Hello! My name is Kaho and I love making things and stalking (I mean admiring) pugs on the street! I grew up in Tokyo, and I moved to Ontario by myself as an international student when I was just 15. I've always loved drawing and making things but when I moved to Canada I needed to express myself through art more than ever because I couldn't speak English. I started making animations by myself when I was in high school and fell in love with the medium. I then went to Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver to study animation for 4 years. I am now a freelance animator.
I started working as a freelancer right after graduating University. I was really worried about finding jobs because I focused on 2D animation and stop motion, and all the job posting I saw online was for 3D animators. I did some researches for small production studios in Vancouver, and I emailed them with my demo reel, luckily one of the studios that I emailed was just about to start a stop motion TV show, and I was hired almost on the spot. I was really lucky.
I worked as a freelancer for a year and a half, but because I'm not a Canadian and I'm trying to get a permanent residency, I had to work as an employee for a year to qualify for the PR application. I did freelance on the side during the year, but now I'm just getting back to going freelance full-time again. Though I did enjoy the stability of being employed by someone, I really missed being able to work on different projects with faster turnaround. I love freelancing because there are more creative freedom and creative challenges.
I've been really lucky in terms of getting jobs. My graduation film did well in festivals, so people saw my film and approached me for projects. And then after that it's been word of mouth and people I know who knows someone etc.
When I'm feeling creativity stuck I find that the best thing to do is to go talk to creative people I admire. I think it's really important to surround yourself with people who inspire you, because being a freelancer can be quite lonely sometimes.
One piece of advice I'd give anyone wanting to get into the world of animation is to do an internship at a studio. There's a big difference between being in school and being in an actual work environment, and working as an intern taught me a lot about what it takes to be a working animator.