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Rachael Schulz

1. What do you do, and how long have you been doing it?

I am an animator and have been animating professionally since 2016. Currently I work as a 3D animator at Bardel Entertainment Inc.

2. What was your first job?

My first paid animation job was for a small app company in Seattle, Wa. It was for them that I was able to create simple 2D graphic animations for the advertisement of their games. I was just excited to animate!

3. Where did you complete your formal education?

I graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Savannah, GA, with a BFA in Animation in 2016. SCAD also has international campuses in Hong Kong and France, and I had the opportunity to study at SCAD in Hong Kong for three months as an undergraduate as well. I highly recommend studying abroad if you have the opportunity to do so!

4. How did you first get involved with ACM SIGGRAPH?

One day I was logging on to my computer during my sophomore year of college. The computers always had random advertisements of events that occurred around the school or events that were related to the industry. So, when SIGGRAPH flashed across the screen, I was curious, and googled it. The moment I saw what it was all about, I was hooked! I applied for an SV position for the 2014 conference, and was accepted. The 2014 Vancouver conference was my first time attending and it was my first time as a student volunteer. I ended up being an SV for three years in a row. After completing my college undergraduate studies, I can look back and see how much SIGGRAPH impacted the trajectory of my career path. I learned so much concerning the film and animation industry, and I met many people who's advice has guided me to where I am today.

5. What is your favorite memory of a SIGGRAPH conference?

This is a very big question! There are so many memories that I absolutely love concerning the people that I have met and how they have inspired me through their passions. Even so, if I have to pick one, I will have to say it was the first year that I attended in 2014, particularly when I was seated in the Electronic Theater. I was transfixed after watching some mind-blowing achievements. The credits started scrolling and not one person left their seat until the credits were completely done. I was thinking, “Wow, I have found my people.”

6. Describe a project that you would like to share with the ACM SIGGRAPH community.

I would love to mention the “Science Behind Pixar” exhibit at Science World at Telus World of Science right here in Vancouver. This exhibit is very well done, displaying and describing the production pipeline so that anyone can understand how the process of an animated film works. It’s neat to see how the exhibit shows people and students that they can pursue a career that can be both artistic and technical. I recently had the chance to speak on a panel for students at this exhibit. It was very encouraging to be able to speak with the students about how they can use their unique gifts in several different fields within the film and animation industry.

7. If you could have dinner with one living or non-living person, who would it be and why?

I am sure that I am lumping myself into a giant group when I say this, but Glen Keane would be one at the top of my list. Once he came and spoke at my school while I was studying animation at SCAD. He seemed very genuine and down to earth while exhibiting his love for animation. I remember him saying that the characters that he creates already exist…his work is simply to find them so he can bring them to life. This perspective shows in his work, and it has stuck with me ever since hearing him speak in person.

8. What is something most people don’t know about you?

I have hugged a real penguin. It was pretty much life changing. 

9. From which single individual have you learned the most in your life? What did they teach you?

My parents are certainly the ones to give credit to for this question! They have been my lifelong supporters and teachers, and have continually pushed me to place myself in situations and opportunities that challenge me. My dad is so optimistic and enthusiastic when it comes to taking risks and putting oneself out there. As for my mom, she has always shown so much determination and dedication in whatever she is pursuing. They make a fantastic team!

10. Is there someone in particular who has influenced your decision to work with ACM SIGGRAPH?

After attending my first year in 2014, I could not help but come back, and the main reason has been because of the people. The motivation that they display in their endeavors, their professions, the way they pursue their work and the dreams that they believe are possible, is amazing to see. Just receiving the opportunity to be around the people that make up the ACM SIGGRAPH community is a tremendous privilege.

I also must mention my good friend Areeba Khan who I met my first year as an SV. (It was her first year as an SV as well.) Meeting her for the first time was such a blessing. To see a woman who also had the same interests and similar pursuits as I, was so very encouraging! We ended up seeing each other year after year, asking one another if the other was coming back. We pushed each other to keep attending the conference, and we ended with a wonderful friendship as a result. The opportunity to meet such inspirational people is limitless at the ACM SIGGRAPH conference!

11. What can you point to in your career as your proudest moment?

It is definitely the little successes. Days when I figure out problems that have been hanging over my head for a while, or times when I can help others in their own career paths – these are the moments that excite me and fuel me to keep reaching higher. It is exhilarating to see the little victories combine which display growth. I am in the early stages of my career, and I absolutely cannot wait to learn and grow more in my craft while collaborating with others. More importantly, I hope to use the skillset I currently have to inspire and come alongside others in their personal life journeys.