This summer while many college students are working on their tan, Alexandra DeWyngaert is making a movie. That’s because the 2012 Rumson-Fair Haven High School graduate, just completed her first year at New York University where she is studying digital animation.
When she was a little girl watching cartoons, her mom Sharon said, Alexandra was always curious about how it all worked. How did those characters get on the screen?
In middle school Alexandra got her chance, not just to see how cartoons are made, but to actually design and create her own, bringing her unique characters to life in funny shorts through classes at Small Factory Productions. And once she started, she was hooked. Alexandra continued on in her Small Factory classes through high school and by the time she graduated she’d already completed a Claymation short and was coding her own 3-D animation.
Despite her love for drawing and cartooning, Alexandra is shy and never wanted to take art classes at school. Instead she preferred the environment at Small Factory, where Sharon said owner Chris Dudick inspired and encouraged her to do what she wanted. “And of course the Small Factory equipment is very nice,” she said with a laugh.
At Small Factory, Sharon said, the environment is always welcoming and easy going, in a large part because of Chris’ willingness to let the kids take the creative lead. When a kid comes up with an idea, his attitude is, “Sounds good. Let’s do this.”
“He allowed Alexandra to express herself and feel more confident in what she was capable of doing,” said Sharon. “She could do it, but Chris brought that out in her.”
Chris also worked closely with Alexandra to develop her portfolio that went along with her application to NYU.
“I really believe that’s why she got in there,” Sharon said of the prestigious school. “When I found out, I couldn’t thank him enough. It’s a great little school.”