Sam Kallis was a huge hit at our July event hosted at Column Five. While we ate pizza (thanks Dalip and Devise Interactive) and chugged Fermensch Kombucha (plus some smuggled beers thanks to Josh Ariza), Sam shared hilarious and poignant thoughts on the life of a creative in a corporate world, how she went from art school to an Art Director at DreamWorks Television Animation, and her thoughts on the pros of research and the cons of “inspiration”.

 

Sam Kallis, Art Director and animator at DreamWorks speaks at ConnectingThings Orange County in July. Photo by Dario Garcia photography

Some nuggets we took away from her talk:

 

“When I hire at DreamWorks, I look for people who can think and who are generous in collaboration.” Sam went a little into her mindset on how she looks for team members. The animation field is very competitive and very few graduates actually end up in the field. So what sets apart candidates? Well talent is a given. You have to have good work to even be considered. But after that, a desire to work with people, and to play well with others is key. Also, a good dose of smarts. Anticipate problems. Prove your creative decisions. Don’t just design to make it pretty. Design to further the story.

 

Sam Kallis, Art Director and animator at DreamWorks speaks at ConnectingThings Orange County in July. Photo by Dario Garcia photography

Sam also shared about how inspiration is fickle, but research can win most battles. “You can’t just throw out your work and expect people to understand how awesome it is. Show them research. Take them through the story. Show context. Prove it.” When she presents work to key players at DreamWorks, she doesn’t just show the work and wait for feedback. She primes her audience by setting the tone of the story. She explains the mood and goal of the story. Then she shows her work, and proves how each of her creative decisions furthers the main goal of the story. This makes the process less subjective to emotional feelings, and more about the facts at hand.

 

Sam Kallis, Art Director and animator at DreamWorks speaks at ConnectingThings Orange County in July. Photo by Dario Garcia photography

“Treat yourself like an asset your dream company wants to hire.” Sam explained that when she was looking for an animation job, she tried to consider herself as a product. What factors make me a must-have product to animation studios? She realized that her large audience on social media made for a very attractive product feature. Self-initiated side projects and frequent work output also made her a more hirable candidate.

 

Sam Kallis, Art Director and animator at DreamWorks speaks at ConnectingThings Orange County in July. Photo by Dario Garcia photography

If you missed out on the event, hang in there for the video of it, which will be live soon. We’ll share about it on our social. Till then, here’s some photos from the event thanks to the amazing Dario Garcia (Available for lifestyle, fashion and event photography – check him out here).

 

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