Bill Burnett

What is your name?
Bill Burnett 

What would you say has been your primary job in animation?
Writing, conceiving, composing music and supervising story.

What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
Janitor cleaning up old people’s poop at retirement home. Rock musician cleaning up dog poop in ski resorts.  Advertising guy cleaning up marketing executive’s poop in big corporations.

What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
What a Cartoon, Cow and Chicken, Oh Yeah Cartoons, ChalkZone, Electric Piper, Curious George
How did you become interested in animation?
Always madly in love with cartoons.  Have massive personal cartoon collection, especially into Fleischers

Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
Born in New England, grew up in New Jersey, moved to NYC in 1977.  Got into animation biz by working for Fred Seibert who gave me shot at achieving my dream

What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
Struggle for idea, look for places to pitch, OR if working, struggle to solve creative problem, field problems, make a good product out of a committee created story.

What part of your job do you like best? Why?
Writing songs for shows.  writing stories, figuring out how to make stories work, solving problems

What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Having to justify creative decisions to people who themselves never face real creative decisions.  Meanwhile dozens of shows and movies make it to the screen flagrantly violating the rules I am supposed to adhere to according to the experts.

What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
Selling ideas so I can turn them into realized executions, that can then be judged fairly on their merits.

What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
Garage band, Cubase, Final Draft, Microsoft, Cell phone

In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
Jaime Diaz, Bob Nessler, John Kricfalusi, Bill Plympton

Describe a tough situation you had in life. Any side projects you’re working on you’d like to share details of?
I’m in a tough situation now.  Old fart trying to outsmell the young farts. 
Sooo many projects.  Do an interview with me.

Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Be versatile.  Learn to adapt.

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  1. I really enjoy coming to your blog. Thanks for this post, since it has been quite interesting. I have a blog where I have several music industry jobs listed for searching, and would love to link to your website.

  2. Hi Bill, we’ve never met, but I’m Jaime Diaz’s daughter. I was surfing the web, thinking about my dad, and came upon this site. My dad thought you were pretty amazing too. Thank you so much for keeping his memory alive.

    • Your dad was a good man. I got to know when I was doing a pilot for Random cartoons. When he was done with his cartoon and he left I was put in his office but whenever he came back he still assumed it was hisnoffice and would come right in and sit down. I got to know him pretty well. I only wish he had lived so I could have interviewed him. What stories he would have told!

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