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RANI KHAMPHILAVONG
HAND FABRICATOR

RANI KHAMPHILAVONG
HAND FABRICATOR

 

What drew you to LAIKA?

I love films that are character-driven and explore the complexities of human emotion in fantastical worlds. I am drawn to the endless creativity and expression that goes into animation because it isn’t bound by the real world. I knew I wanted to work in animation but dreaded the idea of moving to L.A. Once Coraline came out, I learned about LAIKA and how the studio is based in Portland, where I grew up. I knew then that LAIKA was the end goal for me.

What does a typical workday look like for you?

We are assigned characters to fabricate the armature and wiring for. My strengths include bulk building, so on average I make 33 pairs of puppet hands in batches over the course of a month. Day-to-day life is usually spent on a task for these batches, such as tapping hand paddles or soldering joints to rods. Then sprinkle in stretch breaks, visits to LAIKA’s coffee shop, walk breaks, and lunch break!

What do you most enjoy about working at LAIKA?

What I love most about working at LAIKA is the collaboration among artists coming together to create a film. It’s inspiring to see everyone working on their craft, and to appreciate all the fine details that might not be seen on the big screen. LAIKAns are also some of the funniest people I’ve ever worked with, and I really love a good laugh.

How would you describe the educational and professional journey that brought you to LAIKA?

I went to the California College of the Arts for illustration and took a lot of animation electives. I knew I wanted to tell stories through images, either in graphic novels or in animated projects. I found myself in the jewelry industry once I graduated, and thankfully my jewelry-making skills transferred well to puppet hand fabrication.

Are you involved with any employee resource groups or committees at LAIKA?

I am an active member of LAIKA’s API ERG because I value visibility for our community, and I love sharing food and fun experiences to help people understand, feel seen by, and connect with one another.

What advice do you have for people considering a career at LAIKA?

Keeping trying! I applied 8 times before I got my interview. Don’t feel discouraged if you don’t meet every single requirement on a job listing. Allow your personality and tenacity to shine alongside your resume!

 

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