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Meet Rae Huang

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rae Huang.

So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I am a storyboard artist currently working for Buzzfeed’s animation department.

When I was a kid, I was very addicted to TV and movies to the point that my family got worried. I could sit in front of the TV all day and forget what was happening around me. Even now, I caught myself binge-watching shows sometimes. I’ve also enjoyed making art from a young age but I had not thought of combining these two interests and make it my career choice until my junior year, I saw behind the scene clips from Prince of Persia’s movie DVD. I don’t remember much of the movie itself but I was and still am fascinated by how much work they have to go through just to design and polish a prop dagger. I realized artists not only exist in the fine art world but they are also a big part of entertainment which made me want to be a prop designer. I didn’t give animation much thoughts at first because I thought drawing 24 frames for every single second was impossible and I spent hours on my drawings in art class.

In my senior year in high school, I found out my grade was not good enough for movie majors (I didn’t know a lot of prop artists does not major in movie back then) but was perfect to get in the animation department in National Taiwan University of Arts (NTUA). I decided to give it a chance. I was curious about what they taught in their animation department but mostly because I didn’t want to take more college tests. Although it was not the best way to make a life choice, I later realized this was one of the best decisions I made!

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I am lucky to have family members, especially my parents that have supported me to pursue my dream to work in the animation industry in the U.S. Although it wasn’t smooth in the beginning. After I finished high school, my parents were both worried if I was independent enough to study outside my country, so I studied in NTUA, an art school that locates far from my hometown, Kaohsiung, for two years. I sharpened my art skills, make amazing friends that I still keep in touch with (one including my friend Kaiyun Yang who introduced me to this interview) and proved that I can take care of myself while studying outside of my city so my parents finally agreed to support me studying in the U.S.

I got my first job offer (my job right now) a month after graduating Academy of Art through my friend Kyra who I initially met on Twitter. I was her fan for years and was astonished when one day she started following my artwork on Twitter. I was so amazed by how genuine friendship (and being a fangirl) led me to this job opportunity.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I am currently a storyboard artist and animator at Buzzfeed. I am hoping to get into TV animation as a storyboard artist in the near future. I grew up watching a lot of Cartoon Network and Disney TV shows. The shows, especially the ones created by Craig McCracken have influenced and shaped my art style and sense of humor. During my free time, I like to design characters who are mostly animals and make up stories for them. I’ve always enjoyed being close to pets, farm animals and going to the zoo since I was a kid. I once told my mom I wanted to marry a cat when I grew up and had made her worried about my sexuality until I finally started dating humans in college. I was so disappointed when watching The Cat Returns and found out the protagonist girl couldn’t marry a cat and was turned back into a human. (Spoilers, sorry!) The idea of talking animals doing human things such as going to art school and paying their student loans fascinates me. Putting two familiar elements together to create something so unrealistic is only achievable through fiction. I love that animation is one of the least limited media to present this idea in all kinds of stories and styles!

What are your plans for the future? What are you looking forward to or planning for – any big changes?
A lot of artists in the industry want to become a director and/ or showrunner. I admire and respect people in those positions but I have no idea what exactly it will feel like to be in their chairs since their responsibilities are way more than just being a team player and creating storyboards. For now, I will focus on my goal of being a part of more cool animation projects and see what it leads too.

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