Dana Terrace

Dana Terrace (born December 8, 1990) is an American animator, writer, director, producer, storyboard artist, and voice actress. She[a] is best known as the creator of the Disney Channel animated series The Owl House. She is also known for storyboarding on Gravity Falls and directing on the 2017 reboot of DuckTales.[1]

Dana Terrace
Terrace smiles, holding a gold Peabody Award trophy
Terrace accepting a Peabody Award in 2021
Born (1990-12-08) December 8, 1990 (age 30)
NationalityAmerican
EducationSchool of Visual Arts
Occupation
  • Animator
  • Writer
  • director
  • Storyboard artist
Years active2011–present
Notable work
The Owl House
Partner(s)Alex Hirsch (2015–present)

Early life and educationEdit

Terrace was born in Hamden, Connecticut. She spent eight years going to Catholic School, gaining an interest in painters such as John Bauer, Remedios Varo, and Hieronymus Bosch.[2][3] As a child, she watched cartoons like The Powerpuff Girls, South Park, and The Simpsons, inspiring her later works.[4][3][5] Similarly, Hayao Miyazaki's "mature anime" film titled Princess Mononoke, Studio Ghibli films, and Garfield influenced her as well.[6][5][7] In 2000, she created her first flip-book animation, which focused on "Pikachu thundershocking a Charmander."[8] Prior to studying animation at the School of Visual Arts in New York, Terrace was a dancer for 10 years.[9] While obsessing over Pokémon as kid, she was "big into cats," with the characters she drew being cats or cat-girls "being chased by ghosts and dinosaur ghosts."[10] This continued at SVA. While there she drew for about eight hours a day, as she had during her years at Cooperative Arts and Humanities High School in New Haven, Connecticut,[3] and began posting work to her Tumblr blog.[6] In April 2012, during her third year at SVA, she created an animated short titled "Kickball," which was praised for its design and "expressive motion,"[11] complete with voiceovers by Yotem Perel and music by Jeff Liu.[12][13] Her film won a grant from the National Board of Review.[14][15] The following year, she worked with Iker Maidagan on a short animated film titled "Mirage".[16][17] Maidagan did the layout and wrote the story, while Terrace animated and designed the characters. The film was praised as being "flawlessly executed,"[16] was shown at the LA Shorts Fest,[18] and resulted in Terrace and Maidagan receiving an Alumni Scholarship Award.[19] At the time, when asked about animating, she said she loved it, and said she is on the track to become a "proper filmmaker"[20] and stated that she would collaborate with Maidagan in the future.[21] She later described her experience at SVA as a mixed bag, although she stated she learned a lot from online tutorials, her peers, and fellow students.[10]

In 2011, Terrace was an assistant for a thesis horror comedy film by Zach Bellissimo titled "Blanderstein", as was Vivienne Medrano and Terrace's roommate Luz Batista.[22][23] "Blanderstein" went on to win a Dusty Award for "Outstanding Traditional Animation and Achievement in Traditional Animation Character Design," tying with Michael Ruocco's thesis film, "Destiny is for the Birds"[24] In June 2012, she was given special thanks in the SVA Thesis film of Rachel Errede, titled "Nym".[25] In May 2013, she was also thanked by Minje Chung, another SVA student, for helping with her film, "Harvest Season."[26]

Internship and early workEdit

After graduating from SVA in 2013, she interned the following summer at JibJab,[27] where she met an individual from Gravity Falls who saw her student film Mirage and sent her a storyboard test, subsequently landing her a job on the series as a storyboard revisionist.[28][29][2] As she described it in 2017, she was brought into Gravity Falls because creative people working on the show liked what they saw on her Tumblr blog, and she was brought in because she was willing to do any kind of animation for a specific scene.[6] Her work for Gravity Falls would be her "first professional animation job," where she learned to storyboard, how to handle a crew, and have a clear vision.[30] Terrace also animated sequences for the show that were animated in-house due to being considered too important to be animated by outside studios.[31] In 2019, she said she had a "wonderful experience" on Gravity Falls and said she "couldn’t have asked for a better first gig."[5] However, she admitted in a 2016 interview that she was waiting to hear back from Steven Universe because she was a fan of Rebecca Sugar after seeing her films at SVA, but they "took too long to reply" so she decided to work for Gravity Falls instead.[10]

In 2014, she tabled at the CTN Animation Expo with Nate Swineheart, and sold prints, sketchbooks, and other works.[32] In later years, she drew illustrations of characters such as Hermione Granger, a protagonist in the Harry Potter series.[33] In 2018, she inked 34 pages of Hirsch's graphic novel, Gravity Falls: Lost Legends: 4 All-New Adventures![34][35][36]

CareerEdit

In 2017, Terrace directed various episodes of DuckTales and made the character Webby Vanderquack "more dynamic."[29][4][37] Terrace later described this job as a place she wasn't feeling "fulfilled artistically or emotionally," which moved her to create her own series.[2] Although she had never watched the series before working on the show, the line producer for the second season of Gravity Falls was also working on DuckTales and brought her into the show.[10] The same year, Variety highlighted her as an up-and-coming animator, saying that she is learning more all the time and is always "looking for the next way to push herself."[6] Also that year she worked as a storyboard revisionist for Tangled: Before Ever After,[38] a film directed by Tom Caulfield and Stephen Sandoval, the latter who would later work on The Owl House.[39] Additionally, she would storyboard the fourth episode of Rapunzel's Tangled Adventure, "Challenge of the Brave."[40]

After years of working on other Disney Channel shows, Terrace began to pitch her own series, coming up with the characters and "baseline idea" for the show at the end of 2016.[41] Her pitch, which came only a few months after she started directing DuckTales in 2017,[42] "a young girl [who] goes to another world and learns magic from an older witch",[43] later developed into The Owl House.[44] The first character she created was the Owl Lady, which she based on the women in her family,[42] including her aunts, mother, and grandmother. The character Luz Noceda is named after her roommate.[45] The series was also influenced by Pokemon Red, a game Terrace's father, Thomas Terrace, an attorney in Hamden, Connecticut, gave her before he died when she was age 11.[2][3] Terrace said she was motivated to create The Owl House to prove it was a good story, and gave it the current name because of the "mystique surrounding owls."[46][3] She later said that while there is some information for fans who want to "dig deeper" into the show, like codes and ciphers in Gravity Falls, there is a way to "enjoy the show as it is" without digging into the show's lore.[30]

The Owl House began development on February 23, 2018, when it was greenlit alongside Amphibia, and premiered on January 10, 2020, on Disney Channel in the United States.[47][48] The series was approved for a second season on November 21, 2019.[46][49] The same year, Terrace illustrated an alternative cover for issue 4 of Adventure Time with Fionna and Cake: Card Wars, a BOOM! Studios six-issue miniseries which featured Fionna and Cake, the gender-swapped versions of Finn and Jake.[50] Terrace also provided guest animation for the episode of Adventure Time titled "Bad Timing".[51][52] A few years later, Terrace criticized the cancellation of The Venture Bros. by Adult Swim, writing "this timeline sucks."[53]

In 2021, the director of The Mitchells vs. the Machines Mike Rianda would reveal that Terrace had been a storyboard artist for the film.[54] The same year, Terrace provided rough animation for The Owl House season 2 episodes "Keeping Up a-fear-ances", "Hunting Palismen", and "Eclipse Lake".[55]

Terrace and LGBTQ+ representation in The Owl HouseEdit

The Owl House has been praised for its depiction of an LGBTQ+ relationship between the characters of Luz Noceda and Amity Blight, for which Terrace is responsible. She actively uses Twitter to confirm the LGBTQ+ identities of characters.[56][57][9] Though Disney was initially resistant to the portrayal of a queer relationship on the show, Terrace eventually gained their support, crediting the change of mind to her "stubbornness".[56][58]

Terrace told Vanity Fair in March 2021 that she was "very open about Luz being bi and including LGBT+ characters in a very casual, normalized way" during development of the show, and that she was told she could not "have any kind of gay storyline among the main characters" so she let herself get angry "and storm out of the room.[59] And a week or two after that, she "was given the all-clear," adding that the executives she directly work with gave her "nothing but support."

News sites like CNN and Deadline have expressed support for these portrayals, while conservative sites like One Million Moms have expressed the opposite, condemning Disney Channel for their inclusion of LGBTQ+ identities in the series.[60][61]

Personal lifeEdit

Terrace came out as bisexual in 2017,[62] and drew on her experiences to create The Owl House and the bisexual character Luz Noceda.[58] Terrace has mentioned multiple times that she draws inspiration for Luz Noceda from herself.[9] She uses she/her pronouns.[63]

As of 2015, Terrace is dating Gravity Falls creator Alex Hirsch.[64] Terrace and Hirsch have participated in numerous charity live streams together, in which they draw cartoons to raise money for various organizations including Planned Parenthood,[65][66] The American Civil Liberties Union,[67][68][69] The Southern Poverty Law Center,[69] The Natural Resources Defense Council (with Ninja Sex Party and Arin Hanson),[70][71][72] Direct Relief (with Justin Roiland and h3h3Productions),[73][74][75][76] The Trevor Project (with Rebecca Sugar and Ian Jones-Quartey),[77][78] and RAICES.[79][80][81] Altogether, these events have raised over $270,000.[69]

Terrace also signed a petition for pay equity in the animation industry, as did other fellow creators like Rebecca Sugar, Justin Roiland, Lauren Faust, Ian Jones-Quartey, Owen Dennis, and Matt Braly.[82]

FilmographyEdit

FilmEdit

Title Year Credited as Role Notes
Director Writer Producer Animation/Art Other
Blanderstein 2011 No No No No Yes N/A Assistant
Nym 2012 No No No No Yes N/A Given "special thanks" in the credits
Harvest Season 2013 No No No No Yes N/A Given "special thanks" in the credits.
Mirage 2014 Co-director No Co-producer Yes No N/A Character designer and animator
Tangled: Before Ever After 2017 No No No Yes No N/A Storyboard revisionist
The Mitchells vs. the Machines 2021 No No No Yes No N/A Storyboard artist[b]

TelevisionEdit

Title Year Credited as Role Notes
Writer Executive Producer Director Animation/Art
Gravity Falls 2014–16 No No No Yes N/A Storyboard revisionist (2014)
Storyboard artist (2015–16)
In-house animator
Rapunzel's Tangled Adventure 2017 No No No Yes N/A Storyboarder on "Challenge of the Brave."
DuckTales 2017 No No Yes Yes N/A Directed six episodes.[c]
Additional animator[d]
The Owl House 2020–present Yes Yes No Yes Tiny Nose, Additional Voices Creator[e]
King[f]
In-house rough animator[g]

Nominations and awardsEdit

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
2018 Daytime Emmy Award Outstanding Special Class Animated Program DuckTales (for "Woo-oo!") Nominated [83]
2021 GLAAD Media Award Outstanding Kids and Family Programming The Owl House Nominated [84]
Peabody Awards Children's & Youth Programming Won [85]
Daytime Emmys Outstanding Main Title for a Daytime Animated Program Nominated [86]

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Terrace uses feminine pronouns and they are used here for consistency.
  2. ^ Uncredited
  3. ^ Specifically "Woo-oo!", "Daytrip of Doom!", "The Beagle Birthday Massacre!", "The Living Mummies of Toth-Ra!", "The Spear of Selene!", "Day of the Only Child!"
  4. ^ "Woo-oo!" only
  5. ^ Also creator of animated comedic shorts titled Owl Pellets.
  6. ^ "Squeak of Rage" in "Escape of the Palisman", as well as the younger version of him in "Echos of the Past"
  7. ^ Episodes "Keeping Up A-fear-ances", "Hunting Palismen", and "Eclipse Lake" only

ReferencesEdit

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  3. ^ a b c d e Dunne, Susan (January 6, 2020). "Hamden native creates Disney Channel's newest show 'The Owl House'". Hartford Courant. Archived from the original on January 6, 2020. Retrieved September 5, 2020.
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  5. ^ a b c Zahed, Ramin (March 22, 2019). "Animation Magazine's Rising Stars of Animation 2019". Animation Magazine. Archived from the original on July 24, 2020. Retrieved September 9, 2020.
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  8. ^ Terrace, Dana (October 9, 2013). "battle pokes". Dana Draws [old art blog of Dana Terrace]. Blogspot. Archived from the original on August 22, 2014. Retrieved September 10, 2020.
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  26. ^ Minje Chung (May 20, 2013). "Harvest Season". YouTube. Archived from the original on January 30, 2021. Retrieved April 25, 2021.
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  31. ^ Animation I did from the last scene of Not What He Seems. Keys by Matt Braly. Woo
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  54. ^ Rianda, Michael [@michaelrianda] (March 31, 2021). "Fun fact: I paid genius storyboard artists and showrunners Dana Terrace and @Radrappy out of my own pocket. (I paid @radrappy with a PS4!) to help sell the movie and this is one of Dana's shots that made it into the final movie! Jenny Li and Patrick Mueller animated this shot" (Tweet). Archived from the original on April 18, 2021. Retrieved April 25, 2021 – via Twitter.
  55. ^ TOH Spoilers, #tohspoliers I had the opportunity to do some rough animation for a few scenes. It was so fun, I wish I could do more and do better. I miss animating! Scenes boarded by, Hayley Foster, @mrvinceaparo, and Bridget Underwood As always, thanks for watching! 🦉
  56. ^ a b Terrace, Dana [@DanaTerrace] (August 9, 2020). "I'm bi! I want to write a bi character, dammit! Luckily my stubbornness paid off and now I am VERY supported by current Disney leadership. (Thank you @NashRiskin and team!) Not to mention the amazingness of this crew" (Tweet). Archived from the original on August 9, 2020. Retrieved August 9, 2020 – via Twitter.
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  65. ^ Alex Hirsch [@_AlexHirsch] (10 November 2016). "TONIGHT @ 6 PM PST @DanaTerrace & I will draw YOUR requests LIVE for charity, at picarto.tv/DanaT! It's gonna be nuts- don't miss it!" (Tweet). Retrieved 26 December 2019 – via Twitter.
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  70. ^ Ninja Sex Party [@ninjasexparty] (January 11, 2017). "We're doing a stream with @ghostsatellite on Sat Jan 28 to benefit @NRDC! There will be SO MANY COOL PEOPLE there! WATCH!!!" (Tweet). Retrieved September 14, 2020 – via Twitter.
  71. ^ Alex Hirsch [@_AlexHirsch] (28 January 2017). "Today my friends and I raised over 18k for the @NRDC by hitting each other with pies and drawing cartoons ..." (Tweet). Retrieved 26 December 2019 – via Twitter.
  72. ^ "NRDC charity stream with Alex Hirsch, Dana Terrace, Game Grumps and Ghost Satellite". YouTube. January 28, 2017. Retrieved September 14, 2020.
  73. ^ Alex Hirsch [@_AlexHirsch] (December 17, 2018). "TOMORROW! 3PM PST! It's H3H3's annual 🌟CHARITY LIVESTREAM🌟 with ME, @JustinRoiland, & more! Goofs! Yuks! Amazing PRIZES! All to benefit @DirectRelief!" (Tweet). Retrieved June 4, 2020 – via Twitter.
  74. ^ H3 Podcast (September 7, 2017). "H3 Podcast #26 - Justin Roiland & Alex Hirsch Charity Special". YouTube. Retrieved June 4, 2020.
  75. ^ H3 Podcast (December 18, 2018). "H3 Podcast #99 - Justin Roiland & Alex Hirsch Charity Special 2018". YouTube. Retrieved June 4, 2020.
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  77. ^ Alex Hirsch [@_AlexHirsch] (2 August 2017). "GET HYPED- TOMORROW @rebeccasugar @ianjq @DanaTerrace & me will be drawing YOUR requests LIVE for charity at Twitch.tv/DanaTerrace !!!" (Tweet). Retrieved 26 December 2019 – via Twitter.
  78. ^ TheMysteryofGF (August 4, 2017). "The Ultimate Crossover! Charity Drawathon". YouTube. Retrieved June 4, 2020.
  79. ^ Dana Terrace [@DanaTerrace] (23 June 2018). "Are you sick of families being torn apart at the border? Wanna DO something about it? Join @DaronNefcy, @_AlexHirsch, and me for a charity livestream June 26! We'll draw YOUR CARTOON REQUESTS to raise money for @RAICESTEXAS!" (Tweet). Archived from the original on 22 November 2018. Retrieved 26 December 2019 – via Twitter.
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