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 have 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 ambitions 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."
~Rachel D. Mark 2013