most of my life. I knew in elementary school I wanted to have some sort of arty job but I didn’t want to move somewhere far from home, so I had set my sights on becoming a Veterinary Technologist instead because I live in a farming community and it just kinda made sense. I did all the shadowing hours and even applied to a college for it in Grade 12. Then I was told about the animation ‘bootcamp’ from Chris Morris (who also happens to be a close family friend) who was at my school giving a presentation about it.
I attended it, and was still unsure of my future, so when I got accepted at CAT and was on a long waiting list for the Veterinary Technologist Program I thought why not give it a run and see where it’ll go.
What was your first job post CAT, and how did it come about.
My first job was with Yeti Farm Creative as a FX artist on the show D.N.Ace. For the full backstory, at CAT I created a final animation film with a decent amount of FX.
At Grad Showcase night, Jeff Ramsden, the Producer on D.N.Ace met me and he pretty much almost immediately gave me his business card and said something along the lines of “Sean mentioned you to me and we’re actually looking for a Fx Artist. If you’re interested, I’d like you to email me after the winter break.”
So of course I did, and after emailing back and forth for a little bit in mid January I had an interview with him and the FX Supervisor at the time, they showed me what they were looking for and asked if I could do it. I said I could. I think it was the following week that I got my first contract from Yeti. 🙂
Tell us about your career journey since graduating from CAT?
I got hired as a Fx artist for Yeti Farm Creative in January 2019 on the show D.N.Ace and then I was given a contract for Pete the Cat in February 2020 for three months.
In July 2020 I received a contract from Bardel Entertainment for Rick and Morty, which I officially started working on in October 2020.
Tell us a little bit about the studio where you now work.
I currently work with Bardel Entertainment, they’ve produced some amazing shows – for example, The Dragon Prince, Rick and Morty, Teen Titans Go and many other great shows!
Covid 19 has effected everyone in different ways – has your working life changed since it all kicked off?
Nothing has really changed other than we’re all virtual. We still have our regular meetings and we all still communicate and work as we would in studio.
What does a typical work day look like for you?
I typically always say good morning to the team I’m working with as I see them – or in today’s circumstances in the chat.
Then I move on to any Emails I may have missed the day before. I try to check them in the morning, when I come back from lunch and in the evening.
I start any revisions if I have any. I typically do not leave any scenes in progress overnight if I can help it, just because I like to make sure a scene I start on that day is finished that day; but of course there will be some exceptions.
After all my revisions or scenes in progress are done I move on to working on some new scenes.
What is your favorite thing about working in the animation field?
The variety it brings your day will never be repetitive and there’s so many different positions to try to get into. So, for example, if you’re not big into animating there are always positions like layout artists or storyboarding artists.
The best part about Rick and Morty are the people I work with to make this show the best it can be.”Samantha Chalmers
What’s the most important thing/s that you learned from your time at CAT?
I would have to say the most important thing I learned at CAT is that it’s okay if you can’t achieve everything you want to achieve because it will eventually come. Maybe today just isn’t the day, so keep working hard towards it.
Did you have a favorite class on the animation program, or one that you found especially helpful? If so, what was it and why?
I really enjoyed the final project/film class because I kinda discovered that I was really into FX animation.
It allowed me to do what I wanted to do and eventually molded me into my career.
What advice would you give to students looking to get into the same career?
Don’t be afraid to push yourself, and make sure you try a variety of things because there are many different positions in the animation world, and you never know if you’ll like it until you try.
Lastly, how cool is it working on a really well known and loved cartoon like Rick and Morty? And what’s the best thing about it?
I’m honored to be part of the crew on this show, as working on Rick and Morty has been a really great experience so far. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.
The best part about Rick and Morty are the people I work with to make this show the best it can be; they are super hardworking and very helpful if you run into problems.
The overall morale is amazing.