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Navigating Hollywood’s Animation Industry As a Filipina Creator and Production Supervisor

Photo: Ritzie Lebowe
Los Angeles-based creator Alex Del Rosario at Coffee and Plants shop on January 28, 2023 in Pasadena, CA. Photo: Ritzie Lebowe

When Alex Del Rosario moved from Sacramento to Los Angeles to pursue her dream of becoming a creator, she didn’t know where the journey would take her.

After graduating in stop motion animation at California State University, Los Angeles, Del Rosario went on to advance from camera and lighting intern to production assistant to art department coordinator to, now, production supervisor at Marvel Studios, where she manages communication channels between a network of departments and vendors.

“Being here is a dream, and I’m so grateful,” Del Rosario said. “But it was such a long and difficult road to get where I am. It wasn’t easy.”

Compared to private universities with more funding and student resources, access to tools, training, and internships in stop-motion animation were hard to come by when she was a college student. This reality demanded of Del Rosario self-discipline and, above all, drive.

“Stop-motion was only really in books. It’s been seven or eight years since I graduated, but everything now is on YouTube, Netflix, and TikTok. People today can find those resources and learn, but when I was going to school, they didn’t exist,” Del Rosario said. “There’s also a lot of politics and things they don’t teach you in school. It was such a shock when I got into the industry, and there were things I had to learn on my own.”

Upward mobility in a cisgender white male-dominated industry came with its challenges. Being Filipina from a working-class family, Del Rosario had to fight harder for her seat at the table. While the job took time, tough skin, and a robust set of skills, Del Rosario remained humbled and focused, keeping her eye on the prize and pushing forward.

The imbalance of privilege in the field only led to greater inequity as creatives like Del Rosario progressed through their careers.

“It’s one thing being a minority. It’s another thing being a minority and a woman.” Del Rosario said. “You’re going to run into ignorance and people who come off as entitled. It’s sad and can be very uncomfortable.”

Del Rosario’s experience working in production for over six years has taught her that setting boundaries is crucial.

“Love and be confident in yourself. Know where your boundaries are, set them, and stick to them. If you do that, you at least create some kind of safety for yourself. It can be scary, but there will be other people that will validate and help you,” Del Rosario said.

Del Rosario still remembers the projects she once worked on that had other Filipinos on the crew.

“It’s something so special. When you see other Filipinos, it’s just that funny, unspoken ‘I got you’ type of understanding. They become your family,” Del Rosario said. “Being surrounded by people like that helps validate how you feel sometimes. Production is tough, which is the fun of it. But because it’s so fast-paced, it’s like chickens with their heads cut off. Sometimes it’s nice to have another chicken with you.”

Moving forward, Del Rosario plans to return to her roots as an artist and create content alongside her husband, Frank Duran, in their own art studio, D.D. House of Art.

“I’m super proud to represent Sacramento. Coming out here and just doing the thing — yes, I will be part of Los Angeles, but I always remember where I came from,” she said.

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