Where Are They Now: Molly Ostertag
Molly was a joy to interview. She moved from upstate New York to LA just over a year ago, where she is a full time cartoonist and an animator for Disney. She draws a bi-weekly web comic called Strong Female Protagonist with another Wayfinder alum (Brennan Lee Mulligan), has a book deal with Scholastic (look for ‘The Witch Boy’ Oct. 31st 2017), and graduated from SVA as valedictorian. At camp Molly worked in many departments, most notably Sets & Props, wrote a number of awesome Adventure Games and was an all around rock-star.
WFE: “How old were you when you first attended?”
M: “I was 14, but I had heard about it before then. It sounded like the most amazing thing. A place where you got to act out fantasy stories. I pictured it taking place in a castle. I thought it was too cool to be real.”
WFE: “What did you enjoy most as a camper; what are some early experiences?”
M: “I was drawn in by the Adventure Games. I went into it a super shy and locked away kid, but by the end of the weekend I was hugging everybody and was so thrilled to have that [part of me] unlocked. What I grew to love was the community and making friends with the people I was roleplaying with. The Games became an expression of this loving community, rather than the reason I was there.”
WFE: “What was a challenge for you at camp, but no longer is?”
M: “It was challenging at times being around so many people. I’m very happy to have had boundaries pushed [at camp] in terms of what I’m conformable with because it made me a more adaptable person, and am able to talk to many types of different people. I would be more shy without camp.”
WFE: When you were working as a staff member, what were your favorite parts?
M: “Making the worlds. Each Adventure Game was an inspiring and artistic challenge. I learned a lot of lessons I still use today. I really liked taking spaces that the campers were in all week and transforming them to an unfamiliar spaces. They [the campers] know they were going into the dining hall but once they entered it wouldn’t be the dining hall anymore. When I was a kid my favorite part was to feel like I had left earth, so it was very fun to do that of other people”
WFE: What are some lessons from Wayfinder you use in everyday life; or other ways Wafinder is still with you?
M: “The book I sold to Scholastic is like a love letter to camp. It’s about teens running around in the woods casting magic and discovering themselves. My artistic choices are informed by camp and Status Workshops really help in my professional life. I learned how to be a more confident person. Learning how to present oneself [is important.] You learn how to don a character who is more confident than you are.”
WFE: Have you ever tried other summer camps?
M: “I went to a classic girls camp, it was fun the first year [less so the next]. But at Wayfinder people go far out of their way to make you feel comfortable. Wayfinder has this tradition of respect that made it a really safe space. Also there is nowhere else I could play the warrior queen. Wayfinder is different than most LARPs. Everyone is focusing on telling a story together with emphasis on immersion. I was surprised how deep [the Game experience] went for me. It was easy to buy into being in the fantasy world. I really felt the feelings [of my character], I felt like someone else.”
WFE: Any final thoughts you’d like to share?
M: “The whole camp was like a trust fall. When I started I was a soft, emotion, shy teen who wanted to be stronger and didn’t know how. It was important to have a space that was supportive but push me out of comfort zone; but where I knew I would be caught if fell.”
Check out: http://www.mollyostertag.com/
Written by Trine Boode-Petersen from an interview with Molly in summer 2016.