What is your name?
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
Directing/Producing/writing on Animaniacs, Tiny Toons, Freakazoid, Biker Mice. Lately I’m having fun making cartoons on youtube and developing new properties.
What would you say has been your primary job in animation?
Directing/Producing (ha! I snuck in 2 jobs)
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I scrubbed toilets at a miniature golf course, made sandwiches at Arby’s and cleaned school desks. I even studied to be a lousy auto mechanic once. I failed.
How did you become interested in animation?
Watching Bugs Bunny on TV as a little kid got me into it. I remember asking my mom, “what do they call those guys who draw those cartoons,” when I was about six, because I had to write a paper on what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wish she had said “billionaire” instead of “animator.”
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I grew up in NYC and made a lot of flip books as a kid. I went to art school back east and then went to the Disney School at Cal Arts for college. I was also lucky enough to study under the great Ben Washam when he taught animation from his garage in the Hollywood Hills (for free!).
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
My day usually starts with a boxing match with the devil. Well, let’s see…. If I’m writing, then I do a load of research. if I’m designing, storyboarding, or animating, then I spend time reviewing what i did the day before and then fixing problems with a fresh eye. If I’m directing or producing, I spend a good portion of the day working with the writing and art crew. Before assigning a storyboard I like to write up a detailed “shooting script” including ideas for shots, acting notes, etc, in red over the script. This way, the storyboard artist has as much help understanding my vision as possible, before he starts the laborious task of drawing and planning each scene.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
Creating stories from scratchand coming up with fun solutions to problems. I like to create things that I can really see from the start as “doable” or “produceable.” However, any aspect of the process from conceptualization, writing and executing, can be my “favorite” if the working conditions and the project are great.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Redoing things that I have no control over, like poorly executed drawing or poor story telling.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
I think the most difficult part of this business is the insecurity. Although I have been very lucky to keep on working over the years, It’s the unknown that can be unpleasant at times. You have to maintain a very healthy sense of inner strength in order to last in this business as well as being lucky as hell.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
I often draw on a cintiq in FLASH. It’s a great time saver for designing and animating. Sometimes I will paint a character or a BG in Photoshop, but I still like to work in pencil and paint in oils when I can. I have also worked in CG for features.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
I worked for Steven Spielberg on many shows. Have also worked for Jeffrey Katzenberg, John K, Ivan Reitman. I had a great day chatting with Ward Kimball at his home/ train depot. Had a great talk with Maurice Noble. I had a fun day with Mel Brooks once, almost met George Lucas in his office and worked under Denis Muren at ILM. I’ve worked with Bernie Wrightson. Met Roy Disney,Bob Clampett, Chuck Jones, Bill Hanna, Michael Jordan,Rodney Dangerfield, Don Knotts, Joe Dante. Have worked with great actors, Don Messick, Frank Welker, Rob Paulsen, David Warner, Ricard Montalban, Brad Garret, Craig Ferguson, Ian Ziering, June Foray, Tim Curry, Wayne Knight, Dorian Harewood, Jonathan Winters, Tress MacNeille, Maurice Lamarsh, Paul Rugg and I’m sure there are many more that I have forgotten (forgive me if I left anyone out!)
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
I remember, years ago, losing my animator position due to outsourcing, which really was a blow because I loved to animate. I had to get myself back into the game by learning layout and storyboard which, although this was a natural progression in this profession, was a tough transition at a time when I had a wife and an infant at home. But since we live in a society where we are victimized by corporate/ government policies, you just have to work that much harder to survive. Now we see this happening in every trade.
Any side projects you’re working on you’d like to share details of?
Go to my youtube channel and Subscribe!: http://www.youtube.com/richarons
also on youtube: http://youtu.be/K1CCVQxgPeg?hd=1
Also purchase posters and my children’s book, “Turbie the Turtle-Duck” at: http://www.richarons.com
Join me on Twitter and Facebook for continual updates:http://twitter.com/richaronshttp://www.facebook.com/richarons
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
I think you should be as versatile as possible, given the changing business environment. Always be learning and studying so that you can compete with the best of them. If you live in the US, learn all you can about anatomy, drawing and storyboarding, because the studios are now outsourcing CG production work too. The most important advice I can give to an aspiring young artist is marry a rich woman! (or man, depending upon your preference). You will thank me for this.