From India to Netflix: This Animation Alumnus Had A Long Journey to Success

Prabhu Rajaganapathy with his mother
Animation alumnus Prabhu Rajaganapathy with his mother

Prabhu Rajaganapathy was born and raised in a small village in southern India. But after he finished high school there, he began to think about making a change. A big change.

“I wanted to see where my creativity could take me,” he said. The first step in that process was for Prabhu, who also has permanent residency status in the United States, to take the SAT and start applying to colleges and universities in Southern California—where so many creative entities make their home.

He applied to a number of schools in the region and initially had his mind set on Pasadena City College. Until, that is, he was accepted to Woodbury. “The moment I was accepted to Woodbury, I knew it was the right place for me,” Prabhu said. “I felt that the smaller classrooms would significantly help me progress through the risky decision of trying something new.”

Prabhu initially chose to study Game Art & Design but after a semester in the program, he felt that it wasn’t quite the right fit for him. “I talked to my teachers, friends, and family and came to the conclusion that Animation was a better major for me.”

The initial change in major, however, was not the only challenge Prabhu faced during his first year at Woodbury. The culture shock and isolation from friends and family halfway around the globe was almost too much to bear for him. “I cannot emphasize how much I struggled during my first semester at Woodbury,” he says. “I missed home every single day and was very introverted. Talking to my family was difficult due to the 12-hour time difference and I also didn’t have any friends to talk to at the time.”

But Prabhu persevered and committed himself to taking advantage of as many experiences at Woodbury as possible. This is why he chose to become a Residence Advisor in student housing. “I wanted to help students feel comfortable and to feel at home,” he said. “I wanted freshmen to feel like we can replicate the feeling of being at home.”

After completing his first year, Prabhu did an internship at El Grupo Animation, under the tutelage of faculty member, Alex Topete.  “Alex is an amazing, traditional 2D animator, and I learned as much as I could when it came to the basics of animation,” Prabhu said. “I would not have been as prepared for the rest of my classes at Woodbury without this internship.”

With both his comfort level in the United States and his knowledge and skill as an animator vastly improving, Prabhu began to excel at Woodbury. Eventually, he started focusing his energies on his senior thesis project, “Space Epic,” a 2D sci-fi animation film. “I took this project seriously and would work day and night throughout my senior year,” he said. His hard work and perseverance paid off once again. In fact, “Space Epic” has been selected to be shown at eight different film festivals to date. “It was a huge accomplishment for me,” he said. However, Prabhu’s not done with it yet. He intends to pitch “Space Epic” to a studio or network someday.

After graduation, Prabhu began working as a production assistant at Gaumont Animation where he had the opportunity to gain a wide range of experiences in the industry. He has now been able to parlay that experience into a job with Netflix Animation, where he intends to further develop these skills and build his career.

Learn more about the Animation program