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Blog . Alumni Stories: Noah Cutwright '18

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Alumni Stories: Noah Cutwright '18

04/11/24  |  Posted by Anthony Scalmato  |  Posted in Animation

Animation alum Noah Cutwright , class of 2018, discusses his career and time at CIA.

Where do you live and what are you doing to stay creative these days?

Currently, I live in Los Angeles and my main source of creativity these days is drawing a weekly comic strip called The Carsons. I’m also writing and directing a 22-minute pilot based on the strip. I raised money on Kickstarter to produce the pilot back in 2021 and I’m working with a small team of artists (many of whom are CIA graduates) to finish getting it made. All while picking up whatever freelance I can and working my day job as a Showrunner’s Assistant on American Dad!

What’s been your most satisfying professional accomplishment since attending CIA?

I think my most satisfying professional accomplishment since attending CIA has been working on shorts for Comedy Central’s social media pages. They gave me complete creative freedom to write, cast, and produce all the shorts myself and it was nice to be given the space to exercise my full creativity on such a massive stage. One of the shorts, centering around a one-night stand, went viral several times over and seeing people respond to it and think it was funny was a treat.

What are your creative/professional goals for the future?

I hope I get the opportunity to continue to write and develop my own ideas in ways that lead me to have my own animated series or put me in the director’s chair for an animated feature. I love the experiences I’ve had working on so many different projects across various companies, but nothing gives me the same artist’s high that seeing a project from beginning to end does. I love that feeling of starting with nothing and ending up with something that audiences can connect with and be entertained by.

How did CIA help prepare you for your current role?

At CIA I was put in a lot of positions that I don’t think I would have had if I hadn’t attended. I got the chance to work on a Care Bears series of shorts for YouTube and got the chance to produce my own short film as a senior thesis that really kickstarted my love of directing and producing. I think the biggest thing it taught me though was that incorporating your own identity into your work is so critical to becoming a better artist. When I first got into the animation program, I remembered I struggled because I was looking at my assignments more as exercises rather than actual works of art. It wasn’t until I began incorporating my unique creative voice into the assignments that I found myself growing, and my professors encouraged this. I was having fun making art again, which is how it always should be.

Was there a specific piece of instruction or advice you received from a faculty member that's proven especially helpful? If so, please share what it was and who provided it.

I think the biggest piece of instruction I got came from being in my Acting & Directing class with Jeff Simonetta and Lincoln Adams. It was in that class that I realized that animation is supposed to be fun, and the energy that they both asked me to bring to my assignments completely changed the way I approached instruction. I realized that if I wanted to care enough to improve the more technical aspects of my work, I had to start creating art that mattered to me. I had to figure out my artistic groove and what kind of artist I wanted to be, and this class gave me the freedom to figure out what that was.

What's your fondest memory of being a part of the CIA community?

My fondest memories had to be working on our senior thesis films. Artists tend to be shy and a bit introverted, but I felt like that year we had all bonded through that shared experience of being in the trenches and trying to make a great film. We would stay up late in the studios with our laptops and computers, have pizza nights, watch bad movies and just support each other while we poured our heart and souls into our work. It helped me form bonds so strong that I still carry with me to this day, and it’s probably the thing I’m most grateful for having attended CIA.

What advice might you offer to current or prospective CIA students interested in charting a career path similar to yours?

Make things that you yourself would want to see. Trust in your ideas and make them happen. I truly believe that when you believe in an idea that strongly, not only does it make you want to be a good enough artist to do it justice; it also resonates with the audience you’ve made it for. Because if you love something that much, odds are someone else will love it too.

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