Here at Copy Central Burbank, we were blessed to catch up with wonderful director & storyboard artist Dana Terrace. She has made her mark on television & social media with her creativity, animation & sketch collections. Read our interview below & see a more in depth look at this rising star!
1.) When did you first become interested in art and illustration?
It's hard to say when I started getting into art, I've always been attracted to it for some reason. As any artist might tell you "Well I've been drawing since I was a kid..." and the same goes for me. I loved comics, cartoons, and old looking etchings I'd find in my mom's Thesaurus collections, back when those were a thing. I learned by repeating life lessons through cartoon characters talking to each other. I never had the best grades, I was never good at any sports, drawing was the one thing I was consistently better at than other kids so I stuck with it.
2.) How was your experience at The School of Visual Arts?
In all honesty I had a mixed experience at SVA. They provided the tools necessary to learn the trade and I made a bunch of wonderful friends but often I felt like the staff's knowledge of how the industry worked was very dated. They supported kids going "rogue" and getting into the independent animation scene, which was great, but very few people had actual knowledge on how to apply for studio jobs and internships. There were also few teachers that focused on actual technique, many were unfocused in their teaching. From what I've seen things are changing for the better, but during my time I definitely learned the most from my classmates and tutorials online. Not that there weren't any useful teachers, they were just a dime a dozen. On that note, shoutout to Mario Menjivar, Howard Beckerman, Mark Minnig, Stephen Gaffney, and Biljana Labovic! Thank you for your support and guidance!
I always feel weird talking about SVA. A lot of people had a wonderful time there. I just don't think it was the place for me.
3.) Did you always plan on coming to LA from NYC?
No! My plan was to always go where the job was. I was very much open to moving out of the country if possible, but moving to the other side of the country worked just as well. It made sense though, California is home to SO MANY studios I knew I was going to end up there eventually. I just didn't figure it'd be so soon!
4.) I know you have done storyboard work for a few studios, what shows have you worked on?
I've actually finished up my work on Ducktales! A little more than halfway into the first season I had to leave because Disney wanted me to work full time on the series I'm developing. That project is all hush hush so I'll reminisce on Ducktales.
5.) You're currently working on the new Ducktales series, how has the experience been?
Ducktales was my first directing gig ever, and it was the first job I had after a few months of scattered freelance and unemployment, so of course I was plagued by panic attacks, insomnia, and the constant dread that not only will I be fired but that I'll never be hired onto ANYTHING ever AGAIN because I SUCKED. That feeling quickly subsided when I was able to hire a team of amazing board artists (Jason Reicher! Ben Holm! Emmy Cicierga!) whose skills helped ease me into the job. And of course I had the constant support of the Show Runner/Executive Producer Matt Youngberg, whom I learned a lot from. Despite all the fear up front I quite enjoyed directing! You always have different things to do and I like having my hand in more of the creative process. I get to work with boards, I get to work with the writers, the designers, the editors, the directors are given a good amount of freedom on Ducktales and it was a lot of fun!
What I can say about the day-to-day was that this was the smoothest production line I've ever worked on. The scripts were always delivered on time and they were always great. The board artists always handed their stuff in on time and they were always great. The production team kept things running like clockwork. Sure there'd be a few rough situations, late nights, that sorta thing... but it was never the norm. I consider Youngberg to be a mentor and I couldn't have had a better experience on that crew! I miss them a lot!
6.) Do work in any other mediums, video/film?
I used to play around with paint a lot, and for a short time I got into sculpture, but because of my dwindling free time I've been sticking to drawing/writing. Occasionally I'll animate for work and currently I'm working on a Gravity Falls comic for Disney publishing but my time is very limited these days.
7.) Favorite spot to eat in Los Angeles?
Haha! Man I don't get out much. I always get excited when I get to go to Sugar Fish, but that's definitely not an everyday kind of restaurant.
8.) Favorite spot to relax in Los Angeles?
I have a pile of blankets I keep under my desk for naps on long days. I get more sleep there than in my own bed! I don't get out much so I have to make do with what I have, haha.
9.) Anything else you would like to add?
I am very tired and someone in a cube nearby is watching a talk show without headphones haha. That's the studio life!
Make sure you get your own copy of Dana's newest sketch collections & follow her on Twitter for more updates!