The Hero’s Journey of Grant Whitsitt

What is the best thing that I love about my work?

The ability to tell any story, out of the endless possibilities, is what drives me to work in entertainment. Our uniquely human ability to weave together stories that help us collaborate and shape our world is our greatest strength. Thought is future action; imagination is the way in which we put ourselves in the stars by thinking it into existence.

What is my idea of perfect happiness?

I think perfect happiness is a state when expectations are aligned with reality. I try to reach this state as often as I can by working hard at what I love, while keeping in mind that nothing I can create will ever love me as much as my family and friends.

What is my greatest fear?

My greatest fear is not offering the world something to hold onto when I’m inevitably gone. I’m not interested in being remembered as much as I am creating something or some ideal worth remembering. I just think, since I was given my existence, that it should give something back.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself?

My laziness. I fear not ultimately creating what I set out to create, which makes for a habit of hesitation and procrastination.

Which living persons in my profession do i most admire?

A ton of artists in my field deserve my admiration, and they have it. But off the cuff, I really enjoy Felix Colgrave’s process, Nick Cross’s style, and Justin Roiland’s sense of humor.

What is my greatest extravagance?

If I’m ever really splurging, it’s usually on travel, food, or a record/print I don’t need. It doesn’t take much to make me happy, so I try to view extravagant spending as a purely experiential deal.

On what occasion would I lie?

I think everyone has a right to a certain level of privacy as long as what’s being kept private is not malicious or harmful. So I would probably lie about why I was late meeting with a friend if I was held up with another friend for longer than I intended – something like that.

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work?

The work I’ve produced so far tends to be too childish for my liking (though I’m grateful for all the work I’ve been given). I’d love to start working more in adult/experimental animation, and writing/directing for film further in the future. I want to break into a more raw realm of storytelling, because I want to tell stories that creep into the more fragile places of people’s minds and help them reflect on their deepest issues. Children’s entertainment is wonderful, but I do have messages for more audiences. Mostly, I dislike my own hesitations, whatever the reasons, to begin creating something I know I want to create.

When and where was I the happiest, in my work?

The happiest I’ve ever been in my work was when I was directing my short film, “Jumpin’ Jack”, at SCAD in Savannah, Georgia. Until I’m writing/directing again, I don’t know if anything in my career could compare to that experience (though I’m always open to and actively seeking new collaborative experiences that would top it).

If I could, what would I change about myself?

For one, I would make my personality more autotelic. I would like to regain that thrilling sense of fulfillment in everyday tasks, engaging and challenging myself more on the regular. Small, consistent steps make up the success of a large goal, and I feel like it’s easy for me to get so lost in the big picture of my life that I often forget about the day-to-day details.

What is my greatest achievement in work?

I would consider my greatest personal achievement to be my short film, “Jumpin’ Jack”, but as far as my career goes, being a Storyboard Revisionist on Cartoon Network’s “Care Bears” takes the cake. Having the opportunity to fill a storyboard-related role so early in my life has been a very fulfilling experience.

What do the words ‘The Financial Freedom to Create’ mean to me?

That means everything to me. I think that’s the ultimate aim of any creative or explorative person: to wholeheartedly follow their curiosity wherever it takes them with full peace of mind, having all the resources necessary to follow it. In another way, it means that people believe in your work, which is always encouraging.

Where would I most like to live?

I would most like to live somewhere warm and sunny that provides a compromise between a competitive animation job market and a manageable proximity to my family and friends in Tennessee. Hopefully, remote positions will become more of a thing in the coming years, which would afford artists in this industry the luxury of not having to uproot themselves every year or so to avoid contract gaps.

What is my most treasured possession?

Either my “Watchmen” print signed by Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons, and John Higgins from 1987, or my “Looney Tunes: Pepe In Tulips” print signed by Chuck Jones from 1989.

What is my most marked characteristic?

My “passion”, as my friends call it (my tendency to get way too worked up about any topic that’s presented to me). Apparently, I seem to be able to have one million opinions on any given thing. It’s sometimes entertaining, but always exhausting.

What is my most inspirational location, in my city?

The most inspiring place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, to me, is Point Pleasant Park. Getting lost on a walk there usually clears everything up.

What is my favourite place to eat and drink, in my city?

Kee Heong Cantonese Bakery’s dim sum is my all-time favorite comfort food (don’t leave without getting the pan fried crispy shrimp dumplings and a lotus leaf sticky rice), and I think Unfiltered Brewing is the ~chillest~ bar in the city.

What books influenced my life and how?

“Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman, “Sapiens” by Yuval Noah Harrari, and “The Order of Time” by Carlo Rovelli are some of my favorite reads. I love reading about human behavior and psychology, time and space, and natural history. I’m very excited to read “Behave” by Robert Sapolsky for the same reasons, and I’m currently enjoying “Why We Sleep” by Matthew Walker a lot. If story is where entertainment and education meet, then educating myself on the topics that fascinate me is the first – and probably most important – step of my process. A solid story has solid bones.

Who are my favorite writers?

Any of the aforementioned authors qualify for this, but I think I connect most with the writing style of Yuval Noah Harrari. The range of information he’s able to cover in just a few statements is bewildering, and he somehow does it while making me laugh at the same time.

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day?

I would start with the Voyager Golden Record to put everything into perspective, moving on to old jazz and classical for most of the day to really zen out and embrace death, and finish with songs that remind me of my loved ones: family songs would be old southern gospel hymns mixed with classic rock, like “I’ll Fly Away” and Boston’s self-titled album; albums by The Dangerous Summer, Hrvrd, From Indian Lakes, and A Great Big Pile of Leaves to remind me of all the good times my friends; and “Loving You” by Jonathan Wilson, “Archie, Marry Me” by Alvvays, “Dead Sea” by The Lumineers, “Got To Get You Into My Life” by The Beatles, and “Yes I’m Changing” Tame Impala for Sarah.

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction?

If I had to pick just one, it might be Gerald McBoing Boing (“Gerald McBoing Boing”). Runners-up would include Rust Cohle (“Trust Detective”), Arnold P. Shortman (Hey, Arnold!”), Arthur Morgan (“Red Dead Redemption II”), and Doug (“Up”).

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life?

Mom, Dad, Nana, and Papa. They raised me to be who I am, and have always supported and believed in me. I’ve watched a lot of very talented people in life not have the support of their family, and while they still do very well and are happy people, the extra hurdle and pain of that can be a great hindrance. I’m just very lucky to have the support that I do, and they are my heroes for that. Also, I have to mention my most influential artistic mentors here: Libby Lynch and Troy Gustafson.

Which movie would I recommend to see once in a lifetime?

Funny enough, this is an easy one: “Interstellar”, directed by Christopher Nolan. I owe a lot to that movie; not to be dramatic, but I think it actually changed the course of my artistic life.

What role plays art in my life and work?

Art plays the role of a simulator in my life. I often discover more about who I want to be and how I want to think through observing other situations of how I could be living. TV shows, movies, songs, games, books – and even watching sports – all work as simulators for me.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime?

Fan and sponsor, my parents. Partner(s) in crime, Sarah and great friends.

Whom would I like to work with in 2019?

I don’t really care who I work with this year; I only ask that they respect me as much as they expect to be respected. Pretty much anyone can learn any skill with enough time, but not everyone can learn how to be a decent human being it seems. This industry demands close quarters with, and long exposure to, your team, so, I’d rather work with someone who works well with others, even if they’re not technically the best at the job yet.

Which people in my profession would i love to meet in 2019?

Again, as far as people I’m going to work with goes, I’m not as much concerned with who I meet this year as much as I am concerned with their professionalism. I just want to meet people that know how to shake things up and think far outside the box, while still keeping a level enough head to remain, respectfully, in the industry.

What project, in 2019, am I looking forward to work on?

I’ve had this idea for an illustrated book called “Life is Ard” based on a character I developed during Inktober in 2016, and I’m hoping to make some major progress on that this year. However, my heart is really in collaborative projects, so I may end up focusing more on of those.

Where can you see me or my work?

You can find anything you need to know about me and my work at:

www.grantwhitsitt.com

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me?

It means I’m going to be creating stories until I’m dead. The minute you stop doing what gives you life, you become lifeless, right?

How can you contact me?

I can be contacted, preferably, via email at:

grantwhitsitt@gmail.com

 

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