Shion Takeuchi

Animation Magazine - - RIS­ING STARS -

Cre­ator, In­side Job, Net­flix

Shion Takeuchi, the cre­ator and showrun­ner of Net­flix’s up­com­ing an­i­mated se­ries In­side Job, knew she wanted to pur­sue a ca­reer in an­i­ma­tion when she saw her first pen­cil test at the School of Visual Arts’ sum­mer pro­gram. “It was in­cred­i­ble to see my draw­ings brought to life, and up un­til then I re­ally had no con­cept that you could make a liv­ing as an artist in an­i­ma­tion,” says the tal­ented 31-year old. “Af­ter that, I im­me­di­ately be­gan plot­ting on my cam­paign to ask my par­ents if I could go to art school. Luck­ily, they were very sup­port­ive!”

Af­ter study­ing char­ac­ter an­i­ma­tion at CalArts, Takeuchi landed a job as a sto­ry­board artist on Car­toon Net­work’s pop­u­lar se­ries Reg­u­lar Show,

which led to more op­por­tu­ni­ties on shows such as Grav­ity

Falls, We Bare Bears and Dis­en­chant­ment, as well as story

artist gigs on Pixar’s Mon­sters

Univer­sity and In­side Out.

The in­spi­ra­tion for her up­com­ing se­ries? “When I came up with the idea for In­side Job,

the 2016 elec­tion was around the cor­ner, and it felt like a lot of re­al­ity as we knew it was go­ing off the rails,” she re­calls.

“In the past, I’d al­ways pic­tured the clas­sic Shadow Gov­ern­ment por­trayal as kind of ter­ri­fy­ing, all-pow­er­ful. I found my­self think­ing that a nice, sta­ble, hy­per-com­pe­tent shadow

ca­bal that would seam­lessly pup­peteer the world or­der might ac­tu­ally be a com­fort­ing thing, which is crazy. Of course, if hu­man be­ings are go­ing to be in charge of any­thing it’s go­ing to be a raw, chaotic, hot mess, and then

I thought, that’s a work­place com­edy I’d like to watch!”

For Takeuchi, the best thing about be­ing a showrun­ner is hav­ing so many tal­ented peo­ple around her. “I love col­lab­o­rat­ing with my team and see­ing the show and char­ac­ters take on a life of their own,” she says. “That, and the fact that my day is never bor­ing. It can be crazy, amaz­ing, horrible, won­der­ful — but never bor­ing. Some­times, a lit­tle bor­ing would be nice!”

She says she’s also for­ever grate­ful to the women who strug­gled and fought tooth and nail to break the glass ceil­ing be­fore her. “Peo­ple like Brenda Chap­man, Lau­ren Faust, Jen­nifer Yuh Nel­son and count­less more

— be­cause the in­dus­try I see today is far more wel­com­ing of fe­male creators than ever be­fore,” she notes. “Be­cause of their fight I was lucky to have ar­rived at a time where I can speak my mind, have a vi­sion that is trusted, and feel safe and val­ued, which many pi­o­neer women be­fore me never got to. We still have room for im­prove­ment as an in­dus­try, of course, but I am con­fi­dent that we are mov­ing in a pos­i­tive di­rec­tion.”

What about long-term plans? “When this show is done, I know I will des­per­ately need a va­ca­tion, a hair­cut and some new cre­ative goal to work to­wards,” she says with a smile. “But I can fig­ure that out later!”

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