Hello again! We’re back once again for an exciting Creator Spotlight Interview! Seventeen days ago, I had the honor of interviewing Lenny Gotter, the Owner of the Tabletop Gaming Company, 1985 Games, and now we’re about to get a look into the Video Game and Animation Industry with Marlene Sharp, Consulting Producer at Neko Productions, Head of Creative Development and Production at Pink Poodle Productions.
Marlene is known for her work in numerous animation shows such as Inazuma Eleven Ares, Snack World, Sonic Boom, and Postman Pat: The Movie. As for video games, she has worked with SEGA on numerous Sonic The Hedgehog projects that include Sonic Mania and Sonic Boom Fire & Ice, and Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaire’s Conspiracy.
In today’s interview, we’ll be discussing her Entertainment Consultancy Company, Pink Poodle Productions, the challenges of working in the Animation and Video Game Industry, and her time working with SEGA. Grab your Power Ring! Cause This Interview Is About To Begin!
Red: What was the inspiration for your business, behind Pink Poodle Productions?
Marlene: Pink Poodle Productions is an entertainment consultancy that started as a glorified portfolio way back during my Sega days (around 2017). I established the website to showcase my professional wares (videos, articles, photos, and miscellaneous work samples). When my LEVEL-5 job ended in late 2019, Pink Poodle Productions became my full-time employer, because I willed it so! Since that time, I have accepted many consulting projects under my own studio banner, which essentially began as forced entrepreneurship. My Bichon-poodle mix Blanche DuBois Sharp is the official company mascot and chairwoman of the board. Pink is our favorite color.
Red: In your work in both Animation and Video Game Industries, what was the toughest challenge you faced?
Marlene: Yikes! So many challenges! But at the top of the list is my own imposter syndrome. I tend to assume that other folks know more than I do and have better connections in the business. It is a constant struggle for me to improve my self-esteem. I come from a long line of self-doubters.
Red: You have worked with Sega on various projects, such as SONIC BOOM, SONIC MANIA, etc. What was it like to work with an iconic video game series?
Marlene: When Sonic the Hedgehog was my boss (2015-2017), every workday brought the unexpected! I was part of the 14-person core Burbank team that inherited the franchise from Sega’s now-shuttered San Francisco Bay Area office. Everyone wore a lot of hats. I am grateful for the wide range of experiences that I collected during that time.
Here are fun facts (and opinions) to bring my Sega/Sonic association into the present day: I’ve recently reunited professionally with Neko Productions, the animation studio that I brought into the SONIC MANIA ADVENTURES fold toward the end of my Sega tenure. Post Sega, I also worked with Neko very closely on LEVEL-5’s SNACK WORLD series (Crunchyroll). My goal as a brand new Neko consulting producer is to usher in a new era of Neko/Sega collaboration . . . and much more. Stay tuned for more on this developing story.
Red: With the current atmosphere involving the WGA Writers Strike, the SAG-AFTRA Vote To Strike, etc. How important are Creator’s Rights?
Marlene: In my experience, American creators don’t have many rights unless he/she/they fund their own projects. The golden rule seems to apply: He who has the gold . . . rules. The exception to that rule is the celeb factor; stars get special treatment. Garden variety creators struggle a lot more. I am not sure whether the current strike climate will change things. The situation sure is a nail-biter . . . Who will win, and will the win last?
Red: Do you have any advice for people wanting to enter the Entertainment Industry?
Marlene: Here is my advice: 1) Be nice to EVERYBODY. 2) Keep an open mind about potential opportunities and their sources. Don’t dismiss anything without investigating thoroughly! 3) Offer something of value to those whom you want to know. For example, schmoozing someone with an interview is oftentimes an effective tactic!
Unfortunately, we have reached the interview, but fear not! There is a special treat featured for this interview, thanks to Marlene for sharing a documentary covering the history of Saint Seiya from Filmmaker Ray Mona. Let’s continue to celebrate and support Creators! Be sure to visit the Creator Spotlight page for past interviews, and stay tuned for more interviews!
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