At age 10, Ashley J. Long attended an animation workshop at the Disney Studios in Florida. Since then, she’s strived to follow a path that would land her a job in the industry. And her hard work has paid off. At the beginning of Long’s third season at Fox Television Animation in Los Angeles, she was promoted to storyboard artist for the animated series American Dad.
“It’s both thrilling and satisfying to know that I’m literally living my childhood dream,” said Long. “I also enjoy the people I work with. Our staff is diverse in terms of background, age, education and personal style, but generally everyone has a great sense of humor and anything we do as a group leads to great fun.”
Originally Long was hired as a production assistant in the animatics department and was promoted to storyboard revisionist before becoming a storyboard artist. She is officially considered part of the American Dad staff and works exclusively for the show during the production season. Occasionally she does some of the show’s character design and prop design. She assists with another popular animated series, Family Guy, when Long is on her annual hiatus.
Outside of Fox, Long is a segment producer and content contributor for a web show called S.H.E. tv, made by an all female owned and operated lifestyle company, Sugar Hooker Entertainment www.sugarhooker.com. She has created animated logo segments, dressed their live action set, hosted a "How-To" craft segment and designed and built the miniature set for the show's intro.
In 2008, Long began fabricating and selling plush toys called Wumplings. She describes them as cutesy monsters or mutant animals, each hand sewn and made from recycled/ repurposed fabrics and trims. They can be viewed at www.justatoilet.com/wumplings. She also enjoys costume design and mask making.
A native of the Quad Cities area in Illinois, Long left her hometown after graduating from high school. She wanted to attend a college that offered a foundation in animation and would broaden the experience she had already gained through workshops and personal projects. She chose CCS where she eventually graduated as valedictorian.
“I was fortunate to study under David Chai and Steve Stanchfield, the department’s core traditional animation professors,” said Long. “They consistently challenged me to work outside my comfort zone and had lots real world wisdom and industry stories to share.
“One of my fondest memories was attending the Kalamazoo Animation Festival with Dave, Steve, and a team of my classmates. We had one week to produce an animated PSA, during which we lived (ate, slept, showered) in the Kalamazoo campus buildings. It was like a road trip, academic bowl, and spring break all rolled in one.
“Another time, a team of us drove down to Chicago to shoot our short film on a real animation stand. We literally worked all day, departed for Detroit at one in the morning, and then ran out of gas in the middle of nowhere in the freezing February temperatures. Dave called AAA, Steve ran down the highway for gas, and the other student and I worked to keep the animation cels warm for fear they might crack in the cold. It was a crazy situation, but we actually got back in time for me to attend my morning class.”
For now, Long is enjoying her career at Fox and taking advantage of the opportunity to establish connections with others working in the industry.
“I used to have really concrete plans for the future, but if my first years in the industry have shown me anything, it’s that the industry doesn’t care about your plans,” she said. “Shows get cancelled, unions go on strike, budgets get cut—all of these things are out of the individual’s control.
“I’ll be in Los Angeles as long as there’s work to be found, and the relationships I’m forming here at Fox will keep me in the loop of animators for projects to come. I figure the best thing I can do is always deliver the best work I can give, be fun to work with, and take things as they come.”
- Graduation Year: 2005
- Major: Entertainment Arts
- Employer: Fox Television Animation
- Title: Storyboard Revisionist
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