Ever since Sony Pictures Animation’s widely acclaimed Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse first swung into theaters 2018, co-director Peter Ramsey has been in hot demand as a speaker at animation conferences, festivals and special programs around the world. But in a new episode of docuseries Faceplant from Million Stories Media (a free digital channel run by the Singleton Foundation for Financial Literacy and Entrepreneurship), the award-winning filmmaker opens up about the speedbumps in his own road to Oscar gold and international note.
“Everybody’s going to have ups and downs,” Ramsey says in the interview. “The ability to come back from one of those is the question.”
An established animation storyboard artist, Ramsey’s future opened up with the opportunity to take the director’s chair on DreamWorks Animation’s Rise of the Guardians (2012) — but what should have been a breakout opportunity also came with the pressure of being the studio’s first African-American director, and unfortunately turned into a setback. In the episode, he shares his experience at the time, his worries, and how he set his career back on course.
“You read these headlines on the internet like, ‘Epic Flop Casts DreamWorks’ Future into Doubt!’ and you’re like, ‘Woah! Why is my name in that paragraph?! Get it out of there!'” He recalls with a laugh. “Everybody, especially people who really try and reach for something, are gonna make mistakes.”
Watch the episode on Tuesday, Sept. 1 on www.millionstories.com.
Peter Ramsey was an established movie storyboard artist who was given a rare opportunity to direct an animated feature film for DreamWorks. As the first African-American given that position, it carried a lot of pressure. Then the movie flopped and his career was in jeopardy. That is, until his second film won him an Oscar.
Faceplant is a documentary style show about some familiar faces, their (sometimes very public) career and life struggles, and how they overcame them to get back up stronger than ever. From Hollywood actors, directors and producers to Olympic athletes and social media superstars, the show gives inspiration as we hear how they took the lemons life gave them and turned it into lemonade. Subjects spotlighted in the series are:
- Michael Santos, who was sentenced to 45 years in prison for a drug dealing conviction. Using his time in prison for good, he earned numerous degrees, became a renowned author, professor and a motivational speaker.
- Endyia Kinney-Sterns, a TV producer and network executive who lost her job during the recession and was forced to reinvent herself and her career.
- GloZell Green,a social media star that went broke after YouTube changed its algorithm which led to fewer views on her page, translating into less money. She had not budgeted prior or had a financial plan.
- Danell Leyva, an Olympic athlete that had a fall and seeked redemption. Then he got injured by a dog which jeopardized his chances to make the Olympic team. He makes it by default, and then wins two silver medals.
- Nanxi Lu, a college grad who co-founded a start-up company with her friends who then turned on her and asked her to step down as CEO.
- Conrad Palmisano, a high school underdog who got kicked out of school and enlisted in the Vietnam War. The skills he learned in war prove to help him create a career as a stuntman in the movie business.
- Dori Howard, an entrepreneur who prematurely launched a new company and created a product before finding out if the company name can be trademarked.
- Maria De Faria, a Venezuelan actress who found early success as a child. But when she moves to Los Angeles, a language barrier and another canceled show challenge Maria as she learns to embrace failure and persevere.
- Emily Grace Buck, a video game narrative designer who is sideswiped both emotionally and financially when the company she is working for goes under. This catapults her into an activist for industry worker protections.