At a very young age, Amanda Fujita knew she wanted to do something with video games or with animation, but she did not feel she was artistically strong or creative to be successful. As she prepared for college, therefore, she focused on a career path in math and science, her areas of academic comfort.
After a challenging first two years of ICS and probability classes, she decided she would venture into the fine arts. It did not take her long to realize she wanted to merge art with her computer skills. About this time, her sister told her about an art school that would do just that, so she made a trip to Oregon and spent a semester learning game art and design.
Unsettled, she moved to Los Angeles and continued her studies for another year. As she calculated her expenses toward graduation, her practical sense made her realize her debt would be more than what she wanted to bear, so she returned home to Hawai‘i. Although the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa had an animation program, she decided to attend Kapi‘olani Community College to finish her general education requirements. The decision was serendipitous.
She met Professors Sharon Sussman and Joseph Tremonti who introduced her to the New Media Arts (NMA) Program. Amanda observed the passion they both had for NMA and how that passion brought the best out in their students. Amanda reflected that Sharon brought in successful artists from the animation industry who shared their experiences and offered public workshops. Amanda knows that Sharon and Joseph were positive influences in helping her complete the New Media Arts: Animation Program.
Amanda worked on short contracts for several years, one moving her out-of-state to work in Canada. Each job was an opportunity to learn new things, to meet new professionals and to get reacquainted with former colleagues. In reflection, Amanda experienced several challenges and faced stiff competition. But her tenacity in not giving up on herself is a testimony she will likely share with anyone who asks direction in finding one’s comfort zone in life.
Amanda currently works at DreamWorks “working for one of the companies I have adored from back in grade school. DreamWorks is a truly amazing place to work, but I would not be here if I had given up so many years ago.”
William Arthur Ward said, “If you can imagine it, you can achieve it; if you can dream it, you can become it.”
Amanda Fujita marched to the beat of her own drummer, and today she lives the reality that was once only a dream.