Here at Rotoscopers we try to keep our reviews as fair and news articles as objective as possible, and we don’t get into our personal histories or stories much. However, today marks 5 years I have been writing for the site and I think it is appropriate to take a moment to express my gratitude for the experiences I have had, friends I have made and the even greater animation-addict I have grown into being.
The first time I heard about the Rotoscopers podcast was from Mark Brown, a fellow-blogger and roto-writer who still contributes to the site to this day. I also knew Morgan Stradling, one of the Rotoscopers’ hosts, from our mutual patronage of Rob Cesternino’s podcast and the reality show Survivor. I had started writing my blog in 2014 and things seemed to be going well but I wanted to reach more people. Writing for Rotoscopers seemed like the ideal solution.
Starting in September 2015, I wrote reader submitted posts. My first was on September 15, 2015. I then submitted 4 more posts over the next 4 months and expressed interest in writing more. As I recall these original posts were pretty rough. I didn’t know things like italicizing the titles of films (something I still struggle remembering!) or how to set a featured image correctly. Morgan and the team were very patient with me and helped me get my start professionally writing.
Then, in January 2016, an opportunity came up for someone to represent Rotoscopers at the Sundance Film Festival and, since I lived in Utah, Morgan asked me if I would be interested. I had actually never attended the festival at that point despite having lived in Utah most of my adult life. I jumped at the chance and was able to view the indie animated film Snowtime and interview its creators.
I was naturally nervous doing my first interview but I ended up loving the experience and it started me down a path of interviewing people for my career. I have now interviewed over 200 people on all of my platforms, including the creator of Wallace and Gromit, Nick Park here for Rotoscopers, which was incredible.
My review of Snowtime was published on January 26, 2016, and the interview the following day. After that I was officially a Roto-writer and I took most any opportunity that came my way. I posted reviews, interviews and even the occasional editorials. One of my favorites is a piece I wrote called The Lego Movie Excuse.
We started our first Roto-writer Canon series in May 2016 with reviews from many of the Roto-writers of the Disney Canon films. We would follow this up with series on DreamWorks, Marvel and the Indie Animation Club, which I’m particularly very proud of. The idea behind the club was we would announce a movie on Friday night and then post the review on Monday hoping for a discussion from all who had seen the movie over the weekend. It rarely worked out the way I hoped it would but it was still a great experience.
I would especially like to thank Kajsa Rain Forden, who has edited most of my pieces for the site, and who challenged me to be confident in my opinions and not pad my ideas in safe language. She was also the co-creator of the Indie Animation Club and worked very hard to make it so fantastic.
In July 2016, I was invited to fill in for Morgan on the podcast covering The Secret Life of Pets with Chelsea and Mason. I came back later in the year for the Trolls episode with Chelsea and Chad Lewis from LewToons (YouTube). Being a part of the Rotoscopers podcast encouraged me in my own podcasting endeavors and now I have several of my own shows including the popular Hallmarkies Podcast.
I kept writing for my own content and for Rotoscopers as much as I could. In late 2018, I received an email from a representative of Rottentomatoes.com asking me to become a critic for their site. I found out later this offer was made based on my writing for Rotoscopers! I don’t know for sure but I like to think it was helped by my review of Black Panther, of which I am particularly proud.
Since then I have posted over 1400 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and have established myself as a legitimate podcaster and film critic in the industry. I owe it all to a lot of hard work and an opportunity given to me by Rotoscopers.
I say all of this not to lift myself up but to express my gratitude and to give you encouragement. If you are someone who loves animation and yearns to write and talk about it, you can do it! Submit your pieces in the user submission section and keep writing. Along the way you will make great friends like I have and get opportunities you won’t believe. For example, I’ve had the honor of interviewing many amazing people such as voice actress Tara Strong (The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle), the band behind the music for Your Name RADWIMPS, and anime director Sunao Katabuchi.
I want to say thank you to Morgan and Chelsea, and everyone else, who have made these 5 years great. I hope to hear from all of you via reading soon. Start writing and let’s get the world talking about animation! For animation addicts, by animation addicts!
Edited by: Kajsa Rain Forden