The story of how G.I. Joe got me into comics may need a rest for now, so here’s a different story:
I WAS A TEENAGE SUNBOW INTERN
In college at RISD I majored in Animation. It was a great four years. While the Alumni and Career Services office did have some 3-ring binders of information on companies offering jobs and internships, I barely spent any time looking. And while our professors did give us much in the way of problem solving, technical skills, and creative thinking, landing an internship was not stressed. That’s not a complaint. (It’s a recent requirement for upperclassmen at my school, and I assume RISD Animation has moved in this direction.) It’s not a complaint because at the time it did not seem like a deficiency and because I stumbled into an internship anyway. Here’s how.
Summers in high school were a mix of wasted relaxation and real art productivity. A portfolio class helped prepare me for college admissions. The summer after that first year of college I vacationed with my family, drew comics, and attended BotCon. No job, but something would coalesce. In the fall of college sophomore year I took Animation I class, and worked weekly in the Film Animation Video equipment lock-up office. There I gabbed with J. Gaston (Hi, J.) and tried not to do any work, instead letting J. fetch all the Bolexes and tripods while I doodled.
Someone who may have been Dee Boyd (Hi, Dee), my TA from Animation I class, mentioned someone else in our department had had an internship the previous summer at a studio in New York. I don’t know how this came up in conversation, but as sometimes happens during the exchange of equipment and a liability signature, someone will talk about some project they’re up to, or some accomplishment a friend has made. And while I don’t think I was talking about G.I. Joe and Transformers that day, I was starting to be known as a G.I. Joe and Transformers crazy person. (Freshman year I had hosted a screening of Transformers: The Movie and 15 minutes of Transformers toy commercials in a dorm lounge with a big screen TV. For the next three years I hosted it in the RISD Auditorium, where I sold shrinkwrapped VHS episodes I had imported from Canada since they were long out of print and unavailable in the States. I also made a half-hearted attempt to secure a film print of TF:TM since we were equipped with two 35mm projectors, VHS looking only so good on the big screen.) So Dee or Unnamed Upperclassman mentioned Sunbow, and probably something about how it wasn’t impossible to get the internship, or how it was interesting, or how I might follow up and try myself.
An internship at the studio that had produced my favorite cartoons ever? And also such notable shows as My Little Pony, Visionaries, and The Tick? Wow! But how could I ever reach out to such an institution?
Tune in next time to find out!