Sarah Kambara: Building Connections
Ringling College of Art and Design’s major benefit to many incoming students and new graduates is its ability to connect them with future employers. Sarah Kambara, Business of Art and Design (BOAD) ’14 and a producer at Chromosphere Design and Animation Studio in Los Angeles, was one of those beneficiaries. We recently talked about Ringling’s relationships with industry, the importance of mentors, and staying true to your vision.
On the Ringling-to-real world pipeline:
Ringling had such good connections; so many recruiters visit campus and the College brings in a lot of good speakers from creative industries. I was a transfer student, and when I saw Ringling’s relationships with employers I knew that was a huge opportunity. I knew I could get an internship and that I would have a decent shot at getting a job. BOAD focuses on production management, how to manage artists, and working on team projects with other artists. By taking studio courses, I gained insight into the workflow of artists and an understanding of the creative process. That knowledge allowed me to feel comfortable going into the creative industry and communicating with and managing artists.
On mentors and influences:
Lisa Moody was my main mentor in producing; she took me under her wing and I worked with her in ART Network, Ringling’s official student-operated campus television network. She shared a lot about her experience as a producer. Wanda Chaves also had a very inspirational impact on my life. She got me to ask myself, “Who do I need to be as a person to be a manager?” She taught me how to respect people.
On 2020’s biggest challenges and necessary adaptations:
Some of our clients were in the beginning stages of their projects. They came to us and said they weren’t sure if funding would work due to COVID-19, and that they would talk to us later. We saw a lot of that timing turning into six to eight months later. So, with a maximum of twenty artists at my studio, we prioritized the internal artists first and spread the work across them to keep them employed.
We were approached about projects that didn’t always fit with our philosophy, but would provide additional work if we took them. However, the Chromosphere philosophy is to be passionate about only doing work we enjoy. The owner doesn’t just take on content to make money. So, if work came in that didn’t fit with who we are, even this year , we turned it down. I appreciate that philosophy.
On “A Day In The Life” of a Producer:
Chromosphere is an art and design studio. We do visual development, character art, and environment design for TV shows, short films, and commercials. We do pre- to post-production, from design to compositing. We work with clients from a variety of networks including Netflix and Cartoon Network, as well as with game and tech/interactive-focused studios. In the initial client meeting, we listen to their needs and vision, then the director of production and I work out budgeting and scheduling for the project bid. We take client specifications and then budget according to their needs, tracking each part of the production and making sure it’s completed and reviewed. I liaise with clients, get their approval, and work with artists.
Advice for current Ringling students:
Figure out your focus at Ringling because the art world can be small when you get a job. If you want to focus on 3D modeling, then get that experience and build your portfolio at Ringling. If I hadn’t focused on production management, I wouldn’t have gotten the job at Disney. Know your aspirations and goals, but don’t get too obsessive about them. Sometimes opportunities don’t come right away, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t coming. And sometimes you will understand later that you had other talents and contributions to offer, even if you didn’t meet your goals at that time.
Works: Producer, Chromosphere Design and Animation Studio
Highlights: 2018 Winner, Daytime Emmy Award, Outstanding Preschool Children’s Animated Series: A Storybots Christmas; 2020 Winner, Daytime Emmy Award, Outstanding Preschool Children’s Animated Series: Ask The Storybots
Experience: Jib-Jab, Pixar, Walt Disney Animation Studios