What is your name?
Atul N. Rao
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
“I have been lucky to be part of many great projects. Some of them never got past a pilot, but the experience of breaking new ground was worth it as experiences go. The pilot projects include: The Cartoon Network Pilot, “”Swaroop”” is certainly top of my list, where I met my long time friend and collaborator, Mike Milo. “”Roy Rogers: Rodeoheads”” was a hilarious pilot in which we worked with great voice actors (including Mark Hamil) and the director, Guy Vasilovich. “”The Maharaja Cowboy”” which was done partly in Austin Texas and in Trivandrum India. Recently I wrote a pilot for MARVEL called “”The Defenders”” which may be one of the best TV scripts I’ve ever written.
How did you become interested in animation?
Always loved it. Started making my own stop motion films on Super 8 in the sixth grade. I was obsessed with Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Droopy and a bunch of others all through University while I studied psychology. To me animation is the true frontier of human imagination, humor and art.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
Born in Detroit, raised in Canada, moved to L.A., then lived in India, then in Texas, then back in India, now in Toronto. A lot of that resettling was related to animation.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
Wake up turn on the computer. Eat lunch. Sit at the computer. Talk on the phone. Eat dinner. Hang out with the family. Sit in front of the computer and then sleep.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
the coolest thing is when the cartoon comes to life. Nothing beats that. Other things I love… networking with other animation professionals, writing, directing voice, performing voice.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Don’t like it when my back and neck hurts from sitting in one place too much. Also not happy when I’m underpaid or broke.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
Politics of all kinds. Life could be so perfect without the distrust.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
Computer, microphone, fancy software, telephone, car
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
Yes!!! Met Bill Hanna – collaborated with Jimmy Murukami – Met Chuck Jones, Ralph Bakshi. Talked with Matt Groening several times. Partied with David X. Cohen. Talked with Nick Parks… It goes on and on and on. I’ve been luck to have met so many great artists. Animation is loaded with geniuses, and only enthusiasts can truly appreciate it.
Describe a tough situation you had in life. Any side projects you’re working on you’d like to share details of?
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Keep learning. Be persistent. Re-invent yourself regularly.