Meet Our Neighbors: Michelle Janco

Get to know FRP's own Michelle Janco. Michelle is working on Alma's Way, an animated series created by beloved children's television icon, Sonia Manzano.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what led you to work on children’s television shows.
All my life I’ve been an artist with an interest in animation. I grew up loving to draw, paint, and immerse myself in movies and shows. (I acted out every line of the movie Shrek as a toddler!) My own love of stories as a child made me want to be a part of bringing lovable stories and characters to children. During my time at Carnegie Mellon University, I worked on projects in animation, illustration, and story writing. Being a part of production for an animated children’s television show seemed like the perfect fit, and I’m so happy to have the opportunity to do that now!

What were your favorite television show when you were growing up?
It’s so hard to pick just one. One that comes to mind is Blue’s Clues. There are many pictures of me as a child hanging out in a Blue costume. It was a world that I always wanted to live inside of. Other favorites of mine were Sesame Street and Zoboomafoo. I definitely connected a lot with animal (and furry monster) characters: Blue, Elmo, and Zoboomafoo were some of my favorites to watch. I still enjoy watching them to this day.

What are the steps that go into your role for an episode of Alma’s Way?
One of the great things about my role is that I get to work across a lot of different areas of production and interact with a lot of different people! Some of the things I do are proofread scripts, help with the review of designs, put together notes during animation reviews, and research reference materials. It’s so amazing to watch an episode evolve from a small seed of an idea to a fully formed animated episode and be able to experience each stage of that process.

What are you most excited about for the series?
I’m most excited for everyone to meet the amazing characters of this show! They have such unique, lively personalities and are always making me smile. The writers, designers, and animators have done a tremendous job of bringing life to everyone on Alma’s Way.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?
I love drawing and illustrating whenever I can. One day I hope to illustrate a children’s book! I also really enjoy getting outside to walk in the park and bird watch.

Just for fun, what is your favorite treat to warm you up on wintry day?
You can’t go wrong with warm fudge brownies. The smell that fills the house is almost as cozy as eating them!

Alma’s Way is coming to PBS KIDS in Fall 2021.