Farnaz Esnaashari-Charmatz first imagined herself as an animator while watching “Toy Story.”
A junior college student at the time, she told her instructor, “I need to learn how to do that.”
“I remember her telling me, ‘Well, that’s called animation and you want to go to Cal State Fullerton.’ I said, ‘OK, great. Sign me up,'” said Esnaashari-Charmatz ’04 (B.F.A. art-entertainment art/animation).
Cal State Fullerton’s College of the Arts, its master faculty, visiting artists, and its reputation for an innovative curriculum called to her. It was an opportunity to do what she loved.
It wasn’t long before Esnaashari-Charmatz found the spotlight.
As an art major at Cal State Fullerton, she seized every opportunity. She took extra courses, and sought creative challenges to expand her classroom and her skills. When she stood out as the pioneering post-production intern at Nickelodeon — a role she refers to as “the ultimate job interview” — she landed an assistant’s job with the animation powerhouse and began the career countdown to creating and producing her own show “Shimmer and Shine.”
The show about the magical misadventures of twin problem-solving genies, Shimmer and Shine, and their best friend Leah, is in its fourth season. The daily deadlines and daunting schedules are exactly what CSUF’s challenging curriculum prepares its students for, said Esnaashari-Charmatz.
“Cal State Fullerton has a very demanding art program and I had to work really hard to excel,” she said. “I learned all facets of animation, design, sculpting and storytelling, and all of those things gave me the basics — the structure, the bones — to what I do here, on a daily basis now.
“It’s been a huge part of my life. If I didn’t have everything I learned at Cal State Fullerton, I wouldn’t be able to do this.”
Today, she seeks out artists who have that same drive to help illustrate the animated children’s show, and she’s surrounded by fellow Titans who work at the colorful Burbank campus, including art director Chad Woods ’01 (B.F.A. art).
“It’s a very exciting and overwhelming feeling to be able to influence a generation and to get to be a part of children’s imaginations and their memories as they grow up… in a way that you don’t get to do in a lot of other careers,” Esnaashari-Charmatz said of her role in animation. “It is a way to express myself and be a part of something bigger and part of the future.”
To learn more about CSUF programs, click here.