George Zaleski


What is your name and your current occupation?

George Zaleski, currently finishing producing an educational video for the CA school system called “Invaders from around the world”
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I worked for an Air force Research Lab as a photography assistant. I got to take pictures of jets and copters used for radio research. Funny thing is that I got the job by putting “coke dealer” on my resume , because I managed a soda machine in college. That made me stand out from the rest.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
The work I have done for USC Sea Grant. I really like working with scientists and I have a good handle communicating their message in a way people can understand. I liked working for “Family Brain Surge”.  I got to have a great deal of freedom designing games and animations. It appealed to my creative side.
How did you become interested in animation?
I really like painting and kinetic sculpture, as a kid I lost many hours to cartoons. The two just crashed together.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I grew up in Rome NY, which is smack in the center of the state. I went to school out there and then applied to USC film school for animation. It was a struggle but slowly got small freelance jobs and worked my way into the system.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
Depends on the job, right now I am working from home till 1am, but I really like working in an office with other people…till 1 am.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
I am a sucker for the creative brain storming process, concept, BG painting, and writing. It is the one point where your only limitation is how big you can imagine.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Making my vision a reality is hard. Working on uninspired projects are hard too, you just do it for a paycheck then.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
The process of finding work, also when you see some really talented people and it just makes you want to quit.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
Cintiq, flash, basically the entire adobe suite
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
No one comes to mind, mainly in lecture halls and the sort. There a load of people who I have worked with that will be animation greats one day.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
My first rejection when applying for jobs came hard. The other hard thing is when projects that I put a great deal of faith in crashed hard.
Any side projects you’re working on you’d like to share details of?
Well the USC project is finishing up, it teaches kids about invasive species and the environment,  I would love to pitch it as a series. I really like teaching my son science and I think older kids could use some good science in their lives. I also have a story about a little girl who doesn’t laugh or cry.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Network!  People you know are the ones who will help you a get jobs. Practice your art. Be a nice person.
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