Marija Miletic Dail


What is your name and your current occupation?
I am Marija Miletic Dail, semi-retired filmmaker/animator/director/producer ( whew!!…sorry…), did I mention lint picker?

What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
Some of the craziest jobs I had as a young immigrant, were the ones that kept my body and soul together; like canning peaches in season, driving a forklift, waitressing ( is that a word?), picking worms at night on golf courses for fisherman’s bait.. and such.

What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
Directing the opening piece for the 1984 Olympic Games, my own sort subjects, one of which won “The best of animation” at an International Film Fest. in Switzerland in 197?.. something.I liked working on “Cave kids” for H-B, for I was given full creative control in choosing a different style for the imaginary part of each special. Enjoyed working with Iwao Takamoto on Heidi’s storyboard and some experimental animation. I also enjoyed very much being an illustrator for a daily newspaper in my country, just before I started working in animation.

How did you become interested in animation, where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I started working at the “Zagreb film” studio in Croatia (former Yugoslavia).I was born in Zagreb, Croatia, the city full of art culture. I used to draw since I was able to hold a pencil and always wanted to be an artist. While still in high school I became an illustrator for a daily newspaper.I loved comics, and made my own as a child, but also sold my first comic strip at the age of 18 yrs. old to a local weekly newspaper. The story ran for 28 weeks, and I was able to buy a winter coat for my brother with the money I earned. There was a contest for artists, because a cartoon studio was to start a production, and I applied. There were over 100 applicants, but only ten were taken, and I was one of them. That’s how I started in animation, and the animation bug has never left me!

What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
When I started my own studio in N. Hollywood, “Animation Cottage”, I wanted to be on the “cutting edge” so I got our first computer in 1989. We worked in DOS, before the Windows. It was a painstaking process, but we made a small 8 min, film “Think Earth”, which won the Presidential award in 1992.So, my every days starts, then and now, with computers. Then with a clone Olivetti and DOS with million bugs and problems, and today with PC and MAC without prob….oops, I am not supposed to lie, right?

What part of your job do you like best? Why? The best of every job is the actual process; the idea, the writing, boarding, etc.  Why? Because that’s how one keeps alive, the batteries are charging, the sky is opening up!

What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Sometimes I get ahead of myself and have to re-do a part of the job that I got too enthused about, and didn’t plan as well as I should have. I try not to repeat this mistake too often. What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business? The difficult part used to be when one has to look for a job and change studios. Self promotion was not my strong point.

What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
I work wit DigiCel and ToonBoom software, as well as the usual I-movie, Adobe myriad software. Once tried Maya and after I built a temple and a giant hand, I gave it up. Don’t have enough time to learn it all. I still love to animate on paper.

In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
I work wit DigiCel and ToonBoom software, as well as the usual I-movie, Adobe myriad software. Once tried Maya and after I built a temple and a giant hand, I gave it up. Don’t have enough time to learn it all. I still love to animate on paper.

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?

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