I grew up creating. I worked on big projects daily with my brother Adam and our neighbor Ellery. Camcorder movies. Lego cities. Homemade games. Adam took to every musical instrument he touched and Ellery excelled at coding. I drew constantly and fell in love with cartoons.
“Poke & Gravy,” my comic strip starring a porcupine and turkey, was my biggest project for years. I sent it to newspaper syndicates, but was rejected. At age 10, still wanting to share it, I asked Ellery to make me a website. Luckily he knew how, and PokeGravy.com was born.
When I was a freshman animation student at RIT, a professor assigned us to come up with a “studio name” for our films and buy a domain name to match. PokeGravy.com became home to “PokeGravy Studios,” and I saved $10 on a URL.
A few months later, “Men’s Room Monologue,” an animated cartoon about toilet etiquette I created for a homework assignment, went viral across 2005’s pre-YouTube internet. Project offers filled my inbox, so I began to teach myself how to freelance. PokeGravy became my side business.
Back in Boston after graduation, I found myself rejected from several studios, and the online heat from my toilet video had sadly dissipated. But I knew a little about client work, so I took to the treacherous, but exciting, Craigslist gigs section to learn a LOT more…often the hard way. PokeGravy became my main business.
More than 12 years later, I’m grateful this nonsense word has remained a through-line in my career. “PokeGravy” connects me to my childhood passion for working on big projects with people I love. That connection helps me stay focused when I hit obstacles as a filmmaker, and pushes me to share that passion with students of all ages.
PokeGravy reminds me to keep growing up and keep creating.