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.
Long now works on Comedy Central’s animated series, Brickleberry, which is produced by and features the voice of comedian Daniel Tosh.
“I'm currently working as a storyboard artist for Bento Box (the studio behind animated hits ‘Bob's Burgers’ and ‘Archer’) on ‘Brickleberry,’’ she explained. “I'm excited not only for the promotion in title, but also to make new friends and expand my colleague circle. Solid camaraderie and being able to recommend someone with confidence make all the difference in this business!”
Prior to her work on “Brickleberry,” Long spent seven years at Fox's “American Dad,” working as a storyboard revisionist, freelance prop designer and freelance character designer. In the summer of 2012, her full time department fell victim to budget cuts, and she moved on to Bento.
In addition to her career, Long continues to pursue her interest in costuming, puppet building and plush toy making. She shows in galleries and creates custom pieces for clients, both professional and individual. Recent projects include a prototype for an
interactive baby crib toy, prototypes for game board pieces and building custom puppets for an Adult Swim show pitch. Her three dimensional arts works can be seen here: www.bleidu.com/ashleyjlong
Long’s crafty side reached new heights when she competed on the Halloween episode of TLC's reality competition show "Craft Wars" in August of 2012. The show’s selected artists faced off in themed, timed challenges, using provided materials along with their own art direction and fabrication skills. Long won both the mini challenge and the master craft challenge on her episode, earning the title of "Master Craft Champion" and $10,000.00.
“It was a true thrill to win, especially since Halloween is the closest thing I have to a religious holiday,” said Long. “I'm happy to report that some of my prize money has gone
toward acquiring a proper studio space, so that I no longer have to build huge puppets on the living room coffee table.”
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.
“I still talk to Dave and Steve today, enjoy their occasional LA visits, and have been happy to correspond with their recent grads who have questions about finding work in animation.”
For now, Long is enjoying her career 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 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.”