Cut to Black: Alexandria “Allie” Krystin, Assistant Editor

For each day in the month of February, the African American Steering Committee will be highlighting Local 700’s African American members, both past and present, and their accomplishments. We look forward to showing the contributions and influences African Americans have had on the industry.

Name: Alexandria “Allie” Krystin

What’s your job? Assistant Picture Editor for Nickelodeon Animation Studio

List the credits you’re most proud of. Rise of the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie,” Monster High,” “Big Nate,” “The SpongeBob SquarePants Universe” and “The Loud House.” I love working on progressive cartoons, especially with the state of the world. 

What are you working on right now? At Nickelodeon, Assistant Picture Editors work across all shows. Right now, I’m primarily working on “Monster High,” “Big Nate,” “The Loud House,” “Rugrats,” “Baby Shark” and a couple of projects that haven’t released yet, but are going to be really fun!

Who and what are your influences and/or mentors? Cortney Taborn is an insanely talented black woman in Post. She keeps me grounded when I feel like I’m about to float off the planet, and she always makes me laugh whenever I feel like too much is happening. If I’m confused about something or looking for a resource, she can point me in the right direction. Also, her work ethic is inspiring. I mean talk about someone who never stops working. I’m grateful that we connected and are friends. 

Alain Fleury has been my friend and mentor from the jump. He was the first black person I met that worked in Animation Post Production. At the time, I believe he was working on an animated Transformers project. He’s also a force to be reckoned with. The man does not stop working or networking, and he’s always motivating someone. I appreciate that he doesn’t gatekeep, and aims to bring people up with him. He gave me the tools that I needed to be successful in this industry because he steered me in the right direction, helped me with my résumé and motivated me to be the best that I can be.

Also, Cartoons in general are something that influence me. I am an adult that loves animation. I used to be ashamed of that until I realized that it’s silly to be ashamed of anything you love. Honestly, cartoons have always been there to help me get through my darkest times. The only thing that keeps me going is the hope that I’m working on projects that help other people survive and feel seen. 

What books are you reading, shows are you watching and/or movies you’re excited about? Right now, I’m watching “Monarch: Legacy of Monsters” on Apple TV+, and I’m loving it! I also watched quite a few cult docuseries recently. The last one was “Heaven’s Gate: The Cult of Cults” on Max, which was a lot to take in. 

Other than that, I really just re-watch a lot of things. Like I think I’ve seen “Five Nights at Freddy’s” 10 times since it came out. To be honest, I wish I had a running tally of the amount of times I’ve seen “Spirited Away,” “Jurassic Park” and “Coraline.” Those are my core movies.

What would be your superhero name? Am I allowed to submit an answer for villain instead? I’m more on the chaotic side of the chart instead of the lawful side. Anyway, my villain name would definitely be Medusa.  

What are your black history month memories and any cultural or historical impacts on your life? I remember when my mom would teach my sister and I about black leaders, inventors, scientists, etc. all throughout February (and the year, really). That’s how I learned about Lewis Latimer, Jackie Robinson, Mae C. Jemison and so many other inspiring and/or erased black people in history. That being said, Mom, I’m talking directly to you. I have no recollection of you teaching me about Henrietta Lacks? To be fair, I should’ve learned about her in school like every other black person that had significant impact but was erased… Anyway, I learned about her on December 30, 2023 at the California Science Center, and then watched “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” on Max, so that was a heavy day. If you’re like me, and have no idea who she is, I highly suggest you learn about her. She’s probably already saved your life.  

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given? When I first met my friend Alain Fleury he told me, “don’t compare your journey to others.” It’s such a simple sentence, but it holds a lot of weight. It’s so common to think that you’re not where you should be, and that you’re wasting time because “so and so did this big project, and I’ve been here longer.” Trust me, I’ve done that A LOT in the past. Now I try to reflect on myself and seek advice from others if I’m feeling defeated. 

Do you have the necessary skills for these projects? If not, why haven’t you learned them, or are you confident that you can learn them on the job without holding things back? Is your work environment supportive of your growth or are they holding you back on purpose? Have you put yourself out there or is imposter syndrome getting in the way? Whenever I find myself getting fussy, I try to look inward instead of projecting my insecurities. Besides, how can you be genuinely excited for your friends and peers if you’re always putting yourself in competition with them?  

If you could time travel, when would you go and why? I mean, there aren’t a lot of options for us considering human history, and also how concerning the future looks… so I would be bouncing all around the Mesozoic Era! I love learning about dinosaurs and what the world was like during that time. I want to know what they actually looked and sounded like, since science is still discovering that. I love seeing the updated descriptions of them or when a new species is revealed. It’s crazy to think that these massive creatures are now birds and crocodiles. I’m getting excited as I write this! I’ve told people that “Jurassic Park” could be real, all those people could die at the park in real life, and I would still go. Can you tell that I have a dinosaur obsession?

What’s a little known fact about you? What are your hidden (or not so hidden) talents? My high school was a lot like Hogwarts. Every class would have their own color, and the options were blue, red, black and green. We had a forbidden floor, not because of a three headed dog, but because it was unstable. We had an owl release every year, canoed into school for our senior year and we had a Headmaster, not a Principal. My high school is extremely old, so the main building (the original school) looks like a castle. Also, a plague apparently went through it, and people have claimed to see the ghosts. There are so many other things I could say, but I’ll stop there. Other than that, I boxed for eight years, and I recently got back into it! I also finished crocheting a blanket that took me three years.

What’s your favorite (Black) television/movie moment? All of Marvel’s “Black Panther.” The costumes, the score, the soundtrack, the actors, the celebration of African cultures and dark skin, and the underlying fact that Africa is not a baron wasteland of a continent, but rich with resources, culture, food and beautiful people. “Black Panther ”is in a league of its own. I mean they really knocked it out of the park. Then to see what they were able to release with Wakanda Forever, after Chadwick’s passing, I mean talk about strength and perseverance. I can’t wait for the next installment! 

Was there a television show/movie that inspired you to pursue your career? I remember watching “The Nightmare Before Christmas” as a child and thinking, “this was made, but how?” That’s when I started to learn about filmmaking. The BTS video of “Coraline” taught me that pink popcorn could be used for pink trees. The BTS video if “Jurassic Park” taught me about the wonderful world of sound design and practical effects. “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” was surprisingly the first time I ever hyper focused on a movie score, which was life-changing because to this day I primarily listen to movie scores. 

What’s your personal/professional mantra? We’re not curing cancer, so there’s no point in getting overly stressed out during work, even if the people around you are. Protect your peace. 

What’s the last show/movie that left you speechless? Godzilla Minus One!” That movie healed my soul. When the Godzilla theme played, I immediately started to cry because I was so overwhelmed!! I was going to talk about my favorite scene, but I won’t spoil it. My only complaint is that I couldn’t leave the theatre with a copy of it. They’re releasing it in black and white, and best believe I will be seeing it again. 

What would be your dream project to work on? I would love to work on “Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse.” I mean I currently work in animation, and I still cannot comprehend how that entire series is made. Just like “Black Panther,” The Spider-Verse series is in a league of its own. Not only is the animation unbelievable, but the score and soundtrack for “Across the Spider-Verse” is always on repeat in my home. I’m listening to the score as I type this because it helps me focus. I also love the score and soundtrack for “Into the Spider-Verse,” but I’m currently addicted to “Across the Spider-Verse.”

Also, the “Five Nights at Freddy’s” sequels! I’m a huge FNAF fan, and that movie was glorious to me. It’s quickly become my comfort movie because I’m obsessed with the animatronics, Matthew Lillard as William Afton is *chef’s kiss*, and everyone killed their parts, including Cupcake. I can’t wait to see where they go with the second one! I’m hoping we get the story of the Puppet, or it would be a dream to see the Sister Location animatronics come to life eventually! Please let me play Bonnie or just let me take him home.