What is your name?
My name is Stephen M. Levinson and I currently reside in Santa Clarita, California.
What would you say has been your primary job in animation?
My primary job has been as a Flash animator, but my interests have recently moved to the production side of animation.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I was very fortunate that I never took a “regular” summer-type of job. My first job was freelancing animation for a kill-bill spoof animation. It was great being paid to make cartoons for the first time!
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
I would say I’m more proud of my effort and energy and talent I put into all my projects more than the actual outcome of the show I was working on. I did some bumpers for G4TV, so when I saw them on TV I was ecstatic. I also was recently working for 6 Point Harness on an MTV show called Goodvibes. I can’t wait to see it air and see my work on TV!
How did you become interested in animation?
I’ve been watching cartoons ever since I was a kid, Spongebob, Hey Arnold, Dexters lab, Samurai Jack, the list goes on and on. And I’ve always loved to draw. When I figured out how animation worked I kept at it and eventually started getting paid for it!
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I’m from NY. I’ve only recently immersed myself in the business side of animation. I’ve been drawing my whole life as well as animating for the past several years, but I’ve been very entrepreneurial since I was a kid. While at CalArts, I realized I’d rather be in the business of animation, than limiting myself to my own abilities.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
Well, currently I am only employed by my company Inkless Ideas. I have a very successful iPhone app Scripts Pro. This allows me to spend the time to do what I like to do. I’m currently creating new ideas for projects, coming up with business plans, and networking with other like-minded individuals.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
The best part of my “job” is discussing my project, ideas and passion to interested parties. I love making great projects and getting them into action is very rewarding. Completing them is tough, but It’s been an absolutely great experience.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
The part I like the least I would say is not having an office space. So currently the business is run out of my room, and I usually like being around people to inspire me.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
The most difficult part…hmm. I wouldn’t necessarily say that anything is the most difficult. I don’t let any obstacles get in my way. When things come up that aren’t planned I work around them and don’t let them hold me back.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
My Macbook Pro! 🙂
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
Of course! I had the opportunity to pitch to Craig McCracken and Rob Renzetti back when they were working on their Cartoonstitute program. I’m also close with Fred Seibert and he’s an industry leader! Great guy!
Describe a tough situation you had in life. Any side projects you’re working on you’d like to share details of?
I would say a tough situation I “have” in life is right now. I recently ended my gig at 6 Point Harness so I am literally on my own in this world right now. I’m working on a really awesome game project (details are limited) and getting the investors to fund it has been challenging. I had the entire project funded and 1 investor had to drop out. Finding another has been tough, but I’m not worried. I know the project will be funded soon and will be moving forward very shortly! I’m also working on several website and other app ideas and getting them put into motion. I am excited about all the projects I have waiting to be developed!
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
The best advice I can give someone is to just practice all the time. Also, not to worry about being blacklisted from the animation community as some surprisingly are. Take some risks, be brave, make an impression. Don’t be shy about showing your work. You could be the most talented person in the world, but if you’re stuck in your room and no one has seen your art, it doesn’t matter how talented you are.