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December 01
2020

ISSUE

Web Exclusive

Vision Quest – The Power of Trusting Your Voice: Karen Dufilho

Insights from Karen Dufilho’s Ask Me Anything: VFX Pros Tell All webcast held in October 2019.

Academy and Emmy award-winning producer Karen Dufilho has been working at the intersection of story, animation and innovation for almost two decades. From early on, Dufilho was attracted to artists who could create new worlds, and wanted to lend her talents to bold and unique storytelling. She helmed the Shorts Division at Pixar Animation Studios, overseeing its acclaimed original production slate, and went on to serve as Executive Producer at Google Spotlight Stories, where she was instrumental in introducing immersive, narrative content and producing groundbreaking short films.

I’m obsessed with stories and the people who tell them. I’ve had the great opportunity to support and enable a range of talent and projects through new tech, new thinking and new platforms. Most recently that’s included telling stories in 360 and VR. But at the end of the day, there’s nothing like creating something out of nothing, building a world, putting on a show.

Karen Dufilho, Executive Producer, Google Spotlight Stories

“Trust that your voice is unique and belongs here; you will find an audience.”

I didn’t really have a mentor coming up and I always felt that was missing. I definitely had support from people I worked with, and took every opportunity I could. But it takes a concerted energy, and an openness, to put someone else’s success and growth on your own to-do list. So it is a big priority for me to incorporate mentoring into my daily workflow and how I think about my own professional long-term strategy.

The creative voices producing content and making decisions should be a reflection of our audience. Things are shifting, probably not enough, and there’s a lot more work to do. The lack of diversity in our business is an entrenched problem. If you’re not actively working to change things and be part of the future, or to realign people in the exchange of new ideas, or to bring other points of view into your work and your teams, then you’re doing it wrong.

From a corporate standpoint, diversity is essential. It’s about creating a space where everyone can thrive and create work that reflects and amplifies the real world that we are all living in. And the bottom line (however you measure that) will reflect that as well. The truth is, everyone’s ready.

My advice to aspiring professionals: Trust that your voice is unique and belongs here; you will find an audience. There are so many more places and platforms to share your work and aggregate fans and followers, so build it, nurture it, grow your army of fans – therein lies your power. I see emerging new creative artists embracing this changing landscape in stride…have tenacity and grit, and be that unstoppable force. And remember that it truly takes a village to bring visions to life, so maintain that sense of awe and respect for your peers and collaborators.

To watch the whole discussion with Karen Dufilho below:

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