Temris Ridge has been a fixture in the Portland animation community since 2008. Her reel includes local and international favorites, like Ruby Rocket and credit animation for LAIKA’s Boxtrolls. Also a short form director, Temris’ film Zombie Fairy has over 2.6 million views on YouTube and has screened in multiple festivals, including the Northwest Animation Festival 2014 and POWfest 2015.

Temris created the charming short film Becoming in 2018 as an animated love letter to her daughter, and a beautifully observed and executed meditation on parenthood and growing up.

We caught up with Temris recently for an email  interview:

Question: What has surprised you or defied your expectations since you started your career in animation?

Answer: When you are just starting out in animation, you probably don’t know quite how your career in animation is going to pan out. What surprised me is how my experience shaped the role I ended up finding myself flourishing in. This process can be challenging, and maybe even disheartening. But when you do find your stride, you will not only learn to trust in your own abilities, but it becomes much easier to convince others of what you are capable of doing, which is essential to finding work. You may imagine yourself as a director, but realize that you wouldn’t want to step away from the role of creating the designs and animating. Or the other way around – you may imagine yourself as a designer but find yourself flourishing best in a leadership role where you coordinate and delegate. Getting experience isn’t just about practicing principles of animation – it is also about learning about yourself.

Q: Do you maintain any creative practices or hobbies outside of animation?

A: Sketching and watercolor painting.

Q: You’ve done a lot of organizing for the local animation community, from your participation on the ASIFA Portland board to organizing and participating in animation collaborations. What do you enjoy about volunteering, and is there a particular event or project that you remember fondly?

A: My previous years of volunteering with ASIFA were great for me because it launched me into connecting with the community in a way I couldn’t have done on my own. I met some lovely people and learned a lot about what it takes to help coordinate and organize events. My favorite events and projects have always been the networking and social events, and ani-jam projects where we collaborate in an animation with notecards and sharpies.

Q: What have you been working on recently that you’re excited about?

A: Vooks! I’ve been working as animation director for a very new Portland company called Vooks, which is a streaming platform for animated children’s books. We take existing books, animate the illustrations and text, which helps children develop their reading skills and encourages a love of books and reading. What’s not to love?

Q: What tools and techniques do you use to animate?

A: Mostly I use Toon Boom Harmony for character animation, but I also use Photoshop, After Effects, and I’ve been doing a little bit of personal animation work in Krita.

Q: Do you have a favorite animation director? What draws you to their work?

A: Hayao Miyazaki and Pendleton Ward. I am mostly drawn to animation where the visuals serve an authentic story, rather than creating animation with no story or feeling of authenticity. Animation without authenticity is to me little more than an affectation and a display of prowess. Animation that carries understanding and realness has a purpose and creates human connection, which is what has always drawn me to the art form.

Q:  What’s your favorite movie or TV show you’ve seen this year?

A: Of newer content, Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts. But I’ve mostly been excited to re-watch Avatar: The Last Airbender and Legend of Korra.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do to relax?

A: Play with my 4 year old daughter, work in my garden, or some other excuse to get outside and away from screens for a bit.