I found out early I wasn’t going to be a great baseball player like my father wanted me to be. Actually I didn’t do well in any sports.
But I did enjoy drawing and coming with characters and telling stories.
When I was a kid, comic strips were big. And political cartoons. I loved them both. When I was seven, I told my parents I was going to do comic strips and live in Lake Tahoe. That was my dream.
By the time I graduated high school, comic strips were on the decline. ( even before the internet) The only amazing strips at the time were Far Side and Calvin and Hobbes. While working for an ad agency, I tried frantically to get a comic strip syndicated ( thats where a company signs you to a contract to sell your strip to newspapers and you split the revenue). Of course, my strip was going to have merchandise like Peanuts and Garfield so no worries about sharing the wealth. After all, everyone in my high school told me I was going to be a millionaire. I couldn’t disappoint them.
I tried and tried. Beat my head against a wall. I have a huge thick folder still of all of my rejections. One day one of the editors called me and asked if I ever tried animation. I said no and hung up, discouraged. Little did I know that was a nudge from the universe. Later that year, on a whim ( because I did love animation) I went to an animation festival and fell in love with the films. I took an intro to animation class at my local community college, and immediately took to it. And I actually realized drawing the comic strips never gave me the bliss that doing animation did. I immediately knew this was for me. But I also knew that making independent films meant always scrambling for money and never usually seeing any return. But I didn’t care. I was committed. I let go of others expectations and my own and just focused on paying the bills and doing what I loved. I stopped struggling and swimming up stream. I went with the flow.
And thats when doors started to open.
So after 30 years of creating characters and telling stories, I ended up doing what I predicted when I was seven. Except in animation, not comic strips.
And now I’m living in a beautiful country that I love, working at my studio, spending time with my amazing family, and making a show for PBS that I feel is an important contribution!
I subscribe to an old saying “Sometimes when we make plans, God laughs”. Sometimes you have to let go of the life you have planned to make room for the life that is waiting for you.