Nov 05, 2021

macOS Monterey & Toon Boom Harmony

macOS Monterey & Toon Boom Harmony
Toon Boom Animation recommends that Harmony users delay updating to macOS Monterey (12.0.1)

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Apr 27, 2021

Apple M1 Chipset & Toon Boom Software

Apple is in the process of transitioning their line of macOS computers to a new ARM-based hardware architecture. The first Macs powered by the Apple M1 chipset were released on November 17, 2020.

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Way Singleton and Breana Williams on the Black N’ Animated podcast

Way and Breana, hosts of the Black N Animated Podcast

Way Singleton and Breana Williams are the hosts of Black N’ Animated, a podcast which spotlights the Black animators working behind-the-scenes of your favorite shows and series. Having just celebrated their 50th episode at the time of our interview, their back catalog is a who’s who of Black animation talent and industry insiders, and is well worth a deep-dive. Featuring guests “of all shapes, sizes and shades,” Black N’ Animated celebrates diversity, alongside rigorous analysis and tangible industry advice for animators.

When not presenting the podcast, both hosts ply their trade at Disney Television Animation. We asked Way and Breana about their experience working on major productions at the studio; in particular, the challenges they face in their respective roles as storyboard artist and production coordinator. True to their mission to educate, inform and inspire Black artists pursuing careers in animation, they share their biggest influences, sharpest industry insights, and advice drawn from their own experiences on how to manage your mental health while developing your craft. Listen to their podcast blow and read our interview!

Hi Way & Breana! In your own words, who are you and what do you do in animation? 

Way: I am Way Singleton, and I am a Storyboard Artist working in animation, currently storyboarding on The Ghost and Molly McGee at Disney Television Animation. 

Breana: My name is Breana Williams and I am Production Coordinator at Disney Television Animation on The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder.

When did you both discover your love for animation?

Way: I grew up obsessed with cartoons. I tried to watch any cartoon that premiered on TV, and I was constantly flipping channels back and forth between Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, and any other channel that I knew some cartoons would be showing. As the internet era of animation was rising, I would watch shows and shorts on YouTube and Newgrounds.

A lot of these independent online cartoons helped me realize that I could make cartoons myself. I didn’t really think of animation as a career path until I started touring colleges in high school. 

Breana: It’s a super-cliche answer, but my two influences on my love of animation were Disney films and anime. I remember always being super-interested in waiting for my Disney VHS tapes to finish playing. Walt would come on and start talking about the multiplane camera in Bambi. That had me hooked to the screen.

I wanted to be a ‘drawer,’ as I called it, and stuff like Sailor Moon and Pokemon didn’t look like anything else on TV. I wanted to make things like that. And I carried that love of those Disney films and everything anime with me into high school and deep-dived on how to get into animation as a career. 

Portfolio sample provided by Way Singleton.

Congratulations on passing 50 episodes of Black N’ Animated! For readers who are unfamiliar, can you describe the podcast?

Way: Black N’ Animated is a podcast that strives to educate, inspire, and empower Black creatives seeking careers in animation. Bre and I interview Black creatives with different roles in the animation industry. Not only to give information about the jobs done in this industry, but also to highlight Black creatives working these roles, to help inspire budding animation talent, who might be seeing a lack of people that look like them, working behind-the-scenes.

We also talk about Black animation from a Black perspective, hitting topics like the Censored Eleven cartoons produced by Warner Bros., or talking about animated content with Black representation like Static Shock and The Proud Family

Are there any other contributors you’d like to introduce?

Breana: Of course! BNA wouldn’t be where it is today without the help of our BNA team leadership. Our former Director of Programming, Nilah MaGruder. Our current Directors of Programming, Myra Thompkins. Lorraine Grate, our Co-Director of Programming. Neil Wade, Director of Studio Outreach. Lauren Andrews, Union Liason. Our Administrative Assistants, Jacqueline Barnes and Kalley Haddleston. And our-super awesome Podcast Audio Editor and Engineer Tyler Schlossman — he’s the audio king. 

Portfolio samples provided by Breana Williams.

What kind of guests do you have on the podcast, and how do you choose who to have as a guest? 

Way: Our guests are mainly Black Professionals working in Animation. Usually we’ll either ask a friend or co-worker if we could sit down with them for the podcast to talk about their craft. We’ve also had guests recommended to us by listeners. Since we do about 15 episodes a year, we try to diversify our guests in terms of their role in animation, their gender identity, and amount of experience, so that our listeners get a wide range of stories and animation journeys to hear about. 

Breana: Our podcast is about showcasing the diversity within the animation industry; that Black people are here and thriving in these roles. It makes sense that we break it down even further and make sure we have that diversity in terms of gender and sex within our guests too. Highlight Black women, men, nonbinary, lesbian, etc… Black people in animation come in all shapes, sizes and shades. 

When you’re not programming and presenting Black N’ Animated, what does your working week look like? 

Way: It looks stressful! Working in animation can be taxing. As a board artist, a lot of my mental energy has to go into creating images out of words, which can take a lot of time and energy but it’s fun. I feel like I learn more about myself with every project I do. A lot of the time, it feels like my brain is trying to force a cube shape into a circle hole. It’s a lot of problem solving, but I love puzzle games! 

Breana: Working in animation is very much a job. It’s not hanging out with your friends and shooting hoops with Bugs Bunny on the lot like some documentaries or the internet may make it out to be. Productions have to put a lot of time, care and love into telling the stories that people love to see on air, and it can be a lot sometimes. Especially when you’re doing it during a pandemic.

As a Production Coordinator, I’m a people mover and manager: Making sure the artists meet their deadlines, turn in the work, organizing files, scheduling meetings, putting out fires, and problem solving. The life of production is busy, but it’s rewarding because you get to help make sure that a beautiful piece of work gets made and gets made right. It’s tough, but I’d rather be doing this than anything else.

What can you tell us about your upcoming projects? What can you share with us?

Way: Black N Animated is continuing to provide events where aspiring animation professionals can learn about the different opportunities and roles they can have in animation, as well as network with studios and other animation professionals. 

Breana: We’re hoping to just keep moving with being that bridge that helps put Black voices in front of the studios. Or just providing resources to Black creatives who may not have access to this stuff on their own. Mixers, online safe creative spaces, portfolio review, etc. 

And personally, I’m not sure. I hope to pitch sometime in the future so maybe we’ll see what happens there! 

What advice do you have for young Black animators entering the industry? 

Way: Some good advice I’d like to give: Remember to be kind while you’re pursuing your goals. Don’t feel entitled to having someone’s attention, or a job, or something, because you went through animation school. Or because you are a big animation fan. Be thoughtful and empathetic to others. 

Breana: Don’t give up. Protect your mental health. I always say this and I can’t stress it enough. It’s really difficult, and it’s not easy. The road may be long. Imposter syndrome is real. But you can do this. Your work and your stories have value and you can succeed. Do your best to protect your mental health and allow yourself to rest and practice self-care on your journey. 

Interested in learning more about Black N Animated? Be sure to visit the show’s Carrd for links to the podcast’s website, episodes, and social media accounts.