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Helping Veterans and Native Americans Break Into the Animation Industry

Helping Veterans and Native Americans Break Into the Animation Industry

We’re excited to announce the second session of the Netflix Animation Foundations Program, a four-month mentorship initiative to help build access for underrepresented talent to better compete for entry-level roles in animation. 

For this session, we’ve partnered with Veterans in Media & Entertainment (VME) and IllumiNative who will identify up to 50 participants from the veteran and Native American communities, respectively. Those looking for more information on how to apply can do so by joining and getting involved with VME and IllumiNative.

At VME, we’re a professional association of US military veterans that connects our members to jobs and internships and provides educational and mentorship opportunities in film, television, theater, gaming, music, and more.

At IllumiNative, we’re a national, Native woman-led nonprofit dedicated to building power for Native peoples by amplifying contemporary Native voices, stories, and issues while challenging and changing the narrative about Native peoples. This program builds on the partnership forged between Netflix and IllumiNative last year, when we launched a year-long program to help support early and mid-career Indigenous producers.

The virtual Foundations Program is divided into six tracks: art and visual development, storyboarding, writing, CG/VFX, production management, and an informational track that covers part of all these disciplines. 

Participants are matched with a mentor from Netflix Animation where they receive advice on the industry, their careers, and guidance with editing and curating professionally-styled portfolios, writing samples and resumes. Additionally, mentees are invited to lectures that provide insights on the animation pipeline. This prepares participants to apply for internships, training and apprentice programs, or entry-level positions within the animation industry. 

The first session had 74 mentees chosen by the non-profits Latinx in Animation and Exceptional Minds. Valeria Valdes Cosilion, who participated in the first session, said she left the Production Group with “a wealth of knowledge” about the animation industry and production management for animation.Another participant, Yuri Pineda, said the Story Group helped her “gain a greater understanding of how to push storytelling, acting, staging, & composition within my storyboards.” And several mentees have already been hired for industry positions at companies like Marvel Studios and Diamond Game.

Through the Foundations Program, we’re excited to increase access and create more opportunities for representation. Stories like Over the Moon, Maya and the Three and Spirit Rangers, our upcoming series featuring an all-Native writers room, help us see new perspectives and bring us closer to each other. With better representation in the animation industry, we can bring more of these types of stories to the world.