Ed Ghertner

is your name and your current occupation?
My name is Ed Ghertner and at the moment I’m a Designer at Walt Disney T.V. Animation

What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I was young when I got my first gig in animation,but the jobs I had ranged from a grocery clerk, auto mechanics assistant and gardener.

What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
While going to Cal Arts some of the students were privileged to work on the first Muppet Movie for one then I would say Winnie the Pooh Series and Beauty and the Beast as well as The Lion King.

How did you become interested in animation?
As  kid my grandfather worked at Disney Studios in transportation and brought home the movies for us kids to watch and I did and fell in love with the idea of creating a world with characters that were believable.

Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I grew up in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles and as I said before I had access to the Disney Studios  so when I was in tenth grade I visited the studio and sat with Eric Larson for about an Hour and was told that the Studio was starting a program at Cal Arts to train artists to bring them into the industry. When I graduated High School I went to Cal Arts and received a BFA in Film then was immediately brought into Disney Features on “The Fox and the Hound” as a Trainee Layout artist.

What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
I feel that if you’re a creative person your day is 25 hours long. You never really escape from work. Being an artist is a life style where you are always aware of art in everything you do. I don’t concentrate on the work all the time being obsessive about it, but it’s always in the back of my mind. I go to work and jump into the world I’m working in like opening a book. Then involve myself in that world, and at the end of the day close the book and go home to reality and my family.

What part of your job do you like best? Why?
I like creating new worlds and learning different styles from co workers.

What part of your job do you like least? Why?
The business end of the business. It’s a neccesary part of the work just as politics are a part of the business. I would rather be a straight foreword person and say what’s real with a flare of concern for someones feelings first!

What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
Having to do work that I know is not the best because someone in a position above me with less knowledge has made a decision and will stick with it just because. Not listening to an experienced artist whom they have hired and are paying them well to do the very thing they aren’t listening to. This doesn’t happen often but is very annoying when it does happen.

What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
I’ve broadened my artistic abilities by learning as much as I can about the computer world. I use Photoshop daily and Maya not as often but I really enjoy both programs

In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
All my teachers at Cal Arts were part of the historic group that created a lot of the great animated movies at Disney and UPA as well as Morice Noble and Mike Maltese of Warner Bros. fame.

Describe a tough situation you had in life.
My sister passed away a few years ago and I had to pull myself together and go into work and put my thoughts aside and get on with it. Not letting it effect my work or it’s process.

Any side projects you’re working on you’d like to share details of?
I’ve written a book called “Layout and Composition for Animation” on Focal Press. While going to Cal Arts I would talk to Ken O’Connor, Morice Noble and others about putting all the info they were giving us into a book form and we all agreed we should but never did. All those great people are gone so I decided it was my time to give back just as those generous artists did all those years ago and put a book together.

Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Be the best artist you can be. Learn many different styles but don’t lose track of the artist and the style you are. You’ll have to compromise while making a living but do your own thing whenever you can! Have fun!!!!!

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