Fellowship broadens UNCSA grad’s skills in animation

First Carinne Boord fell in love with cartoons. Then comics came along and stole her heart. At the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, she found the perfect program to fuel both passions.

“I grew up watching cartoons as a kid and that connection doesn’t leave you. There is something very nostalgic about animation,” says Boord, who graduated from UNCSA’s School of Filmmaking in May 2016 and then spent eight weeks in Boston as a Kenan Fellow at WGBH, America’s preeminent public broadcaster.

“The bridge between film and comics is not that different — they are both visual art forms,” she says. “Film is a combination of music, acting, writing and photography, but when you add in animation, you are mastering your own vision to the fullest that you can.”

The fellowship, provided by the Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts at UNCSA, is part of the Institute’s Career Pathways Initiative to broaden opportunities for sustainable careers in the arts. Boord was “ecstatic” when she learned of her selection as a Kenan Fellow, believing the hands-on experience at WGBH would be a great opportunity to continue learning post-graduation.

In Boston, Boord worked alongside award-winning  professionals on production of the "Pinkalicious & Peterrific" pilot for PBS KIDS, based on the bestselling books by children’s author and illustrator Victoria Kann. WGBH Boston is the nation’s largest producer of PBS content for TV and the Web, including "Masterpiece," "Antiques Roadshow," "Frontline," "Nova," "Arthur" and more than a dozen other series.

“I learned a lot about the people skills it takes to keep a production going. I’ve always been on one end of the animation process — creating and drawing storyboards all day and trying to meet deadlines,” she explains. “With this, you are on the other end of that spectrum, making sure that everyone else is doing what they need to do and is in the right frame of mind to make sure the project is completed.”

Among other things, Boord reviewed scripts, producer’s notes, designs and animatics for the children’s show. A typical day would begin with a conference call between WGBH producers and the pilot’s animators, based in Ireland, then another with the author “to make sure the animation world we created was true to the world she created in the book.”

Collaboration between the creators, the animators and the author was key, Boord says. “I learned how to make small sacrifices to make the project work. When you are a working professional, you really need to think of the whole team and the final project — it’s a big-picture thing.”

While there, Boord worked closely with Dorothea Gillim, an Executive Producer for the Emmy award-winning PBS series "Curious George."

“Right off the bat, Carinne jumped in and contributed her own ideas when we were evaluating designs — she had some ideas for how to improve them,” Gillim says.

As a final project, Boord had the opportunity to apply what she had learned and create two of her own storyboards for the series.

“It was very high-caliber,” Gillim says. “We have been really pleased with students who have come from UNCSA, both in terms of their maturity and their skill set. They are doing a good job down there.”

Boord, who is currently at work on a comic book, foresees a move later this fall to Los Angeles or Atlanta, where she plans to look for a job as a professional storyboard artist. She hopes her training at UNCSA, coupled with her Kenan Fellowship at WGBH, will position her well among other candidates.

“In the film industry everyone knows each other — and if they don’t know you, you probably are not going to get the job,” she says. “To leave UNCSA and get to go to WGBH and establish a connection with professionals who know you are reliable and work hard, it means the world. My name is out there and people know what I want to do who are in a position to help me do it.”

September 20, 2016