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A Love of Animation Led Ramapo Alumna to California and a Successful Career in the Industry

(PDF) (DOC) (JPG)March 8, 2022

Alumna Annie Arjarasumpun outside the Dreamworks studio in California

Like millions of young people, Annie Arjarasumpun ’15 has fond memories of watching animated films as a kid. So, her career choice seems like a natural fit.

Arjarasumpun, a River Edge, N.J., native, majored in Communication Arts: Digital Filmmaking at Ramapo College and has carved a career in animation as a project- based contractor writing for some of the biggest studios in the industry. Currently she is a script coordinator for a DreamWorks Animation project and just wrapped up several projects for Netflix Animation Studios, including the family series City of Ghosts and kid-friendly film Back to the Outback.

We caught up with Arjarasumpun from her California office.

 What was the strong attraction to animation?

Some of my favorite childhood memories were watching animated films with my family. Animation is such a strong visual storytelling medium that it often breaks language barriers, making it even more enjoyable for multilingual families like mine. As an animation writer, my goal is to help create more fond memories like that for other families, too.

What does your position entail?

As an animation script coordinator, I’m responsible for all things related to writing scripts and recording voice over. As a script coordinator I’m a part of the writers’ room, and take notes during writing meetings. As episodes and features evolve throughout production, I also make sure the scripts stay up to date and remain consistent with the produced project. Another aspect of my job includes making sure every line of dialogue is recorded with actors. Being a script coordinator has been a great way to learn how series and features are developed, and strengthen my own storytelling skills.

Tell us about some of the projects you worked on.

In 2019 when Netflix Animation was starting to build their studio, they reached out to me to work on City of Ghosts because I already had script coordinating experience at DreamWorks (Trollhunters: Rise of the Titans). In December 2021, I wrapped on a project that was being developed at Netflix Animation and am back with DreamWorks working on a to-be-announced series.

I finished working on City of Ghosts in 2020 and Back to the Outback in 2021 at Netflix Animation. Both are now available to stream on Netflix.

City of Ghosts is a mini-series that combines documentary and fictional storytelling. It follows a group of kids, the Ghost Club, as they embark on adventures all around Los Angeles and interview ghosts, solve problems and learn about their city’s history.

Back to the Outback is a feature film. It’s about a group of Australia’s deadliest creatures who are tired of being locked in a reptile house where humans gawk at them like they’re monsters, so they plot a daring escape from the zoo.

The project I’m currently working on at DreamWorks has not been announced yet, so I can’t share any details on it yet.

How do you like being in California?

I moved to California a few years after graduation and enjoy living and working here. The weather is nice and being a part of the animation/art community here makes me happy. Working in animation has allowed me to work from home during the pandemic, so that’s nice, too.

What was your experience at Ramapo like? 

Attending Ramapo was a good experience. The campus is beautiful and I enjoyed the small class sizes. I also enjoyed being able to hone my filmmaking skills. My favorite part of attending Ramapo, though, was meeting great friends and my fiancé.

What advice would you give to current students looking to follow this career path? 

Some advice I would share:

  • Pursue what makes you happy.
  • Give yourself permission to be creative and initiate projects.
  • Breaking into the TV/film industry requires a lot of effort with applying to gigs, putting yourself out there, and sharing your work with others.
  • Continuing to get work is heavily referral based, so you’ll be successful if you’re great at your job, easy and fun to collaborate with, and someone who people would want to work with again.
  • If you’re interested in interning at an animation studio but you’re not currently based in the studio’s city, apply anyway. Most animation studios are still operating remotely and are willing to hire people from outside of state.

 

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About Ramapo College

Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state’s premier public liberal arts college and is committed to academic excellence through interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and international and intercultural understanding. The comprehensive college is situated among the beautiful Ramapo Mountains, is within commuting distance to New York City, was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America by CondeNast Traveler, and boasts the best on-campus housing in New Jersey per Niche.com.

Ramapo College provides its students with individualized attention, mentorship, and supports; hands-on learning; and a range of opportunities for service and leadership development. Its graduation and retention rates exceed national averages and it places approximately 1,000 students per year in internships in New York City. The College is ranked #1 among New Jersey public institutions by College Choice; is recognized as the state’s top college on the list of Best Disability Schools by Great Value Colleges; is designated a “Military Friendly College” in Victoria Media’s Guide to Military Friendly Schools; and is recognized as a top college by U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger’s, Princeton Review and Money magazine, among others.  

Ramapo College’s over 40,000 alumni are the confident, intellectually curious, self-aware, and humble people who are highly sought after and who make a positive impact at local, national, and global levels.  Ramapo College is distinguished as a Career Development College of Distinction by CollegesofDistinction.com. Every student at Ramapo is enrolled in its unique and award winning Pathways Program which equips and empowers students, across the continuum of their academic career, to secure internships, pursue graduate/professional school, and/or enter the job market. 

Established in 1969, Ramapo College offers bachelor’s degrees in the arts, business, data science, humanities, social sciences and the sciences, as well as in professional studies, which include business, education, nursing and social work. In addition, the College offers courses leading to teacher certification at the elementary and secondary levels, and offers graduate programs leading to master’s degrees in Accounting, Applied Mathematics, Business Administration, Contemporary Instructional Design, Computer Science, Creative Music Technology, Data Science, Educational Leadership, Nursing, Social Work and Special Education, as well as a Doctor of Nursing Practice.

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