- Posted by info 06 Mar
“CHIN UP” – LoveLove Films’ Animator JoAnne Salmon discusses her journey into Illustration and Treacher Collins Syndrome
“Chin Up”. The title suggested by JoAnne Salmon, one of our in-house animators at LoveLove Films. JoAnne sat down with writer Brendan to talk about becoming an animator, a dream she’s had for as long as she can remember and the effects of Treacher Collins Syndrome.
Treacher Collins Syndrome effects approximately 50,000 babies. The symptoms can consist of little to no jaw and cheekbones, eye and hearing difficulties. However, what not everyone may know is that the symptoms are only physical, and in fact outside of that, people diagnosed with ‘TCS’ are no different from anyone else.
Brendan: Would you say being diagnosed with Treacher Collins Syndrome had an impact on your passion for illustration and animation?
JoAnne: I have always loved to draw, as it has been a great way to express myself and have adventures. I love to draw myself as a hero, as I can be stronger than I feel – I can swim like a mermaid or fight like a warrior. Drawing, for me, has become a form of escapism, and I always feel better if I am stressed after I pick up a pen or paintbrush and immerse myself in self-expression!
From an early age, I used to trace the TV and draw Disney cartoons, creating my own worlds! Having Treacher Collins Syndrome means that I have a very unique view of the world (and that isn’t just because I’m short!), but I have had a lot of challenges, especially with confidence and feeling vulnerable, or feeling like an outsider because my body is different from those around me, meaning I can’t really just blend in.
Brendan: In pursuing your career, have you ever felt that Treacher Collins Syndrome and people’s response to it has affected the opportunities that have come your way?
JoAnne: well I know it’s quite unavoidable as it’s there! you can’t miss me (laughs) but I’m quite ignorant to it now, when people react to my TCS.
Working in Animation at LoveLove means I’m able to focus on my work and do the best job I can without worrying about how I’m seen. The biggest challenges I’ve faced haven’t really been to do with TCS, more just being persistent in what I want.
Brendan: So, you’ve now been working with LoveLove Films for a year, what does your role entail?
JoAnne: I’m an animator! That’s my title! I’m doing what I always wanted to!
Brendan: What have you been working on at LoveLove Films?
JoAnne: I’ve really enjoyed working across a number of projects such as Bottle Island and ‘We Save Land’ but I’ve also worked across TV adverts, Broadcast graphics, titles and a lot of really cool brand films too. That’s the thing, at LoveLove we get so many different projects in which is really fun animation wise. I also do a lot of workshops and talks with LoveLove encouraging new talent into the animation industry.
Brendan: So now, working in animation you get to do for a living what you used to do for fun!
JoAnne: It’s gonna sound so… well Disney… but it really is a dream come true! I feel so embraced by everyone around me. They want to hear what I have to say and let me try new styles and things I otherwise might not be able to do alone. It’s really collaborative!
You know that Monday feeling people talk about? I don’t get that… ever really at LoveLove. I love it!
Brendan: Is there anything you’ve worked on so far in your career you’re especially proud of?
JoAnne: Yes! ‘Bottle Island‘! our children’s TV project in development – it’s a project that is so close to my heart and something I really have put 110 per cent into. Also ‘We Save Land’ a great little short we made for a charity in Utah USA. It’s great to be with a team where everyone has a voice and the team were incredibly open to my input with both projects
Brendan: Any advice for any aspiring animators and illustrators or people with disabilities wanting to get into animation ?
JoAnne: Well I think that my story would be inspirational not only to people with Treacher Collins Syndrome, but also to people with other disabilities, women, men and well anyone that feels different.
I have learned as I have gotten older that being different is not always on the outside – it can be on the inside too, and everyone has some longing to belong and feel accepted within society. In the end, I want what everyone else wants – friendship, family, love and of course a career they love!
In regards to advice well, keep at it! Poke your head out there too! I know it’s hard but keep going! It wasn’t a straight path for me it was windy, at points very tough, so I hope that I can be encouraging for others to keep at it! as eventually you will get there!
Oh, and Chin up!
Written by Brendan Ford, BA Scriptwriting student from Bournemouth University who is currently partaking in LoveLove Films’ New Talent Placement Scheme.