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Siddharth Gupta

Siddharth Gupta
BFA in Animation, School of Visual Arts

Area(s) of Interest: TV/film, Fine arts, Video/Digital media

Experience: The Manga Mavericks podcast, which I co-created, has been one of the most creatively fulfilling and enriching projects I’ve done. Through the podcast, I’ve conducted interviews with professionals working in manga localization, including artists, editors, translators, letterers, and CEOs. These interviews were my passion and initiative because I wanted to spotlight the work of people working in manga localization and learn more about it, and I pour so much time into researching everything I can about everyone we bring on the show, which paid off in thoughtful interviews that asked deeper questions that kept many of our guests engaged and talking happily for hours. Our podcast helped open the door to spotlighting the work of manga localizers in a way that wasn’t being done in the podcasting space before us, and our episodes exploring topics like piracy, simulpubs, and lettering explored a multitude of perspectives that provided our listeners enriching information that just wasn’t been explored to the same depth elsewhere. We’ve been able to share insights into manga localization process, the behind the scenes of the industry, unanswered questions, and even breaking news. Thanks to the podcast, I receive press passes for conventions, insider info, complimentary review copies, and was able to be a panelist at San Diego Comic Con’s Best & Worst Manga Panel. But the most rewarding part of the experience has been all the people I’ve been able to meet thanks to it. I’ve made so many professional and personal connections and friendships through the podcast, which opened the door for many opportunities I never dreamed before, including interviewing people who inspired my passion for the medium like Jason Thompson and Shaenon Garrity, some of my personal favorite and famous voice actors like Sarah Natochenny, Lisa Ortiz, Mariya Ise, and Toshio Furukawa, and the directors of some of my favorite media like Yoh Yoshinari, Shuko Murase, and Casper Kelly. I have made so many meaningful connections and invaluable friendships through the podcast. Doing the podcast has changed my life, professionally, creatively, and socially, more than anything else I’ve been a part of, and allowed me to have so many wonderful experiences that I never thought possible, and that I’ll treasure forever.

Ideal Job in 10 Years: I want to be a tv/film producer that cultivates the talents of creative people and helps them bring their captivating and compelling stories to life. And I want to be a creator that has created and completed my own story, one that resonates with people and touches their hearts, and has the power to meaningfully affect and change someone’s life – even if only just one person – for the better.

What led you to enroll in the MSLCE program at Northwestern? My experiences doing the Manga Mavericks podcast and working with the Shreya R. Dixit Foundation have shown me how rewarding it is to help spotlight creative people and give them a space for their voice to be heard and talent to be seen. I love learning what drives the creativity in people and exploring it with them. I want to be able to create and produce my own projects, but I also want to be able to help nurture and promote the talents of creative people to manifest their visions, and bring people together to make art that’s only possible thanks to the efforts of many hands. The MSCLE program provides me with the education I need to understand the business side of creative industries, opens doors to internships in the entertainment world, the opportunity to take some courses outside the program that could help me develop my creative skills, and connects me with a community of passionate creatives to learn with, learn from, and learn about. I don’t know exactly what my future holds, but I believe that this program and this experience will lead me down a new path leading to many doors to open and worlds to explore!

What are you most looking forward to about the MSLCE program? Making connections with a diverse community of multi-talented creative people from across different professions and passions!

What award would you most like to win? The Winsor McCay Award or the June Foray Award – winning either award would mean I’ve left an indelible impact on the animated medium, and that my contributions made a lasting impression worthy of remembrance.

Which leader or influential figure inspires you the most and why? Mike Lazzo, who worked his way up from the mailroom at TBS to become the former VP of programming at Cartoon Network and head of [adult swim], whose eye for cultivating creative, unique, and innovative voices helped define the creative ethos of Cartoon Network and redefine what adult animation and comedy can look like and can be.

If you could have lunch with one person (living or dead), who would it be? And why? I would’ve liked to have talked with Zac Bertschy, the former Editor-in-Chief of Anime News Network. I would’ve loved to talk with him about anime, journalism, and finding our creativity through exploring the creativity of others. Zac was the foremost voice in anime journalism and his work had a huge impact on me. His passion for learning about people and trying to deeply understand the people and subjects he covered was a huge influence on me and how I approached my own podcasting, interviewing, journalism, and media analysis. One of my biggest regrets is not reaching out to Zac when I could, to meet him, to talk with him, to tell him how much his work mattered to me. There’s many people, living and dead, I’d love to talk to. But Zac is the only person that I know I had the chance to, and now cannot. So if somehow, someway I could have lunch with him, I would never pass that opportunity up again.