In this month’s edition of our ‘Interview With the Owner’ series, we chatted to Laverne Moi. Laverne is the owner of Microenterprise ‘Tween Animation’. He is an animator and animation teacher, offering 2D animation classes to teenagers and pre-teens, with a focus on neurodiverse students. We sat down with Laverne to chat about his journey so far, his support system and his goals for the future.
Hi Laverne, can you tell us about your business, Tween Animation?
Laverne: I teach animation classes – the kind of thing you see in a classic Disney film or anime – 2D hand-drawn animation classes for neurodivergent teens and pre-teens. The classes can be attended by any students, but they’re designed specifically to help out those who are Autistic or have ADHD.
Why was it important to you to support neurodiverse students in particular?
Laverne: When I was growing up back in Malaysia, they didn’t always have the resources or understanding to help me out. I had difficulties learning, let alone socialising. My social anxiety meant that I struggled a lot. I want to teach this generation of neurodiverse kids animation because the classes are something I wish that I had when I was growing up. My goal with my business, Tween Animation, is to give opportunities all children to be able to do animation. I’m doing this because I care.
What’s your favourite thing about owning Tween Animation?
Laverne: The kids… they have a blast! Having people to share my interest in animation with and being able to inspire them and enlighten them. That’s what makes this business worth it!
My business has been a valuable learning experience. There’s a lot that goes into running a business, whether it’s accounting or marketing – especially when it’s a one-man gang! It makes me more appreciative. Before, when I heard the word ‘business’, I always thought of it as above me. Several people, with complicated dynamics and all these cogs and gears working. It doesn’t have to be a steep hill to climb! I have control of my business and it’s taught me responsibility! Part of growing as a human is learning from your mistakes. You have to make mistakes or you can’t grow as a person. It makes you a better person, I suppose.
Who supports you with your business, and how?
Laverne: There’s my friend, supporter and I suppose the proper term for her role would be service provider, Amber, who suggested to me that since I know animation, and it’s something kids are always into, I should try teaching animation classes. She’s been a great support for two years and since she’s had experience in running her own business, has guided me on what exactly a business entails – getting an ABN, learning how to separate business and personal expenses, doing my tax return. I also get tax help from Curtin Tax Clinic to make sure I’m doing everything properly.
There’s also Samantha, my Advisor. She’s been very helpful, supporting me to work through my business plan so that it’s cohesive – detailing every aspect of the business, from the service I provide to who I’m targeting, into a single, neat, easily-referenced document. This was very helpful in getting a grant to cover the expenses I had to get my business set up and started.
Amy, my business assistant, has been helping me with marketing and handling administrative tasks such as booking venues.
My folks have also been supportive, but it’s these three people who have been instrumental to helping me all the way.
When you’re not working, what do you enjoy doing?
Laverne: Most kids my age would tell you they like to watch anime and video games – and I’m no exception – but I am also a vinyl record collector. I take it seriously! I listen to a new album every day. If I love them enough, I’ll shell out the money for a vinyl. My hobbies are nothing too eccentric… I don’t do skydiving while solving Rubik’s Cubes!
What goals do you have for the future?
Laverne: I want a purposeful life! For now, my ultimate purpose is to work in the animation industry. I work as an animatic editor, splicing together drawings from storyboard artists. Editing is a whole art in itself! I want to work in more impactful ways than before – a TV series or a film maybe. I just want to entertain people and do what makes me happy.