Friends of Kickstart: Alison Ross

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This month’s Friends of Kickstart is bittersweet! We’re putting the spotlight on Alison Ross, a longtime team member who’s leaving the nest at the end of the month.

Alison started with Kickstart in 2010 in our PA/Front Desk position, and over the past eight and a half years has held pretty much every production position we have from Coordinator to Associate Producer.

We’ve also been lucky to work creatively with Alison over the years on a variety of projects, and look forward to continuing to collaborate with them in the future. Between packing up their many stuffed animals and desk accoutrements, and preparing for life as a Freelance Writer, we asked Alison to answer our Friends of Kickstart questionnaire.

If you want to check out Alison’s work, you can head over to their website for details on their novel and various short stories they’ve written recently for both print and online publishers, as well as a look some of their favourite KS projects over the years.

What's your favourite colour combination? (2 or 3 colours)
I’ve always been a big fan of green/purple combo which I used to think was called puce. I later learned that puce actually refers to the color of blood left on bedsheets after a flea has been crushed, which, blurgh.

Can you think of a particular piece of media that inspired you to become an writer?
The animated show Fillmore - the idea that you could infuse an adult genre into a kids show was really exciting to me, especially as a fan of genre fiction.

Alison’s first novel, Run In The Blood, is a fantasy tale published by  Ninestar Press .

Alison’s first novel, Run In The Blood, is a fantasy tale published by Ninestar Press.

What has been the high point of your career so far?
I think the high point so far has to be getting to write an animated movie and then also producing that movie. It was so exciting to see everything come together from start to finish and to really understand the impact that a script has on the rest of the production.

What do you most want to improve in your work?
I would love to have better discipline. I’ve always struggled with focus and attention, and I would love to just be able to sit down and write without getting up five times for tea and snacks and then falling into a wiki research hole until I remember what I’m meant to be doing.

What's your idea of a perfect Sunday?
It starts with a sleep in - late enough to feel rested but not so late that I feel guilty. Then a little walk to grab a coffee and some breakfast pastries before settling in to write. Once I’m tapped out on creative energy, it’s time for video games, junk food and cat snuggles.

What was your most memorable non-animation job?
During university I worked part time at a yarn store in Victoria, BC. I am an avid knitter myself and there was something so wonderful about working in a place full of yet-to-be-realized creative energy. Every day I would come up with some new project I could make -- and the discount on supplies didn’t hurt either.

You’re stuck on a desert island with a laptop and a USB stick containing the entirety of one show - what show is it?
If i have the entirety of any show on a USB stick with me on a desert island, it would probably be a podcast, likely My Brother, My Brother And Me. I could listen to these zany guys forever and there are so many episodes that I will never get bored. Plus there’s always the chance one of the episodes will secretly have decent advice for getting off a desert island. (But probably not.)

One of the projects Alison wrote for Kickstart was Under Wraps, a CG Halloween special which aired on Family Channel and Cartoon Network.

One of the projects Alison wrote for Kickstart was Under Wraps, a CG Halloween special which aired on Family Channel and Cartoon Network.

Pick three cartoon characters that describe your personality.
Pepper Ann, Cedric Sneer and Gene Belcher.

What’s a piece of media you’ve consumed lately (tv, movie, music, podcast, etc) that has inspired you to create?
I’ve been listening to the actual play RPG podcast Friends At The Table, and they way that they collaboratively tell stories in real time is something that I love so much. I’ve always been a huge Dungeons and Dragons fan (and long-time Dungeon Master) but I’m always amazed with the way that FaTT has managed to package pen-and-paper RPG play with a complex narrative and engaging characters in a variety of different worlds.

What’s on your work playlist?
Honestly, I create a bespoke playlist for every creative project I work on, from a sprawling fantasy world to a direct-to-DVD Christmas movie. It helps keep me in the world and keep me focused. When I’m working in production mode it’s a lot of folk punk or pop that lets me sync with my spreadsheets: Jeff Rosenstock, Antarctigo Vespucci, Beach Bunny, and that perennial Canadian classic: Carly Rae Jepsen.