Nadia Ørneborg 

Graduated with a Bachelor in Animation: Computer Graphic Arts in 2017

Getting a visual development internship at Cartoon Saloon was a dream come true for me, and I clearly remember the day I got the email from our teacher Fabian with the news. It was completely unexpected and had me crying with joy all the way down to the store and back again (it was lunchtime). It continued when I talked to my mom, then with my dad… The happy tears would not stop.

I had many high expectations for my internship – all of which have been met so far. From the work the studio has done, I knew it was going to be an incredibly inspiring stay, and I knew that any project I would get to work on would be both exciting and challenging. I basically knew that I was going to learn a lot! If you are not familiar with the work Cartoon Saloon has done, I strongly suggest you Google their name as fast as your fingers can type “AMAZING”.

Social life in Kilkenny

What I did not expect was the extent of social life I would be part of during my time in tiny Kilkenny. This is always a concern for me in any new place. I need a lot of time to open up to people and my go-to reaction when faced with the horrors of unfamiliarity is always to hide in my room alone, only accompanied by comfort food and TV shows. This is somewhat dumb since I end up feeling lonely, insecure and sad when giving in to this familiar pattern. Knowing this, I made myself a promise before going to Ireland. I would take inspiration from the beautiful film “Yes Man” and join any social events if my urge to exclude myself started rumbling around in my head. My goal with this was to force myself to open up faster and of course to have as enjoyable an internship as possible.

I just want to be clear that of course this doesn’t mean I would go to EVERYTHING. Sometimes the brain and body needs rest but I would do my best to say, “fuck you comfort zone – you don’t own me.”

Luckily, three of my classmates would start their own internships at the Saloon on the same date as me. One of them, Szymon, was even on the same flight over there. We made our way from Dublin airport to Kilkenny where he had to pick up a key for his room at the studio. I decided to tag along and pay them an early visit before finding my way to the house I was staying in. Safety in numbers as they say. I was introduced to my Production Manager Nicole and the rest of the visual development team and within 45 minutes I was invited to a bar the same evening, a movie night the following day and Nicole had phoned one of my roommates who showed me to the house. Welcome!

This was the nicest start I could have wished for. Breaking the ice with co-workers is always an important step and I find it easiest to do over beer. It can be anything though. If they had invited me to join the reenactment of a medieval battle I would still have accepted.

Don't be afraid to ask or help

Doing visual development – or any area in an animated film production – is a team effort. It is important that you are not afraid to ask for help or share your work with co-workers to get feedback. It is hard to do if you haven’t talked to people beforehand or don’t know anyone to begin with. But hear me out – the biggest lesson I have learned during the first month of my internship is that your new co-workers (most likely) are people just like you. They have similar or weirder issues than you and they appreciate you asking questions and showing an interest in their work. Try to be as approachable as you can. It will eventually pay off.

Go do any activities you might be invited to or initiate some on your own. This past weekend a bunch of the other interns, some of the people working in the studio and myself have participated in movie nights, a pro-choice demonstration (my first demonstration ever) and gone on a one-day trip to the coast. It has been so much fun and I can’t wait to see what the remaining two months will bring.

Soon, we will start the first morning dance Cartoon Saloon has ever seen and hopefully it will become a tradition even after our short stay. I hope you guys find this useful or at least just slightly entertaining. Thank you to everyone at the studio who makes it so enjoyable to be a confused intern.