Hannah O’Neal keeps things moving. For real, she’s an animator at FableVision Studios and a big part of her job is bringing still images to life. This farm girl’s journey to FableVision started in college as an intern. But we'll let her share that story! For June’s FableFriday, we talked to Hannah about her love for nature, childhood on a farm, and SCIENCE!
There’s a kind of lore surrounding you at FableVision: you’re one of the only interns-turned-full-time-FableVisionary. Can you tell us how that came to be?
While working for an animation degree at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), my good friend Heather interned at this place called FableVision in Boston. She said, “You’d probably love it.” So I applied but didn’t make it. That year I learned a lot more Flash and applied again in 2009, and got it! I stayed in my boyfriend's aunt’s basement in Waltham, so I came in full-time and made myself a valuable member of the team. I LOVED IT! I was so sad when I walked over the bridge that last day of my internship going home. I tried my best to come back and decided to stay in Boston. I got freelance at Soup2Nuts for a few months and then FableVision said they wanted to hire me. I was quietly freaking out at my desk at Soup2Nuts. I’ve been at FableVision ever since.
You grew up on a farm, right? How does that upbringing influence your work and passion surrounding FableVision?
Living on a farm has helped me in a lot of ways. But I think mostly it’s tremendous for one’s imagination. Life on a farm is deeply enriched by the amount of experiences and interactions you have handling and managing an assortment of animals on a huge chunk of land that is itself diverse. The large assortment of animals helps especially because animals are a common subject matter so I have a fundamental understanding of how they move and interact. I view animation as a medium for capturing life and showcasing it in a way that you can’t really with other art forms.
What’s a typical week like for you at FableVision?
Animation at FableVision tends to be pretty straightforward. If there’s an animation need it usually takes a full day or several days to complete, so I’m not often jumping around on projects like other artists might. I would typically work with a lead artist’s direction and keyframes/designs to bring those to life as quickly and as entertainingly as possible.
What’s your favorite project that you’ve worked on here?
It’s a tie between New York Hall of Science: Evolution-Health Connection and the Dinosaur Train Field Guide. Evolution-Health was just plain fun animation. Evolution is one of my most beloved subject matters so I always get pretty jazzed when I’m able to help educate people about it. For Dinosaur Train there wasn’t any animation for the field guide, but I really loved it because I was personally learning so much about dinosaurs.
Who is your creative inspiration?
Lots of people! Milt Kahl and Chuck Jones are some of my classic animation inspirations. I often find illustrators that are just as amazing and inspiring: Emily Carroll, Maris Wicks, Sam Bosma, Lorena Alvarez. I also get a lot of inspiration from nature. Science is also a big inspiration and there are people in different scientific fields that are inspiring like, Neil Degrasse Tyson, Carl Sagan, E.O. Wilson, Jane Goodall, as well as many others!
More about Hannah:
Coolest scientific thing you’ve learned this year?
I’ve loved learning about the human "microbiome." Particularly the part of our microbiome that exists in our guts and how that’s being shown to be more and more important to our lives and well-being. Ya gotta love those little critters!
It’s your birthday month! Happy birthday! What are your birthday plans?
Camping! Camping is one of my, if not the most, favorite things to do!
Favorite place to camp:
Sawyer Pond in the White Mountains in New Hampshire.
Least favorite place to camp:
I suppose something that was the complete opposite of all the things I love about camping... a parking lot.