Bio: Poulomi Mukherji is an independent filmmaker, director, and animator dabbling in every project she can get her hands on. She currently works for the Yale University Center for Emotional Intelligence directing a series of educational animated shorts for their online learning platform entitled RULER. Her videos are meant to teach both students and teachers about Emotional Intelligence to develop a healthier and more efficient learning environment in schools. In addition to that, she works as a freelance commercial storyboard artist and stop-motion fabricator on various projects and shows such as the emmy award-winning sketch comedy Robot Chicken. Her independent animated short Silhouette City has garnered her recognition in various film festivals and has won the 2nd Place King Award at the First Run Film Festival. Her mind is a messy database of whimsical characters and worlds, and her passion is to bring them to life with her artwork and stories.
How did you get into the industry?
I attended NYU and originally majored in Economics. Mid-way through college I internally transferred to Tisch School of the Arts to major in Film and TV with a concentration in animation. After graduating, I continued to work on my personal film as well as freelance for various places such as Hornet, NBC, and Spotify.
Any Industry Trends?
There is a long overdue shift to more inclusive content in the entertainment industry, and marginalized people have a much easier time getting their work produced and noticed. With all the various streaming services, more niche content can be developed and storytellers have a lot more creative autonomy with their work. Although there is so much content being developed with different stories and methods of storytelling, it is a time of cancel-culture. Several shows are cut after just its first season and productions halt near completion. I think regardless, it’s a great time to be in the entertainment industry since the opportunities feel limitless.
Any industry opportunities or challenges?
There’s no clear path or outline when you enter the entertainment business. It’s not a linear approach like in some industries where you go to college, get a degree, and subsequently get a job. A lot of times I moved laterally or didn’t have commercial work so I worked on my personal projects. It’s important to always keep learning whether it’s through work at a studio or by yourself. Another challenging aspect is that a lot of the jobs in Animations are obtained through connections. It’s important to stay connected to your piers and go beyond just building your artistic skills and improve your personal skills as well.
Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?
I want to be able to tell stories that instill a sense of wonder and excitement in the audience.
What's next for the Business in the near future?
I would like to eventually take on less freelance work and get a job as a storyboard artist, and I’m also working on a personal comic.
Ideal experience for a customer/client?
Before I went to school for animation, I had no idea how much work went into it. It’s a tedious and heavily time-consuming process, and can each phase of completion looks nowhere near the final product. The best experiences I have with clients I direct animated shorts for is to have them excited for each step of the process and to ensure that we both have an understanding of the direction we are heading. It’s almost like there’s story-telling in the process of storytelling. I have to make each step of the process presentable and enjoyable. It’s an amazing feeling to make someone’s idea into a finished product.
How do you motivate others?
I try my best to build up excitement in my projects, and I put in a lot of extra work and care in the hopes that others do the same. I think it’s also important to make others feel like their efforts aren’t wasted if they are not performing as well as they would like. I don’t think learning is a linear process and there are so many winding paths to become a better artist and story-teller.
Career advice to those in your industry?
You have to be persistent and wildly optimistic to be working in film and television. It’s important to consistently work on your craft and build up confidence in yourself so people know they can rely on you to get the job done. I think kindness and having a sense of empathy and understanding with your peers is also a key to having a successful career. Being a good person to work with is really important in this industry since so much of getting a job is through experience and recommendation rather than just talent.