In my former life I was a software developer in the video games industry. I graduated from Northeastern University, in Boston, with a BS in Computer Science in 2003. After college I had a very successful 7+ year career as a programmer (pdf resume) in the entertainment industry; with credits on six AAA video-game titles; and have worked for several notable companies such as: Turbine, Inc. (now Warner Brothers HEG); Insomniac Games Inc. (now Song Entertainment); and Dreamworks Animation SKG.
"I struggled with depression" . . .
In 2007 I struggled with depression and began to feel dissatisfied with my work in the intangible world of software development. After significant work with a CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapist) I came to understand that my work in video-games was my "shadow career" as defined by Steven Pressfield, in "The War of Art". In my shadow career I sought out jobs where I would be surrounded by creatives, and I worked to create tools that supported artists when in my heart I longed to BE one. My therapist helped me to understand that it was time to explore and discover a new passion and calling in my life and to pursue my dreams of working in stop-motion animation.
"It was time to explore a new calling"
Knowing that I wanted to become a traditional artist and eventually work in stop-motion animation, I took a leap of faith and quit my programming gig in 2009. Rather than returning to college I sought out classes around LA and created my own curriculum between local schools and workshops. Over the years I have had the honor of studying with some of the new masters of figurative modeling and character/creature design, including Andrew Cawrse, Carlos Huante, Eric Wilson, John Neill, Jordu Schell, Mark Newman, and Simon Lee. In 2012, when it was finally time to find work, I put my old coding skills to use! I wrote a script that scraped Kickstarter to find all of the stop-motion films in the area that had recently received full funding. Then I [politely] hounded the producers and directors of those projects until people caved and gave me internships.
Through hard work, persistence, and my "don't be a dick" mantra, I realized my dreams and found my way into paid full-time work in stop-motion. Once inside, I have continued to build my portfolio of skills and work in various departments, including puppet and scenic painting, puppet fabrication, rapid prototyping (3D print shop), set dressing, and prop fabrication. After celebrating each successive win, I set new and more ambitious goals for myself and have never stopped honing my skills and continuing to build upon my diverse portfolio of fabrication services.
I am grateful for all of the opportunities I have been given, and the incredible artists that I work with across many imaginative studios here in Los Angeles. You can find my work here:
+ Fabrication Website: www.racheldmark.com
+ Artist Instagram: @racheldmark
"There is an ever-growing list of desired skills and adventures, lovingly written in colored pencil, and tacked above my work desk. I have spent the past ten years dedicated to taking chances and learning new skills. As I do, my passion for art deepens, new areas of study are unearthed, and the list grows."