What is your name?
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
Managed a video store, worked with kids (age 11-18) in a neighborhood Youth Center.
What would you say has been your primary job in animation?
My primary job has been that of a traditional animator.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
Let’s see – character designs for a documentary (unfortunately funding ran out before it could get to the animation stage), test animation of a raven for a Comcast commercial, being layout supervisor and doing layouts on a MTV pilot featuring Bootsy Collins, animating part of the Hallucination Sequence in the feature “Beavis and Butt-head Do America”, doing character and BG layout for the MTV series, “The Maxx”, going from concept to final animation on 2 MTV station IDs, layout and animation on a pilot for Disney – “Stevie Sanchez”, animation on an episode of HBO Family’s “A Little Curious” and animating a scene from ‘Broccoli in “Taxicab Confessions”‘, an episode from MTV’s Cartoon Sushi.
How did you become interested in animation?
When I was young, like many, I loved watching animation – Disney, Bugs and Daffy, Tom and Jerry, etc. But when I saw Space Ghost (the original 1966 series), it was an eye-opening experience for me: the design, the layout, the fact that it was sci-fi based, it was all like, “wow”. Then when I was 13, walking through the hall in school thinking about Space Ghost, and the thought came to me, “That’s what I want to do for a living.”
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
New York. As for how I got in – determination. Continually sending out resumes, reels and making follow up phone calls until I got a response.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
For the most part, it’s pretty routine. I try to ask as many questions as I can come up with in the initial meetings, so when I finally get in the trenches and do it, there are few surprises (note that I did not say “no surprises”, because some things you just can’t foresee), as to what I should’ve done. Once that’s done, I just jump in and start animating.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
From a traditional animation aspect, I love starting with a blank piece of paper, which eventually leads to the flipping of drawings, because as cliche as it sounds, you really are creating the illusion of life.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
In a word – deadlines. There are very few projects I’ve worked on, when afterwards, at some point, there wasn’t a thought of “If I only had another day/week, etc, to make it better.”
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
Holding my tongue dealing with people I clearly don’t respect, and the occasional “hurry up and wait” attitude, where you’re given a deadline, and the information/materials you need aren’t ready or available, which of course doesn’t affect the deadline.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
Primarily pencil and paper with a bit of Photoshop.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
Ironically, I think the toughest thing I had to overcome was my insecurity about my own work. I always tend to question whether what I’m doing is enough too much or too little, when I look at other people’s work. Now I’m at the point where I can separate the two, meaning, I can look at someone else’s work and appreciate what they do, and also be comfortable with my own work, not feeling competitive.
Any side projects you’re working on you’d like to share details of?
I’m currently putting together a trailer for an animated short I’m developing. I haven’t posted anything yet, as some of the the animation is still being tweaked, but stay tooned!
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Check your ego at the door, listen and learn. Everyone wants to be the next (insert animation inspiration here), but strive to be the first you. Never assume you know all you need to know. Be the equivalent of a sponge – soak up and absorb as much information and knowledge as you can, from whomever you can. To be willing to learn, grow and adapt, not only makes you more well rounded, but also a more sought out commodity.
Know and understand that for the most part, this business is a gypsy lifestyle. You’ll be moving from job to job, so always keep your finances in check, because there may be a gap between one job and the next.
Very good advice about it being a gypsy lifestyle. It’s not easy to stay in this business. Not by a longshot.