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Following a hugely successful launch of the Pablo Academy, we are so excited to welcome three new applicants to the very first Pablo Academy.
We will be celebrating their journeys with us over the next while. First up is Derry Luttrell.
We asked Derry what he is most looking forward to as part of the Pablo Academy and how he found the application process.
1. Tell us how and when you first gained an interest in the animation industry.
I’ve always been into drawing comics– have been since I read Captain Underpants as a kid. I eventually went to art school to try to learn more about comics, and part of the course was animation. When I animated my first rough bouncing ball, it was like something clicked in me– like an electric spark that woke me up and told me “Hey, you REALLY like doing this!”.
2. How did you find the application process, was it different to applying to any other positions (if applicable)?
The one thing I found extremely helpful in the application process was the fact that questions for interviews were sent ahead of time. This was fantastic for me, because when I’m asked a question, sometimes I’ll have really bad brain fog that totally stops me from replying, which makes me look like I don’t know when I’m doing, when really, I just had a bit of mental overload trying to answer. With that, I was able to write down scripts to read out, and that helped me interview so much more comfortably!
3. What are you most looking forward to in the Pablo Academy?
I’m really looking forward to getting some of my first industry experience. It feels like it’s an important first step, so being able to have this opportunity is hugely exciting.
4. How do you think the first phase of the Pablo Academy will change perceptions of autism in the animation industry?
I’m hoping that the industry will consider having more equitable interviewing practices, like the ones Pablo Academy has had so far and mentioned earlier. That would seriously be a huge help for any neurodivergent applicants.
5. Do you think you can bring any new perspectives to your placement at Paper Owl Films? What are they?
I don’t know! I hope so! Really, I don’t think being neurodivergent makes us different or special, we just have different needs. I might have brain fog if I’m stressed and need to think hard, but on the other hand, I can work as well as anyone else when you put a task in front of me. So, I suppose that perspective change I’d like to take is “really, we’re pretty similar to everyone else”.
6. What do you think neurotypical people could learn from their autistic colleagues?
I’d say that they could learn that just because someone can’t, for example, hold eye contact or misses social cues, doesn’t make them weird or strange. A bit of patience goes a long way! On top of that, there’s no one-shoe-fits-all for neurodivergent people. I, for example, don’t have autism- I have pretty heavy ADHD, which shares some but not all symptoms. Don’t assume anything!
7. From what you have experienced so far, how do you think workplaces can be more accessible to young people on the autism spectrum?
Working from home is a big plus, since it helps you keep things familiar and not worry too much about social encounters aside from set scheduled ones or unwanted noise. Sure, the office is wonderful if you like it, but being able to do this from home makes the whole situation so accessible.
The entire Paper Owl Team wish Derry and his fellow Pablo Academy participants the very best over the next few weeks. Stay tuned for our follow up series where we will check in with Derry at the end of the Academy to see what he learned as part of the experience.