Melissa Wolfe

Animation Magazine - - Event Focus -

Ti­tle: Head of Kids’ Pro­gram­ming, Ama­zon Stu­dios Time at Job: 10 months in cur­rent po­si­tion, 5.5 years with Ama­zon Stu­dios. How did you get your first job in the biz? A com­bi­na­tion of good luck and prepa­ra­tion. Af­ter mov­ing back to L.A. from col­lege, I was strug­gling to fig­ure out what to do with an ad­ver­tis­ing de­gree. I’d al­ways been pas­sion­ate about an­i­ma­tion and had been meet­ing a lot of work­ing an­i­ma­tion writ­ers out in L.A., so I linked up with them and be­gan writ­ing and pitch­ing some of my own an­i­mated se­ries around town (with no luck). One night, I ran­domly ran into an old friend from high school who told me he worked at ka-chew, the com­mer­cial an­i­ma­tion di­vi­sion of Klasky Csupo. He men­tioned that they may have an open­ing for a biz de­vel­op­ment po­si­tion there, and I asked if I could put my name in the hat. He put me in touch with his boss and I con­vinced him to take a chance on hir­ing me to build up ka-chew’s an­i­mated com­mer­cial busi­ness — I got to work with ad agen­cies and an­i­ma­tors, which was the per­fect way in and led to many more fan­tas­tic op­por­tu­ni­ties down the road. What do you hope you’ll see at the mar­ket? I al­ways hope that I can find that project which stops me in my tracks from a vis­ual stand­point. Af­ter that, I hope that the char­ac­ters are well de­fined and that there is a cre­ator with a strong vi­sion be­hind the idea. Cur­rently, I’m also look­ing for projects that seem like they could have a broad reach across other busi­nesses at Ama­zon. Big­gest Red Flag when some­one is pitch­ing you: They be­gin with the big con­cept and the merch plan first, and treat their char­ac­ters and story as an af­ter­thought. Fa­vorite show of the mo­ment: I’m about 20 sea­sons be­hind most se­ries right now, and there is so much fan­tas­tic con­tent out there. I’m cur­rently watch­ing and re­ally en­joy­ing Bo­jack Horse­man. New an­noy­ing trend in the biz: I don’t find trends an­noy­ing. There can be power in trends and if an idea or con­cept is res­onat­ing, I think it’s wise to pay at­ten­tion to it. But I do think that chas­ing a trend is a slip­pery slope. Once you do that, you’re au­to­mat­i­cally in a weaker po­si­tion if you can’t find your own way to make it stand out from what al­ready ex­ists. That be­ing said, I am try­ing to wrap my brain around the un­box­ing trend! Which an­i­mated char­ac­ter would you love to meet and why? Ren from Ren & Stimpy. The way his char­ac­ter fluc­tu­ated through pure un­bri­dled rage, joy and ut­ter dev­as­ta­tion at any mo­ment com­pletely blew my mind. He changed my POV of how an an­i­mated char­ac­ter was “sup­posed” to act and got me ex­cited about an­i­ma­tion. Fa­vorite drink: De­pends on whether it’s a break­fast, lunch or din­ner meet­ing! ◆

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