We had the good fortune of connecting with Steven Shackelford and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Steven, how do you think about risk?
In my life’s experience, how I was raised and where I come from, you either make something happen, or nothing happens. Risk has no place in the equation when you look at the other side of it.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I come from an artistic bloodline. My father was an illustrator and a painter, and my older cousin David is the greatest artist I’ve ever seen, so I spent most of my childhood just trying to catch up to these men, especially David. My only ultimate goal in life was to someday become as good as him, so that we could create art together as equals, which I achieved by 24.

At this time, we both put our heads together, pooled our resources and tried our hand at Hollywood in 2008 doing small-time freelance work in the industry, ranging from concept artwork, storyboards and film treatments under our company, SKETCHKINGS INC. My true mission was to ultimately bring our own original animated project to life, pitching to virtually every studio and production house in LA–so yeah, the terrain was a tad “rough”.

But our lucky break finally came in the summer of 2011, when David and I pitched our story to ICM and Endeavor, with the latter taking a huge liking to the script and the project’s franchise potential. Looking to pair our project with Sea World, our agent the time sought to put together a big package deal–we’d officially climbed Everest…or so we thought.

The following 6 months were pure nightmare fuel: Sea World’s legal troubles and their “Blackfish” documentary essentially torpedoed our chances, our agent stopped calling and Dave and I ended up going back home to Dallas at ground zero–some of the darkest days of my adult life. But as fate would have it, that was also arguably, the greatest thing to ever happen to me as an artist.

Over the next few years, I eventually began pick myself up again and went back to the drawing board, LITERALLY. I retooled my project from top to bottom, from refining the screenplay, polishing the images and promo art, even turning a huge corner in the graphic design arena, establishing my own identity on social media. Things were looking up again–and thanks to a few good, loyal friends back in Cali, Dave and I were able to nab some proper representation once more, still pitching to this day.

That summer in 2011 God showed me what was attainable, what was possible. I believe he wanted me to EARN it. And here I am.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
It’s funny because I’m a insufferable homebody. All my favorite artistic endeavors are indoors, so more than likely I’d just take them to every shop/restaurant on Legacy West until they were tired of me lol.

My down time’s pretty simple: I LOVE the movies, going to the mall to pickup some new Vans every now and then–I can never turn down a nice restaurant in the evening, and course just riding around the city, bumping my LA playlist.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
– I want to first and foremost give a shoutout to Jehovah God, my executive producer in life. – I want to shoutout to my beloved brother and creative partner, David Shackelford for walking this journey with me.
– I want to shoutout to my late Grandmother, Mary Elizabeth for introducing me to God, family & Art .
– I want to give a special shoutout to ALL the unknown artists of the word, to all the late bloomers and the dreamers.
– And a BIG shoutout to the Shoutout for giving me a shoutout!!!

Website: sketchkingsinc@gmail.com

Instagram: @stevencshackelford

Linkedin: https://www.inkedin.com/in/steven-christopher-shackeford-61b81968

Image Credits
Steven Shackelford, @stevencshackeford (Instagram)

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