Saturday, November 6, 2010

Letters Of Note

Over a year ago I got a letter in the mail from a young man just starting out in the world. He was currently in the airforce but secretly loved cartoons. I could tell right away that it was much then just a passing interest for him, since he had so many drawings by different animators and speaked of animation with such passion.

I took out a paper and pencil, did my best to convince him to follow his dream. Mailing the letter I thought that was the end of it. A few months back I started getting emails about how inspiring my letter was to Willie. In the halls at Pixar co-workers would stop me and told me they read my letter. I gotta admit in this digital age of facebook and twitter, I felt like is there anything not private anymore? But then after reading the comments and emails I've gotten these last few months about how it inspired them as well, I was a bit taken back.

Thank you all for such nice words you've been sending, I'm really touched. I wanted to be a animator so bad that I knew if I ever made this impossible dream a reality, I would turn around once I climbed that mountain and yell to everyone else 'You Can Do It!'

You Can Do It - whatever your mountain may be :)
From the website
the letter to Willie
Since the letter, Willie and I have met.
Nice shirt Willie :)


  1. thank you, Aaron!
    It's really encouragingly, perhaps also because you're not the only one saying these words – all the professional animators and artists say this in there books: beginning with walt stenchfield, andrew loomis, Frank Thomas/Ollie Johnston and even Shawn Kelly... and now, the (for me) most popular face in the Pixar Animation Team says this, too... THANK YOU!

    and... yes, there is another person you might know, who said it, even if you weren't working at Pixar then: Anton Ego – remember him? The critic in Ratatouille, he said "Not everyone can become an artist, but an artist can come from everywhere"... don't know, who got the idea for this dialog line or this film, but sitting there and hearing this in a Pixar Movie... I mean, I'm living in Germany, so there is not much movie- or animation industry here, and Pixar seemed to be so far away... but hearing this in a Pixar movie was like getting invited to work at Pixar after finishing my degree! :)
    Thank you! :)

    I starting to believe you, really... can't wait until entering in your studio and joining the pixar team! *dream*

  2. Wow, thank you so much for posting this. The past few weeks I've been seriously giving up on animation dream and going INTO the Air Force. That just gave me the kick the right direction and the motivation to keep working for it.

  3. Hey Aaron!
    Thanks for this awesome post, it was great to see this today. You know, when I got that letter a year ago, I was at a point in my life where I wasn't sure what I should do. I dreamed of being an animator and sent hours looking at the Animation Mentor website wishing that is the school I was going to...but I had already spent a year going to school to be a pilot and had spent a lot of money to do that, but had also found out over that time that being a pilot is not what I always wanted to do. It's not what I had a passion for and dreamed about doing. I didn't enjoy anything about it. It took your encouraging words to come off that paper and speak to me and encourage me to live my dream and to go after it. I could not be happier with my decision to do so and I am absolutely loving Animation Mentor in every way! Thank you for being the awesome person that you are to take the time to write to some random guy and encourage him to follow his dream. When I posted your letter on my blog, I just wanted to share it with others so they could hopefully get the same encouragement that I got- no matter what dream they had, they could believe that they too can have that dream come true if they don't give up. Now, thanks to 'Letters of Note', and a few other bloggers that have found your letter and written about it, your letter has inspired and encouraged so many thank you. Thank you for everything. It was so awesome to meet you during my time in California and thanks so much for your great tour of Pixar, it is a day I will never forget. A tour of Pixar and getting accepted to Animation Mentor in the same day is something truly magical for me. Oh, and thanks for the comment about the shirt, I agree, it's a great shirt! :)

  4. Hey Aaron. I watched the commentary of Toy Story 3 and you were mentioned! Though you probably already know this. Watching that commentary made me want to work at Pixar 1000 times more. I dream of being a story board artist there. I love writing and I love drawing and animation, and story board artist has such a wonderful combination of the two. That letter is so much more inspiring. I am still in high school, and I am going to work and do everything in my power and then some to hopefully work there in any position one day. :D Thank you for writing such an inspiring letter. - From a devoted animation and Pixar fan.

  5. Great post. I know Willie, I had some classes with him when he was gonna be a pilot, great guy. Thanks for sending out encouragement to people. Some people just plain don't think they are worth anything, and need that extra encouragement.
    Keep up the good work, and thanks for devoting a blog to Willie!

  6. Thank you Sir Aaron for everything :)

  7. This is so so warming and encouraging. Wonderful.

  8. I remember reading this a while back and it really empowered me. Thanks Aaron and good luck with AM Willie!! I love your passion and drive, you will do great things in animation!

  9. Wow, what a great post Aaron, and good luck Willie!

    A close friend of mine goes to Animation Mentor, and I love how dedicated all teachers seem to be (from her stories). I wish more teachers were as motivating as you and the other AMs! That's for sharing!