LMU’s Animation Club hosted a Q&A panel featuring screenwriter Shakira Pressley on Friday at 8:00 p.m. This was the second panel hosted by the Animation Club in the spring semester and was moderated by the club’s president, Camille Bautista. The event was easily accessible as it did not require attendees to RSVP, and the Zoom link was available on LEO.
The event featured Shakira Pressley, who has written for popular shows like "Craig of the Creek" and "The Unaccompanied Runaways, as well as has freelanced for Disney. Pressley is currently working on Netflix’s "Battle Kitty" series. The one-hour panel consisted of Bautista asking Pressley questions related to her journey in the industry, sources of inspiration, advice to aspiring writers and personal opinions on animation. Towards the end of the session, attendees were given the opportunity to ask Pressley questions.
The event began with Bautista briefly introducing Pressley and asking her about her journey in the animation and screenwriting industry. On her first encounter with animation and writing, Pressley explained, “I would draw and write web-comics with my brother and we would post them online and not think anything of it. Eventually, a teacher came to me and asked me if I wanted to be a writer and I didn’t think it was an option, but I was like, "Sure, and then I went to college in Atlanta where I majored in screenwriting.”
She proceeded to explain that she was offered her first animation job as a freelance writer on the 2016 version of “Ben 10” by a producer she encountered at the Emerald City Comic Con. On favorite genres of stories to write, Pressley commented, “I always like writing action and adventure stories, but I also like anime.”
She then proceeded to give advice to aspiring writers and suggested that they should avoid incorporating clichés like social media trends, trivial “easy-laughs,” and stereotypical tropes in their writing. She also provided lifestyle advice: maintain good posture while working and form a support group with friends to help deal with burnouts.
The panel was very informative as Pressley provided a comprehensive perspective of the industry; she spoke about its good and bad aspects. Pressley said she found deadlines set by producers and keeping assets in mind while writing particularly challenging aspects but followed up by mentioning that everyone’s opinions are respected in the industry and that writers in animation get paid well. Bautista ended the Q&A session by asking Pressley her favorite project she has worked on, to which Pressley responded, “'My Dad the Bounty Hunter,' it’s going to be a Netflix show and it just got announced.”
Overall, the panel was engaging and felt very personal due to its informal and candid nature. The ethos of the event resembled that of a light-hearted talk show. It was also very informative for someone wishing to pursue a career in animation or screenwriting as it provided a professional’s insight into the industry.